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THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content. Follow Rory on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy With Illinois Golf Coach Mike Small at U of I.

University of Illinois Golf Coach Mike Small continues to fill up his trophy case, as he earns the Sr. PGA Player of the Year from the PGA of America.

Small will receive the award on June 15th during the week of the PGA Professional Championship, that will be contested at Bayonet Black Horse in Seaside California.

Small has won the PGA Player of the year award three times, 2006-2007-2010. He wins this years award with a  third place finish at the PGA Professional Championship. A fourth place finish at the Senior PGA Professional Championship. Small then made the cut at the U.S.Sr. Open and finished 42nd. Small is now the only Illinois PGA Section member to win both the PGA Player of the Year, and Sr. PGA Player of the year award.

“My schedule has always been dictated by my coaching, and when I get a chance to play, it is a bonus,” said Small (in a release from the PGA of America). “I’m a coach first, a player second and I look upon any success as giving me credibility as a coach. It is an honor to win this award. The PGA is very important to me and a big part of my coaching.”

Small has won the PGA National Championship three times, and has won the Illinois PGA Section Championship a record of 12 times. A record likely to never be broken. Small has won the Illinois Open four times, and played in 11 major championships. Comprised of the PGA and U.S. Open. He has made the cut in 15 of the 34 PGA Tour events he has played in, since leaving the tour full-time.

In 2017 he was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He was won the B1G Ten Coach of the Year award a record of nine times. During his time at Illinois the Illini have won the Big Ten Conference numerous times, and have several final four appearances in the NCAA Championships including this year at Rich Harvest Farms. 22 of his players have made All-American and over have been All-Big Ten.

This year, Illinois lead by Small and Seniors Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer are expected to make another strong run in spring of 2018 at a national championship.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.