Field finalized for The John Shippen, which will award PGA Tour, LPGA Tour exemptions

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Twenty men and 12 women will get to tee it up in The John Shippen, the inaugural tournament for top Black amateur and professional golfers that will award exemptions into next month's Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit and Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland.

The John Shippen, named after the nation's first Black golf professional, will take place Sunday and Monday at Detroit Golf Club, in two separate 36-hole tournaments.

The top male golfer will get to play in next week's PGA Tour event at Detroit Golf Club, and the top two-female team will get to play in the LPGA Tour tournament at Midland later in July.

The John Shippen will be played at Detroit Golf Club.

The men's field includes Michigan State golfers Andrew Walker, 22, and Troy Taylor II, 21, and Wayne State alum Joseph Hooks, 28, as well as Ryan Alford, Barry Babbitt, Xavier Bighaus, Marcus Byrd, Sebastian Crampton, Mulbe Dillard, Kevin Hall, Michael Herrera, Kamaiu Johnson, Ethan Mangum, Greg Odom, Tim O'Neal, Camiko Smith, J.P. Thornton, Trey Valentine, Wyatt Worthington II and Rovonta Young.

The women's field includes Amari Avery, Shasta Averyhardt, Christyn Carr, Bailey Davis, Breanne Jones, Tiana Jones, Amber Kuykendall, Sierra Sims, Zoe Slaughter, Amari Smith, Allyn Stephens and Anita Uwadia.

“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,” Jason Langwell, executive vice president of Intersport and executive director of the RMC, said in a statement. “We are fully committed to the creation and expansion of opportunities and growth for Black athletes and professionals, now and in the future."

Less than 1% of PGA of America club pros are Black, and the PGA Tour has only four Black players.

To remove barriers, tournament organizers are paying all costs for participants in The John Shippen, including travel, lodging, food and other expenses.

In addition to the exemptions awarded into the Rocket Mortgage Classic and Great Lakes Bay Invitational, there will be a shootout Monday afternoon that includes the second- and third-place team finishers in the women's tournament. The four players will compete as individuals in the three-hole shootout, with the winning player receiving an exemption into the LPGA's Cognizant Founders Cup in October.

“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,” Sommer Woods, tournament lead for The John Shippen and volunteer vice chair for the Rocket Mortgage Classic, said in a statement. “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.”

CBS will air a one-hour special about The John Shippen leading into final-round coverage Sunday, July 4, and tournament organizers also are hosting a virtual business summit for Black high school and college students or recent graduates interested in getting into the golf business.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984