NEWS | Aug. 3, 2011

Active duty military will attend 2012 PGA championship free of charge

By Airman 1st Class Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Four active duty service members played 18-holes of golf, Aug. 2, at Kiawah Island, S.C., during a Professional Golfers Association of America military appreciation event.

Petty officer 1st class Jerry Winebarger, from Joint Base Charleston-Weapons Station Galley, Army Sgt. Kevin Bessellieu, from the 841st Transportation Battalion, Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Sansone, from the 437th Aerial Port Squadron, and Senior Airman Brad Nicholson, from the 628th Contracting Squadron, were chosen by their respective commanders to test out the golf course being used for the 2012 PGA Championship.

The event was held to announce that tickets to the 2012 PGA Championship, scheduled for Aug. 6-12, 2012, on Kiawah Island, will be free to active duty military members, their spouses and up to four dependents 17 years old and under.

"We want to make sure that all active personnel understand they are welcome to come to this event for free," said Roger Warren, 2012 PGA Championship Chairman and Kiawah Island Golf Resort president. "It's the PGA of America saying to them thank you for your service. Thank you for the commitment to our country, and we want you to have the opportunity to enjoy a great event."

Tickets will be available for pick-up at the will call office the day of admission, and military members will be required to show a valid active military I.D.

According to a press release sent out by the PGA, House Speaker, Bobby Harrell, co-chair of the 2012 PGA Champions committee said, "Our state has a long and proud military heritage. The PGA and South Carolina share the same deep appreciation for the great sacrifice our fighting men and women give to our country. We look forward to hosting these military members next year at the ocean course on Kiawah Island for a great week of championship golf."

Though the temperature was in the high 90s, the service members seemed to be having a blast.

"It is beautiful out here and the course is challenging," Bessellieu said. "We are all appreciative for the opportunity to represent the hard working service members of America.

"We are looking forward to attend next year's championship, and I'm excited to see how well I did in comparison to the professionals."