Category - Member Events
60th PGA Winter Championships Start Jan. 10 at PGA Golf Club
By Craig Dolch
PGA Golf Club's Dye Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
It takes skill and good nerves to win a PGA Winter Championship. To have an opportunity to win the opening championship, it also takes decades of service to the game.
The 60th PGA Winter Championships start Wednesday at PGA Golf Club with the Quarter Century Championship and the Half Century Championship. Contestants must be a member of the PGA of America for 25 or 50 years, respectively, to compete.
One thing is guaranteed with the Quarter Century Championship: There will be a new winner in the 50-64 age division. Defending champion Bob Sowards is not entered.
“I just wanted to spend some more time at home because I’ve been on the road a lot lately,” said Sowards, the PGA Director of Instruction at Kinsale Golf & Fitness Club in Powell, Ohio. “I’ll be down for the Winter Championships for the team events. I love playing down there.”
Robert Thompson of Huntsville, Texas, returns to defend his title in the 65-and-older division of the Quarter Century. He beat 2022 champion Gary Robison of Port St. Lucie in a playoff.
Roy Vucinich of Moon Township, Pa., also will defend his title in the Half Century Championship. The 36-hole event will be held Wednesday and Thursday on the Wanamaker and Ryder courses.
There are five other championships held during the next six weeks, with a break allowed for the PGA Show on Jan. 23-26. Here are the other five championships along with the defending champions, dates and courses:
- The Senior Stroke Play Championship, Jan. 14-16, on the Wanamaker and Ryder courses (Sowards, 50-59, and Robison, 60-and-older).
- The Senior-Junior Team Championship, Jan. 29-Feb. 1, on the Ryder, Wanamaker and Dye courses (Tim Cantwell and Jason Martin).
- The Four-Ball Stableford Team Championship, Feb. 4-6, on the Ryder and Dye courses (Benny Cook and Dylan Newman).
- The Stroke Play Championship, Feb. 11-13, Wanamaker and Ryder courses (Jon Mayer).
- The Women’s Stroke Play Championship, Feb. 18-20, on the Wanamaker and Ryder courses (three-time defending champion Sandra Changkija, who won the Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Award in 2022).
The PGA Winter Championships began in 1954 at PGA National Golf Club in Dunedin, Fla., to provide additional playing opportunities for PGA of America Golf Professionals. It has been held at PGA Golf Club since 2000.
Total purses for the six-event PGA Winter Championships are about $375,000.
The PGA Winter Championships are presented by GolfPass and On Location.