Suzy Whaley becomes PGA of America's first female president

Suzy Whaley (Getty Images)

Suzy Whaley was elected the president of the PGA of America on Friday at the association’s annual meeting in Indian Wells, Calif. Whaley becomes the 41st president of the PGA and the first woman to head the 102-year-old organization. 

Whaley is PGA director of golf at Suzy Whaley Golf in Cromwell, Connecticut, in addition to being PGA director of instruction at the Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

“It feels great,” Whaley said, per Golfworld . “You think about, you imagine it, you work so hard with so many people, as part of a group, as part as a team, that you lose sight of it. But today it was fun. It’s wonderful to be in this position. A huge responsibility, but i’m humbled and honored. I’m so grateful to the PGA of America. I’m humbled by the fact that our 29,000 members have confidence in me to lead the PGA of America.

“Obviously, as a woman, at the end of the day, if, like the Renee Powells and Mary Bea Porters, women who led by example, others see me in that role, how exciting for the game beyond enhancing our members’ careers.”

Although Whaley played on the LPGA Tour in 1990 and 1993, she might be better known for what she achieved on the men’s PGA Tour. Her victory in the 2002 Connecticut PGA Championship won her an exemption into the PGA’s Greater Hartford Open the following year. Her two-round score of 153 (75-78) was not good enough to make the cut, but she still became the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA Tour event. 

Whaley, who has been with PGA of America since 2001, had been vice president the past two years.

Whaley said she will continue to focus on the organization’s goal of growing the game, Golfworld reported.

“We need to make the funnel as large as possible,” she said, per Golfworld. “What’s exciting is more and more people are trying the game for the first time. We had 2.4 million women trying golf for the first time last year. 

“Our role now is, how do we lead and collaborate with all of those who are having that open funnel into the game, to get them with a PGA professional, to get them on the golf courses. Doesn’t have to be 18 holes. Could be nine holes or going to the putting green with their daughter or son. That’s what we hope to do.”