Archives for April 2012

National Amputee Champion, groundbreaking instructor, promotes Senior PGA

It has been more than an average spring for PGA Professional Kim Moore, a former University of Indianapolis standout player turned groundbreaking golf instructor. Training for a new job four hours away, Moore became an ardent supporter of the 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid by selling advance tickets.

Moore will not be a formal volunteer, May 24-27, when golf’s premier seniors visit Harbor Shore in Benton Harbor, Mich., yet she says she has a sincere desire to promote the Championship. Sitting idle is not part of Moore’s DNA, especially when it comes to promoting a sport that has benefited her.

This summer, the 31-year-old native of Fort Wayne, Ind., embarks on career that no previous PGA Professional has taken. A nine-time National Amputee Champion, Moore becomes the first director of golf for SRT’s National Prosthetics Center in Indianapolis, a multi-purpose facility set to open in late June, which will include a golf center. Patients will receive PGA instruction, practice on a state-of-the-art golf simulator and gain inspiration toward developing an active lifestyle.

“I admire people who suffer from amputations later in life,” says Moore. “For me, this is what I’m used to. I grew up with an amputation, and I have never known anything different. What I find in the patients I meet is that they are a lot more comfortable with me from the start. They understand what I have been through and we form a quick bond.”

Opening doors for others is part of Moore’s remarkable personal journey. Born with a clubbed left foot, Moore also had a birth defect on her right leg just below her ankle and became a below-the-knee amputee. She was fit for her first prosthetic at age 2, when she first began to walk. Meanwhile, she has endured numerous surgeries on her left leg, which has no calf muscle.

Moore’s love for sports lifted her to new heights, competing in basketball, football, soccer, volleyball and golf. She was a member of her grade school and high school basketball team. She struggled with her balance, but kept running, kept moving.

“As the game became faster and I was getting slower, my Dad suggested that I might pick up golf,” says Moore. “So I did, and began playing at age 15. I have loved it ever since.” Among those who have shaped her career, she says, are three PGA Professionals.

Gary Gant, formerly of Pine Valley Country Club in Fort Wayne, was her first golf instructor; Mike Riley of Colonial Oaks Golf Club in Fort Wayne encouraged her to become a PGA of America member and opened her professional career with an assistant’s position; and Tom Thome of Elcona Country Club in Bristol, Ind., became a second mentor, who “opened me up to becoming more of a golf professional.”

Moore earned a scholarship to the University of Indianapolis and competed on the women’s golf team from 1999 to 2003. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry and Spanish.

Upon graduation, Moore was ranked eighth in the nation; had won seven college events set an individual scoring record and was presented an honor by the National Golf Coaches Association. She was recipient of the Kim Moore Spirit Award for women golfers in NCAA Divisions I, II and III.

“I look at the list each year of award recipients and contact each one to congratulate them,” said Moore. “Most don’t have an award named after them unless they have passed away. I’m pretty honored.”

Moore turned professional in 2003 and competed on the Duramed Futures Golf Tour for two years, making a few cuts, and playing in several Indiana State Opens. Beginning in 2003, Moore won the first of nine consecutive National Amputee Golf Association titles, and defends her crown Aug. 5-10, at The Brickyard Crossing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. SRT Prosthetics is a supporter of the 64th National Amputee Golf Association Championship. Moore, who owns a personal 18-hole competitive best of 67 and has made four holes-in-one, also went international with her talent. She won the 2003 Canadian National Amputee Golf Championship and the 2005 Japan Amputee Open Championship.

“I can still run and can jump, but not too high,” says Moore, who became a PGA member this past February. “I look upon doing what comes normal is a matter of what you can put into it.”

Prior to her joining SRT Prosthetics, Moore was a teaching professional and received Thome’s guidance toward building her career at Elcona Country Club in Bristol, Ind.

Her position at SRT, according to founder and CEO Sam Santa Rita of Bryan, Ohio, was an evolutionary process.

“We did not openly recruit Kim, because she was one of our patients,” said Santa Rita, a certified prostheticist who founded his company in 2002. “Kim really created this position for herself. She is really a unique person. I have never seen her have a bad day. She loves people.

“She will be a very busy professional for us, traveling a lot and helping us spread the message about keeping people motivated and staying active. What we are presenting at the new center will be no charge to the patients. We are optimizing their chances to feel better about themselves.”

It has been nine years since Moore received her college diploma, and she said that she is ready for a new career in golf.

“I guess if I was never in golf, I would be a doctor,” says Moore. “But I found that I liked golf so much and was pretty set for what I wanted to be by my junior year in college.”

The criteria for recipients of the Kim Moore Spirit Award is that they exemplify a great spirit toward e game of golf, a positive attitude on and off the golf course, and are a role model for her team and mental toughness in facing challenges.

That is all part of Moore’s makeup, a sincere desire that is easily picked up by a willingness to teach others that there is plenty to smile about, plenty to enjoy.

“My goal is to keep people in the game of golf,” says Moore.

CBS Sports Special, Get Golf Ready, to air April 29

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Get Golf Ready, a profile of how the golf industry is making the game more fun and enjoyable while also building life relationships among multiple segments of society, will be presented by CBS Sports, Sunday, April 29, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. ET. As a preview to Welcome to Golf Month in May, co-sponsored by Golf Digest, Nike Golf, and the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance, Get Golf Ready takes viewers to eight states and our nation’s capital. It features a wide swath of the golf industry — from premier Tour professionals; to amateur golfers nestled in the heart of Manhattan; to East Potomac Park Golf Course in Washington, D.C.; and to military veterans in Iowa and Ohio who have discovered that golf enhances their lives.

Get Golf Ready is hosted by CBS Sports golf commentator and PGA member Gary McCord, and filmed at locations in SunRidge Canyon Golf Club and CrackerJax Family Fun Sports Park in Scottsdale, Ariz. The hour-long special highlights two partnerships between The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association (USGA) — with Boys Girls Clubs of America and the TEE IT FORWARD initiative, which encourages golfers to play from tees best suited to their abilities.

Detailed information regarding the initiatives featured in Get Golf Ready can be found at PlayGolfAmerica.com.

At closer glance, the Get Golf Ready special features:

Get Golf Ready — A showcase for the Get Golf Ready initiative is East Potomac Park Golf Course in Washington, D.C., a public facility that serves as a model for introducing golfers to the game and retaining them. PGA of America Vice President Ted Bishop will highlight the success of Get Golf Ready, which was launched in 2009 as an affordable series of five group lessons with a recommended $99 charge. Get Golf Ready provides golfers with PGA and LPGA on-course instruction, and ultimately drives new players to the game. Visit GetGolfReady.com

TEE IT FORWARD — Tierra Rejada Golf Club in Moorpark, Calif., has embraced the TEE IT FORWARD initiative with a groundbreaking yet challenging 5,600-yard, par-72 layout that allows players to have a more enjoyable experience and play the game faster. With Jack Nicklaus, Dustin Johnson and Paula Creamer as official spokespersons, The PGA and the USGA are encouraging facilities nationwide to incorporate the TEE IT FORWARD initiative into the daily fabric of their golf operations. Visit PlayGolfAmerica.com/TeeItFORWARD

Boys Girls Clubs of America — The PGA of America’s PGA Foundation and the USGA partnered with Boys Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) to showcase a curriculum at select facilities this year, featuring PGA and LPGA Professional instruction to junior golfers. The Boys and Girls Club program will use the PGA Sports Academy curriculum that includes elements of health and wellness along with golf instruction utilizing golf developmental equipment such as SNAG (Starting New at Golf) at each Club. Among those helping PGA Professionals coach in the CBS Sports special are former NBA All-Star Spud Webb and Fitness Hall of Famer Donna Richardson Joyner. BGCA alumni featured include PGA Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka and baseball great Ken Griffey Jr., an avid golfer and member of BGCA’s Board of Governors. Also featured is new BGCA CEO Jim Clark.

Ryder Cup Junior Academy — Inspired by U.S. Ryder Cup Captains and launched in 2011, the Ryder Cup Junior Academy has enabled young men and women from around the country, who otherwise would not have the means to enjoy golf, experience world-class instruction, and on-course play in the Ryder Cup format. The Academy participants include a boy whose life has been changed because of golf.

On-Course Programs — Among the programs improving the pace of play and delivering fun are: KWIK Golf, which was featured in a youth and family program at PGA National Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and Nicklaus’ renowned Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, which hosted 12-hole golf tournaments utilizing 8-inch cups to create a fun, fast and friendly golf experience.

Off-Course Programs — Two inner-city golf facilities include Golf Manhattan and The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers on the Hudson River in New York City. The CBS Sports special highlights how those facilities have been a popular stop for golf enthusiasts who do not have the option of playing a golf course on the island of Manhattan. Meanwhile, just outside of Dallas, Texas, TopGolf combines a relaxing social atmosphere, including evening league play, for a one-of-a-kind experience.

Golf and the Military — Thousands of veterans, from the Vietnam era to today, form a new segment of the U.S. golf population. Two PGA-inspired and donation-driven programs featured in the CBS Sports special are: GIVE (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) of Riverside, Iowa; and Clearview HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) of East Canton, Ohio, which is designed exclusively for women veterans.

About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.

American icon Neiman to mark his ball for ‘Tartan Art on the Avenue’

OAK BROOK, Ill. — Renowned for his unique, progressive style, American icon and Official Ryder Cup artist LeRoy Neiman will once again contribute a historic piece of artwork to the Chicago community by completing the first golf ball sculpture in the “Tartan Art on the Avenue” public art exhibit, which celebrates the upcoming 39th Ryder Cup, Sept. 25-30, 2012, at historic Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. The Ryder Cup, a biennial, international golf competition, is one of the greatest sporting events in the world.

Tartan Art is an outdoor art exhibit and fundraiser that is part of Magnificent Moments, an official charitable fundraising campaign for the 2012 Ryder Cup benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland Northwest Indiana (RMHC®-CNI) and the Illinois PGA Foundation. The installation will feature distinctively “marked” five-foot golf ball sculptures displayed along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile® and throughout the Chicagoland area from Sept. 13-Oct. 10.

Neiman’s brilliantly colored, stunningly energetic images of sporting events and leisure activities have depicted world-class sporting events for decades, and his upcoming contribution to Tartan Art takes his work to a new shape and medium, creating a truly one-of-a-kind piece. Neiman’s art career has spanned the globe, but he spent many formative years in Chicago, attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and also teaching there for 10 years. He has been called the “American Impressionist” for his distinctive style that has made him a household name synonymous with contemporary art.

“We are so lucky to have a one-of-a-kind LeRoy Neiman piece of artwork to kick off Tartan Art,” said Doug Porter, CEO of RMHC-CNI. “This installation will help raise awareness and important funds for the ongoing works of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland Northwest Indiana and the Illinois PGA Foundation, and we’re looking forward to receiving additional designs from the Chicagoland art community.”

Later this spring, local artists affiliated with Columbia College Chicago, the Chicago Artists’ Coalition and the South Shore Arts will begin designing and painting at least 100 custom golf ball sculptures – marking their ball – in the spirit of professional golfers from around the world coming to Chicagoland for the Ryder Cup. Those interested in supporting Tartan Art and owning a piece of this historic exhibit can find out more at www.rmhccni.org/magnificentmoments/tartan-art.html.

About Magnificent Moments
Magnificent Moments is an officially sanctioned charitable fundraising campaign of the 39th Ryder Cup, which will be played Sept. 25-30, 2012, at historic Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. The campaign is raising money for two local charities – The Illinois PGA Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland Northwest Indiana – by hosting a series of “Magnificent Moments” in Chicago leading up to the Ryder Cup. The campaign launched with the Ryder Cup Captains’ Charity Golf Shot on Sept. 26, 2011, and will continue with a “Tartan Art on The Avenue” public art exhibit and a “Bagpipes Blues” event at the iconic Field Museum. For more information about Magnificent Moments, visit www.magnificentmoments.org.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland Northwest Indiana
The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland Northwest Indiana (RMHC®-CNI) is to improve the health, well-being and education of children through its core programs. Four Houses provide a “home away from home” to keep families together. To continue serving families in crisis, RMHC®-CNI is building a new Ronald McDonald House® – the largest in the nation – in Chicago, due to open in 2012.

About the Illinois PGA Foundation
The Illinois PGA Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 organization that serves as the charitable arm of the Illinois Section PGA, one of the 41 geographical regions that comprise The Professional Golfers Association of America (The PGA of America). Established in 1991, the organization focuses its community efforts on promoting the goodwill and growth of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth.

About the 2012 Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup, among the last great professional sporting events where winning, and not prize money, is its own reward, spans 38 competitions over 81 years. The competition was born in 1927, when enterprising English seed merchant Samuel Ryder commissioned the casting of a gold chalice that bears his name. The U.S. Team defeated Great Britain, 9 1/2 to 2 1/2, in the inaugural matches in Worcester, Mass.

Since 1979, the Ryder Cup has involved the finest players from Europe. The Ryder Cup is held biennially with the U.S. and Europe alternating as host. Europe currently has possession of the trophy, having won in dramatic fashion in Wales in 2010.

Website: rydercup.com
Facebook: facebook.com/RyderCupTeamUSA
Twitter: twitter.com/RyderCupTeamUSA

About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.

About LeRoy Neiman
Millions of people have watched LeRoy Neiman at work on location at such diverse events as the Olympics, Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, and all four of golf’s major championships, sketchbook in hand, producing split-second records and highly developed images of what he is witnessing. The 2012 Ryder Cup is the second time Neiman has produced Official Ryder Cup artwork, which can be purchased at cobaltartworks.com or rydercup.com. Mr. Neiman and his wife Janet have recently donated $5 million to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to endow the LeRoy Neiman Student Center that will be located on the corner of Wabash and Monroe and will open in May of 2012 as the first student center in the long and storied history of SAIC. 

Celebrating National Golf Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game’s leading associations and industry partners, met with dozens of Members of Congress on April 18, the fifth annual National Golf Day, to share stories and data about golf’s diverse businesses, employees, tax revenue creation, tourism and charitable benefits, and environmental leadership.

Organizations participating included: PGA of America, World Golf Foundation, Club Managers Association of America, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, National Golf Course Owners Association. Officers in attendance include:

  • Joe Steranka, CEO, PGA of America
  • Steve Mona, CEO, World Golf Foundation
  • Jim Singerling, CEO, Club Managers Association of America
  • Michael Hughes, CEO, National Golf Course Owners Association
  • Rhett Evans, CEO, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America
  • Peter Broome, Board Member, U.S. Golf Manufacturer Council
  • Leading golf course superintendents, small business owners, manufacturers

To see a photo gallery of the activities at the 2012 National Golf Day, click here.

WE ARE GOLF again brought a cast of story-tellers to Capitol Hill to discuss what golf has meant to them, and continued sharing data about golf’s economic contributions to cash-strapped states around the nation. In addition, a new set of “Shared Principles on Sustainability” was unveiled — a unified commitment from industry professionals to design, construct and manage environmentally responsible golf courses.

A day-long exhibit in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building featured live lessons for Members of Congress and staff from the Golf Channel’s Michael Breed (host of “The Golf Fix”); a golf simulator; a Republican vs. Democrat putting challenge; photo opportunities with the Wanamaker Trophy; and an educational display illustrating golf’s cutting-edge environmental stewardship.

“WE ARE GOLF was formed a few years ago in part because it had become clear that golf was misunderstood by too many of our nation’s policymakers. There were longstanding perceptions of the game that simply didn’t square with the facts,” said Joe Steranka, CEO of the PGA of America and Board Chair of WE ARE GOLF. “That’s why we set out to do a better job explaining our profound impact on communities around the country. By showcasing that impact, we are aiming to level the playing field for the thousands of small businesses that make up our industry, and their employees.

“We are very encouraged by the progress we’ve made in a short amount of time. It’s clear to us that more members of Congress now understand that for nearly 2 million Americans, golf is more than just a game. They understand it never made sense to exclude golf — along with massage parlors and liquor stores and tanning salons — from tax relief legislation. They understand what golf brings to their communities. As a result, golf is no longer being excluded from important legislation.

“At $76 billion, golf is bigger than the motion picture industry. It’s key to the economic vitality of many cash-strapped states and localities. 167,000 jobs in Florida. 160,000 in California. 56,000 in Georgia. 98,000 in Texas. 68,000 in North Carolina. That’s an impact, and that’s what we need to keep sharing with lawmakers.

“Thanks to our efforts to educate members of Congress and staff about the jobs, commerce, economic development and tax revenues golf generates, our lines of communication are open now. Our job is to keep reminding them of our impact.”


About WE ARE GOLF

The nearly 2 million U.S. jobs generated by the multi-billion-dollar golf industry, and its vast economic reach, are at the core of WE ARE GOLF’S message. Given the scope and pace of federal government activity and the impact on small businesses, the golf industry can play a vital role as policymakers continue efforts to boost employment and get the nation’s economy back on track. Beyond better demonstrating golf’s profound economic clout, WE ARE GOLF illustrates the industry’s health and wellness benefits, its unparalleled charitable giving, and its environmental sustainability initiatives.

For more information, visit http://wearegolf.org/; to join the Twitter campaign, visit http://twitter.wearegolf.org/ to tweet why golf is more than just a game.

Contacts:
David Marin, Podesta Group, (202) 879-9368 or dmarin@podesta.com
 

Stockton named recipient of 2012 PGA Distinguished Service Award

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Two-time PGA Champion Dave Stockton, the U.S. Captain in one of the most dramatic finales in Ryder Cup history, a tireless leader in philanthropic efforts, and one of the most sought-after instructors in golf, has been named the 2012 recipient of the PGA Distinguished Service Award.

Stockton, 70, will receive the Association’s highest annual honor in conjunction with the 94th PGA Championship at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, S.C. The award presentation is Aug. 8, at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center in Charleston, S.C.

Dave Stockton, a two-time major champion and the captain of the winning U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1991, has been named the recipient of the 2012 PGA Distinguished Service Award. The PGA Distinguished Service Award, inaugurated in 1988, honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf. It is the Association’s highest annual honor. Below is the complete list of Distinguished Service Award recipients through the years.

The PGA Distinguished Service Award, inaugurated in 1988, honors outstanding individuals who display leadership and humanitarian qualities, including integrity, sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the game of golf.

“Dave Stockton’s imprint upon golf extends beyond the boundaries of a course where he excelled at the highest level,” said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. “He has coached many of the world’s finest men and women players to success, and has selflessly supported charitable efforts that benefit higher education, the underprivileged and our nation’s heroes. A champion in so many ways, we are honored to bestow upon him the 2012 PGA Distinguished Service Award.”

Born in San Bernardino, Calif., the son of a golf professional, Stockton devoted himself to golf after surviving a surfing accident at age 15 that left him with a broken back. He followed his father, Gail Stockton, in athletic success at the University of Southern California by earning All-American honors and winning the then-Pacific-8 Conference Championship. Stockton graduated in 1964 with a degree in general management, turned professional and married California beauty queen Cathy Hales.

“I’m very excited about this honor, which is totally unexpected. My first thought was, ‘Why me?'” said Stockton. “I have been fortunate to have many good things happen to me in golf, with the biggest honor serving as Ryder Cup Captain. I believed in giving back through golf. I had a gift as a motivational speaker and used it to help others. I have tried helping people gain a better understanding about what golf can do to help them feel better about themselves.”

Utilizing his putting prowess and short-game skill, Stockton captured the 1970 PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., and the 1976 PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. He was a member of four victorious U.S. Ryder Cup Teams, competing in 1971 and ’77, and serving as Captain in 1991, as the Americans held on to win by one point over Europe. The Ryder Cup was not decided until the final putt in the final singles match at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. Stockton also assisted U.S. Captain Paul Azinger in 2008 when the U.S. triumphed at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

Stockton won 10 events on the PGA Tour between 1967 and 1976. After turning 50 in 1991, he built one of the more impressive Champions Tour records, winning 14 times, including the 1992 and ’94 Senior Players Championship, and the 1996 U.S. Senior Open. He was the 1993 and 1994 Champions Tour Player of the Year.

A popular attraction at corporate outings – playing in more than 80 per year over a 30-year span – Stockton also was virtually “on call” to support and aid charitable causes.

“I was neglecting my own game,” said Stockton, “but at the same time I really felt that through the clinics and the golf I was reaching and I was teaching a lot of people.”

Charitable events that Stockton has been heavily involved over the past 25 years include: the Bighorn Institute Golf Classic, which benefits research and conservation efforts; the USC Scrambler Golf Classic, the University of Redlands Golf Classic; the Dave Stockton Coyote Classic, supporting scholarships for student-athletes at Cal State San Bernardino; the U.S. Marines Scholarship Foundation; the George Archer Memorial Foundation for Literacy; the Children’s Fund of San Benardino; the Stater Brothers Charities Dave Stockton Heroes Challenge; the Dallas Patriot Award Dinner and Medal of Honor Golf Classic; and the Believe Walk benefiting cancer research. Stockton’s wife, Cathy, is a cancer survivor.

Begun in 2008, and conducted this past March in Riverside, Calif., the Stater Brothers Charities Dave Stockton Heroes Challenge has raised nearly $3 million, making it the largest golf fundraiser in the region. Stockton teamed with Stater Brothers Supermarket Chairman and CEO Jack Brown in an event honoring Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. Tournament funds benefit hunger relief, children’s health and well-being, education for both youth and adults, elderly cares and services for our nation’s veterans.

“I never served in the military, but my dad served in World War II,” said Stockton. “I believe that you can thank them for what they have done for our country and giving back. I never would have met our Medal of Honor recipients if it had not been through golf.”

In 2009, Stockton changed his focus to teaching putting and the short game, creating Stockton Golf with his sons, teaching professionals Dave Jr. of Rancho Mirage, Calif., and Ron of Redlands, Calif., with his clients ranging from amateurs to many of the world’s premier players. The student list, past and present, include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Morgan Pressel, Suzann Pettersen, former LPGA star Annika Sorenstam and current LPGA sensation Yani Tseng. In a span of one month in the summer of 2011, McIlroy went on to win the U.S. Open and Tseng captured the U.S. Women’s Open and Women’s British Open.

Dave and Cathy Stockton live in Redlands, Calif. Along with their two sons, they also have four grandchildren.

About The PGA of America

Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.

Steranka to retire as PGA of America CEO at year’s end

Joe Steranka will retire at the end of the year as chief executive of The PGA of America.

Steranka will have spent seven years as the CEO of an association that serves 27,000 PGA club professionals and runs events that include the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf and the Senior PGA Championship.

This year, the Americans will try to win back the Ryder Cup at Medinah in September, and the PGA Championship goes to Kiawah Island in South Carolina for the first significant event in more than 20 years.

“Joe has been a popular and visionary leader and the work he has done to date and the path he has set with Golf 2.0 leaves us in a strong position for the future,” said PGA President Allen Wronowski. “In sharing the news with leaders in the golf industry over the weekend, it is very evident the positive impact he has had on The PGA and the game. We are finalizing our plan for the CEO transition including naming a search committee, but in the meantime we will continue with business as usual. The nine-month transition provides ample time for a complete and smooth transition. And while Joe will be leaving at the end of the year, I know he will remain a committed supporter and friend to The PGA of America.”

Steranka was a broadcast executive for 18 years with The PGA of America when he was appointed to replace Jim Awtrey in 2005 as chief executive.

Steranka, who graduated from West Virginia with a degree in journalism, said it was time for him to find a new challenge while he is still young.

“I want to take time to reap the rewards of 35 years of hard work,” he said. “I’m at a point in my life where I’m still young enough to look at new challenges. Golf does so many good things.”

He did not say what other interests he might pursue, but that “I’ll be available for golf in the future.

“I love golf, I love The PGA and I think the game is in a good spot right now,” Steranka said Wednesday. “It’s the biggest decision of my life.”

Nicklaus, Johnson and Creamer encourage golfers to TEE IT FORWARD in 2012

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Golf legend Jack Nicklaus, PGA Tour Professional Dustin Johnson and 2010 U.S. Women’s Open Champion Paula Creamer will return to serve as spokespersons for TEE IT FORWARD, a joint PGA of America and USGA initiative encouraging golfers to have more fun by playing from tees that better align with their ability.

The three professionals will be featured in materials promoting the TEE IT FORWARD message to golfers and golf facilities across the country throughout the year. Through this program, facilities are encouraged to provide golfers with more options off the tee, or recommend that golfers use existing forward tees to have a more enjoyable experience on the course.

“We want golfers to know that they can TEE IT FORWARD anytime and anywhere,” Nicklaus said. “Average golfers, who are inspired and motivated to play like their favorite Tour players, should not look at where those players tee from but, instead, the results of those tee shots. If golfers, who often play too far back, would move to a more forward tee, they are going to be left with shorter irons into greens, which enhances their ability to score better, and, in the end, makes the game more fun…and that’s what it’s all about.”

The PGA of America and United States Golf Association (USGA) promoted TEE IT FORWARD for a specific time period in 2011, but the success of the program has warranted year-round implementation in 2012. More than 1,900 facilities registered in 2011 with an average of 123 golfers per facility (nearly 237,000 nationwide) playing from forward tees during the promotional period. Additionally, a survey of more than 3,000 consumers who experienced the program showed that 70 percent found their round of golf more enjoyable and more than 90 percent said they would recommend TEE IT FORWARD to a friend. The survey also found nearly 50 percent of respondents saying the program helped them play faster. To find more information and courses actively promoting TEE IT FORWARD, visit PlayGolfAmerica.com/TEEITFORWARD.

Nicklaus, Johnson and Creamer form a versatile core as spokespersons for the program because of their experience in the golf industry, success on the course, varied playing styles and consistent involvement with community programs and growth of the game initiatives.

Nicklaus is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and a renowned golf course designer. He won 120 tournaments as a professional including 73 on the PGA Tour and a record 18 major championships. On the Champions Tour, he claimed another 10 tournaments including a record eight majors. He was a member of six U.S. Ryder Cup teams, was twice named Captain of the U.S. squad and was a two-time member of the Walker Cup team. He is the chief designer of nearly 290 courses around the world and his company, Nicklaus Design, has designed more than 365 courses in 34 countries. He has been heavily involved with The First Tee programs, has been a passionate supporter of several growth-of-the-game initiatives, and has contributed greatly to pediatric health care in Florida and nationally through the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

Johnson has five PGA Tour victories and 21 top-10 finishes since earning his Tour card in 2008. He has finished in the top five on the money list for each of the last two years and placed fourth in the final FedEx Cup standings in 2011. He has twice represented the U.S. in international competition as a professional, earning spots on the 2010 Ryder Cup team and the 2011 Presidents Cup team. He was also a member of the 2007 Walker Cup team. The Dustin Johnson Foundation was started in 2010 to support youth and college golf programs in the Myrtle Beach, S.C. area.

Creamer began playing professionally in 2005, winning nine times on the LPGA Tour, including the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open. She has notched 78 top-10 finishes with 10 of those coming in major championships. She also was a member of the 2004 Curtis Cup team. A regular fixture at the top of the LPGA money list, she has finished the last five seasons in the top ten in tournament earnings. Creamer has hosted events for The First Tee and participates regularly in events for the Arnold Palmer Foundation.

About the USGA
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches. Together with The RA, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, Equipment Standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s working jurisdiction comprises the United States, its territories and Mexico. The USGA is a global leader in the development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and funds an ongoing “For the Good of the Game” charitable giving program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries. For more information about the USGA, visit usga.org.

About The PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.