The 4 Players To Watch At Whistling Straits

Local club pros test their games against the touring pros in PGA Championship.

The final tournament major of the year begins tomorrow with four local pros competing in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. While many viewers will be watching Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, and Rory McIlroy, the club pros play pretty compelling golf, too. I can’t guarantee whom the TV cameras will follow, but here’s when the local guys will begin their rounds Thursday.

Grant Sturgeon, assistant pro at Winged Foot, will begin the tournament playing with David Howell and Boo Weekley in the 7:55 am tee time from the first tee. Sturgeon made the cut in his first PGA Championship, the 2009 edition at Hazeltine National. He will be returning from Whistling Straits to defend his Met Open title just a couple of weeks later. 

Sturgeon will be accompanied by Pelham CC head pro Mike Diffley, who helped him prepare for the tournament. “I’m thrilled to be involved a little on the biggest stage in golf with a great talent and friend,” Diffley said. “I’ll be inside the ropes with my coaching badge and look forward to seeing the best players in the world up close.”

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Brian Gaffney, head pro at Quaker Ridge, goes off in the first group on the tenth tee at 7:45 am, playing with Pat Perez and David Hearn. Gaffney is no stranger to major tournament golf, having competed in the US Open in 2012 and PGA Championships in 2012, 2009, and 2000.

Matt Dobyns, head of pro at Fresh Meadow CC and winner of the PGA National Championship, played in 2012 PGA Championship at Kiawah as well. He tees off with John Daly and Colin Montgomerie at 8:05 am (EDT). Ben Polland, runner-up to Dobyns at the PGA National, will make his first appearance on the  big stage when he tees off at 2:50 pm. The assistant pro at Deepdale CC is paired with Marc Leishman and Kevin Kisner.

If you hope to watch these guys (as well as Rory, Justin, Dustin, Bubba, and the rest) in person at next year’s PGA Championship at Baltusrol, you should register online today to be able to purchase tickets when they go on sale August 17.  “We’re thrilled by the strong response we’ve received for ticket registration,” said Ryan Cannon, 2016 PGA Championship Director. “We expect that when tickets go on sale the most coveted ticket categories will sell out quickly making registration even more essential.” 

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