“This is the place to discover how to drive your career and the health of our industry forward.” – PGA President Suzy Whaley
PGA of America President Suzy Whaley and CEO Seth Waugh laid the foundation for a productive three days, the 2020 business cycle, and for the next decade during an upbeat opening ceremony in the central lobby of the Orange County Convention Center to officially tee off the 67th PGA Merchandise Show — The MAJOR of Golf Business — Wednesday morning.
After BB King’s house band warmed up a large crowd waiting for the doors to swing open to the PGA Show floor, opening ceremony emcee Charlie Rymer, PGA, joined Whaley and Waugh in paying tribute to the victorious United States Men’s and Women’s PGA Cup Teams. A heartfelt video tribute to renowned golf course architect Pete Dye, who passed away January 9; a sneak preview via video of the 2020 Ryder Cup between the U.S. and Europe in September at Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits; and a quick look at the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco this May also highlighted the opening ceremony.
Whaley welcomed the hundreds of PGA Professionals and industry operatives gathered in the central lobby and offered a strong endorsement for the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show and the business cycle ahead.
“The PGA Merchandise Show is about making special connections, and it starts right here, right now!” emphasized Whaley. “The PGA Merchandise Show represents a key spot to develop our professional networks, learn about the sport’s newest innovations, share best practices and connect as a community in the game.
“An important part of our mission is to enhance our PGA Members’ careers. And as PGA Professionals, we truly have a massive ‘club’ that unites us. Whether you’ve just embarked on your career and are looking for employment, mentors and peers, or you’re among those looking to reconnect, this is the place to discover how to drive your career and the health of our industry forward.”
Waugh provided an insightful forecast for 2020 at the opening ceremonies, predicting a productive year for the golf industry while also promoting the 43rd Ryder Cup in September at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, where the American side hopes to avenge its 2018 loss to Europe at Le Golf National outside Paris.
“This week, we once again celebrate the industry’s largest global gathering. The PGA Merchandise show is the kickoff to the business year in golf,” said Waugh. “I’ve had a preview of the innovation you will see when you walk through those doors (at the PGA Merchandise Show), and it reinforces how bullish I am on the game right now.
“We have a lot of momentum going into this new decade. As far as what 2020 has in store, it promises to be an exciting year. It’s a Ryder Cup year, and home Ryder Cup years are even more special. We look forward to watching U.S. Captain Steve Stricker and the United States Team compete to bring the Cup back home!”
After video highlights of the Men’s and Women’s 2019 PGA Cup victories in Austin, Texas, Whaley introduced members of her inaugural Women’s PGA Cup team, which earned victory against teams from Canada, Great Britain & Ireland, Australia and Sweden. The players participating in the Opening Ceremony included 2019 OMEGA Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year Joanna Coe of Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland; PGA Master Professional Dr. Alison Curdt of Reseda, California; PGA Professional Ashley Grier of Springfield, Pennsylvania, and PGA Professional Seul-Ki Park of Winchester, Massachusetts.
PGA Past President Derek Sprague captained the victorious 2019 Men’s PGA Cup Team, and was honored along with PGA Professionals/team members Danny Balin of Irvington, New York; Rich Berberian Jr. of Hookset, New Hampshire; Jason Caron of Oyster Bay, New York; Marty Jertson of Phoenix, Arizona; Ben Kern of Round Rock, Texas; Sean McCarthy of Solon, Iowa; and 2019 OMEGA Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year Bob Sowards.
Each member of the PGA Cup teams strolled down the red carpet to applause, before joining Whaley, Waugh and Rymer on the stage with a large Golf Channel video board in the background. The 2020 PGA Show was then declared open, and attendees were off for a busy few days at The MAJOR of Golf Business.