It’s about time. Following the PGA of America’s 98th Annual Meeting, Connecticut golf instructor Suzy Whaley was elected as secretary, becoming the first female officer in the organization’s history.
Whaley’s victory was not only historic, but it was also decisive, according to GolfChannel.com’s Rex Hoggard.
Whaley collected 52 percent of the 114 votes on the first ballot to become the PGA’s next secretary and the association’s first female officer.
This marks the first time a secretary has been elected on a first ballot with at least three candidates in PGA history and the first initial-ballot victory since Roger Warren was elected in 2000, when he ran unopposed.
Whaley’s win also sets her up to become the first female president of the PGA of America in four years, but first, Derek Sprague, who was elected as president, and Paul Levy, who succeeds Sprague as vice president, will get their opportunities to lead the association.
Here’s the full press release:
INDIANAPOLIS – (November 22, 2014) Derek Sprague of Malone, New York, was elected the 39th President of the PGA of America today at the Association’s 98th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. Sprague is the PGA General Manager and Director of Golf at Malone Golf Club. Elected to PGA membership in 1993, Sprague has held leadership roles at both the National and Section PGA levels since 1998. Sprague previously served as PGA Secretary from 2010-12, and as Vice President from 2012 until Oct. 24, 2014, when he was named PGA Interim President. He also previously served as the District 1 Director on the National PGA Board from 2007-10.
Succeeding Sprague as Vice President is Paul Levy of Indian Wells, California, who served the past two years as Secretary and held the roles of Secretary and Interim Vice President from Oct. 24, 2014 until today.
Suzy Whaley of Farmington, Connecticut, was elected Secretary. Sprague, Levy and Whaley will each serve two-year terms.
The Board of Directors extended the role of Honorary President Allen Wronowski of Bel Air, Maryland, for two additional years.
In addition, three new members of the PGA Board of Directors were sworn in at the PGA Annual Meeting. The new PGA Board members are Jeff Drimel of St. Michael, Minnesota; Tim Fries of Kenmore, New York; and Kyle Heyen of Arvada, Colorado. The new PGA District Directors each will serve three-year terms.
The PGA Board of Directors is composed of the Association’s President, Vice President, Secretary, Honorary President and 17 Directors. The Directors include representatives from each of the PGA’s 14 districts, two Independent Directors and a member of the PGA Tour. New District Directors are elected by their local PGA Sections.
Whaley is no stranger to making history — she became the first woman in 58 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event when she played in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open.
Whaley’s appointment wasn’t simply a by-product of former PGA president Ted Bishop’s recent mishap when he ranted on two of his social media channels, Facebook and Twitter and called Ian Poulter a “Lil Girl.” Bishop was promptly removed from his position. Prior to that whole fiasco, Whaley was already considered the frontrunner for the secretary position.
“Our theme for this week was driving the game forward and certainly we are looking to be inclusive to all of those who want to play the game,” Whaley said, via GolfChannel.com. “As we move forward, I hope we show that, and I hope I can be a part of that.”
Whaley’s campaign focused on grow-the-game initiatives, especially with its junior programs.
“We have enormous opportunities to get women to play the game and young girls and boys to play the game through our junior programs and let the consumer know we are here for them,” she said.