Detroit — The tournament before the tournament is defined.
Rocket Mortgage Classic officials have announced the course for the second annual John Shippen National Golf Invitational, which will grant a bye for the PGA Tour stop in Detroit.
The Shippen, founded in 2021 as an avenue to provide more opportunity for black golfers and named after the nation’s first black golf professional, will feature a field of 22 golfers, half of whom played the first game l ‘last year. Many of the players have local ties.
Among those in the 2022 John Shippen field are: Marcus Byrd, 24, a professional from Ann Arbor; Joe Hooks, 27, a Detroit pro and former Wayne State; Willie Mack III, 32, a professional from Flint who has five PGA Tour starts, including last summer’s Rocket Mortgage Classic; Marcus Smith, 20, who plays in Eastern Michigan; and Troy Taylor II, 22, who plays at Michigan State.
Mack, with more than 70 professional wins worldwide, did not play in the Shippen last year as he received a sponsor exemption in the Rocket Mortgage Classic last year. He made his first cut on the PGA Tour, tied for 71st.
“The John Shippen is a vehicle for delivering opportunities that can fundamentally increase diversity in golf nationally,” said Jason Langwell, executive director of RMC and executive vice president of Intersport, which helps organize the tournament. “The strength of this year’s men’s field reinforces our confidence that The John Shippen is the right platform for these deserving players to compete and combat the imbalance of access, opportunity and fairness for black golfers that has existed for long in the golf industry.”
Intersport and Woods and Watts Effect created the John Shippen, which also has a female champ, which recently granted byes for the Meijer LPGA Classic in Grand Rapids and the upcoming Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland to this winner, Sadena Parks.
Tournament officials also pay travel, accommodation, food and incidental expenses for John Shippen participants.
This year’s two-day, 36-hole men’s John Shippen will take place July 23-24 at Detroit Golf Club, the weekend before the start of the fourth annual PGA Tour stop in Detroit.
Last year’s John Shippen winner Tim O’Neal, 49, from Georgia, is back on the court for 2022, featuring: Ryan Alford, 25, of Louisiana; Daniel Augustus, 34, from Bermuda; Aaron Beverly, 27, of California; Kevin Hall, 39, of Ohio; Michael Herrera, 24, of California; Chase Johnson, 26, of Ohio; Kamaiu Johnson, 28, of Florida; Samba Niang, 33, from Senegal; Toks Pedro, 26, of Maryland; Xavier Proctor, 21, of North Carolina; Quinn Riley, 22, of Minnesota; Kristopher Stiles, 19, of California; Joey Stills, 25, of Florida; Trey Valentine, 24, of Mississippi; Everett Whiten Jr., 22, of Virginia; and Wyatt Worthington, 35, of Ohio.
A committee of more than a dozen local and national leaders identified and selected this year’s contestants.
“We are delighted to welcome the men who have accepted our invitation to participate in the John Shippen National Golf Invitational,” said Sommer Woods, co-founder of Woods and Watts Effect, as well as tournament manager for The John Shippen and vice-president. volunteer president. of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
“We are delighted that The John Shippen continues to provide these players with the access to take it to the next level and advance their golf career in a way that has never existed for them.”
The John Shippen has been so well received in 2021 that PGA Tour officials have had discussions about adding similar events across the country. There are currently only four black golfers on the PGA Tour.
Also, for the second year, the John Shippen Sports Business Summit, aimed at high school and college students of color interested in a career in sports, will be back. It will be in person this year, September 23-24 in Detroit.
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