Since starting out in golf, Maddie Szeryk has dreamt of playing the sport at the highest level. After securing LPGA Tour status for 2022 last December in Alabama, the 25-year-old has realized her childhood dream and is ready to take on the world’s best this season.
The long time member of Golf Canada’s National Team Program recalls her humble beginnings when she got started at the age of seven thanks to the encouragement of her dad, Neil Szeryk.
“I remember my dad initially signed me up for lessons at a summer camp and I went out with everyone; and then after I got an individual coach. I really liked the sport and I’ve been doing it ever since,” she reminisced.
Szeryk, whose parents Neil and Karen relocated from London, Ont., shortly after being married – found her passion and a lot of success on the golf course.
“I remember really enjoying being out on the golf course and I also remember winning a lot of local tournaments growing up and so I wanted to work hard as I could to continue getting better,” she recalled.
With the top 45 plus ties earning LPGA Tour membership and playing status for 2022, Szeryk shot a 68 in the eighth and final round of the LPGA Q-Series to finish in a tie for 35th spot.
It should give Szeryk and her supporters a lot of confidence in knowing that when it mattered most she was calm and cool as a cucumber. The talented young Canadian birdied her last two holes to finish inside the top 45 by one stroke – finishing five under for the eight day qualifying tournament which was held in Alabama.
Szeryk says the achievement last December was a very meaningful one – not only for herself but those that have been in her corner through the ups and downs.
“Everyone was so happy and excited. My parents both cried because we all put in so many sacrifices for this dream. To finally have it come true is amazing; and knowing all that hard work paid off,” she said. “We went out for dinner when I got back home and I got to celebrate with friends – so it was really special.”
The long time National Team member also received a heartfelt message from her Golf Canada head coach Tristan Mullally after the thrilling finish at the LPGA Q-Series.
“Gutsy Performance from @mszeryk who barely missed a couple of years ago through @roadtolpga top 10 and has patiently been working away. Class on and off the course and couldn’t be happier for her. #faith #dragonheart,” he Tweeted.
The former University of Texas A&M All-American is quick to credit the support from Golf Canada for playing a key important role in her success.
“They have been a huge part in terms of getting me to this point. I was on the amateur team all through college and had a lot of great experiences. During my time with the National Team Program, I got to play in high level events and had a chance to test my game against the best amateurs in the world. I also got to play in a number of LPGA events, including the CP Women’s Open,” said Szeryk.
“The coaching and support has played a big role in getting me to where I am. Golf Canada has been awesome in support of my journey.”
The 25-year-old will be joining Canadians Maude-Aimée Leblanc and Brooke Henderson this season on the LPGA Tour. She is also excited to be entering her rookie season with a few of her good friends.
“Dewi Weber, Sophia Schubert, and Haylee Harford are close friends that I played with on the Symetra Tour – now the Epson Tour – and it’s great that we will all be rookies on the LPGA Tour this year,” she said.
Szeryk plans to start her season at the beginning of March on the Epson Tour and play her first LPGA Tour event in late March or early April. And she’s been working hard in preparation for the season ahead.
“On average I’ve been putting in about five or six hours of practise on the golf course each day. But it’s really about quality over quantity in terms of the work. I’ve been doing my best to be prepared physically and mentally.”
Having realized her childhood dream through the LPGA Q-Series in December, Szeryk was asked about her thoughts and goals heading into her first season playing against the best of the best.
“I’m really excited. I got to play a few LPGA events before so I kind of know the atmosphere. It’s really cool to be playing as an LPGA member this season and luckily I have a few friends that will be rookies also to share the experience,” she replied.
“I’m going to try to have good finishes and have good results; but also just try to stay in the present and enjoy every week and have fun out there.”
LPGA has new sponsor, big commitment for developmental tour
Golf New Brunswick
BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) – The LPGA Tour has a new title sponsor for its developmental tour that will boost prize money, award $10,000 to each of the leading 10 players that graduate to the LPGA Tour and seek to eventually cut entry fees in half.
Epson America has a five-year deal with the LPGA Tour that runs through 2026.
The newly named Epson Tour, which is set to begin the first week of March in Florida, will announce its schedule in a few weeks.
“This ground-breaking partnership will provide expanded opportunities for the future stars of the game from around the globe to test their talent and take one step closer to realizing their dreams,” LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan said.
The developmental tour enters its 42nd year of structured competition, and it has produced such future stars as Karrie Webb, Lorena Ochoa, Inbee Park and Nelly Korda. Nine players who started on the tour accounted for 12 victories last season on the LPGA Tour.
The LPGA’s deal with Symetra expired last year.
Japan-based Seiko Epson Corp., a global technology company, is the parent company of Epson America, based in California.
More than being the title sponsor of the main circuit that leads to the LPGA Tour, it will start the Epson Tour Ambassador Program, giving $10,000 to the 10 leading players to provide a financial boost as they start on the LPGA Tour.
The standard tournament prize money will be $200,000, another increase.
The commitment is believed to be roughly three times greater than the previous season.
The deal also includes Epson contributing money to lower entry fees by 10% each tournament for every player, which would amount to as much as a $1,000 savings for each player.
And through the Epson Tour DEI Partnership, the company and the LPGA are challenging at least four companies to join them by working to cut entry fees from $500 to $250. Participating companies would receive Pro-Am spots and advertising at every Epson Tour event.
“We don’t only want to put our name on the Epson Tour. We want to find ways to invest in players chasing their dream of the LPGA Tour and support them once that dream becomes a reality,” said Kendra Jones, Epson America’s vice president of legal affairs and general counsel.
Brooke Henderson wins LA Open for 10th LPGA Tour title
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 24: Brooke Henderson of Canada poses in front of the Hollywood sign holding the championship trophy after winning the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open at Wilshire Country Club on April 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Golf New Brunswick
LOS ANGELES – Brooke Henderson rallied to win the HUGEL Air Premia LA Open on Saturday for her 10th LPGA Tour title, chipping in for birdie on the par-3 12th in an early back-nine burst and getting up-and-down for par on the last.
Four strokes behind leader Jessica Korda and three back of top-ranked Jin Young Ko entering the sunny day at Wilshire Country Club, Henderson closed with her second straight 4-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Korda.
The 23-year-old Canadian birdied the par-4 11th to take the lead at 15 under, hitting a 144-yard shot to 3 feet of the back, right pin. She holed out from 70 feet from right and below the green on 12, and made a 6-foot birdie putt on the short par-4 14th.
Henderson bogeyed the par-4 17th to cut her lead to two, then chipped inside 2 feet for par on the par-3 18th after her 8-iron shot rolled off the right edge of the green and into a low collection area.
The sixth-ranked Henderson won for the first time since the Meijer LPGA Classic in June 2019. She finished at 16-under 268 to break the event record of 14 under set by Minjee Lee in 2019.
Korda closed with a 72, missing a chance for her second victory of the year after leading after each of the first three rounds. She won the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in January for her sixth LPGA Tour title.
“You know, this game is incredible and it gives you so many great opportunities. The friends that I’ve made and the places that I’ve been able to travel are really crazy,” said Henderson, when asked about being a role model.
“I’m really grateful that my parents got me into the game and that my sister and I have been able to share this journey together.”
While Henderson made her move early on the back nine, Ko bogeyed the 11th and 12th in a 72 that left her tied with Australia’s Hannah Green at 14 under. The South Korean star was coming off a two-week break after finishing seventh in the ANA Inspiration.
Green eagled the 14th and birdied the par-5 15th in a 66.
Major champions So Yeon Ryu (68) and Angela Stanford (70) tied for fifth at 12 under.
The United States Golf Association names Mike Whan its new Chief Executive
NAPLES, FL - NOVEMBER 15: LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan presents the Commissioner's Award during the LPGA Rolex Players Awards at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort on November 15, 2018 in Naples, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (Feb. 17, 2021) – The USGA announced today that Mike Whan will join the organization this summer as CEO, and will become the eighth top executive in USGA history.
Last month, Whan announced his intention to step down as LPGA Commissioner in 2021, after his organization completes a search for the next Commissioner. His transition follows an impressive 11 years at the helm of the LPGA, during which the organization experienced historic growth in virtually every aspect of the business.
As USGA CEO, Whan will be responsible for leading all aspects of the association’s operations, including its core functions, essential programs, and human and financial resources. He will also represent the USGA on a variety of national and international boards.
“Mike Whan is a proven, successful and transformative leader, not only in the golf industry but throughout his entire career,” said USGA President Stu Francis, who oversaw the CEO search process. “He has shown a unique ability to understand how the environment is changing in global golf and how to quickly and thoughtfully adapt an organization to meet those changes. Importantly, Mike is already a trusted peer for so many key stakeholders in the industry, and his existing relationships will not only help the USGA, but will also help advance the game.”
Whan started his career at the Procter & Gamble Company in 1987, where he rose to Director of Marketing for Oral Care before leaving to pursue a passion for sports. Whan’s sports business career began at Wilson Sporting Goods as a Vice President and General Manager in the golf division. He joined the TaylorMade Golf Company as Vice President of Marketing in 1995 and later served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Executive Vice President/General Manager for Taylormade-adidas Golf. In 2002, Whan became the President and CEO of Mission Hockey, a hockey equipment company.
Since joining the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 2010, Whan increased the number of tournaments on the LPGA Tour’s schedule to 34 from 24, increased purses from $41.4 million to $76.5 million, and grew television hours from 125 hours per season, to over 500 hours. Under his leadership, the LPGA became a truly global business – with players, tournaments, sponsors and fans coming from all over the world. Currently, the LPGA Tour is televised in over 170 countries each week. Whan’s leadership resulted in the expansion of the LPGA to now include both the Symetra Tour, the recently announced joint venture with the Ladies European Tour, as well as a nearly 50% increase in LPGA’s teaching division. Whan’s focus on growing the game for junior girls has led to a significant expansion of the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program, which had 5,000 members when he joined the organization to 90,000 girls now engaged in the program.
Laurence Applebaum and Mike Whan at 2019 CP Women’s Open
“As someone who grew up loving this game, I have always had huge respect for the USGA and its role in leading our sport,” said Whan. “The game has given me so much throughout my life, both personally and professionally. I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m truly excited about this role, as it gives me the opportunity to not only give back to the game, but to also work hard to leave it stronger.”
Current USGA CEO Mike Davis, who joined the USGA in 1990 and became the Association’s seventh executive director in 2011 and first CEO in 2016, will depart later this year to team with Tom Fazio II in a new course design venture, Fazio & Davis Golf Design.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mike Whan for many years and I view him as a trusted, strategic leader who has a proven track record of building collaborative partnerships,” said Davis. “I know the USGA will be in great hands, and I look forward to partnering with Mike to ensure a smooth and successful transition for the USGA.”