Troutville’s Chip Sullivan and three-time PGA Professional National Champion Mike Small of Champaign, Ill., were two of five PGA Professionals featured in the CBS Sports special “The Road to the PGA Championship,” last Sunday, July 25, on CBS. The program, featuring behind-the-scenes stories of some of the competitors in the season’s final major, will be seen in four separate rebroadcasts, beginning August 4 on the Golf Channel.
Marking its fifth consecutive year and hosted by CBS Sports announcer Bill Macatee, “The Road to the PGA Championship” also features the 43rd PGA Professional National Championship conducted in June, which was the springboard to a 20-player delegation that earned berths in the 92nd PGA Championship, Aug. 9-15, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.
PGA Professional Sullivan, the pro at the Hanging Rock Golf Club in Roanoke County, will join a group of 19 other PGA Professionals who qualified for the 92nd PGA Championship, Aug. 9-15, at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.
Sullivan, 45, will be competing in his fifth PGA Championship after finishing in the top 20 on June 30 at the 43rd PGA Professional National Championship at French Lick (Ind.) Resort.
Sullivan, a former pro at the Ashley Plantation in Botetourt County, was the 2007 PGA Professional National Champion. He made one of his four PGA Championship appearances in 2004 at Whistling Straits.
In late 2006, Sullivan contracted hemochromatosis (an overload of iron in his blood) and diabetes, before stabilizing himself through careful medical care and going on and winning a national championship. Last month, Sullivan recorded a hole-in-one at the National Championship in French Lick, Ind., a stroke that helped propel him to a return to Whistling Straits.
Small, the 44-year-old head men’s golf coach at the University of Illinois, captured a record-tying third National Championship on June 30 at the French Lick Resort, and preceded his victory by guiding the Fighting Illini to a second consecutive Big Ten Conference Championship.
Joining Small and Sullivan in the PGA Championship will be three featured PGA Professionals, who each share a compelling story reflecting their career and their quest for competing at Whistling Straits. Danny Balin of Greenwich, Conn., is a 28-year-old PGA assistant professional at Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich, who is a graduate of the PGA Golf Management University Program at Penn State University and is making his major debut.
Kyle Flinton, 44, of Oklahoma City, Okla., is the PGA head professional at Quail Creek Golf & Country Club, and a three-time PGA Assistant Professional Champion. He returns to the PGA Championship for the second time in three years.
Bruce Smith, 43, of Frisco, Texas, the PGA director of instruction at Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas, makes an emotional return to Whistling Straits, where in 2004 he was coordinating a fundraising project for medical expenses to aid his daughter, Kennedy, who has undergone 10 lifetime surgeries for a rare birth defect – lymphatic malformation of the face. The campaign blossomed into the Kisses Fore Kennedy Foundation, benefiting families of children born with similar birth defects.
“The Road to the PGA Championship” will be broadcast on the Golf Channel at the following times. All times are Eastern: Wednesday, August 4, 8-9 pm; Thursday, August 5, 11 am to noon; Sunday, August 8, 2-3 pm, and Tuesday, August 10, 5-6 pm.
CBS and Golf Channel are broadcasting partners of The PGA of America, which is one of the most extensively broadcast golf events. In 2009, the PGA Championship was broadcast worldwide to 185 countries/territories with a potential household reach of more than 560 million receiving live or delayed coverage. Golf Channel features an international reach of 123 million households, 82 million of which are in the United States.