From the PGA
Linda Wang and Yudika Rodriguez Reflect on Impact of PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship
By Charles Dillahunt
Linda Wang / St. John's University
The most culturally significant championship in collegiate golf takes place annually in May at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie Florida. The 54-hole PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship is a stroke-play event contested across six divisions
A diverse group of women have made a major impact on the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship in recent years, with many past champions turning professional & achieving success outside of the tournament. Most notably, reigning champions Linda Wang and Yudika Rodriguez.
Linda Wang, a 2020 graduate of St. John's University, claimed back-to-back titles at the event in 2018 and 2019. Set to defend her title in 2020, she was unable to as a result of COVID-19.
“I never knew how big of a collegiate championship this was and how seriously the PGA of America committed to it until I played in it,” said Wang. “I played in the USGA’s US Amatuer event in 2019, and this event is run just as well as that nationally recognized event in my opinion.”
Never short on praise for the event, Wang described the impact the championship has had on her decision to turn professional.
“I will always list this championship and my titles on my resume to help find sponsorship,” added Wang. “This Championship is specifically for diverse players and competing against the best in the nation is something I'll always remember. It truly feels like you are playing in a professional event, from the signage to the cameras, it has prepared me well for the next level.”
Yudika Rodriguez, a 2019 graduate of Bethune-Cookman University, won each of her four years playing in the event across multiple divisions. Originally from Puerto Rico, her impressive career record at the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship consists of four D1 team championships and one Women’s Individual title from this past year’s championship, where she shot 8 under par through 54 holes at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
“I always wanted to perform my best at this event specifically because it is uniquely different from other college tournaments seeing that it is managed by the PGA of America,” said Rodriguez. “From the PGA Championship level course preparation to the hospitality of the staff, it all makes this tournament a huge deal for all of the student-athletes.”
The reigning Women’s Division champion mentioned other components of the event she anticipates every year that make the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship more than just your average college golf tournament. Instead, it’s a week filled with memorable experiences.
“Not only does the tournament exceed normal collegiate expectations, but the PGA WORKS Career Expo also held that week provides all players an ability to network and potentially acquire a job in the industry in a field they’re studying,” added Rodriguez. “It’s really a rewarding experience.”