GLENVIEW, Ill. – October 30, 2020 – Mike Small (University of Illinois) has won the 2020 Illinois PGA Bernardi Player of the Year Award. This marks Small’s second career Bernardi Player of the Year honor. He previously won this award in 2008 and has also been the National PGA Professional Player of the Year three times (2006, 2007, 2010) and an OMEGA National Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year (2017).
“The goal for all competitive golfers is to achieve a high level of consistency over time, and the Illinois PGA Player of the Year Award is representative of that,” said Small. “I’m a proud member of the Illinois PGA Section, and it was enjoyable to play more often this year in Section events, and to spend more time competing alongside my fellow professionals. I have great respect for the members of the Illinois PGA, and I am honored to be their Player of the Year.”
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. Mike showcased some great golf this season and performed well at major events. We congratulate Mike on this outstanding achievement.”
Small played in nine Illinois PGA events this season, two Illinois PGA Senior events and one Central Illinois PGA Chapter event. He finished inside the top-10 at each of these events, including three victories. He won his 13th Illinois PGA Professional Championship at Medinah Country Club and also won the Illinois PGA Stroke Play at Elgin Country Club.
Small also had three second-place finishes in 2020. He came up one stroke short at the Illinois PGA Stroke Play at Ivanhoe Club and the Illinois Senior Open Championship at Royal Fox Country Club. He also lost in a two-hole playoff at the Central Illinois PGA Chapter Championship on a hole that Kyle English (Crestwicke Country Club) poured in an eagle for the win.
In addition to the Illinois Senior Open, Small also participated in the Illinois Senior PGA Professional Championship at the Merit Club. He won this event for the fourth straight year, becoming just the second Illinois PGA Professional to achieve this feat (Gary Groh).
Small had a strong showing at the Illinois PGA Major Championships in 2020. In addition to winning the Illinois PGA Professional Championship, Small finished T9 at the 71st Illinois Open at White Eagle Golf Club, T5 at the Illinois PGA Players Championship at Conway Farms and advanced to the third round of the Illinois PGA Match Play Championship at Elgin Country Club before being eliminated by Andy Mickelson (Mistwood Golf Club).
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 Briegrate 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 the men and women golf professionals in northern and central Illinois who are the 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 840 members and apprentices, 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 and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. For more information about the Illinois PGA and the Illinois PGA Foundation, please visit www.www.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Illinois PGA Communications