(WXYZ) — Intersport announced Thursday that The John Shippen National Golf Invitational is returning in 2022 and expanding to give more opportunities for Black golfers.
Named after John Shippen Jr., who was the first Black golf professional in the U.S., the event kicked off last year at Detroit Golf Club ahead of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
This year, it has expanded to three events – with two in Michigan in one in New Jersey.
The John Shippen Shoot-Out will take place May 9 at Mountain Ridge Golf Club in New Jersey. The winner will get an exemption into the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup from May 12-15 in Clifton, N.J.
Then, the John Shippen National Golf Invitational women's tournament will return and take place June 1-2 at Blythefield Country Club in Grant Rapids, the home of the Meijer LPGA Classic. The winner will get an exemption into that LPGA tournament and the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.
Finally, the men's field will compete at Detroit Golf Club July 23-24 with the winner getting an exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Last year, Timothy O'Neal won the men's event and Shasta Averyahrdt and Anita Uwadia won the women's event. Both players missed the cut at their respective tournaments.
“Building on the impact of the event’s inaugural year, THE JOHN SHIPPEN is introducing additional professional exemption opportunities that expand to new markets – creating more year-round exposure and Black representation in golf,” Jason Langwell, the executive vice president of Intersport and the executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, said in a statement. “The Intersport and Rocket Mortgage teams are passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and we partner with organizations committed to making a difference with their mission. This is why we’re particularly proud to be announcing the second annual event – which aims to address barriers that have prevented talented Black golfers and aspiring business professionals.”
“We are pleased to support Blythefield Country Club as they host the women’s division of THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational in Grand Rapids this year,” said Cathy Cooper, Executive Director of the Meijer LPGA Classic. “We’re honored to be part of this inclusive statewide effort that extends to communities across Michigan and proud to offer an exemption into the Meijer LPGA Classic this June.”
The John Shippen Sports Business Summit will also return to Detroit to help address the lack of representation in business and leadership roles in golf and across professional sports for people of color. Dates for the summit will be announced at a later date.