In celebration of The PGA of America’s centennial and its “Thanks PGA Pro” campaign, the hour-long special will showcase PGA Professionals and the impact they’ve made on their students’ lives, including messages from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose, 2011 Champion Keegan Bradley, and more.
CBS Sports—in celebration of The PGA of America’s centennial and its #ThxPGAPro campaign—presents “Golf’s Best Stories End in Thanks,” an hour-long special, narrated by Bill Macatee, which introduces viewers to PGA Professionals nationwide and the profound impact they have made in their students’ lives.
The program will air on May 7, from 2–3 p.m. ET on CBS, prior to third-round coverage of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Notable “Thanks PGA Pro” messages include: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; 2011 Champion Keegan Bradley; 2014 FedEx Cup Champion Billy Horschel; LPGA Tour player Cheyenne Woods; “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose, with PGA Head Professional Jeff Gschwind, of Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, N.Y.; and “NCIS: New Orleans” actor Lucas Black, with PGA Director of Instruction Rick Grayson, at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, Mo.
Among the PGA Professional-student profiles:
• Andy Mitchell, PGA Director of Golf & Rooms Operations at Marriott Grande Vista in Orlando, Fla., site of multiple programming for military veterans with disabilities through PGA HOPE and On Course Foundation. Sgt. John McAfee, one of Mitchell’s students, is a Purple Heart recipient who was awarded two Commendation and Achievement Medals during his tenure in the U.S. Army.
• Aurora Kirchner-McClain, PGA Director of Instruction at Kingwood (Texas) Country Club and her touching connection with 9-year-old PGA Junior League golfer Jhett Skaggs, who is awaiting his second heart transplant.
• Cameron Doan, a PGA Head Professional in Dallas, has a student roster that includes PGA Champion Rich Beem. Yet, Doan draws much of his inspiration from his daughter, Charlsie, 14, who was born without a right hand. In addition to helping his daughter learn the game, Doan taught her the long-lasting and charitable impact golf can have off the course.
• Gerry Hammond, PGA, Owner of the Hammond Golf Academy in Columbus, Ohio, boasts an impressive “Wall of Fame” that lists 70 names of student-athletes he instructed who have earned college golf scholarships. One of Gerry’s students is fellow PGA Professional Wyatt Worthington II, a graduate of Methodist’s PGA Golf Management University program, who now instructs at the Academy, alongside his mentor, and will compete at the 49th PGA Professional Championship.
• PGA/LPGA Professionals Donna White and Judy Alvarez have spearheaded a successful PGA HOPE program in South Florida, and have seen first-hand the difference golf is making in the lives of veterans. Alvarez is a national trainer for PGA HOPE, and three-time LPGA Tour winner White is the PGA Head Professional at Okeeheelee Golf Course in West Palm Beach. One veteran, Mary Anderson-Kokell, suffered from severe flashbacks for the past 30 years, but overcame them the day she started playing golf. Anderson-Kokell praises Alvarez and White for giving her a new beginning in her life.
• Tom Mason met a healthy Jalen Castle at Par Tee Golf Center, in West Columbia, S.C., where Mason is the Head Professional and owner. Castle was later diagnosed with scoliosis and underwent a noninvasive spinal surgery at Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. Between Mason’s guidance and PGA Junior League Golf, Castle is back on the course. Castle met her hero, LPGA major champion Stacy Lewis, who overcame her own similar spinal condition as a teenager.
Golfers everywhere are invited to upload videos, photos and messages to tell their story in support of their favorite PGA Professional at ThxPGAPro.com or on their social channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) using #thxpgapro.