54th PGA Professional Championship
Credit: Darren Carroll/PGA of America/PGA

TULSA, Okla. – Part of the magic of the PGA Championship each year is PGA of America’s #Teamof20, the group of 20 talented PGA Club Professionals who earned their way into the championship through their play at the PGA Professional Championship.

This year, there are 12 new faces, led by PGA Professional Champion Jesse Mueller, PGA General Manager at Grand Canyon University Golf Course in Phoenix.

“Now that I’m not playing full-time anymore, this is like a bonus,” said Mueller, who is 39. “I still want to compete and play well. But my full-time job is at home. It’s like a vacation for me to play on this golf course. It’s awesome.”

Championship Rookie Paul Dickinson, PGA Assistant at Atlantic Golf Club, is one of four PGA Club Professionals representing the Metropolitan PGA Section this week, and will play not only in his first PGA Championship, but his first major championship overall. Having played the game for 30 years, he looks around at the grand scale of Southern Hills and is filled with pride for getting here.

54th PGA Professional Championship
AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 20: Paul Dickinson hits his shot from the fourth tee during the final round of the 54th PGA Professional Championship at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa on April 20, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America)
Credit: Darren Carroll/PGA of America/PGA

“It’s a gigantic production, and all of this is pretty surreal,” said Dickinson, a sixth-generation member of a family that oversees the oldest cattle ranch in the U.S. – in Montauk, N.Y., no less. Dickinson tried his hand on the ranch as a youth, decided to become a golfer, not a cowboy, and Southern Hills is his payoff for 30 years of hard work in the game.

“I watch a lot of these guys on TV, and to see them in person, see them hit balls, so it’s pretty impressive to be rubbing elbows with them,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson got to Tulsa on Sunday and settled in slowly, getting registered and then practicing a little. Monday was the first day that he saw the golf course.

“It’s a brute,” he said. “That’s why I have these wedges in my hand, to get some practice in. I don’t hit it very far, and the course is so long. It’s going to be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Brandon Bingaman, PGA, tall and lanky, is an Assistant Professional from Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas who earned his way to Southern Hills with a strong closing effort at the PGA Professional Championship at Barton Creek.

What does he look forward to most at his first PGA Championship?

“Just getting out there and playing,” Bingaman said. “I’m really, really excited to see this golf course in full tournament conditions. Obviously, they’ve got everything tuned up. It’s about as perfect as a golf course could be.”

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