Jeff Kiddie readies Aronimink for KPMG Women's PGA Championship
Jeff Kiddie is pulling double duty this week at the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.
As the prestigious club’s PGA Head Golf Professional, Kiddie will have his usual role as host professional somewhat diminished without fans on site because of the coronavirus pandemic. But he’s excited about contributing to the championship as a rules official. He’s part of a smaller-than-normal contingent from the PGA of America Rules Committee who will be working tirelessly behind the scenes. The championship, which runs Thursday through Sunday, will be televised by Golf Channel.
“It is pretty unique to get to work (a major) at your home club,” Kiddie said. “The rest of my duties were wiped off the slate. I lost out on (working) the PGA Championship. At least I get to sleep in my own bed.”
This is Kiddie’s eighth year on the rules committee and fifth major as a rules official, including three past PGAs and the 2018 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes outside Chicago. He credits Tom Carpus, a PGA master professional who is currently a rules official with the PGA Tour Champions, with mentoring him in the field. Kiddie expects to handle first tee duties Thursday through Saturday, followed by working a “zone”, a specific set of holes, once all the field has begun play. Along with a scoring obligation one day, he could be a walking rules official on the weekend, an important job during the chase for a major championship.
“It’s pressure packed when you are called upon,” he admitted. “It gets the juices flowing, that’s for sure. It gets the blood pumping. You want to make the right decision. Hopefully, we have prepared ourselves for those situations.”
The club’s staff and membership are proud that Aronimink will be the first to host all three majors run by the PGA of America. Gary Player won the 1962 PGA Championship at Aronimink. John Jacobs won the 2003 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. This is the club’s first women’s KPMG. The PGA Tour has also visited Aronimink three times in the past decade as well. “Hosting events is a big part of what the club wants to do,” Kiddie said.
Looming is the 2026 PGA Championship. “That will be an awesome year,” Kiddie continued. “It is the 250th anniversary of the country. To have it here in Philadelphia, you can expect some great (patriotic) themes.”
Philly’s golf scene can hold its own with any big city in America. Kiddie would know. He was elected the 43rd president of the Philadelphia section of the PGA in 2019.
“Philly is a really rich golf area,” he said. “There’s Merion, the Philadelphia Cricket Club and the Philadelphia Country Club and other clubs that people from outside the area may not know. This championship is great because it not only shines a light on Aronimink, but it also shines a light on Philadelphia as well.”