PGA: Professional Golfers' Association of America
As well as being the best known organisation for professional golfers in the USA, the Professional Golfers’ Association of America is also one of the biggest sporting organisations in the world. The PGA of America was founded in 1916 by Rodman Wanamaker along the same lines as the British PGA organisation which had been around since 1901. It is headquartered in Florida and runs a huge number of tournaments each year, including the PGA Championship.
The Association currently has around 29,000 members, and those include professional golf teachers as well as competitive players. Of course, it is members of the latter group that tend to become household names, and most people have heard of players like Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus even if they aren’t fans of the game.
One of the tournament highlights of the PGA of America calendar is the PGA Championship. This is a competition which has been running for as long as the organisation itself, with the first Championship having been held in New York in October, 1916. For many years the PGA Championship was a summer event, but it now takes place every May over the weekend before Memorial Day.
The Ryder Cup is another big competition which the PGA of America runs in partnership with Ryder Cup Europe. The competition here is between two teams of twelve players, one representing the USA and the other representing Europe, and a total of 28 matches are played over a four day weekend at the end of September or the beginning of October.
There have been some exceptional final matches in the Ryder Cup, with the most notable example being the 1969 showdown between Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin. The USA retained the trophy thanks to Nicklaus conceding a tie - a sportmanly decision that even a few of his own teammates didn’t fully agree with.