No Surprise: Jeff Roth, PGA's Opening Drive is Right on the Mark
By Jeff Babineau
Michigan PGA Professional Jeff Roth had the honor of hitting the opening tee shot to begin this week’s KitchenAid Senior PGA. Roth, 64, is a PGA Teaching Professional at BOYNE Golf Academy in Harbor Springs.
“It caught me by surprise a little bit, a few days ago,” said Roth, who was 1 under midway through his opening nine and eventually shot 76. “It was kind of a big deal, you know? I was thrilled. I was a little nervous, you know? Should be, I guess. A lot of people said, ‘You’d better get it in the fairway, and I did.’ It wasn’t pretty, but I got it done.”
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Roth is no stranger to big events. He has competed in 21 major championships (this would be 22), including six PGA Championships. This is his 10th start at the Senior PGA, his best finish being a tie for 22nd in 2016, here at Harbor Shores.
It wasn’t the first time he had played a major close to home, but Roth said it’s always very special.
“It’s a lot of fun, that’s all I can say,” he said. “It’s comfortable. I know the climate, I know the grasses. And I’ve had some success here, too.”
Roth was won 17 Michigan PGA Section Championships, and has been Michigan’s Player of the Year in 1987, 1996, 1998 and 1999. He played in the PGA Championship at Harding Park two years ago, twice won the Michigan Open and was inducted in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2005.