The PGA voted to elect Suzy Whaley as their first ever female leader, a move that topped off what has certainly been the year of the woman.
The PGA voted to elect Suzy Whaley as their first ever female leader, a move that topped off what has certainly been the year of the woman. The Metoo movement has been a catalyst, prompting all of us to stop and think a bit more about the challenges and obstacles women face every day.
The first of many
Whaley, who is originally from Connecticut, only joined the PGA looking for more competitive playing opportunities. In 2003, she became the first female player in almost 60 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event, after qualifying for the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, after taking the top spot in the 2002 Connecticut PGA Championship. Whaley was also the first woman to win a PGA individual professional tournament.
“It feels great," Whaley said after the election. "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.
Before being elected to a two-year term as President, Whaley served for two years as the Vice President of the PGA. Whaley, 51, is the 41st president of the organization. She also holds various professional leadership roles within the world of Golf. She is a Board Member and Advisor for Golfer Girl Magazine. She is also currently recognized by Golf for Women as a top 50 female instructor.
She told NPR that she has no specific agenda other than to grow the game and introduce more women to the game of Golf. She also stated that the game as a Whole needs diversity on all fronts. She stated that the game needs more women and people of color to participate and feel comfortable playing the game, and will push for this in her new role as President.
She also gave some thoughts and a way forward to address the issue of pay equity in professional Golf. Due to compensation for players being tied to viewership, Whaley wants to close the pay gap by enticing new viewers to watch Women's Golf.
"We need more women and more men to watch ladies' golf. We need them to turn the channel on; we need them to buy into the fact that these are the best athletes in the world. ... What I try to share with the people I teach and coach, and the people that I'm around in the industry, is oftentimes the women's game is much more compatible to that of a really strong club player — and I don't mean that with disrespect."