The votes are in and it is now official - Suzy Whaley will become the next secretary of the PGA of America, and in doing so, becomes the first female elected officer in PGA's 100 year history. In what was supposed to be a close battle, Whaley won on the first ballot with 52% of the vote.
The Secretary of the PGA of America typically takes over when the president becomes term limited, which means Whaley will become president of the PGA of America when new president Derek Sprague exits office. Whaley will not only be the first female president of the PGA of America, but will also be the first female president of any of the major non-LPGA specific golf organizations around the world, including the USGA, PGA Tour, and R&A.
This isn't just historic for the PGA of America, it's historic for golf in general. A big knock against golf is that it is a game for white, affluent males, and yet here comes Whaley, a hard working woman from Connecticut to break through that glass ceiling that has been covering the game of golf.
Whaley played a few years on the LPGA Tour, but left to start a family and to become a golf instructor. She married her husband, fellow PGA instructor Bill Whaley, in 1991. She became the Director of Instruction at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. In 2003, she became the first woman in 58 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event when she won the Connecticut PGA Championship, which qualified her for the Hartford Open. Her achievement inspired many young women to take up the game and accept training from a PGA professional.
It is rather fitting that, one month removed from the PGA of America being embroiled in controversy for Ted Bishop's "little girl" comments towards Ian Poulter, that they are now praised for electing the first female head of a major organization. Still, this is a huge crowning achievement for the PGA of America, for Suzy Whaley, and for the sport of golf. The future of the game now looks incredibly bright, and hopefully Whaley's election opens the door to other fine women to take leading roles in golf.