Inside the Ropes

Katy O’Grady-Pyne / Journal — Casey Pyne, a PGA club professional, formerly of Bloomington and son of Clinton Journal publisher Katy O’Grady-Pyne, signs autographs for fans at the PGA Championship last month in Tulsa. 

Surreal is the only word I can find to describe watching our son play in the PGA Championship last month. I watched him sign his autograph on flags, hats, shirts, and even hands. Forty-five thousand people walked the grounds and many of those clamored at the golf pros as they would move around the course. 

My son, Casey Pyne, is an assistant club professional at the Stanwich Club in Greenwich, CT. He qualified to play in the PGA Championship earlier this year when he earned a spot in the Top 20 of the PGA Professional National Championship in Austin, Texas. Casey finished tied for 11th place. 

The PGA Championship is one of four major golf tournaments. The others are The Masters, US Open, and The Open (formerly known as the British Open). Nearly all the famous players were there: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and more.  

This year’s PGA Championship was played in Tulsa, Oklahoma so we arrived in time to watch the Wednesday practice rounds before the tournament started on Thursday, May 19. 

When we got to Southern Hills Country Club, we found our son on the driving range working with his ‘coaches,’ the head pro from a club in Naples, Florida where he worked for a couple winters, as well as the director of golf from the Stanwich Club. Casey doesn’t have an official coach, but he wanted to give these men the chance to be inside the ropes and offer him advice.  

As we stood watching, we found four of our son’s high school friends who had driven from Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi. Over the next couple of days, more friends arrived, including a couple from Washington, DC, a former coworker who had moved to California, our son’s high school golf coach, and the coach from his community college team. Even a couple of former college teammates and a grade school friend of mine made the trip to watch someone they knew play in a golf tournament most of us have only seen on television. 

 • See the complete story in the Friday, June 17 print edition of the Clinton Journal or now in the Journal E-Edition for subscribers.