In a city seasoned in hosting the best in golf on all levels, there’s yet another historic precedent about to unfold. The inaugural Women’s PGA Cup – a first-of-its-kind team competition opens Thursday, Oct. 24 and concludes Saturday, Oct. 26, at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas.
The international showcase event features women PGA Members from Australia, Canada, Great Britain & Ireland, Sweden and the United States composed of five-player teams. They will compete on the Fazio Foothills Course in a 54-hole, stroke-play event with each team’s lowest three scores counted after each round. The winning country will be the team with the lowest 54-hole aggregate total.
“This week is an exciting opportunity for women PGA Professionals to represent their country in a global competition,” said PGA of America President Suzy Whaley, who will serve as United States Team Captain. “That’s rare in golf, and we believe that this inaugural Women’s PGA Cup is very special. We want to see this competition expand and extend awareness of great female PGA Professionals around the world. The five teams competing in Austin this week will write a memorable chapter in PGA history.”
Whaley is a PGA and LPGA Member, a PGA Master Professional and the PGA Director of Instruction at The Country Club of Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. She also is the PGA Director of Instruction for Suzy Whaley Golf in Palm Beach Gardens. She will guide a quintet featuring Joanna Coe of Lutherville Timonium, Maryland; Alison Curdt of Reseda, California; Ashley Grier of Springfield, Pennsylvania; Brittany Kelly of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Seul-Ki Park of Billerica, Massachusetts.
Coe is the reigning PGA Women’s Stroke Play Champion, and a PGA Assistant Professional at Baltimore Country Club, while Ashley Grier is a PGA Assistant Professional at Overbrook Golf Club in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Coe and Grier tied for 51st and 71st respectively, in last May’s PGA Professional Championship.
“It is an honor to compete for your country and a great thrill to be part of a historic moment on a team with a leader like Suzy Whaley,” said Coe. “There’s more than the competition itself. It’s also exciting to have the opportunity to meet and build friendships on and off the course.”
If one has reason to call upon “good karma” this week, it’s Coe. The last time she competed in Texas was in 2008 in Houston as a member of the Rollins College team from Winter Park, Florida. That year, Coe captured the NCAA Division II individual championship and sparked her teammates to the team title.
Fast forward to last June, Coe said that she will call upon another prime time experience to inspire her for the Women’s PGA Cup. She turned in rounds of --- and 73 in this summer’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. She missed the 36-hole cut, but walked away with inspiration.
“My second round (73) came while playing among the best players in the world,” said Coe. “It was one of the best rounds I’ve played. It came while playing a great course and in front of huge crowds.”
Curdt is a PGA/LPGA Master Professional, the PGA Director of Instruction at Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley, California, and national vice president of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals Division.
Kelly, a PGA Assistant Professional at Woodland Country Club in Carmel, Indiana, clinched her spot on the team by finishing tied for 12th in August in the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals National Championship. Park is a PGA Assistant Professional at Winchester (Massachusetts) Country Club.
Like the PGA Cup among men’s professionals that concluded at the Fazio Foothills Course on Sept. 29, the Women’s PGA Cup does not include a purse. Rather, each team will vie for the honor of winning the Cup, and bask in the pride that comes with representing one’s country in a distinct and unique international competition.
Those eligible to represent their country in the Women’s PGA Cup must be Members in good standing with their respective Professional Golfers Association (PGA). They must also be active in the game, be it as a teacher, coach or working as Club Professional/Assistant. Tour professionals who primarily compete for a living are not eligible to participate.