GOLF, Ill. – November 9, 2023 – Andy Mickelson (Mistwood Golf Club) has won the 2023 Illinois PGA Bernardi Player of the Year Award. This marks the second career Player of the Year honor for Mickelson (2018 Assistant Player of the Year) and his first Bernardi Player of the Year honor. Mickelson has now finished inside the top 15 in the Bernardi Player of the Year race every year since becoming a Class A Member in 2019.
“Winning the Illinois PGA Player of the Year is a huge accomplishment for me,” said Mickelson. “I put a lot of time and effort into my game and it’s cool to see it pay off. I had a pretty good season. It seemed like I had a lot of top 10s to go along with the one win earlier in the year. But a couple of second-place finishes and good runs at the majors helped put it over the edge. I’m really happy with how the season played out.”
Illinois PGA Professionals earn Bernardi Player of the Year points in Illinois PGA Stroke Play events, the Illinois PGA Match Play Championship, the Illinois PGA Section Championship, and the Illinois PGA Players Championship. Bernardi points are also awarded for the Illinois Open Championship, PGA Professional Championship, and PGA Championship. Players earn points based on their finish against the entire field. Points are also weighted based on the strength and size of the field.
“We have some very elite players in the Illinois Section,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA Section. “The Player of the Year race is always fun to watch as it unfolds throughout the course of the season. Andy is always one of the top players in our Section and has come close to winning this honor plenty of times. We congratulate him on this outstanding achievement.”
Mickelson played in 11 Bernardi Player of the Year point events this year, finishing inside the top 10 eight times. His 2023 season was highlighted by his lone victory at the Illinois PGA Stroke Play #1 at Bull Valley Golf Club where he fired an impressive 3-under-par 69 in one of the worst weather days the Section saw all year.
Mickelson supplemented this victory with solid performances at the Illinois PGA Major Championships. His victory at the Stroke Play #1 gave him the number two seed at the Harris Golf Cars Illinois PGA Match Play Championship. He would finish second at this event after falling to Chris French (Aldeen Golf Club) 2and1 in the Championship Match. He also finished T2 at the Nadler Golf Cars Illinois PGA Professional Championship. Mickelson carded rounds of 67 and 69 for a tournament total of 8-under-par 136, falling short to Mike Small (University of Illinois) by just one stroke. He secured the Illinois PGA Player of the Year honor with a T5 finish at the Players Championship at Twin Orchard Country Club, giving him top-five finishes at three of four Illinois PGA Majors in 2023.
In addition, Mickelson recorded impressive rounds of 75 and 73 at the Illinois Open at Flossmoor Golf Club before finishing 52nd. He also appeared in the National PGA Professional Championship in New Mexico in April. Despite missing the cut, Mickelson was one of nine Illinois PGA Professionals to qualify for this event in 2023.
“I seem to play well at the Majors,” said Mickelson. “I don’t know what is. I guess it’s kind of similar to the PGA Tour players, I just get up for those events. I think I focus a little more and that helps me play a little bit better. I think maybe I should try and have that mindset for more of the stroke play events, but the Majors are definitely marked on my calendar every year.”
The Illinois PGA Player of the Year Award is named after Sam Bernardi. Bernardi was a member of the Illinois PGA from 1926-1972, holding positions at Briergate Country Club, Old Elm Club and Indian Hill Club, and was a tremendous player on the Illinois PGA circuit.
About the Illinois PGA/Illinois PGA Foundation
The Illinois Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving men and women golf professionals in northern and central Illinois who are recognized experts in growing, teaching, and managing the game of golf. The Illinois PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, educational opportunities, support programs, and growth of the game initiatives. With over 760 members and associates, the Illinois PGA is one of the 41 regional Sections that comprise the PGA of America. The Illinois PGA Foundation focuses its community efforts on promoting the goodwill and growth of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth. Foundation initiatives include: GolfWorks Illinois, youth-based Scholarship funds, PGA HOPE (Helping our Patriots Everywhere), Illinois PGA Birdies for Charity, and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. For more information about the Illinois PGA and the Illinois PGA Foundation, please visit www.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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Illinois PGA Communications