PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida — PGA Professionals spend most of the yr giving classes, staging tournaments for their members, becoming tools and working junior packages.
But this week, it’s their sport that’s most necessary.
This week, they’re hoping to land a spot in considered one of golf’s most treasured occasions – a main championship.
The prime 20 finishers (no ties) at the 53rd PGA Professional Championship earn spots in subsequent month’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. The PPC, with 312 gamers in the discipline, begins Sunday and ends Wednesday at PGA Golf Club.
“It’s a great reward for the top 20,” stated Jupiter, Florida, resident Patrick Rada, a PGA Professional at McArthur Club in Hobe Sound. “It’s an honor just to be a part of the tournament because everyone had to earn their way in.”
Rada is amongst 14 space gamers in the discipline, becoming a member of Jupiter residents Frank Bensel, Rushi Oza and Del Ponchock, Riviera Beach’s Matt Cahill — who takes over as Seminole Golf Club’s head professional in the fall — Dakun Chang of North Palm Beach, Tyler Collet and Ben Cook of Vero Beach, Matt Doyle of Hobe Sound, Rick Gomes of Tequesta, Kirk Hanefeld of Port St. Lucie, Alan Morin of Royal Palm Beach, Zac Oakley of Palm City and Jason Robinson of Palm Beach Gardens,
The odds usually are not in their favor. Only about 1 out of 16 gamers at the PPC will get a chance to tee it up alongside defending champion Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy (who received at Kiawah in 2012) and the remainder of the world’s finest gamers.
Then once more, 20 PGA Professionals shall be taking part in in the yr’s second main championship. Everyone at the PPC has a chance.
Alan Morin, proven competing in the Honda Classic in 2016, has been considered one of the most profitable gamers in the PPC in the final 20 years. (Palm Beach Post file photograph)
Morin, a PGA Professional at The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, has been considered one of the most profitable gamers in the PPC the final 20 years. The reigning Player of the Year in the South Florida PGA (in each the common and senior classes), he has certified for six PGAs in 16 tries. It shall be more durable for the 51-year-old competing in opposition to gamers half his age.
“This is our major for club pros,” Morin stated. “It’s really special to represent your section and your facility. The members love seeing your name up there. We take a lot of pride in that.
“I think the best reason for my success is my consistency. More of the courses we play on are set up like major championships. Pars are a good score. You don’t have to go out and shoot 66 every day. But the courses are definitely getting longer for me every year.”
Cook is hoping to play in his third consecutive PGA, having completed amongst the prime 20 in the PPC in 2019 and incomes sufficient factors final yr when the PPC was canceled due to COVID-19 and the PGA of America relied on rankings.
Cook didn’t simply make it to Harding Park in San Francisco, he acquired loads of TV time as a result of he had the luck of taking part in alongside Haotong Li, who shot a 65 that Friday to grow to be the first Chinese golfer to lead a main.
“I made sure to walk ahead of him, so I’d get on TV,” Cook stated with a snort. “That was a great experience. He made it look super simple. He played most of his approach shots to the middle of the greens and was just hoping to make 15-to-20-footers.”
Pars received’t be a unhealthy rating at the PPC, as Morin talked about, with the Wanamaker and Ryder Courses stretched to 7,000 and 6,850 yards, respectively. The programs ought to play agency and quick, which is the method the finest gamers prefer it. There shall be a minimize to 90 gamers and ties after the second spherical and 70 gamers and ties after the third spherical.
Hall of Famer Sam Snead received this event in 1972 when he was 59. Hanefeld is considered one of the oldest gamers in this yr’s discipline (64), so his expectations are toned down.
“Lately, the only thing I’m known for is doing something for my age,” stated Hanefeld, who certified for the first of his two PGAs in 1990. “My realistic goal is to play in all four rounds. This tournament is always special for club professionals because you’re playing with some of the best players in the country.”
With final yr’s event canceled due to COVID-19, Alex Beach has been the defending champion for two years. All gamers had to be examined prior to the occasion and spectators won’t be allowed besides for household.
How to watch
Sunday, 3-6 p.m., Golf Channel
Monday, 4-7 p.m., Golf Channel
Tuesday, 4-7 p.m., Golf Channel
Wednesday, 3-7 p.m., Golf Channel