Channel 1 Los Angeles
THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Invitational, designed specifically to showcase and provide heightened opportunities and recognition to Black golfers. A one-hour TV special about THE JOHN SHIPPEN will air on CBS leading into final-round coverage of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday, July 4.
THE JOHN SHIPPEN is named after John Shippen, Jr., who was the first American-born golf professional and also the country’s first Black golf professional. Shippen tied for fifth place in the second U.S. Open in 1896 and played in four additional U.S. Opens. He was bestowed PGA of America membership posthumously in 2009.
THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational Competition:
- The Women’s Division will feature a 36-hole competition with a two-player team format. The winning duo will earn an exemption into the LPGA’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (July 14–17), which is also played as a team event.
- The Men’s Division will compete in a 36-hole individual stroke play event, with the winner receiving an exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Rocket Mortgage Classic (July 1-4).
THE JOHN SHIPPEN Shoot-Out Presented by Cognizant is a three-hole individual competition that will take place on the South Course (5th, 6th and 7th Holes) at Detroit Golf Club on Monday, June 28, directly following THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Invitational final round play. The Shoot-Out will feature the four players from the second- and third-place teams of the women’s field with the individual winner being awarded a sponsor exemption into the LPGA’s Cognizant Founders Cup (October 4-10).
The sport of golf is an $84 billion industry with more than two million golf-related jobs. However, less than one percent of PGA of America club professionals are Black, and only four current PGA TOUR players are Black. These statistics do not reflect a lack of talented Black golfers, but rather, they reflect limited access and resources.
“We at Intersport believe THE JOHN SHIPPEN will serve as a springboard from which to bolster accessibility to the sport of golf for young Black players and sports professionals,” said Jason Langwell, Executive Vice President of Intersport and Executive Director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “As a national sports marketing firm, we are fully committed to the creation and expansion of opportunities and growth for Black athletes and professionals, now and in the future. Through THE JOHN SHIPPEN Sports Business Summit, we will offer twenty scholarships and paid internships to several student participants and our corporate partners and sponsors have pledged their support in those areas.”
Historical barriers for Black golfers include affordable and consistent access to championship courses; quality golf equipment; top-rated swing coaches; sponsorship; and access to capital for housing and travel.
To ensure that any financial barriers are removed, THE JOHN SHIPPEN will cover all travel costs (airfare and hotel) for participating players of THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Invitational.
Intersport collaborated with Woods and Watts Effect to design THE JOHN SHIPPEN as a vehicle to fundamentally increase diversity in golf and to create opportunities for young men and women of color in sports on a national scale.
A National Invitational committee was formed to help lead the recruitment and evaluation of players. The committee consists of more than a dozen leaders who support the advancement of Black golfers and includes coaches from HBCU schools, leaders from golf governing bodies and from men’s and women’s national golf events. The National Invitational committee is responsible for recruiting the top Black professional and amateur golfers and recommending that group to the Selection Committee, which includes representatives from Intersport, the PGA TOUR, the LPGA, Woods & Watts Effect, Rocket Mortgage and DOW.
“We are excited for the women and men who have been invited and have accepted our invitation, to participate in the inaugural THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational,” said Sommer Woods, Co-Founder of Woods and Watts Effect, Tournament Lead for THE JOHN SHIPPEN and Volunteer Vice Chair of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “Our hope is that THE JOHN SHIPPEN provides them with an opportunity to advance their golf careers in a way that has previously not existed for them.”
THE JOHN SHIPPEN NATIONAL INVITATIONAL FINAL PLAYER FIELDS
Players Listed in Alphabetical Order / Subject to Change
Name / Age / Status / College
AMARI AVERY (17) – Amateur (Southern California) SHASTA AVERYHARDT (35) – Professional (Jackson State)
– 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier – Current LPGA Symetra Tour Player
– 2021 Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifier – Five Professional Wins
– 2019 California Women’s Amateur Winner – 2011, 2013 LPGA Player
– USGA Girls Jr. Championship Runner-Up
CHRISTYN CARR (20) – Amateur (North Carolina A&T) BAILEY DAVIS (18) – Amateur (Tennessee)
– 2021 Symetra Classic Exemption Winner – 2020 Maryland State Girls Amateur Champion
– 2019 Georgia Women’s Amateur Runner-Up – 2020 North South Junior Girls Championship (3rd Place)
– SSU Tiger Invitational Women’s Individual Champion – Three-time State High School Champion
BREANNE JONES (25) – Professional (UC Irvine) TIANA JONES (29) – Professional (S. Carolina St./MD Eastern Shore)
– 2019 Symetra Tour player – Seventh Black female PGA Professional
– 2017 Fresno State Classic (9th Place) – Five-time National Champion in college
– Played in every round in Junior and Senior years – 2009 High School State Championship (Ohio)
AMBER KUYKENDALL (24) – Professional (Texas Southern) SIERRA SIMS (25) – Professional (Wake Forest)
– Led team to NCAA Regionals after Conference – 2019 Symetra Tour Championship (6th Place)
Championship win – first in school history – 2019 Symetra Valley Forge Invitational (7th Place)
– 2020 Collegiate Golfer of the Year – AA Golfers HOF – 2015 & 2017 NCAA All-American
– 2015 Won High School District 22 Girls Championship
ZOE SLAUGHTER (18) – Amateur (Houston) AMARI SMITH (20) – Amateur (Dallas Baptist)
– 2021 AAC Conference Freshman of the Year – 2018 Won Lanny Wadkins Championship
– 2021 All-American Athletic Conference Team – 2019 USGA U.S. Girls Junior Championship qualifier
– Rolex Junior All-American – 2019 Top 5 finish at Collegiate Golfweek Invitational
ALLYN STEPHENS (16) – Amateur (High School Senior) ANITA UWADIA (23) – Professional (South Carolina)
– Notah Begay National Championship winner – Symetra Tour Rookie
– Drive, Chip and Putt National Finalist – Junior British Open African Trophy Winner
– Won 90+ tournaments representing Nigeria
– African Youth Games Gold Medal winner in Botswana
Name / Age / Status / College
RYAN ALFORD (24) – Professional (Louisiana Tech) BARRY BABBITT (26) – Professional (Rollins College)
– APGA back-to-back winner – 2019 and 2018 Mackenzie Tour Member
– 2016 CUSA conference champs – 2017 Eastern Amateur Champion
XAVIER BIGHAUS (18) – Amateur (Colorado Christian) MARCUS BYRD (23) – Professional (Middle Tennessee St)
– 2019 Mackenzie Tour competitor – 2021 Mack Champ Invitational – T2
– 2017 All Ping West Coast – 2020-21 All-Honor Team – N. Texas HS Golf Coaches Assn.
– Holds three collegiate wins and six school records
SEBASTIAN CRAMPTON (25) – Professional (UC Berkeley) SEBASTIAN CRAMPTON (25) – Professional (UC Berkeley)
– 2020 US Amateur Championship – Three-Time All-PAC 12 Team selection
– 2020 Western Amateur Championship – 2019 Mackenzie Tour season made 8 of 10 cuts
– Eight Top 5 finishes in college – 16 Top-10 finishes in college tournaments
MULBE DILLARD (22) – Amateur (Florida A&M) KEVIN HALL (38) – Professional (Ohio State)
– Ranked #1 on APGA Tour Collegiate – 2016 APGA Player of the Year
– 2020 APGA Tour summer circuit – First deaf golfer to earn Korn Ferry Tour card
– Two collegiate wins in junior year – Competed in 7 PGA Tour and 11 Korn Ferry Tour events
– 2004 Big Ten Championship winner by 11 shots
MICHAEL HERRERA (23) – Professional (Riverside City College) JOSEPH HOOKS (28) – Professional (Wayne State)
– 2021 APGA tour winner – The Crossings at Carlsbad – GAM Tournament of Champions champion
– 2020 Jamaica Open – 6th place – APGA four-time top five finisher – seven-time top ten
– Pro Cup Challenge at Classic Club – 1st place – 2018 Michigan Players Tour three-time winner
– Detroit Golf Club three-time champion
KAMAIU JOHNSON (27) – Professional (N/A) ETHAN MANGUM (22) – Amateur (Florida A&M)
– Two-time winner – APGA Tour – 2021 Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference Champion
– 11 Mini Tour wins – 2019 Florida A&M Invitational champion
– PGA TOUR starts at Honda Classic and – 2018 African American Hall of Fame
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am – 2017 William “Bill” Dickey champion
GREG ODOM (20) – Amateur (Howard) TIM O’NEAL (48) – Professional (Jackson State)
– PGA Works tournament winner – Six-time APGA Tour winner
– 2019 AAC All-Academic Team – Two-time PGA TOUR Latino America winner
– Played at Memphis University Prior to Howard – 2016 U.S. Open Qualifier (Chambers Bay)
CAMIKO SMITH (35) – Professional (N/A) TROY TAYLOR II (21) – Amateur (Michigan State)
– 2020 Bermuda PGA Stroke Play Champ winner – 2021 US Open qualifier medalist at Muskegon CC
– 2020 PGA TOUR Bermuda Champ qualifier – Git-R-Done Husker Invitational – T2
– US Open Sectionals two-time qualifier – 2018 Mr. Ohio Golf – ranked number 1 junior golfer
J.P. THORNTON (36) – Professional (Texas Southern) TREY VALENTINE (28) – Professional (South Florida)
– 2020 APGA at TPC Sugarloaf Champion – FSU Seminole Intercollegiate winner
– 2020 APGA Lexus Cup Order of Men – third place – Two-year PGA TOUR Latinoa-America &
Mackenzie Tour member
– 2011 AJGA Standout Ranked Top 50 in U.S.
ANDREW WALKER (22) – Amateur (Michigan State) WYATT WORTHINGTON II (34) – Professional (Methodist U.)
– 2021 U.S. Open Sectionals Qualifier – 2019 Korn Ferry Q-School – second stage
– Srixon/Cleveland College Golf All-America Scholar – 2016 PGA Champ qualifier
– Mackenzie Tour card earned through Q-School – PGA Tournament series event winner
ROVONTA YOUNG (26) – Professional (Alabama A&M)
– 2021 APGA St. Augustine winner
– 2018 Alabama State University Spring Invitational winner
– 2018 Morehouse Classic winner