PGA of America President Suzy Whaley referred to the experience of captaining the U.S. Team to victory in the inaugural PGA Women’s Cup in Austin, Texas, as one of the most memorable, fulfilling moments in her career as a PGA Professional Wednesday during a special presentation on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA to kick off the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show.
Whaley was joined by U.S. Women’s PGA Cup Team members Joanna Coe of Lutherville, Timonium, Maryland, Ashley Grier of Springfield, Pennsylvania, and Seul-Ki Park of Winchester, Massachusetts, in recounting the historic U.S. Women’s PGA Cup triumph at Barton Creek last October after edging teams from Canada, Great Britain-Ireland, Australia and Sweden.
“Winning the first Women’s PGA Cup is one of the greatest experiences and proudest moments in my career as a PGA Professional,” noted Whaley, whose team got off to an early lead and ultimately finished four strokes ahead of runner-up Canada. “As captain of the American team, I was so proud of how all the women played, but equally proud of how they all conducted themselves. It was a tremendous team-bonding experience the entire week, and it was fun to get a taste of what U.S. teams in the PGA Cup and Ryder Cup have experienced for years on the men’s side. It was fun to make history as the first women’s team to take home the PGA Cup.”
Coe, PGA Professional at Baltimore Country Club and the 2019 Women’s PGA Professional Player of the Year, said the Women’s PGA Cup competition reminded her of her college days. “The pressure was similar to playing in college tournaments, but it was nice to have a whole team behind you. The team concept is such great fun – you can be more aggressive and take some chances you might not take in an individual competition. The camaraderie was great. It was great getting to know the other women on our team and learning about being a PGA Professional in other countries. The girls from Australia were a lot of fun. One of them flew 35 hours to get to the PGA Cup in Texas. Later in the week, the Australian girls gave us each a koala bear headcover, which was really nice.”
Seul-Ki Park, who was born in South Korea, indicated she enjoyed the international competition, noting that it was much different playing in a team format than in an individual, stroke-play tournament.
“I don’t watch leaderboards when I am playing for myself, but it was exciting the last day that I couldn’t help looking at the leaderboards every chance I had to see how close we were to Canada,” said Park, PGA Professional at Winchester Country Club in Massachusetts, who was married just five days after the PGA Women’s Cup. “It was an exciting week for all of us, and we had some great stories to tell our members and staff when we returned to our clubs back home. Everyone was so supportive, which is what you need to be able to take time away from your job to play in a competition of this nature.”
“Every member of the U.S. Team is best of friends now; we have stayed in touch and share everything we are doing after such a great PGA Cup experience,” noted Grier, PGA Professional at Overbrook Golf Club in Pennsylvania. “It was really neat to get to know the girls from other countries and hear how they do things as golf professionals in those countries. On the last day, we all jumped in Ubers and toured Austin (Texas) and saw the sights. It was great to hear the perspectives of the players from Australia, Canada and Great Britain. It was one of those experiences I’ll never forget.”