Syracuse native Suzy Whaley considers herself a PGA professional first rather than the first woman to serve as PGA of America president.
“Anytime you are a first you are really never the first,“ said Whaley during Senior PGA Championship Media Day on Tuesday at Oak Hill Country Club. “There was always someone that came before you that opened that door, or opened that window, or perhaps even just encouraged you and put that seed in your head.“
That does not mean she is not proud of her barrier-breaking achievement.
“I had so many great mentors – male and female – that really pushed me and said you have a voice and have an opportunity to make effective change among a group of people,“ said Whaley. “For me, that was enough to be able share with the world that ‘Golf is for you, it’s for everyone,’ and we want to make sure that people understand that and know that and want to invite them to be a part of it.“
Whaley’s career in golf bio is remarkable. Among her many plaudits, she is a former LPGA Tour member, a winner of multiple awards as one of the top instructors in the country, and in 2003 became the first woman since Babe Zaharias to qualify for a PGA Tour event. It’s a coincidence that the first event Whaley will lead is an hour away from her hometown, but it’s still a thrill.
“l love Upstate NY, and the PGA of America is so proud to host the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship here this year and in 2023 the PGA Championship comes to Rochester,“ said Whaley. “Gosh, we have a 40-year partnership with Oak Hill Country Club. We’re excited to be back.“
Tickets are still on sale for the upcoming Senior PGA Championship at Oak Hill which runs May 21-26.