Feature Articles

African American golfers, and notable players of color in this year’s star studded field at Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Kentucky includes: Tiger Woods, (Tiger has won the PGA Championship four times in the past including his nerve tingling battle with Bob May to win the 2000 PGA Championship at Valhalla.) The first of which was his 1999 battle with 19 year old emerging Spanish star, Sergio Garcia, (notably absent from this year’s field). Wyatt Worthington II, Tony Finau, Sahith Theegala, Y. Yang, Akshay Bhatia, Byeong Hun An, Ryo Hisetsune, Si Woo Kim, Tom Kim, Kurt Kitayama, K.H. Lee, Min Woo Lee, Hideki Matsuyama, Keita Nakajima, Colin Morikawa, Joaquin Nieman, Aron Rai, and Camilo Villegas.  All world-class golfers and Minority Golf Magazine is predicting the eventual winner of the 2024 PGA Championship is one of the above. ed.

Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Ky

Many articles have been written about the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) since its inception; stories that now must number in the hundreds of thousands over its 108-year history. However, while the actual game of golf and its players have seen many changes in that period, the Association’s goal has remained pretty much the same: to promote the game of golf and provide support and opportunities to its golf professionals, enabling them to compete at golf’s highest levels.

One major way of support is through their hosting of the annual PGA Championship, one of professional golf’s four major championships. The 108-year-old Championship is one of professional golf’s most prestigious events—attracting the “best of the best” players from around the world.  The likes of Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Rory McIlroy are all notable past winners, along with Hale Irwin, Brooks Koepka, Rich Beem and Mark Brooks (the latter two golfers’ only Majors wins).

Valhalla Golf Club has hosted this event three previous times: 1996, 2000 and 2014.

·        In 1996, at the 78th PGA Championship, Mark Brooks’ birdie at the first hole of sudden death won him the tourney over Kenny Perry (a Kentucky native).

·        At the 82nd PGA Championship in August 2000, Tiger Woods bested Bob May in a three-hole playoff—the first in PGA Championship history. (Woods claimed his fourth Major the following year by winning the 2001 Masters tournament.)

·        Rory McIlroy claimed victory by one shot over Phil Mickelson in the 96th PGA Championship in August 2014—and became history’s fourth player (along with Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, and Jack Nicklaus) to win four majors at age 25 or younger.

This year’s tournament runs from May 16-19, where Valhalla will play host to a professional field of 156 golfers that includes 16 past champions and 33 Major champions. In addition to the PGA field and qualifying amateurs, 16 LIV golfers (including defending champion Bruce Koepka, along with Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, and Patrick Reed) have received invitations to play.  The rest of the LIV invitees include Joaquin Niemann, Bryson DeChambeau, Tyrell Hatton, Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Andy Ogletree, Lucas Herbert, Patrick Reed, David Puig, Adrian Meronk, Dean Burmester and Talor Gooch (who has declined participation).

To qualify to compete all players must meet certain criteria such as being a professional golfer, having a certain level of skill and experience and the ability to meet other requirements as set forth by the PGA of America.  Much like the professionals, amateur golfers qualify to play through winning various events throughout the year leading up to the tournament.

The  field of players* consists of:

·        Those who have won the PGA Championship throughout the event’s history.

·        2023 PGA Championship = Top 15 finishers and ties.

·        2024 Professional Championship = Top 20 finishers and ties.

·        Winners of the five U.S. Open tournaments from 2019-2023.

·        Masters Tournament Champions (5) from 2020-2024.

·        Open Championship winners (5) from 2018-2023.

Other Exemptions are:

·        Winners of THE PLAYERS Championships (3) in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

·        The 2023 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship winner.

·        The top three on the ranking list of the International Federation Official World Golf (cutoff date was April 29, 2024).

·        70 (highest ranked) eligible players who have garnered the most PGA Championship points (from the 2023 Charles Schwab Challenge to the 2024 CJ Cup Byron Nelson Classic, through to May 5, 2024.)

·        U.S. and European Ryder Cup players (current rosters). All qualified players must rank within the top one hundred on the Official World Golf list as of the May 6, 2024 deadline.

·        Co-sponsored PGA TOUR or other approved tournaments, when their wins are labeled as “official” (timeframe is from the Charles Schwab Challenge of 2023, through to the 2024 Myrtle Beach Classic and the 2024 Wells Fargo Championship.

·        Top ranking finisher on the DP World Tour Asian Swing. Those events include the Hero Indian Open, the Volvo China Open, the ISPS Honda Championship, and the Porsche Singapore Open.


*Note:  The PGA reserves the right to invite other golfers to play in this event, regardless of the player’s rank or placement in any other tournament.

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