This week the world’s best golfers are in Kohler, Wisconsin for the 97th PGA Championship which will take place at Whistling Straits for the third time in the last eleven years.  Among the most interested spectators will be Ryan Cannon who will serve as Championship Director of the 2016 PGA which comes to Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, NJ next summer.  Cannon, who began working with the PGA of America in 2001, has been the Championship Director of the PGA’s most significant event in 2013, 2011 and 2008.  He will be responsible for managing the regional business of next year’s fourth and final major, including marketing, advertising, community and government relations, security, volunteer recruitment and the PGA’s working relationship with the Baltusrol Golf Club.

The Shore Sports Network caught up with the Berkeley Heights resident before he left for Wisconsin to get a sense of what’s taking place one year before New Jersey takes center stage in the golfing world:

SSN: Explain the ticket process and how it works.  How do fans secure the best tickets for the 2016 PGA Championship>

RC:   The ticket registration process places ticket seekers into groups passed on the date they register.  Earlier registration ensures golf fans a better position to purchase the most sought after tickets.  Registration is free, only takes a few minutes and there is no obligation to purchase.  Registration ends Sunday, August 16th so golf fans are encouraged to register now at pgachampionship.com

SSN:  How many fans attended when the PGA was last held at Baltusrol in 2005?

RC:   We do not have specific attendance figures available from 2005, but I can tell you that we had a championship-sized crowd.  Looking ahead to next year, given that this region has some of the best golf fans in the world and that Baltusrol Golf Club is one of the most iconic major championship venues in the world, we are anticipating another championship-sized crowd in 2016.

SSN:  Have there been any significant changes to the course over the last 10 years?

RC:   There have been a number of minor improvements over the last decade to ensure that the course will continue to challenge the best players in the world.  With that said, the character of the entire facility has been masterfully retained throughout.  We are all very fortunate that Baltusrol Golf Club will host the best players in the world next year for the PGA Championship.  Personally, I cannot wait to watch an entire generation of professional golfers be introduced to one of the most historic venues in the game.

SSN:  In addition to tickets what is YOUR main focus 12 months out?

RC:   We are focused on all the moving parts of the championship.  I think it’s important to note here that this championship does not happen with the effort and buy-in of literally thousands of people serving as both volunteers and staff from dozens of different organizations.  We hope that the entire region feels vested in the success of the 2016 PGA Championship.  If that happens, this championship will be a tremendous moment of pride not only for members of Baltusrol and the PGA of America, but ultimately for the entire state of New Jersey.

SSN:  We almost had a situation where Jordan Spieth would have been going for the Grand Slam this weekend.  Can you imagine what that would be like next year if a golfer had won the first three majors prior to the PGA?

RC:   Of course!  I think about it all the time!  While that would be incredible, no matter what, we all have the opportunity to watch the instant that someone’s life changes forever when they win the PGA Championship.  It really is an incredible and rare experience to see that moment happen in person.  I hope that one day during my lifetime we are all able to witness someone complete the grand slam and it can only happen at the PGA Championship.

PGA of America