Every year, the best golfers in the world take part in a tournament known as the PGA Championship. It’s one of professional golf’s major championships.
However, this tournament is a bit different, as club professionals from across the country get to compete for nearly 40 spots.
This year, of course, the tournament is being held at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester. One of those pros, Neil Reidy, is hoping for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, for more reasons than just golf.
“Cobblestone is a really cool club with a great membership. This year we're actually getting ready to start a golf course renovation,” Reidy said of his club, Cobblestone Creek Country Club in Victor.
After graduating from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, Reidy left New York state for the warmth of Florida, as most aspiring pro golfers do
“And the director of Instruction at MacArthur (Florida Club) at the time was Craig Harmon, who was the head pro at Oak Hill Country Club," Reidy said
It’s a connection and friendship that led to Reidy being offered a job at Oak Hill.
“I did summers at Oak Hill and winters at MacArthur,” Reidy remembered.
Just three years later, nearby Cobblestone Creek came looking for its next head pro.
“We just really fell in love with Rochester,” Reidy said of his family.
It's a love that now has Reidy preparing and excited for the chance of a lifetime.
“It's a once in a lifetime for sure,” Reidy said.
Oak Hill Country Club is hosting the 2023 PGA Championship and welcomes the very best golfers in the world.
“Oak Hill is a big part of my career [and] a big part of who I am today,” Reidy said.
And there are 37 spots for club pros across the country, just like Reidy.
“I truly believe I have the ability to get through,” he said. “So I have to play my best at the right time. That's what golf's all about, right?
Reidy has been playing so well, he qualified for the PGA Professional Championship, the tournament in New Mexico just a few weeks ago, that would determine who would fill those spots.
As Reidy prepared for this opportunity, he couldn't help but think of, perhaps his biggest inspiration.
“My father loved golf,” he said. “I lost my father last year. He loved Oak Hill.”
It’s a father that Reidy knows is watching from above, thinking of all the special times out on that course that they shared.
“One of his favorite things to do is get in a golf cart, just ride around and watch me play. In fact, just a couple of years ago, we had an opportunity to do that before he passed away. It was an absolutely wonderful day. So yeah, he loved it there,” Reidy added with a loving smile on his face.
Unfortunately, his journey in New Mexico came up just short, missing the cut by only two shots. However, it was truly an incredible effort from an incredible man who loves his family, this sport, this community and this very special golf course.
Reidy will still get the chance to enjoy the PGA, as he plans to attend and root on some friends. He will even get the chance to work on the ranges during Monday and Tuesday’s practice rounds.