PGA of America Commemorates Founding at NYC Hotel

The PGA of America commemorated its origins when a plaque was unveiled on the outside of the Radisson Martinique on Broadway in New York City, the same hotel (then called Hotel Martinique) where the association was founded more than 92 years ago.

The PGA of America grew from a meeting held on April 10, 1916, in Hotel Martinique's boardroom, where 35 charter members and 78 total professionals were elected to membership and formed what is today the world's largest working sports organization, with more than 28,000 men and women members.

PGA of America president Brian Whitcomb, vice president Jim Remy, secretary Allen Wronowski, honorary president Roger Warren and chief executive officer Joe Steranka unveiled the plaque along with New York City Sports Commissioner Kenneth Podziba, and Radisson Martinique vice president Susan Anselona. U.S. Ryder Cup Team captain Paul Azinger, who moments later announced his four selections to the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup Team, also took part in the ceremony.

"Today is an historic day for the PGA of America," said Whitcomb. "To be here at the birthplace of the PGA of America, not only in New York City but at the Hotel Martinique, where more than nine decades ago the original founding fathers gathered, makes this a very special occasion."

The idea for the association began in early 1916 when department store magnate and philanthropist Rodman Wanamaker invited a group of golf professionals and top amateurs to a lunch at New York City's Taplow Club. Wanamaker pitched an idea that golf professionals could enhance equipment sales by forming an association. Included among the list of invitees were 1913 U.S. Open champion Francis Quimet, golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast and John G. Anderson, a Wanamaker golf equipment salesman.

Within six months of that meeting in April, the first PGA Championship, won by Jim Barnes, was held at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y. Wanamaker donated a purse of $2,580 and the trophy that still bears his name today.

The Hotel Martinique opened in 1900 in midtown Manhattan. Radisson Martinique on Broadway underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation in 2006. Each day, some 15,000 people walk past the hotel and may view the plaque.