Intersport Launches “The John Shippen” to Identify Historical Barriers and Expand Black Representation in Golf
Intersport, in collaboration with Rocket Mortgage, Trion Solutions, Dow, The Children’s Foundation and Sommer Woods (co-founder of Woods and Watts Effect), announced the launch of a new national golf event: ‘THE JOHN SHIPPEN’ to identify historical barriers and develop Representation of Blacks in the sport of golf.
The event will be held at the Detroit Golf Club June 27-28, with a one-hour TV show on THE JOHN SHIPPEN airing on CBS leading up to the Rocket Mortgage Classic final round coverage on Sunday, July 4.
The event, designed to feature black college and professional golfers, is named after John Shippen, Jr., who was the first U.S.-born golf professional and also the nation’s first black golf professional.
Shippen was a posthumous member of the PGA of America in 2009.
THE JOHN SHIPPEN will invite the nation’s top amateur and professional black golfers to provide a platform for increased opportunities and recognition within the sport.
The women’s division will compete in a two-player team format, with the winning duo earning a bye for the LPGA’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (July 14-17), which is also played as a team.
The men’s division will be in individual stroke play, and the winner will receive a bye for the PGA TOUR Rocket Mortgage Classic (July 1-4).
To ensure that all financial barriers are lifted, THE JOHN SHIPPEN will cover all travel costs (airfare and hotel) for participating players.
“THE JOHN SHIPPEN aims to break down the barriers that have kept talented black golfers and aspiring business professionals from achieving their dreams of playing professional golf or working in the golf industry,” said Jay Farner, CEO of Rocket Mortgage.
“Rocket Mortgage is proud to support this event.
Intersport, together with Woods, has collaborated to design THE JOHN SHIPPEN as a vehicle offering opportunities that can fundamentally increase the diversity of golf nationwide.
Golf is an 84 billion dollar industry with over two million golf-related jobs. However, less than one percent of PGA of America club professionals are black, and only four current PGA TOUR players are black.
These statistics do not reflect a lack of talented black golfers, but rather limited access and resources.
Historic obstacles for black golfers include: affordable and consistent access to championship courses; quality golf equipment; top rated swing trainers; sponsorship; and access to capital for housing and travel.
“At Intersport, we believe THE JOHN SHIPPEN will serve as a springboard to strengthen accessibility to the sport of golf for young black players and sports professionals,” said Jason Langwell, executive vice president of Intersport and executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
“As a national sports marketing company, we are fully committed to creating and expanding opportunities and growth for Black athletes and professionals, now and in the future. As part of our THE JOHN SHIPPEN Sports Business Summit, we will be offering scholarships and paid internships to several participating students and will encourage our business partners and sponsors to do the same.
THE JOHN SHIPPEN was also created to address the lack of representation of blacks in business and leadership roles in golf and professional sports.
To create an avenue of awareness and opportunity, THE JOHN SHIPPEN Sports Business Summit for high school and college students will be held virtually June 29-30, allowing athletes, influencers and business professionals to share their experiences and advice. on how to pursue and secure a career in the world of sport.
Summit attendees will have the opportunity to apply for paid internships and scholarships with sponsors, organizations and foundations within and beyond the sports industry.
“Golf has been an important part of my life as a young golfer, varsity athlete and professional working on the PGA TOUR,” said Sommer Woods, Co-Founder of Woods and Watts Effect, Tournament Manager for THE JOHN SHIPPEN and Vice -Volunteer chair of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
“Collaborating on THE JOHN SHIPPEN gives Woods & Watts Effect the opportunity to tackle an issue we are passionate about – fairness in sport. We are excited about our partnership with Rocket Mortgage Classic and Intersport, and we look forward to this transformative event. This event can change the world, starting with the world of golf.
Rocket Mortgage has signed on as the main sponsor of THE JOHN SHIPPEN. Trion Solutions, the largest organization of professional minority-owned employers in the country, has agreed to become the first of six national sponsors for the event.
THE JOHN SHIPPEN takes place during the week leading up to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the first PGA TOUR event ever held in the city of Detroit.
The Rocket Mortgage Classic was the most awarded event of the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season, receiving three awards, including the inaugural “Fair Way Award” for its diversity and inclusion initiatives.
John Shippen, Jr. first worked in golf as a caddy at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, and after playing in his first of six US Open in 1896, was hired as a golf professional at Maidstone Club in East Hampton, New York later that year.
Shippen then worked as a golf professional at the Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia and spent most of his professional life at the Shady Rest Golf Course in Scotch Plains, New Jersey – the first African-American owned and operated golf club. in the United States – where he served from 1924 to 1960.
The John Shippen Memorial Golf Foundation was founded in 1995 by Thurman and Ruby Simmons in Scotch Plains.
They began to study his legacy in 1988 and have spent over 30 years raising the name of Shippen and recognizing his place in American history.
In addition to funding paid internships and scholarships, a portion of THE JOHN SHIPPEN’s proceeds will be donated to the John Shippen Memorial Golf Foundation.
For up-to-date information on THE JOHN SHIPPEN, please visit www.TheJohnShippen.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@TheJohnShippen) and on Twitter (@TheJShippen). For more information on sponsorship opportunities or how to get involved, email us at [email protected].