What We Love About the Game: The PGA Professional Championship
By Keith Stewart, PGA
Matt Dobyns hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the third round for the 52nd PGA Professional Championship.
We all love the game of golf. Some more than others and those who commit their lives and their livelihood to the game are an amazing community. The 28,000 men and women who make up the PGA of America are global ambassadors of the game. Together they act as stewards promoting the fun, organizing the players, cultivating the kids and marketing the sport. Each one of them has a special connection to golf and it all begins with playing.
Over time, that connection may have transitioned into more than a playing career, but in every case that playing bond still exists. As a PGA Professional, each year there’s an opportunity to live out your major championship dream. Next month, the 104th PGA Championship will be played at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This week 312 of the PGA’s finest players will compete for an opportunity to join Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler and others in Tulsa.
The PGA Professional Championship begins on Sunday at the Omni Barton Creek resort in Austin, Texas. The multi-course facility has hosted major championships for the PGA of America before and will provide a wonderful test. Winning is always the goal, and it does come with some serious perks. A trip to Tulsa, 6 coveted PGA Tour exemptions, a spot on the PGA Cup Team and a big check from the $675,000 purse.
Unlike other golf tournaments, more than the winner gets a tremendous reward. Any player who finishes in the Top 20 after 72-holes will earn a spot alongside the winner in next month’s PGA Championship as part of the #Teamof20. In the field, we have 15 past champions of the event that began back in 1968. Yes, it is a star-studded field filled with tremendous players and even better stories.
The tournament will receive excellent coverage from the Golf Channel with support by the PGA of America production staff. Live coverage can be seen on Sunday through Wednesday on TGC from 3:00 to 6:00 pm EDT. Each day is worth watching as the field starts with 312 stellar stories for the first 36-holes. Following Monday’s round, the field will be cut to the low 90 scores.
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Tune in Tuesday as those 90 then compete for the low 70 scores who will advance to Wednesday’s final round. Of course, on Wednesday the competition is not only fierce for first place and those valuable PGA Tour entries, but at times even more so for landing inside that top 20.
It’s one thing to earn a spot in the US Open as an amateur golfer. Or even to win an amateur championship and get a ticket to Augusta but imagine being a golf course operator. A lifelong instructor, a PGA Junior League Captain or college golf coach who is playing next week. The USGA may organize and plan the US Open, but at every qualifier there’s a PGA Professional facilitating that event.
Owning a career in golf and playing in a major championship is the ultimate prize. The connection we all have to the game is unique. A PGA Professional’s bond is no more special than anyone else. Yet, as a coach, coordinator, rules official and mentor, playing your way into a major championship means so much more. Take a moment this upcoming week and share in these stories with the rest of us. Tune in and watch each afternoon as the best in the country and maybe even from your club tee it up.