The opportunity presents itself to Gregory Odom Jr., a rising senior on the Howard University golf team. The finance major makes his PGA Tour debut at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship at TPC Potomoc at Avenel Farm on a sponsor’s waiver.
“I am extremely grateful to Wells Fargo for giving me the opportunity to achieve something that I have worked very hard for and that fulfills my dreams on the PGA Tour,” Odom Jr., who led the Bison to the victory at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Golf Championship, said.
“I know there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes for me and for others and everything is possible now in the world and I just want to take this opportunity to the fullest,” adds Odom Jr.
A demonstration of their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, over the past decade Wells Fargo has contributed more than $30 million in financial support to HBCUs through the United Negro College Fund, Thurgood Marshall College Fund as well as direct commitments to individual scholars and athletes. programs. For this year’s tournament, the San Francisco-based bank gave four HBCU students and alumni from Hampton University, Morehouse College and Fisk University the opportunity to compete in the tournament’s Pro Am with the golfer of their choice.
“We have a long history of supporting HBCUs and this year we are using the Wells Fargo Championship to create unique experiences for diverse young golfers. With our sponsorship exemption, we are proud to help Howard University student Gregory Odom, Jr. make his PGA TOUR debut,” said Pam Batalis, senior vice president of sponsorships and brand commitment at Wells Fargo.
Ahead of the Mexican Open last week, world number 2 Jon Rahm gave this advice to PGA Tour newbies: “You have to go out there and try to win. Don’t come try to make the cut. If you play, play to win. Otherwise, don’t play” and the words true to Odom Jr. who took that maxim to heart as he burst onto the golf scene as an amateur to watch in Memphis.
“That’s what my dad used to say all the time when I was playing at a golf tournament. “If you’re not here to win, then why show up. So that’s all I can do and I’m also having fun at the same time,” says Odom Jr..
In 2019, Steph Curry reported seven digits six-year commitment to fund Howard’s golf program and if the three-time NBA champion hadn’t made the investment, Odom Jr. would likely still be playing his college golf for the University of Memphis where he spent his seasons first and second year.
“As a senior in high school, I swept HBCU golf teams under the rug due to a lack of resources and lack of coaching staff. Stephen Curry has put the resources in place and we have an exceptional coach in Sam Puryear with incredible experience as an assistant coach at Stanford and head coach at Michigan State and also having the support of Callaway is really helpful for us to compete at the top level,” says Odom Jr..
Curry continues to support initiatives to make golf more accessible and recently spearheaded the creation of the Underrated Golf Tour, an American Junior Golf Association-accredited summer tour for underrepresented youth. The all-expenses-paid golf tour with player travel, accommodation and meals, begins in June at Cog Hill Golf Club in Chicago and ends with the Curry Cup at TPC Harding Park, just 11 miles from the arena of the Warriors at the end of August.
“I think it’s the best thing that can happen right now. There has always been a mission of getting more people involved in the game of golf and a non-professional golfer has found a way. I think it’s really amazing. says Odom Jr.
As for his own future, Odom Jr. hopes to turn pro after graduating next year, with the ultimate goal of one day earning a PGA Tour card.