Doug Smith got into broadcasting by accident.
He started off doing a podcast with Cheyenne Woods. That led to meeting Golf Channel’s Will Lowery. That got his foot in the door to meet plenty of golf personalities across the country.
Then, as PGA Tour Live started up with its partnership with ESPN+, Smith was approached about joining as a commentator. He eventually signed on and is a part of the broadcast team, even calling action at last week’s Mexico Open at Vidanda.
Come Monday, Smith will call an event as a past champion.
The PGA Works Collegiate Championship begins Monday at Shoal Creek in Alabama, southeast of Birmingham, and it’s a full-circle moment for Smith, who won the championship in 2005 when he played collegiately for Louisville. The championship annually hosts student-athletes enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other Minority-Serving Educational Institutions.
“It’s wild for me,” Smith said. “I’m going to be an expert on the broadcast as a past champion. I’m going to go from holding the trophy to holding the mic.”
The PGA Works Collegiate Championship, originally named the National Minority Collegiate Championship, was created in 1986 to highlight golf programs at the most underserved and underrepresented minority-serving institutions on a national stage, and educate and inspire student-athletes to pursue career opportunities in the business of golf.
The PWCC is a 54-hole, stroke-play event contested across five divisions including: Division I Men’s Team, Division II Men’s Team, Women’s Team Division, Men’s Individual Division, and Women’s Individual Division.
The individual competition is open to all minority women and men student-athletes playing collegiate golf at the Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA and NJCAA level, or minority women and men enrolled in one of the PGA of America’s PGA Golf Management University Programs.
And, in 2023 for the first time, Golf Channel will have TV coverage of all three days of competition.
Golf Channel and Peacock together will present all three championship rounds at Shoal Creek Club on Monday through Wednesday from 4:30-7:30 pm ET.
“I can use words to paint pictures to show what this championship does to your validity as a player,” Smith said. “It’s going to be full circle. It just shows people even if you don’t make it professionally, there’s other avenues in the game.”
Having the tournament at Shoal Creek is also a big milestone, considering the club’s history.
Shoal Creek hosted the 1990 PGA Championship, and it made plenty of headlines around hosting the tournament because club founder Hall Thompson defiantly said the club would not be pressured to accept Black members.
He told a reporter: “We have the right to associate or not to associate with whomever we choose. The country club is our home, and we pick and choose who we want. I think we’ve said that we don’t discriminate in every other area except the Blacks.”
Smith said he hopes it’s a turning point for the club and the PGA of America, which sponsors the championship, not just trying to check a box and be inclusive.
“We can do one of two things: we can keep the status quo or we can work together, have uncomfortable conversations and move forward in a way that’s amicable and representative of the future that we want to be a part of,” Smith said.
“I’m hoping it’s the second part.”
Fran Charles, Smylie Kaufman, Steve Berkowski and Julia Johnson will also be on the broadcast team.
“We are very excited to have the PWCC broadcast live on Golf Channel and Peacock this year,” Shoal Creek Club president Greg King said. “We look forward to showcasing Shoal Creek as one of the premier golf clubs in the country. More importantly, this opportunity will allow us to highlight the student-athletes, colleges and universities on a national level.”
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek