PITTSFORD, N.Y. — It may still be too cold and raw outside to play golf in upstate New York, but it’s not too early to talk golf. And that was the case Tuesday at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, which is set to host the 80th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship in just under two months.
The PGA of America held its media day for the championship on Tuesday morning at the esteemed golf club located just outside Rochester. The event featured Paul Broadhurst, professional golfer from England, who won last year’s Senior PGA Championship, as well as PGA of America President Suzy Whaley, who grew up in the Syracuse area and is the first woman to be elected president in the 102-year history of the organization.
“I cherish what we do. We try to get more clubs in people’s hands. I’m a coach,” Whaley said about the PGA of America’s role in growing the game of golf. She was elected president of the national association last November, after serving as its vice president for two years. Whaley, who lives and teaches golf in Connecticut, spent much of her youth in the Syracuse area, graduating from Jamesville-DeWitt High School. She was also elected into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
The 2019 Senior PGA Championship will be held May 23-26 at Oak Hill, drawing the world’s best professional golfers who are age 50 and over. That includes Broadhurst and players like Bernhard Langer, Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, Colin Montgomerie, and Miguel Angel Jiménez. Up to 35 PGA club professionals will also compete, according to Whaley.
Broadhurst on Tuesday discussed the keys to his victory in the 2018 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores Golf Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan. There, he posted a 19-under, 265 score, matching the best score in the history of the championship. Broadhurst made a series of unbelievably long putts in the weekend’s final two rounds to capture the championship.
Media day was also a chamber-of-commerce event with Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy appearing. He teamed up with Broadhurst in a pasta-rolling competition using a machine made by the championship sponsor, KitchenAid. Duffy also later took Broadhurst on a tour of Rochester with stops at the George Eastman Museum, Nick Tahou Hots (a restaurant famous for its “garbage plate”), the Susan B. Anthony House, Genesee Brew House, and Greater Rochester International Airport.
The 2019 Senior PGA Championship is anticipated to draw 50,000 to 60,000 spectators, including more than a few Central New Yorkers, and generate about a $40 million economic impact on the greater Rochester region, according to the Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE), a regional economic-development organization.
This will be the second time that Oak Hill’s famed East Course will host the four-day tournament. In 2008 at Oak Hill, Jay Haas, of the United States, claimed his second Senior PGA Championship in three years by a single stroke over Germany’s Langer.
“The East golf course is one of the best in the game. It’s a championship venue that only brings us amazing highlights,” Whaley said. “We’re just proud to be able to stage this type of championship on such an unbelievable championship venue.”
Oak Hill’s East Course has also staged three previous PGA Championships (2013, 2003, 1980) and will do so again in 2023. Oak Hill was also the site of the Ryder Cup in 1995, as well as the 1998 U.S. Amateur, 1989 U.S. Open, 1984 U.S. Senior Open, 1968 U.S. Open, 1956 U.S. Open, and 1949 U.S. Amateur.
At 7-over-par 287, Haas’ 2008 victory on the challenging East Course remains the highest scoring Senior PGA Championship since the event’s format shifted to 72 holes in 1958. The rough was quite high and difficult to deal with that week.
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