Updated 3/17/20 with further announcements made by the PGA of America.
With the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 pandemic looming, the 2020 PGA Professional Championship (PPC) was postponed by the PGA of America on March 16th. The PGA of America then postponed the 2020 PGA Championship the following day, to be played “at a date this summer when it is once again safe and responsible to do so,” said PGA CEO Seth Waugh.
Comprised of PGA Professionals who advance from the 41 PGA Section Championships, along with past champions, the PPC, which started in 1968, sends the low-20 eligible finishers to compete in that year’s PGA Championship.
Due to the event being postponed, if the PGA Championship is played at a date later this summer, the 20 PGA Club Professionals in the field would be based on the top 20 eligible players listed in the final 2019 PGA Professional Player of the Year standings, Davis Park Assistant Professional, and 2019 Utah Section PGA Player of the Year Zach Johnson is listed eighth on the list and would be eligible to compete at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.
The decision to postpone the 2020 PPC and PGA Championship was made due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation not to hold gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks and the current shelter-in-place order in effect in San Francisco.
Utah professionals that qualified for the 2020 PPC were Joe
Summerhays, Tracy Zobell, Tommy Sharp, Matt Baird, Todd Tanner and Ryan Rhees.
Johnson and Steve Schneiter were exempt into the event.
Unfortunately these qualifiers, other than Johnson, won’t
have the opportunity to qualify for the 2020 PGA Championship this year.
However, they will still have the chance to compete in the PPC once
rescheduled. We wish the best going forward and know future opportunities are not
out of reach for these exceptional PGA Professionals.
As the Master’s Tournament has been postponed, this would be
the year’s first major championship, now with a local Utah golf PGA
Professional to root for, congratulations to Johnson for a successful 2019
The March issue of Utah PGA Monthly digital magazine is here! In efforts to enhance communication with Utah Section PGA members, Utah PGA Monthly was created to celebrate and recognize PGA Professionals in Utah and all they do.
It’s tradition for the Utah Section PGA to host the Annual
Meeting, Utah PGA Awards Banquet and the Winter Classic Championship during the
same week. It’s a great way to start the new season. This year was special with
the swearing in of Darci Olsen as the first woman board member in Section
history and with the surprise announcement of Salt Lake City’s ABC 4 News
Sports Director Wesley Ruff as the first honorary member of the Section.
“I am just grateful for the opportunity, grateful to get
voted in to be on the board and have a voice,” Olsen said. “I’ve had really
good support from the fellow women in the Section and you know, it’s funny,
until it was made a bigger announcement at the Annual Meeting when I was
getting sworn in, it didn’t hit me until then that I am the first-ever woman on
“Sometimes I’m just ‘one of the guys,’” Olsen continued.
“I’m part of the Section, I’m a PGA member, so sometimes I don’t think about it
that way. But when they announced me as the first-ever woman on the bard, I
just felt so proud.”
Olsen also received the Bill Strausbaugh award at the Awards Banquet in February and in the past has been awarded Merchandiser of the Year (public) in 2012 and Women’s Player of the Year in 2018.
“Hopefully I can be a good leader and someone to pave the
way for some of the younger women up and coming. It just makes me feel a sense
of responsibility. I was the first-ever Women’s Player of the Year and the
first Section champion for women, so now being on the board, it never really
dawned on me that we’ve never had a woman on the board.
“We need the presence and women need to be involved and feel
welcome to come to all the events and meetings and feel like we have a voice. I
think it’s going to make a turn, it’s hard for some of the ladies at this stage
of their life with young kids to come to events, it’s just a little bit
different for women. So hopefully as time goes we’ll have a lot more
participation, we’ll have a lot more women that want to serve and want to be
involved. Hopefully me being on there they can realize that there is a spot for
Another first for the Utah Section was naming Ruff, who has proudly covered Utah’s amateur and professional golf for over three decades, as the first-ever Utah PGA honorary member.
Ruff was fulfilling his usual emcee role at the Awards
Banquet when Executive Director Devin Dehlin stepped up to the podium for a
brief announcement, completely surprising Ruff with his honorary membership.
“Well I was overwhelmed, floored, flabbergasted, all of it.
I am honored beyond belief, flattered that they would think of me. Just
stunned,” Ruff said.
“I’ve been in the market for 35 years,” Ruff said. “I was
here about the time they went from the Rocky Mountain Section to the new Utah
Section. It means the world, because these are people I have been around for 35
years. Golf people are the best people. Of all the sports I cover, golfers are
the best. To be included and a part of that family, it’s awesome.”
Ruff grew up in Springville, Utah, where golf has been a
major part of his life from a young age. He has continually showed his support
for the Section and the PGA Professionals in Utah by covering events and tournaments
throughout his career, and many fond memories have come from it.
“I was in Wendover when they first started having the Utah
Section Championship out there, meeting Jeff Beaudry when he first got started,
and obviously, the work we did with the Ben Hogan Tour and the Nike Tour and of
course being there when Special Olympics got its start in golf. I was a part of
that clinic on the driving range at Riverside Country Club.
“Covering some of the Section guys back then like Milan
Swilor, who would just tear it up on the Nike tour at Riverside and in the Utah
Section. There are so many good people, just the best. You know, meeting Bob
Bentley and Bruce Summerhays. It’s been a great ride.
“And to be the first,” he said. “that means so much to have
that happen to me. I just look at myself as a dopy kid from Springville that
likes to play golf. Suddenly I get the
chance to rub elbows with people in the Section and get to emcee some banquets,
hang with them and play in some events. Now to be an honorary member I could
not script that any better, it’s been awesome.”
The Utah Section PGA is proud and grateful to have Olsen as
a board member and Ruff as an honorary member. The impact the two of these
individuals have had on the Section and on golf in Utah is irreplaceable. Thank
you for everything!