August 6, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Brian Norman has been awarded the distinction of hitting the first ball off the tee in this week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

That’s quite a privilege for the 32-year-old former John A. Logan College standout (Class of ’03).

Norman was picked by PGA officials because of his Kentucky roots. He is a native of Henderson.“To have this honor is quite overwhelming,” Norman said. “I am just trying to keep everything normal…like it is just another tournament for me, but that is kind of hard to do. I’m just glad several of my family members and friends will be able to make it to Valhalla to see me play.”

Norman was an All-American performer at JALC and also enjoyed a successful two-year career at SIUC before turning pro. He served as an assistant pro to Steve Heckel at Crab Orchard Golf Course in Carterville before accepting a similar position in Castle Hills, Texas.

Norman said he got his first taste of Valhalla in 2000 when he was in high school. There, he witnessed Tiger Woods rallying past Bob May in a playoff to win the PGA title.

“For years, I’ve always felt that I was good enough to play at this level,” Norman said. “Now, it’s about going out and proving that I belong.”

Norman will be paired at the PGA Championship Thursday with Roberto Castro and Russell Knox. Tee time is set for 7:30 a.m. This month marks the first time Norman has qualified for a major. He placed 10th in the 2012 PGA Assistant Championship and also tied for 10th in 2010.

“My goal is to make the cut and play this weekend,” Norman said. “Hopefully, this isn’t a one-time thing. I would like to think this is the first of many majors to come.”

Norman’s personal best for 18 holes is 60.

JALC men’s golf coach Tom Ferris is in Louisville to support the former Vol.

“I think it’s great that Brian qualified for the PGA Championship and I will be pulling for him these next couple of days,” Ferris said. “I would love to see him make the cut and play this weekend. He’s been playing well.”

The PGA Championship is the only major by Professionals for Professionals.