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Escaping the bunker mentality

WHEN THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP returns to Kentucky this month, I will be celebrating two things I love: Kentucky and golf. I also hope we can celebrate what’s great about golf instead of focusing on controversies that have divided the sport.

I encourage you to check out how Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville is preparing to host the event. During its relatively short history, Valhalla has witnessed some of golf’s greatest moments, from Tiger Woods’ stirring win in 2000 to the energized crowds who cheered the United States team to victory in the 2008 Ryder Cup.

This year’s PGA Championship comes at a tumultuous time in professional golf history. Two years ago, the launch of the Saudi-financed LIV Golf League fractured the golf landscape. With huge purses, LIV Golf lured many of the best golfers away from the PGA. The civil war that followed filtered down into the lower ranks of the sport, even into college and junior golf.

Now, as LIV Golf and the PGA continue to negotiate a merger, the players are separated by bad blood and distrust.

Just as Valhalla offers an opportunity to put those divisions aside to come together and create new memories, I can’t help but compare the discord within my favorite sport to the rhetoric and noise that has roiled my chosen profession, the electric sector.

Because electric cooperatives belong to and are led by the people we serve, our concerns about the electric grid are driven not by a profit motive, but by a duty to our members. Unfortunately, in a sound bite world, it is difficult to have an honest discussion about a complex subject. And the engineering and cost factors of the electric grid are as complex as you can get.

I am reminded of the honor code that guides professional golfers, who are expected to protect the integrity of the game by calling penalties on themselves. As co-ops, we too have a duty to be honest in often difficult situations.

Can we discuss the realities we face—the looming reliability crisis, the effect on affordability and how we keep our state growing? These questions defy conventional political divides. No matter what side you’re on, there are some commonsense subjects we need to talk about.

Let’s look to Valhalla this month, and a rare opportunity for everyone to come together. 

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