ITTY BITTY OPEN Kicks Off January 12, 2019


The Junior Golf Association of Arizona (JGAA) announced that it will host the ITTY BITTY OPEN on January 12, 2019 at 20 Valley-wide locations open to all youngsters ages 3-5 years old. The FREE event has three clinic times per location starting a 9, 10 and 11 am where juniors and their parents will learn the basics skills of golf taught by qualified PGA and LPGA professionals. After the clinics, the kids will then participate in fun-filled, non-competitive golf games and tournaments. Each golfer will receive a set of plastic golf clubs, balls, a bag, and a visor – participants are asked to leave their own clubs at home. An adult “caddie” must accompany each golfer.

“Itty Bitty Open is a great way for parents to introduce their children to the game of golf,” said Scott McNevin, Executive Director of the JGAA. “It’s always fun to see so many kids having such a good time. It’s very exciting to think that a three-year-old kid attending the Itty Bitty Open will likely still be playing the game for decades to come. We’re honored to help them begin that journey.”
A special contest with prizes will be held at each session for the “Best Dressed Golfer and Caddie Team.” Anything goes: classic golf fashion; contemporary golf fashion; or any unique golf duds that may come to mind. All winners will receive a congratulatory letter, a trophy, and two tickets for the R.S. Hoyt, Jr. Dream Day Activities at the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open presented by Ak-Chin Indian Community (kids are already allowed to attend at no charge, so the tickets are for parents or other adults).
Space is limited, sign up before January 7 deadline. For those would like to check availability after the entry deadline, please call 602.944.6168.


Historic Announcement from the Golf Associations in Arizona


Anj Brown – AWGA Director of Information & Outreach | Office: 602.253.5655 | Mobile: 541.905.7700 | [email protected]

Chris Montgomery – AGA Director of Communications and Branding | Office: 602.944.3035 | [email protected]



Scottsdale, Arizona – The Arizona Golf Association and the Arizona Women’s Golf Association announced today that the two non-profit organizations have signed an agreement to restructure the operations, management, and governance of the associations under a single entity beginning January 1, 2019. Under the proposed restructuring, the integrated organization will retain the name Arizona Golf Association and will proudly represent and serve all golfers and member clubs in the state of Arizona.
The consolidated structure will create one governing board for the AGA comprised of men and women. Additionally, integrating the operations of the two organizations will result in more opportunities for volunteers to give back to the game, bring communications with Arizona golfers into a central source, give member clubs a single resource to seek year-round service and assistance, and provide efficiency of administration and staffing.

The leadership of both the AGA and AWGA are excited about the restructuring of the associations and think that the integration will be beneficial to growing the game and providing the membership of both organizations a stronger and more comprehensive range of services, which include a full schedule of championships and tournaments, enhanced player development programs, social and networking events, enhanced member benefits, Handicapping, Course Rating, and state of the art technology resources.
“From the very beginning of this integration process, I felt that it was the right thing to do. In fact, I wondered why it had not been done years before,” said Mike McWilliams, President of the AGA. “This is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved in the game of golf in the State of Arizona. I look forward to seeing the enhancements to the many programs that will come out of this.”

The AWGA’s philanthropic initiatives will continue as the focus of the AWGA Foundation, which will be under the direction of current committee members and its own Board of Directors and will be backed by the staff and additional resources of the AGA.

“The integration of our organizations is great news for the golf community in Arizona. Members of the AWGA will continue to enjoy all of the services they receive currently and can look forward to the possibility of even more opportunities in the future due to our combined resources,” said Suzy O’Hara, President of the AWGA. “In addition, the AWGA Foundation will continue the work of bringing the game of golf to a diverse community so that everyone who wants to experience the benefits of the game of golf will have the opportunity to do so.”

The Arizona Golf Foundation will continue to focus on the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame, the Patriot All-American, support research on turf that improves and benefits the environment as well as the economic benefits of golf in Arizona.

“Arizona Golf has long been the leader in innovation, programs and technology among amateur golf associations internationally,” said Ed Gowan, Executive Director of the AGA. “The integrated AGA will only improve the opportunities and possibilities for the future of the Game in Arizona, benefiting all golfers including our winter visitors.”
The Arizona Golf Association, which was founded in 1923, has more than 400 clubs and 55,000 individual members. The Arizona Women’s Golf Association was founded in 1924 and currently serves more than 300 clubs and 22,000 individual members. Together, the integrated organization will be among the top sixteen percent of golf associations in terms of membership size.

“As productive as both the AWGA and the AGA have always been with our small staffs, bringing these two groups of talented and dedicated people together to create a singular focus on serving the game and our community promises great things for golf in Arizona, said Mary Pomroy, Executive Director of the AWGA. “Together, we will be able to do so much more than we did apart. We are very excited about the future of Arizona golf.”
For questions or comments about the restructuring and integration of the Arizona Golf Association and the Arizona Women’s Golf Association, please contact Anj Brown or Chris Montgomery.


2018 Arizona Golf Hall of Fame

Dr. Paul Rowe, Pia Nilsson, Lynn Marriott, Robin Farran & Bill Johnston

Arizona Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2018
Bill Johnston
Bill Johnston was a successful professional golfer, with 15 career wins… won the 1954 Utah Open, the 1958 Sahara Pro-Am, the 1961, 1967, and 1972 Arizona Opens, the 1972 Colorado PGA Championship and the 1973 Colorado Open. As a member of the PGA Tour, Johnston won the 958 Texas open Invitational and the 1960 Utah Open Invitational.
Johnston is also recognized for designing well-known golf courses in Arizona and Texas including: Dominion Country Club in San Antonio, Texas; Tapatio Spring Resort in Boerne, Texas; Lookout Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona; Rancho Manana in Cave Creek, Arizona, and the Links Course at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club.

Paul Rowe
Paul Rowe has been a valued member of the USGA Green Section Committee for more than 15 years…taken the time to learn about the care and maintenance of golf courses… put this information to good use as a standing member of the Arizona Country Club Green Committee, but also to advise green committees throughout the region…given several presentations at the USGA Regional Conferences throughout the Southwest and Northwest Regions about the role of the green committee…written articles on the same subject for the Green Section Record magazine…volunteered to consult with green committees from Minnesota, Idaho and California to listen to their concerns and report those issues to the USGA staff in the hope of making meaningful changes.

Robin Farran
Robin Farrans’s been an influential member of the Arizona golf community since moving here in 2003… volunteering  between 100-120 days a year on Arizona golf courses either as a Rules Official or preparing the course for competition…served as a tournament director, an educator and committee member…receives calls and emails from volunteers throughout the country and always takes the time for a considerate reply…distributes weekly Rules of Golf quizzes to over 550 volunteers and golf administrators.
The name Robin Farran is synonymous with the Rules of Golf, not only here in Arizona but on a national level as well….served on the USGA Senior Amateur Championship Committee since 1998 …. Invited to officiate his first USGA Championship (U.S. Senior Open) in 1999…teaches advanced rules classes at the Golf Academy of America in Chandler.

Lynn Marriott & Pia Nilsson
Lynn Marriott & Pia Nilsson are co-founders of VISION54, are internationally recognized for their a breakthrough program and golf school based at Talking Stick Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona… ranked the two highest ranked female instructors in America…regularly featured among Golf Digest’s Top 50 Greatest Teachers… published four best-selling books… created MYGAME, an online Golf School, and an iPhone app to give golfers easy access to VISION54 skills.
VISION54’s Golf Schools, 54GOLF, have been awarded the “Best Golf School in America” multiple times. VISION54’s Coach Programs, 54COACH, have repeatedly received the highest marks by peers of training for teachers / coaches.
Lynn and Pia have coached players to well over one hundred tour victories…. the LPGA Tour, PGA Tour, European Tour, Ladies European Tour, and Japan Tour…coached nine different major winners, four number one ranked players in the world.


Team California Claims 2018 PGA Jr. League Championship

Reported by Hayley Wilson and Michael Abramowitz.Photos by Darren Carroll/PGA of America

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 19, 2018) – As the moon rose above Grayhawk Golf Club, Team California (San Diego – Encinitas Ranch Golf Course) went undefeated at the 7th PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental, to capture the team’s second crown and the fifth for the Golden State.

California’s Zander Grant, 13, of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, drained a downhill 5 ½-foot putt on Hole No. 9, to clinch the national title over Team Minnesota (Blaine – TPC Twin Cities) 7 ½ to 4 ½. California finished 6-0 in the Championship and Minnesota posted an impressive 5-1-0 clip in its first Championship.
“It felt great,” said Grant. “It was a little scary, because it was straight downhill and sliding to the right. But it felt good, just like the putt I made on Hole No. 6 to win the flag.”
Back in the Winners Circle

This is a familiar feeling for Team California (6-0-0) Captain John Mason, PGA, and Coach Jackie DeWald-Mason. They previously led their team to victory at the 2015 Championship at Disney’s Palm Course in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. “We’ve gotten better and better each month, and this is the culmination of it all,” said Mason. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. And, what a great team Minnesota was.”

The highlight of the match came early when Minnesota’s Cash Dragich, 14, of Blaine, made a remarkable chip off the side of a hill from 80-feet out. The ball rolled along the ridge and into the cup for an eye-popping eagle. California answered the bell with a remarkable 30-foot eagle of their own by Ryan Abuan, 14, of Temecula.
California took control with a 5-3 lead after six holes, needing only a point and a half to clinch. They would move the score to 6-4, before Darren Ho, of San Diego, hit a 130-foot approach shot to 5 ½ feet to set up Grant’s glory. “That was the dagger,” said Mason. “That was what won it right there.”

The team went into celebration mode, as the customary water bottle shower turned into a race to stay dry down the 18th fairway, as the sun set along the McDowell Mountains.
California team member Jay Leng, Jr., 13, was the sole returning competitor to the current team. His teammate Karen Tsuru was just 10-years-old when her older brother, Daina Tsuru, helped California win the title three years ago. Now, she’s holding the title, too.

“This win means everything,” said Tsuru, 13. “My brother played in 2015, and I wanted to be like him and win. I’m pretty excited to bring the news back to San Diego.”
In the third place match, Team Texas (Montgomery) edged Team Louisiana (Shreveport) 8 ½ to 3 ½. The two-time Championship competitors attributed much of their success this weekend to their chemistry as a team.

“Between Ben [Willman, PGA, Captain] and I, we had a lineup set last night,” said Texas Coach EJ Kim, PGA. “We completely [called an] audible on it. We said the chemistry has been great, so were just going to go with what we had this morning, and let the kids have fun.”

Team Minnesota, deemed tournament underdogs from the start, battled their way to the top of the Wanamaker Division with a clean 5-0 record in Divisional Play. It was their grit and determination that earned them a spot in the Championship round Monday afternoon. Though they clinched their Championship berth the day before, Minnesota added another win to their belt Monday morning, defeating defending champion Team Georgia 6 ½ to 5 ½.

“We’re really proud of them all,” said Minnesota Captain Jay Norman, PGA. “They played outstanding all week… We’re rookies, so we live and learn.” Despite coming up short, Minnesota relished the experience.

“This has been amazing,” said Minnesota’s Kathryn VanArragon, 13. “We didn’t know what to expect coming here, it was our first time. It was absolutely incredible.”
On the final day of play, there was a hole-in-one by Team Virginia’s Rylan Shim, 13, who aced the picturesque, 118-yard Par-3 Hole No. 8 with a pitching wedge.

In the morning matchup against Team Delaware that Texas won 8 ½ to 3 ½, Texas’ Finn Burkholder holed out from 140 yards for an eagle.
“I didn’t see it go in, because I’m not tall enough,” said Burkholder. “Everyone went crazy. I didn’t know it went in, but I put my hands up thinking it did.”
While the Woolsey and Camp Fires have not directly impacted the team, Mason remarked during the week that a win could be a shining light in the dark.
“If we can give them something to cheer about and feel good about, it always helps.”


New Global Ranking For Golfers With Disabilities To Launch In 2019

New Global Ranking For Golfers With Disabilities To Launch In 2019

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. AND ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (Nov. 13, 2018) – The USGA and The R&A will administer a global ranking for golfers with disabilities, which will help to grow participation and competition around the world and to promote inclusivity within the sport.   The World Ranking for Golfers with Disability will launch on Jan. 1, 2019 and will be administered in tandem with the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ (WAGR™) for both men and women via  The USGA and The R&A will assume responsibility for the ranking following agreement with EDGA, which created the comprehensive and independent Ranking for Golfers with Disability in 2014. Further information for golfers and tournament organizers wishing to register their details with the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability will be made available later this year.   “One of golf’s best benefits is that it can be played by everyone, and it can be played for a lifetime,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA Senior Managing Director of Championships.   “We are pleased to administer this ranking in partnership with The R&A, as it elevates an important population of the golf community that clearly loves the game and enables a variety of competitive opportunities around the world. Together with the modifications to the Rules of Golf for golfers with disabilities and the USGA’s work to make golf courses more accessible, we are working to create meaningful and lasting change to make golf more welcoming.”  Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development and Amateur Events at The R&A, said, “There is an accelerating growth in the number of events around the world for golfers with disabilities to compete in so it makes absolute sense that there is a global ranking to provide a robust measurement of an individual’s skill and ability.  “It is another important step towards ensuring that golf is more inclusive of people of all ages and abilities. Along with our colleagues at the USGA we will continue to support EDGA’s drive to grow participation and competition in the sport among all disability groups.” Tony Bennett, President of EDGA and Director of Education for the PGAs of Europe, said, “This is a crucial step forward for the growth and development of the sport for golfers with disabilities and we believe it will act as a catalyst for encouraging more people into playing golf, both competitively and recreationally, around the world.” The announcement of the World Ranking for Golfers with Disability coincides with the playing of the Australian All Abilities Championship, which is being organized by Golf Australia and will see 12 golfers compete at The Lakes in Sydney this week alongside the professionals at the Emirates Australian Open.  About the USGA The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, as well as 10 amateur championships and international matches, attracting players and fans around the world. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, and equipment standards, with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories, and Mexico.  The USGA and R&A also partner to administer the World Amateur Golf Ranking™ for men and women as a global service to the game.

The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and the work of the USGA Foundation. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents. For more information, visit

About The R&A Based in St Andrews, The R&A runs The Open, elite amateur events, international matches and rankings. Together The R&A and the USGA govern the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions but sharing a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Standards. The R&A, through R&A Rules Ltd, governs the sport worldwide, outside of the United States and Mexico, on behalf of over 36 million golfers in 143 countries and with the consent of 156 organizations from amateur and professional golf.

The R&A is committed to working for golf and supports the growth of the sport internationally and the development and management of sustainable golf facilities.  For more information, visit


Media Contacts

Janeen Driscoll USGA Communications +1 910.690.9711 [email protected]

Stuart Moffatt The R&A Communications +44 (0) 7464 547 682 [email protected]