Last Update :11/25/2008

GCSAA Release - Azinger to keynote in New Orleans

News Release
November 24, 2008
Contact: Jeff Bollig, GCSAA director of communications
800-472-7878, ext. 4430 or

Ryder Cup captain headlines GCSAA Education Conference in New Orleans
Azinger to keynote GCSAA Opening Session

Paul Azinger
Paul Azinger will keynote the 2009 GCSAA Education Conference Opening Session Feb. 5 in New Orleans.

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PGA Tour professional and captain of the victorious 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team Paul Azinger will deliver the keynote speech at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) 2009 Education Conference Opening Session, 9-11 a.m., Feb. 5 in New Orleans.

“This will be a fantastic way to open our education conference,” GCSAA President David S. Downing II, CGCS said. “I am sure our members will be interested and excited to hear his insights on the game, especially the Ryder Cup. His understanding of golf course conditioning and course setup clearly indicates his appreciation of golf course superintendents. When we approached Paul about speaking to us, he was enthusiastic in his response. We have been fortunate to have quite a run of outstanding keynote speakers and Paul Azinger will be no different.”

Azinger is quite familiar with the golf course management aspect of the game and has more than one family member in the profession. His brother, Jed Azinger, golf course architect, president of Azinger Golf Group, and executive board member of Sarasota, Fla.-based Adaptive Golf Foundation of America, is a former GCSAA Class A superintendent. Their cousin, Scott Azinger, is a 28-year GCSAA member and the general manager/COO at Davenport (Iowa) Country Club.

Azinger relied heavily upon GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent Mark Wilson at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., in the 18 months leading up to the Ryder Cup to help create any kind of "home field advantage" possible for the Americans with course setup. He lauded Wilson's work in media interviews, kept in constant contact with Wilson leading up to and throughout the event. Azinger paid a visit to the maintenance facility during the practice rounds to personally thank Wilson's entire staff, hand out American flag pins, sign autographs and then he included them in the post tournament celebration.

Azinger turned pro in 1981 after playing college golf for Florida State University. He has 15 professional wins since his rookie year in 1982, including the 1993 PGA Championship and the 1992 Tour Championship. Azinger has 13 runner-up finishes on tour, including the 1987 British Open. He spent almost 300 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings between 1988 and 1994, reaching as high as sixth in 1994. Azinger ranks 51st in career earnings on the PGA Tour, accumulating 112 top 10 finishes and 213 top 25s, including a tie for third at the 1993 U.S. Open and a fifth place finish at the 1998 Masters. He played on the U.S. team in four Ryder Cups: 1989, 1991, 1993 and 2002, and was captain in 2008. Azinger also played in the 1994 and 2000 President's Cup, as well as the 1989 World Cup. He was named the 1987 PGA and Golf World Player of the Year.

Azinger was enjoying his finest season of his career in 1993 before being diagnosed with lymphoma in his right shoulder blade in December. He resumed his playing career near the end of the 1994 season following chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Azinger received the Golf Writers Association of America's Ben Hogan Award in 1995, given to the individual who has continued to be active in golf despite physical handicap or serious illness. His book, "Zinger," is about his fight against cancer. Azinger made more than $1.5 million in 2001 and missed just one cut for the second year in a row. He finished the 2001 season making 18 consecutive cuts, the second-longest current at the time, behind Tiger Woods' 78. In 2004, Azinger began also working as an analyst for golf telecasts.

GCSAA is a leading golf organization and has as its focus golf course management. Since 1926, GCSAA has been the top professional association for the men and women who manage golf courses in the United States and worldwide. From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to more than 20,000 members in more than 72 countries. GCSAA’s mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. The association’s philanthropic organization, The Environmental Institute for Golf, works to strengthen the compatibility of golf with the natural environment through research grants, support for education programs and outreach efforts. Visit GCSAA at

The GCSAA Education Conference (Feb. 2-7) is held in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show (Feb. 5-7) at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. It is the largest educational conference in the turfgrass management industry. More than 100 seminars and 60 additional hours of educational sessions are offered, covering all ranges of golf course management, including agronomics, communication and business management. Visit Golf Industry Show is an innovative trade show designed for the owners/operators of golf facilities, and the professional members of the golf course and club management industries. Featuring the largest exhibit floor in the industry, the event combines education, networking and solutions for golf course superintendents, owners/operators, general managers, chief operating officers, architects and builders. The Golf Industry Show is presented by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) and the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), along with participating partners, the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) and the National Golf Foundation (NGF). Visit



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