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Seth Waugh stepping down as CEO of PGA of America

By July 2, 2024No Comments

Seth Waugh is stepping down from the PGA of America after electing not to renew his contract, which expires on June 30.

A national search for a new CEO, which will include internal and external candidates, is underway. During the transition, Chief Championships Officer Kerry Haigh will serve as interim CEO. Haigh will not be part of the candidate pool for the new CEO position.

“The goal from the start was to leave the room better than we found it and I believe that together we have done just that,” Waugh said. “Golf has never been younger or a better reflection of the greater population. It’s never been more forward leaning, more popular or considered cooler than it is today. I have often said that golf is one of the great engines of good on earth. I am perhaps the biggest all-time beneficiary of that good.”

Waugh, 66, joined the PGA as CEO in September 2018. He was on the verge of completing a three-year term as an independent director on the PGA’s board when his predecessor Pete Bevacqua left to become NBC Sports Group President – he’s currently serving as athletic director at Notre Dame – and Waugh was hired to take over.

“I may have gotten the job because of what I’ve done, my business stuff, but I took the job so that I could make a difference,” Waugh said shortly after starting as the head of an association that exceeded 30,000 club professionals for the first time during his tenure. “The opportunity to do that is what is fulfilling to me. That will be my legacy, not whether we win a Ryder Cup or have the biggest TV deal ever. It will be whether the members are better off.”

During his tenure, the PGA relocated its headquarters from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to a fancy, new campus complete with championship golf courses in Frisco, Texas, and committed to bringing 26 future PGA America championships – the PGA Professional Championship in April being the first of them – to the two courses built in its backyard. In his role, he also signed a lucrative 11-year TV deal with CBS and ESPN beginning in 2020.

“On behalf of the more than 30,000 PGA of America golf professionals, we are grateful for Seth’s leadership and for all that he accomplished for our members, our game, the business and our people,” said PGA of America President John Lindert in a statement. “He skillfully led us through incredibly challenging times and was always a great partner. We are fortunate to be able to call on him going forward for his always helpful advice and counsel.”

As former CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, Waugh worked during his time there with the PGA Tour to create the former Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, where he hired now-PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to be the first tournament director and served as an early mentor.

Ahead of the 106th playing of this year’s PGA Championship, the PGA of America’s flagship event, Waugh addressed the “messy” state of pro golf as the PGA Tour and LIV continue to battle for eyeballs and interest.

Waugh said he was “absolutely” worried about the game at the professional level, noting how “it seems to get messier every week.”

“I think the best thing for the game is a deal. And we’ve been very consistent on that front,” said Waugh. “What has been an unsustainable business model has put pressure on other places like the (PGA Tour) that creates some financial dynamics as well as other dynamics that are very hard, and quite frankly it puts some financial pressure on us, as well.”


Source: Golfweek