It looked like a virtual sea of PGA Junior League Golfers in front of the “monster board” around the 18th Green at the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club on Monday. More than 300 girls and boys from across the Carolinas PGA Section took part in a surprise Q&A session with PGA Junior League Golf Ambassadors Rory McIlory and Rickie Fowler, which was hosted by Golf Channel’s Michael Breed. PGA Vice President Suzy Whaley also joined in the fun.
The kids took group photos and selfies, and asked questions: What’s your favorite number if you were playing PGA Junior League Golf? (Rory: No. 7…Rickie: “Double digits—No. 15”). What’s was your favorite subject in school? (Rory: History…Rickie: Math). Favorite club? (Rory: Driver…Rickie: “Putter, when it’s working!”).
Meanwhile, McIlroy disclosed that if he had played PGA Junior League Golf—the program started in 2012 with 1,500 kids (he was far outside the age parameters at the time) and has grown to a record 42,000 this year—he would have worn a green PGA Junior League Golf jersey. “Ireland green,” McIlroy exclaimed. Fowler said he preferred his iconic “orange” to roars from the kids wearing the same color jersey.
Breed was swarmed for autographs at the start, before Fowler came out in front of the scoreboard to cheers from the crowd. He introduced two-time PGA Champion Rory McIlroy, who peeped around the scoreboard to the roar of the kids. Meanwhile, it was photo-op time for the parents, capturing a special moment that happened just because their child played PGA Junior League Golf.
The PGA Junior League Golfers then watched a taping of “The Golf Fix with Michael Breed” on the Golf Channel set at Quail Hollow.
Along with Mcllroy and Fowler, LPGA stars Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson serve as PGA Junior League Ambassadors.
PGA Junior League Golf offers boys and girls a fun, social, and inclusive opportunity to learn and play golf in a recreational team setting with their friends. Much like other recreational youth sports, players wear numbered jerseys, utilizing a popular scramble format for competition. PGA and LPGA Professionals serve exclusively as Captains, providing expert coaching and instruction.
Following the regular season, which just completed nationwide, 10-player all-star teams are formed from a combination of players in each league. Teams move through a series of sub-regional competitions to advance to one of the eight regional competitions. The eight regional champions advance to the Championship, to be held for the second-consecutive year at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona in November.