Defending Champion Alex Beach Ready to Defend Title at PGA Golf Club
The 2021 PGA Professional Championship will take place at PGA Golf Club on the Wanamaker and Ryder Courses in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where – after two years – Alex Beach will finally be able to defend his 2019 title.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 PGA Professional Championship.
Beach, an assistant professional at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., outdueled fellow Met Section professional Danny Balin – who Beach succeeded at Westchester a week earlier – on his way to a two-stroke victory at Belfair’s West Course in Bluffton, S.C.
For the now 31-year-old Beach, it was a life-changing victory.
“I think it was in so many ways,” said Beach, whose victory came in his fourth PGA Professional Championship start.” I think for me, it was a little bit of a validation to the hard work being put in and just kind of a confirmation of ability of sorts. It was a huge accomplishment. Secondary, the perks that come with winning the tournament certainly opened a lot of doors.”
Those perks included a spot in the field in the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black – an invitation earned by all of the top-20 PPC finishers – and exemptions into six PGA Tour events, as well as entry to the second stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament.
“The win was a catapult to a lot of good things,” Beach said. “On the other side, it’s something that will be with me forever. They can’t take your name off that trophy. It also too a weight off the shoulders, because it was something I always wanted to do and felt capable of doing it. It has opened a lot of doors that are helpful in short and long term for me. And being known as a national champion certainly has a nice ring to it, too.”
Impressively, Beach also won the 2019 National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, where he became the first PGA Member to win the PPC and the Assistant PPC in the same calendar year.
He also appeared in the fan-less 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park, getting in as a top-20 finisher on the 2019 PGA Player of the Year list since the 2020 PPC couldn’t be played.
A major without fans was quite the experience for Beach.
“It was different,” he said. “To not travel with friends and family and get used to a bubble environment was unique. The Tour did a good job conducting events with the right things to do since June. I also thought it allowed me to potentially have a great week. No one who hasn’t played in Tour events can appreciate the pressure out there. Your body feels different, there’s media, great expectations. To play without any fans or distractions was a great opportunity. I ended up a couple shots shy of making the cut, but it was another step in having confidence in
my own game. Looking at the guys I beat – I think 22 PGA Tour winners – was pretty good. I played with Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel, two former PGA Champions. You can learn so much from guys who have been around the block. I didn’t feel nervous or uncomfortable. It was different though without fans. They bring a certain energy that the players love. I enjoy that. Not having my team there was unique, but at that time we were happy to compete safely.”
With the 2021 PPC taking place at PGA Golf Club, it’ll be a very familiar venue for scores of players in the 312-player field.
“Everyone has had a lot of rounds there,” from playing in the PGA Winter Series, Beach said. “There aren’t many secrets. It’s a different time of year, so it might be a little different. But it’s another week I look forward to. The only goal is to win and put four solid rounds together. I’d love to make Kiawah. It’s one of my favorite places. If I take care of business, that should be attainable. Go play my best and make smart decisions and see where we fall after four rounds.”
When Beach said the “only goal is to win,” we had to know if he could take that approach having already won before. After all, a top-20 finish earns a spot in May’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in the Palmetto State, just a touch over 2 hours northeast of where Beach won the 2019 PPC.
So, did the goal alter to a loftier ambition because his name is on the trophy already?
“No,” Beach stated simply.
The goal has always been to win – something he’s made a habit of these last couple of years.