Michigan PGA 2003
Michael Patrick Shiels
Nov. 1, 2002 (for 2003)
Thrilling, competitive golf. Scenic, gorgeous golf courses. Colorful, approachable personalities. Engaging drama and storylines. Charity, junior golf, and pro-am's. It may sound like the PGA Tour, but the good news is, it's the Michigan PGA!
Statewide, Michigan PGA professionals at private clubs, public courses and driving ranges are available to assist any golfer with their game or equipment needs. Michigan PGA professionals can help you stage an outing, get an official handicap index, or even travel to a golf destination. They work with men, women, seniors, juniors and even the handicapped.
In addition to their mission of serving golf and spreading the game, many Michigan PGA professionals make time to compete in the Section's outstanding and lucrative tournament program. Unlike PGA Tour players, Michigan PGA professionals have to balance their many day-to-day duties with keeping their skills at a competitive level. The result of such effort equals an amazing display of talent when one attends a Michigan PGA tournament.
Let's look ahead to some of the stories and events that will take place in the 2003 Michigan PGA season:
- On May 6, the Fuller Cup Matches will be held at Prestwick Village Golf Club, a tough course on a windy day. The Fuller Cup Matches pit the best players of the Michigan PGA against Michigan's best amateur golfers in a Ryder Cup-style format. The series has historically been dominated by the professionals, but in 2001 the amateurs upset the professionals for the first time in 16 years. Last year, the professionals won the cup back at The Wyndgate in a tight battle. Clearly, though, the Fuller Cup is no longer a friendly exhibition. The amateurs now know they can win and so do the professionals. Pride will be on the line May 6.
- The Michigan PGA tournament schedule offers lots of opportunities for the professionals to team together. The Align Golf Senior/Junior tournament on May 12 at Wabeek CC pairs legendary senior professionals with the hot, young stars. The Senior Pro/Senior Am on May 22 at Atlas Valley lets senior professionals pair with an amateur member or friend, and the Taylor Made/adidas State Pro-Am at Boyne Highlands Resort June 2-3 is a longtime favorite of professionals and their amateur partners. Professionals pair-off to compete in the Shanty Creek Classic on July 7-8, and the EZ-Go/Ahead Pro-Pro pairs duets of professionals against each other at Battle Creek CC and Gull Lake CC on August 4, and the Mizuno Pro-Assistant Championship on August 11-12 at Arcadia Bluffs and Crystal Mountain makes bosses and staffers equal partners for a day. Professionals get many opportunities to play with amateur partners at various pro-am's throughout the schedule, such as the Boy Scouts Pro-Am on June 16 at Forest Lake CC; the Club Car Spring Scramble on April 28 at Links of Novi; and the Nike Las Vegas Pro-Am Oct. 12-15. The Buick Scramble, at various locations and dates, also teams professionals and amateurs. In addition, pro-ams are offered on the weekend before each of the Michigan PGA's major championships.
- The Michigan PGA has some of the strongest senior professionals in the country, many of whom have competed on the PGA Tour or in national events. Well-known names like Randy Erskine, Tommy Valentine, Buddy Whitten, Lynn Janson, Ken Allard and Jack Seltzer compete in the Club Car Michigan Senior Open, June 10-11 at Bedford Valley; and the Michigan Senior PGA Championship July 28-29 at The Loon. So good are many of these seniors that they compete in the regular Michigan PGA majors, as well.
- The Michigan PGA's major championships begin with the Detroit Newspapers Michigan Open, June 23-26 on The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort, where Scott Hebert can make history by winning his sixth Michigan Open title in seven years and his fifth straight. Only Al Watrous won six career Michigan Opens (1926, '27, '29, '30, '43, and '49).
The Michigan Women's Open will be held July 14-16. LPGA touring professional and past State Amateur Champion Elaine Crosby has won the title the last two years.
The Detroit Newspapers Tournament of Champions, July 21-23 at Boyne Mountain Resort, pits Michigan PGA professionals against champions of all manner: women, seniors, amateurs, and juniors. Where else can you see the 81-year-old five-time Michigan Amateur Champion Glenn Johnson square off against three-time Michigan PGA Champion Jeff Roth and Jenna Walter, the 2001 Junior Girls Champion?
The Michigan PGA Championship will be held August 18-20 at Shanty Creek Resort. Aside from prize money won in the championship with the largest field, the winner gets an automatic pass to the PGA Tour's 2004 Buick Open.
Finally, the Player of the Year honors are up for grabs at the season ending Lincoln Mercury Classic, September 8-11 this year at Pine Lake CC. The demanding match play format can be a real grinder as the professionals go head to head in single elimination.
You can follow all of the drama by attending an event personally attendance is free or you can log on to "http://www.Michigan.PGA.com" for schedules, results, and real-time scoring for the major championships. Best of all, drop in and see your local Michigan PGA professional.
Jan./Feb. 2003 Table of Content
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