Category - Major Events

One Thing to Know About PGA of America Members Making Their PGA Championship Debut

By Tony L. Starks
Published on

Tracy Phillips, PGA, 61, is making his debut at Valhalla.

As golfers, we all remember our firsts. The first hole-in-one, the first time breaking 90/80/70 (depending on your skill level), or maybe just the first time you struck a 4-iron exactly where you wanted it to go.
We all strive to make the most complicated game in the world as simple as it seems.
This week, at the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, six PGA of America Golf Professionals have the chance to achieve something that few of us ever will: playing in a Major Championship.
Whether it’s the first step of many like a Michael Block or Wyatt Worthington II, or their only shot at glory, this week will be something they treasure. Six of the 21 PGA of America Members, playing as part of the Corebridge Financial Team this week, are making their PGA Championship debut.
Here’s one thing you should know about each of them:
Josh Bevell, PGA
Club/Facility: Profectus Golf, Nashville, Tenn.
Tennessee PGA Section
The owner & instructor of Profectus Golf played one season of college basketball at Division II Christian Brothers University before transferring to Mississippi State to finish his studies and walk on to the golf team. Athlete.

Evan Bowser, PGA 
Club/Facility: LaPlaya Golf Club, Naples, Fla.
South Florida PGA Section
If you’re looking for a Low PGA Club Professional dark horse, Evan, who's a PGA Assistant Golf Professional at LaPlaya, might be your guy. He’s played in 34 Mackenzie Tour (PGA TOUR Canada) events and three U.S. Amateurs. He golfs his ball.

Preston Cole, PGA
Club/Facility: Quail Hollow Club, Charlotte, N.C.
Carolinas PGA Section
The PGA Lead Assistant Professional at Quail Hollow went from hosting a PGA TOUR event to playing in a Major Championship. Just last week, Preston was behind the scenes grinding to make the Wells Fargo Championship come to life as Rory McIlroy claimed the title for the fourth time. This week, he’s teeing it up against him.

Jeff Kellen, PGA
Club/Facility: North Shore Country Club, Glenview, Ill.
Illinois PGA Section
OK, we’d like to pretend like these PGA of America Golf Professionals are everyday dudes. But in reality, if they joined your Friday skins game, they’d take everyone’s money. Jeff once birdied every hole for an entire nine during a mini-tour event. He shot 27. 27!! That’s all you need to know.

Tracy Phillips, PGA
Club/Facility: Cedar Ridge Country Club, Broken Arrow, Oka.
South Central PGA Section
Club/Facility: Cedar Ridge Country Club, Broken Arrow, Oka.
South Central PGA Section
If you’re looking for someone to root for this week, look no further than Tracy Phillips. The 61-year-old is playing in his first PGA Championship after finishing T-17 in the 2022 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. Want to tug at the heartstrings even more? He’s the Director of Instruction at the same course (Cedar Ridge) where his father worked as the head pro for 40 years.

Andy Svoboda, PGA
Club/Facility: Butler National Golf Club, Oak Brook, Ill.
Illinois PGA Section
The PGA Head Professional at Butler National, Andy is another strong contender for “Low Club Professional” honors. The 44-year-old has three Korn Ferry Tour wins on his resume and has qualified for five U.S. Opens. Don’t be surprised if he’s cashing a check at the end of this week.