JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – Officials from the PGA TOUR announced today that beginning with the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National Golf Club, the PGA TOUR will start a new chapter in Presidents Cup history by partnering with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) to conduct the Junior Presidents Cup, featuring 24 of the best junior boys 19 years old or younger from the United States and around the world, excluding Europe.
“The PGA TOUR is excited to introduce this new tradition to Presidents Cup week,” said PGA TOUR Deputy Commissioner and COO Jay Monahan. “By partnering with the AJGA, our vision for the Junior Presidents Cup is to provide the best young players in the world with a unique playing opportunity that will not only help advance their golfing careers, but also be a source of inspiration as they then witness their professional golfing heroes compete at the highest level and represent their home countries with pride during the Presidents Cup.”
Set to take place at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, New Jersey, host of THE NORTHERN TRUST, the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs in 2011 and 2015, the Junior Presidents Cup will kick off Presidents Cup week on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 25-26, with a two-day competition between the two teams of 12 just days before the Presidents Cup matches get underway at Liberty National. Following the conclusion of the Junior Presidents Cup, the teams will be invited to witness the Presidents Cup firsthand, a prelude to potential future Presidents Cup participation for those who move on to play the game professionally.
“Plainfield Country Club is proud and honored to host the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup,” said Ed English, president of Plainfield Country Club. “Plainfield has always enjoyed a rich tradition of supporting junior golf by our affiliation with The First Tee of Plainfield, and the members of Plainfield appreciate our continued successful partnership with the PGA TOUR. We are looking forward to the opportunity to showcase and share our world-class golf course with the best junior amateurs in the world for this unique event.”
At the 2015 Presidents Cup in Seoul, Korea, all 12 members of the U.S. Team were AJGA alumni, a telling sign that with the introduction of the Junior Presidents Cup, there will soon be Presidents Cup team members who once competed in the junior matches.
“The AJGA is thrilled to partner with the PGA TOUR for the Junior Presidents Cup,” said AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin. “The overall growth and development of junior golfers is critical to the future of the industry, and we expect the Junior Presidents Cup to become a catalytic event that will inspire and motivate golf’s next generation to earn the honor of playing alongside the best players in the world.”
Teams will be led by Honorary Captains Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, whose presence will instill added inspiration and pride among their respective teams and further ensure an unforgettable experience for each junior participant. The two World Golf Hall of Fame members combine for seven total Presidents Cup captaincies, including the three where they captained against one another: 2003, which ended in a memorable tie and the captains agreed the two teams would share the Cup; 2005; and 2007.
Prior to his four stints as the U.S. Presidents Cup Team Captain along with two as the U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain, Nicklaus competed on six U.S. Ryder Cup Teams (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1981) and played in seven editions of the World Cup (1963-1967, 1971, 1973), winning the team portion of the competition six times.
“The four opportunities I had to serve as a captain in the Presidents Cup were arguably some of the most rewarding and memorable of my career,” Nicklaus said. “I love what is at the foundation of the event, which is to use a goodwill competition between some of the game’s greatest players as a platform to introduce the game around the world and help grow it.”
“To now marry the mission of the Presidents Cup with a competition for juniors from around the world creates the perfect confluence of objectives. The Junior Presidents Cup is an ideal way to further the growth of the game and shape the next generation of golfers. I am delighted to join my good friend Gary Player as an Honorary Captain, and I look forward to meeting the young men representing the future of our game.”
Player has made an indelible mark on the game internationally, winning 115 times outside the United States throughout his Hall-of-Fame career. The South African competed in the World Cup on 16 occasions, a testament to his commitment and passion for growing the game across the globe.
“What an honor and delight it is for me to be asked by Commissioner Tim Finchem to be Honorary Captain for the first International Team of the 2017 Junior Presidents Cup,” Player said. “Not only does it give me the opportunity to reunite with my all-time rival, close friend and Honorary Captain of the U.S. Team, Jack Nicklaus, but it opens the world to new possibilities for the younger generation of top junior golfers of which I am excited to be a part of.
“The youth are the future of golf and this is just another meaningful way for them to experience the spirit, goodwill and camaraderie of a game that I have so enjoyed for over 60 years now. An international team competition is a fantastic way to bring new excitement to junior golf. It’s truly a privilege to be the International Team’s Honorary Captain for the inaugural event. No doubt this will help enhance the Presidents Cup and help more people around the world join our wonderful game.”
Both Honorary Captains will each be supported by a captain for the Junior Presidents Cup, who will handle the primary duties during the competition, including creation of the daily pairings and conducting the draw of the matches. The U.S. Team will be captained by David Toms, while the International Team will be led by Trevor Immelman.
Toms is a four-time member of the U.S. Presidents Cup Team (2003, 2005, 2007, 2011) and three-time U.S. Ryder Cup Team member (2002, 2004, 2006). Toms has 13 career PGA TOUR victories to his credit, including his signature victory at the 2001 PGA Championship.
“For me it’s a great opportunity to be a captain in the first ever Junior Presidents Cup and to continue my involvement in the growth of junior golf,” said Toms, whose son, Carter, went through the AJGA program and now plays collegiately at LSU. “My foundation and I have a history in our commitment to junior golf through our golf academy and sponsorship of an AJGA event each summer in Shreveport, Louisiana, and I look forward to watching these kids enjoy this unique experience, as they will someday be representing both sides in the Presidents Cup.
“Trevor and I played each other twice in singles at the Presidents Cup, and I really respect him as a player, person and major champion. He’s given a lot to the game of golf and I’m looking forward to spending a few days with him in New York next year.”
Immelman competed on two International Presidents Cup Teams under Player (2005, 2007) and represented South Africa in four World Cups (2003, 2004, 2005, 2007). A two-time PGA TOUR winner, Immelman’s career is highlighted by his victory at the 2008 Masters Tournament.
“It is truly an honor to be selected as captain of the International Team for the Junior Presidents Cup,” Immelman said. “Having competed in junior tournaments in South Africa as well as in the AJGA, and having the privilege to play in two Presidents Cups, I understand exactly where these young men are now, and where they are striving to one day be. I look forward to spending the week with the 12 best international juniors in the world, and thank the PGA TOUR and the AJGA for giving these young men this fantastic opportunity.”
The same general criteria used to determine the Presidents Cup home country eligibility will be applied to the Junior Presidents Cup. The U.S. Team will be made up of the leading 11 qualified players based on the AJGA Polo Golf Rankings as of August 3, 2017, with the final leading player from the rankings being selected on September 6, 2017. Double points will be associated with The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf.
The International Team qualifying will be made up of the leading 11 qualified players based on the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) as of August 3, 2017, with the final leading player from the WAGR being selected on September 6, 2017.
In keeping with the charitable nature of the Presidents Cup, net proceeds from the Junior Presidents Cup will support charitable programs that include the AJGA’s ACE Grant scholarship program, which helps give top-flight golf opportunities to young golfers regardless of financial resources. Local chapters of The First Tee will also benefit from the event.