Schools announced for inaugural Bridgestone HBCU Invitational
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Winning teams to receive two-day development camp at TPC Sawgrass
Written by Staff @PGATOUR
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida– The PGA TOUR and Bridgestone Americas on Monday unveiled the field for the inaugural Bridgestone HBCU Invitational, a 54-hole team and individual stroke play event at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia. The tournament is an element of the Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program, part of the PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression, which aims to achieve greater diversity in golf through increased focus on developing talent from diverse and historically underrepresented groups.
The Bridgestone HBCU Invitational, set to be contested Nov. 1-2, will feature nine HBCU men’s golf teams and five HBCU women’s golf teams, with the winning schools earning a two-day development camp at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, home of THE PLAYERS Championship. On top of the competition, the tournament, benefiting the Black College Golf Coaches Association (BCGCA), will provide players with custom Bridgestone Golf ball fittings and will also include a career pathway panel featuring business leaders from throughout the sports world.
Schools competing in this year’s event include Alabama State, the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, Chicago State, North Carolina Central, Tennessee State, Florida A&M, Morehouse College, Miles College, Southern University and Prairie View A&M.
“We are excited to welcome these outstanding programs and their players to the Bridgestone HBCU Invitational, where we hope to motivate and inspire the next generation of golfers from diverse backgrounds,” said Kenyatta Ramsey, PGA TOUR Vice President, Player Development. “The PGA TOUR appreciates the support of Bridgestone as we aim to provide these players with an elevated platform to showcase their skills and we look forward to seeing an incredible week of competition.”
In addition to the development camp at TPC Sawgrass for both winners, the men’s champion will earn an invitation to the Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational, set for March 24-26, 2024, at Silverado Country Club in Napa, California. The tournament will feature top-level NCAA Division 1 men’s golf programs and HBCU schools along with high-ranking individual golfers from underrepresented communities in golf. Korn Ferry will award the winner with an exemption into a 2024 Korn Ferry Tour event to be announced at a later date.
“Bridgestone is committed to making a positive and lasting impact in communities across America, today and for generations to come,” said Caitlyn Ranson, head of partnerships, Bridgestone Americas. “Together with the PGA TOUR, we believe what really matters is bridging the gap to build a stronger, more inclusive golf community both on and off the course. We want to make professional golf more accessible, and the Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program elevates our efforts across the HBCU golf community by continuing to expand equitable access to the game for players, while also introducing the game to new and diverse audiences.”
Teams will begin their week at the Bridgestone HBCU Invitational on Monday with custom Bridgestone Golf ball fittings before reconvening the following morning for the Pathway to My Career panel, featuring Bridgestone’s Caitlyn Ranson, Vincent Pierson of Black Sports Business Academy, Creative Artists Agency’s Annette Parker, Michael McClendon of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, Devon Fox from the PGA TOUR, Ardelia Austin from Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Stewart Cornelius from Multiplier. The panel will include discussion about internships, gaining experience, translating golf skills to life and work, and best practices for building a network.
Schools will then head to the course to prepare for the ensuing competition on the championship-course layout used for the PGA TOUR Champions Mitsubishi Electric Championship.