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The John Shippen Golf Invitational Returns To Michigan, Highlights Black Golfers

(CBS DETROIT) -- The John Shippen National Golf Invitational is back and expanding to new markets with the hopes of getting more Black representation.

The event, presented by Rocket Mortgage, is named after John Shippen Jr., who was the first American-born golf professional and the United States' first Black golf professional.

"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," said Jason Langwell, executive vice president of Intersport and the executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

"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."

The women's competition will be held June 1-2 at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, outside of Grand Rapids. The winner of the event will earn an exemption into the Meijer LPGA Classic (June 16-19) as well as an exemption into the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, July 13-16, in Midland. The winner will be able to choose a partner to compete in the Great Lakes Bay Invitational.

The men's competition will be July 23-24 at the Detroit Golf Club. The winner of the competition will receive an exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic (July 28-31).

Both women's and men's competitions are 36-hole stroke play qualifiers.

"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."

"We couldn't be more thrilled to continue our support of this influential event, which promises to raise recognition for Black female golfers," said Chris Chandler, executive director of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. "We're proud to once again offer one team exemption opportunity into our field this summer."

In addition, The John Shippen Shoot-Out, presented by Cognizant, will take place on May 9 at Mountain Ridge Country Club in New Jersey. The winner of this event will move on to the LPGA's Cognizant Founders Cup, May 12-15, in Clifton, New Jersey.

"We're incredibly excited to be part of The John Shippen Shoot-Out for a second year," said Shameka Young, vice president and global head of Diversity and Inclusion at Cognizant. "Cognizant is committed to furthering diversity and inclusion in the workplace and beyond, and we're proud to help build a better future for the next generation of Black female golfers with this unique event. The Shoot-Out provides an opportunity to showcase another amazing woman golfer in the already world-class field of talent at the LPGA's Cognizant Founders Cup."

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