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!
Whether it’s the golf or the meetings, the week of the Utah
Section PGA Awards Banquet, Annual Meeting and the RMT/EZGO Winter Classic is
always an excellent way to start of the new Utah PGA season.
The annual Awards Meeting really got the week moving by celebrating our 2019 award winners, highlighted by our PGA Professional of the Year Craig Norman.
Not only did we celebrate Norman and the rest of our award
winners, for the first time in Utah PGA history, ABC 4 News Sports Director
Wesley Ruff was named as the first Utah Section PGA Honorary Member.
Ruff was completely surprised and received the honor humbly. He is more-than deserving for this honorary membership for all the support he has given to the Section and our members throughout his career.
Another first for the Utah Section happened this week as Glenmoor Head Golf Professional Darci Dehlin-Olsen was sworn in as a director on the Utah PGA Board of Directors during the Annual Meeting, becoming the first-ever woman director in Section history.
Among all the first-time events, inspiring speeches and celebrating
award winners for their overachieving, there was golf being played.
Joe Summerhays showed very little off-season rust as he had
a total of 92 Stableford points to win the Winter Classic Championship, with
rounds of 66-71. With a seven-under 66 at St. George Golf Club, Summerhays got
off to a fast start and was tied for first with Haley Sturgeon for the overall
The final round didn’t see as low of scores, but Summerhays
finished strong with birdies on his last two holes to win the Winter Classic by
one point over second-place finisher Chris Moody, and two points ahead of Zach
“Feels really good, I’m really pleased,” Summerhays said. “I’ve actually been practicing quite a lot
over the off season. I went to Florida and played some and I’m in pretty good
playing shape, so I probably had an advantage over some of the guys.
“I drove the ball really well, it put me in position to
score and I made a lot of putts yesterday. Today I didn’t, but I was hitting it
good enough to score decent enough to win. I birdied my last two holes, one a
par five and then my last was a par three – hit it to five feet and made it, so
that was kinda cool. I didn’t know it was to win but it was still fun to finish
Summerhays has high hopes for this season, focusing on
playing better. As for this week, it’s one he enjoys a lot, “I love it, it’s
great. It’s always inspiring to hear the awards banquet. Kind of gets you
pumped up to do better as an instructor and a player and it’s fun to see
everyone. I love it, it’s a great start to the year.”
Haley Sturgeon continued her impressive play with a 66 at
St. George Golf Club to tie Summerhays after round one but had a hard time
carrying the momentum to the final round at Sand Hollow Resort.
Sturgeon would finish 4th in the overall race but
would take home the first-place trophy for winning the Women’s Division with a
total of 88 points.
“It feels amazing to start the year off strong,” she said. “I played solid for the two days, I just missed a few key putts coming down the stretch. I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going throughout the season.”
Steve Schneiter also started hot with a 66 at St. George
Golf Club, playing in the Senior Division for 51 points. He managed to hold
onto his lead and win after earning 36 points at Sand Hollow for an 87-point
total. Scott Smith finished second with 84 points.
“Pretty much everything was working yesterday,” he said. “I saw the line better, I made a lot of putts, I hit right at my target. Today was a little off. It’s always nice to win a trophy. Even if it’s the old guy trophy. Usually I play the back tees but this week I decided to move up.”
David Hall took home the Super Senior Division with 84 total points, with a pair of 70s at St. George Golf Club and Sand Hollow. He fended off a charging Scott Brandt, who found 50 points at Sand Hollow to finish two points shy of Hall.
And last, but not least, Chip Garriss won the Legends Division with 78 points. After being tied with Ronald Branca after the first round, he played steady with 35 points in the final round.
We owe a big thank you to Brandon Bonham and Chad Kartchner
of RMT/EZGO and to Mike Stanger of Underarmour for their support of the Winter
Thank you to Larry Rickets of SunRiver Golf Club for hosting
our Day 1 Team Scramble, and to James Hood of St. George Golf Club and Adam
Jasperson of Sand Hollow Resort for hosting the final two rounds.
The February 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.
In this issue:
Why I Play with Lakeside Golf Course Assistant Professional Tim Kjar.
Industry Insider junior golf tips from InMotion Junior Golf Co-Owner Stacey Parkinson-Jones.
PGA Merchandise Show tips from Jeremy Ranch Golf & CC Head Professional Jake Hanley.
Membership Memories with The Barn Head Professional Kelly Woodland.
Cover photo: Mick Riley, right, and George Von Elm reunite in the 1950s to recall past glories. Photo courtesy of Marriott Library.
What is the only golf course in Utah named after an actual professional golfer? If you said Jeremy Ranch or Nibley Park, try again. That distinction belongs to Mick Riley Golf Course, named after the man known as the “Dean of Utah Golfers.” While the Murray course is always busy, most people have forgotten or don’t even know about Riley. Also, contrary to many high school golf team rumors, Mr. Riley is not buried by the clubhouse (he is buried in Mount Calvary Cemetery, although he probably wouldn’t have complained had he been buried at a golf course).
Born in 1897 in Burke, Idaho, Joseph Michael (Mick) Riley
found his way to Utah. There weren’t many options for linksters when Riley was
taking up the sport in the 1910s. At the time, Forest Dale had a hitching post
for golfer’s horses.
Riley learned golf by caddying at the Salt Lake Country
Club, being mentored by notable golfers such as George Von Elm, several years
his junior. Von Elm, who grew up in Utah and California, and with Riley as his
caddie, took on one of the preeminent golfers of the day, Bobby Jones (who
would later found the Masters Golf Tournament). Von Elm became the first golfer
from west of the Mississippi River to win a major tournament, and he not only
instilled in Riley a passion for golf but exposed him to some of the best golf
courses in America.
Like a duck to water, Riley’s experience, plus winning an
occasional tournament, helped to secure his position as the first head
professional at Nibley Park Golf Course. According to sportswriter Bill
Johnston, there were only 122 active golfers in Salt Lake City at the time. For
the uninitiated, a professional at a golf course is someone who makes their
living from teaching the game, running golf clubs and classes, and dealing in
An adroit golf pro, Riley earned the praises of the Salt
Lake Telegram at the end of Nibley Park’s first season in 1922. “The work of
Professional Riley at the course is worthy of special commendation. It was
Riley’s job to develop interest and get the golfers out. He did.”
Not only did he get the golfers to come out, he developed a course championship, several tournaments, and high school matches. He developed greens and challenging hazards; he also developed aspiring golfers and advocated the sport to women. It was this latter undertaking that led Mick to meet his wife, Estella at one of his classes.
Utah’s most enthusiastic golf cheerleader would do anything
to bring people to experience the game. Even winter was no match for Riley, who
opened one of the first indoor golf ranges in downtown Salt Lake in 1930. The
Telegram reported that by 1947, 80 percent of all Utah golfers were, at one
time, a pupil of Riley’s.
His green design skills were in high demand, as he helped
plan courses in Magna, Tooele, Richfield, Moab, Indian Springs, and American
Falls, Idaho, as well as Salt Lake’s Bonneville Golf Course. He also revamped the
Nibley Park and Forest Dale courses. However, his passion project was
Meadowbrook on 3900 South, which he designed and managed until his death. His
progressive thinking led to the establishment of a daycare center at
Meadowbrook, so that young mothers could take up the game.
After forming the Utah Golf Association, Riley was elected
as vice president of the National PGA and served for three years. He also
served on several national PGA committees. He was president of the Rocky
Mountain Section of the PGA and Golf Professional of the Year in 1955 for the
Rocky Mountain Section.
During the 1960s, he was asked to design the Little Valley Golf
Course off of Vine Street in Murray. However, his death in 1964 prevented him
from ever teeing off at the course. That honor was given to Estella, his wife,
and their children at the newly christened Mick Riley Golf Course in 1967.
Riley was also posthumously honored as a member of the Utah Golf Hall of Fame.
Perhaps the Salt Lake Telegram summed up Riley best, “The story of Mickey Riley is the story of golf in Utah, for without him many of the municipal courses that have made golf available to the ‘working man’ might not be.”
Story reposted with permission by Shaun Delliskave and the Murray Journal.
In efforts to better recognize, celebrate and get to know the growing membership of the Utah Section PGA, Utah PGA Monthly digital magazine was created!
We are looking forward to highlighting individuals, recognizing accomplishments and going behind the scenes with our PGA Professionals and all they do to provide this game we love.
In partnership with Fairways Media, Each issue will be delivered to Utah PGA members directly in their email at the beginning of each month and will recap scheduling events and highlight 3-4 PGA Professionals.
The Oaks Golf Course Head Professional Ryan Rhees proved
that winning the 2018 Utah Section Omega Senior Player of the Year was no
mistake by winning the title again in 2019.
“It feels good,” Rhees said about winning the season-long
race in consecutive years. “We have a lot of good senior players in the Section
and to be able to play good enough to come out first is great. It’s fun,
everybody gets along great in our Section. It’s just fun playing with the guys.
“It’s not life or death out there but we go out and play
hard and try to do the best we can and have fun with it.”
Highlighting the list of his 2019 accomplishments was his
victory in the Senior Section Championship played at Alpine Country Club with
rounds of 66-72 – 138. The win also qualified him to compete in the 2019 Senior
PGA Professional Championship in Texas early October.
“For sure the Senior Section Championship, that was a big one,” Rhees said about which of his four wins meant the most.
Anyone working in the golf industry knows the difficulty of
finding time to play and practice, for Rhees, it’s a work in progress.
“It’s hard, you have to get used to playing your best when
you know you haven’t put in as much time as you should have. You’ve got to try
and talk yourself in to the fact that you can go out and play good.
“I’m a competitive person and I like to go out and win and
play the best I can. That keeps me motivated to practice as much as I can and
stay in shape as much as I can to stay competitive.”
Rhees tallied four wins on the season, including the Senior
Divisions of the Rose Park Open, Sanpete County Open, Tony Basso Group Black
Diamond Open and the Senior Section Championship.
Not only did he secure four wins in his 17-events played,
but he finished runner-up four times and only finished outside of the top five
on two occasions.
“It’s fun playing with the guys in the section. It’s one
thing I look forward to. It keeps me motivated at work, knowing I’ve got a
tournament to go play in on the weekend that I can go hangout and play golf
with the guys I like to be with and play against. It’s a fun Section to be in
because everyone gets along so well and there are a lot of great players so
it’s good to get out and test your game.”
Ryan Rhees Fast
What book are you currently reading?
Shoe Dog, the Phil Night biography. That one was really good, just finished that
one and another book called Can’t Hurt Me,
it’s a Navy SEAL book, I really enjoy those.
I like to read, that’s
one of my hobbies, something I like to do when I’m not working.
What’s the last movie you watched?
I don’t see many movies anymore, really… Last movie we
watched was Downtown Abbey.
If you’ve watched The Country Club’s Assistant Professional Haley Dunn-Sturgeon play golf, the last word you would use to describe her game is ‘rookie.’ However, in her rookie season as a PGA associate member of the Utah Section PGA, there was no stopping her in claiming the Omega Women’s Player of the Year.
“Words cannot describe how amazing it feels,” she said. “I
love competitive golf and to win Player of the Year, it truly is an honor. I have
been working hard on my game and recovering from injuries so it is nice to get
back on top.”
She took the Section by storm by playing in four events that
provide points in the season-long race, and won two of them. She won the
Women’s Low Pro in the Valley View Open and cruised to the top of the Utah
Section PGA Women’s Match Play Championship at Riverside Country Club.
Sturgeon finished runner-up in the Brigham City Open Women’s Division and finished 10th at the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Women’s Open, her lowest finish of the season.
Finishing runner-up in the points race was TopGolf’s Carly
Dehlin-Hirsch, followed by Promontory Club’s Sadie Palmer in third and
Glenmoor’s Sam Crawford in fourth. This top-four have all recently started the
PGA Professional Golf Management Program (PGM) and are new associate members of
After the points were totaled for the year, Sturgeon added
one more win on her season, just for good measure, at the Utah PGA
Pro-Assistant Championship in November when she teamed up with The Country
Club’s Wayne Fisher.
In fact, it was at the Pro-Assistant Championship that added
the extra icing on top for Sturgeon’s year when she shot a personal-low 63 on
her own ball in the first round at Bloomington Country Club.
“The highlight of the season is probably when I shot 63 on
my own ball,” she explained. “I made sure I putted out every shot so it was a
true score. It was also my first bogey-free round. I felt unstoppable that
Though her Utah Section play brought a season’s-worth of
results, she also fit in a Q School prep event for The Cactus Tour, where her best and worst shots of the year came on
the same hole.
“I believe it was on hole 16 on the Dinah Shore Course at
Mission Hills. It’s a dogleg right with a wide fairway and a palm tree on the
right side. Before teeing off I was talking with my dad to create our game
plan. Basically, it was to hit one down the middle and stay away from the palm
tree that blocks the second shot. What did I do… sprayed my drive right and
put it perfectly behind the palm tree.”
Luckily her best shot followed from 158 yards to the pin.
“I visualized a low hook that would bounce in front of the
green and roll up by the pin. I asked my dad for the five iron and hit the shot
exactly how I envisioned. It was icing on the cake when it stopped 15ft from
the hole. I then rolled in the putt for my most amazing birdie.”
Sturgeon started the PGA PGM program this year and is
currently teaching at The Country Club. She will be traveling back to Arizona
for the Cactus Tour during the off season.
Sturgeon looks forward to the opportunity to continue to
play and compete in Section events in 2020 as the amount of women members continues
to grow each year.
Haley Sturgeon Fast
Do you have any superstitions when it comes to golf or
playing in tournaments?
I wish the answer was no, but I do. I try to only play with
a number four golf ball. When I’m on the practice green making three-foot
putts, if one ball misses multiple times, I feel that is the “bogey” ball and I
put it back in my bag… I’m slowly getting over this one.
What’s the last movie you watched?
The last movie I watched was Linsey Vonn: The Final Chapter.
What book is currently on your nightstand?
I’m not a huge book reader, but I love audio books. This is
usually what is playing while I’m practicing. Right now, I’m listening to Harry
Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
If you had to pick one PGA Tour member, one LPGA Tour
member and one actor to complete your group, who would you pick?
I would choose Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer and Justin Timberlake.
Golf is a game of no guarantees, and the unexpected
typically runs the show. However, when Davis Park Assistant Professional Zach
Johnson tees it up, it’s expected that he’ll be in contention.
After being in the mix to capture the Utah PGA Omega Player
of the Year award for years, Johnson finally came out on top in 2018 and has
done it again in 2019.
“To win Player of the Year for the second year in-a-row is very special,” Johnson said. “Each year it’s a goal at the top of my list that I set out to achieve. We have so many great players in our Section, you have to stay on top of your game and be competitive throughout the whole year in order to keep yourself in contention for this award.”
Johnson’s season included wins at The Oaks Open, the Utah Section Match Play Championship, tied for first at the Millard County Open, won the Salt Lake City Open and then capped off the season with a win at the Utah Section Championship.
“Of victories this year I would definitely say the Match
Play Championship was the sweetest,” he said. “I have had a few opportunities
to win that event and never was able to get it done. To win this year by
chipping in for eagle on the first extra hole of the final match was pretty
Though the Section Match Play Championship brought a lot of
excitement and a career-first, it wasn’t on the top of his personal highlight
list this season.
“Looking back on the year, the highlight for me was getting
back in contention to qualify for the PGA Championship again. In the final
round at the PGA Professional Championship I shot two-under to get into a
playoff. Although I fell short and was disappointed I didn’t advance through
the playoff, I proved a lot to myself in that round and event. I was able to
create some belief and momentum with my game which really kick-started my year.”
Johnson has had several opportunities to play on a national
level, including the 2018 PGA Championship and several PGA Professional
Championships and PGA Assistant Professional Championships.
“As a working pro with a family sometimes it gets hard to
juggle family, work and playing. Usually the first thing to be compromised is
playing so to be able to qualify and represent the Utah Section at national
events is always a privilege and something to look forward to each year.”
No matter how many national events Johnson has competed in,
the nerves are still there.
“I have to admit, I’m nervous during all competitive rounds to some extent,” he explained. I like that feeling. To me, it shows that I still care and want to compete. To overcome tournament nerves, and don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s easier than others, you have to believe in yourself and draw from previous experience.”
Though golf is never a game of guarantees, it’s fair to say
that when the Davis Park assistant pro is in the field, it’s a safe bet to find
him in the mix or at the top of the leaderboard.
Zach Johnson Fast Facts:
If you had to pick one PGA Tour member, one LPGA Tour
member and one actor to complete your foursome, who would you pick?
My foursome would be Tiger, Annika Sorenstam and Michael
Jordan. I’m not much of a movie guy so I went with another greatest of
all time athlete in Jordan.
When you find time,
do you prefer to play or practice?
To be completely honest, I don’t spend a lot of time working on my game. When I do have time to play or practice I prefer getting out and playing and competing over spending time on the range or practice greens. That’s what works best for me when it comes to preparing for events. This winter though I have set a goal for myself to work on getting in better physical shape and gaining some club head speed!