Former Gamecock Kok Qualifies for PGA Championship
July 7, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former South Carolina men’s golfer Johan Kok (1998-2002) recently qualified for the 96th PGA Championship by finishing tied for eighth at the 47th PGA Professional National Championship at the Dunes Golf and Beach Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Kok, who was one of 20 golfers to qualify, finished the event with a 72-hole total of 290 (+2), including a 67 (-5) in the first round that gave him a share of the lead.
The PGA Championship will be held Aug. 7-10 at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. Gamecocksonline.com caught up with Kok to talk about qualifying for his first major championship. He is currently the PGA general manager at Temple Hills Country Club in Brentwood, Tenn.
Has it sunk in that you will be teeing it up at Valhalla Golf Club in August for the 96th PGA Championship?
I don’t think so yet because we have been so busy at the club. We had our annual Member Guest Tournament over the weekend and are now hosting the Tennessee PGA Junior Championships this week. I am heading up next weekend to play Valhalla and I am sure it will sink in then!
When you entered the fourth and final round of the PGA Professional National Championship firmly in the mix for one of the 20 PGA Championship spots up for grabs, what was going through your mind?
I was struggling with my swing a bit throughout the tournament, which I think actually helped with the nerves of trying to finish in the top 20. I was really battling my ball striking so it took my mind off the rest of the things going on. So in hindsight the bad ball striking probably helped me make it thru in the end.
Where does qualifying for the PGA Championship rank among your career golf highlights?
I think it’s right up there with making it through European Tour School my rookie year. I have always wanted to play in a major, however, so maybe this is at the top of my list.
What are you looking forward to most at the PGA Championship?
The whole week really. Getting to spend it with family and friends and my wife actually getting to watch a real tour event. I stopped playing tour golf right about the time we started dating. The thing I am most excited about is the opportunity to tee it up with Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els and hopefully we can get Charl Schwartzel to join for a practice round as well.
Changing the subject, how much do you keep up with the South Carolina men’s golf program now?
Much more now with Alex Hamilton there as the assistant coach. Alex knows what a huge Gamecock fan I am in every aspect as we roomed together in college for a year. He has really done a great job reaching out and making sure the guys from that era (2000-2003) are staying in the loop. I also know coach Bill McDonald from my junior days and am very excited to have him leading the men’s program. Puggy Blackmon and I have always had a good relationship and keep in touch. Was excited to watch the guys make a good run during this year’s National Championships.
What are some of your favorite memories from your playing days at South Carolina?
Obviously winning the Ridges Intercollegiate as an individual and the Inverness Intercollegiate as a team were certainly highlights. We are actually playing at the Old Ridges this fall for a Tennessee PGA event, which is going to be special. Most of all my favorite memories are of the great times I had with the guys. Ernie Rose, Scott Feaster, Matt Giffin, Johnny Bloomfield and Omar Halldorsson are all still some of my best friends today. I also keep in touch with several former student-athletes at South Carolina. Last but not least is Carolina Football. Can’t wait for the fall to start to see if we can finally break through and win the SEC this year. I already have my tickets for the Vanderbilt game in Nashville and the Auburn game at Auburn.
Professional Golfer (2003-Present)
2014 PGA Championship Participant
Tied for eighth at 2014 Professional National Championships
PGA Class A Golf Professional
Won over 20 Tennessee PGA Events from 2011-2014
Fifth 2012 TN State Open
Fourth 2013 TN State Open
Sixth 2014 TN State Open
Member of European Tour
Member of Sunshine Tour
Member of Challenge Tour
Nationwide and Mini Tour Professional
European Challenge Tour, European Tour (conditional), South African Tour (2004-2008), Tarheel Tour (2007)
Earned South African Tour card (71-71-72-70)
Won first stage US PGA Q-School (71-63-67-70) 17 under 63 course record
US Open qualifying- 70
Tied for Third Tarheel Tour Bermuda Run (72-67-63) 63 course record
Sixth Tarheel Tour Stonebridge (70-64-68)
Ninth Tarheel Tour Columbia (71-70-70)
Made nine of 10 cuts on Tarheel Tour
Four top-10 finishes on Challenge Tour 2004-2005
Played in 14 European Tour events from 2004-2005. Best event T-15th at St. Omar Open, France.
Played two full seasons on the Challenge Tour from 2004-2006, finishing 49th and 94th on the money list.
Three top-10 finishes on South African Tour
Turned Pro in September of 2003 and earned playing status on European, European Challenge and Sunshine Tours in rookie season.
Played the past three seasons on the Sunshine Tour’s summer schedule finishing 79th, 60th and 84th on the season order of merit.
62 Creeks Bend Knoxville, Tenn. 2014
61 Temple Hills CC 2012
63 Fontana CC Austria 2004
64 Worsely Park England 2004
64 Madrid Spain 2005
63 Bermuda Run, N.C. 2007
66 Musgrove Mill, S.C. 2007
66 Knoxville, Tenn. 2007
63 Stonebridge Ranch, Texas 2007
63 Wild Coast RSA 2008