PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Junior golfers representing 40 PGA Sections and select charitable associations will participate in the 2012 Ryder Cup Junior Academy, developed in response to recommendations from past United States Ryder Cup Team Captains, and part of the 2010 Ryder Cup Outreach program. U.S. Ryder Cup Legends Billy Casper and Dow Finsterwald will serve as featured presenters.
After a successful debut in 2011, the Academy returns July 1-8, to PGA Village in Port St. Lucie, Fla., with 83 juniors participating.
"We had a tremendously successful first year of the Ryder Cup Junior Academy," said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. "It was wonderful to see first-hand the impact this initiative had on a special group of junior golfers from across the country. The wonderful input of our past Ryder Cup Captains will give junior golfers a rare opportunity to learn more about the game of golf and its values beyond the competitive arena. We are confident that the Academy will continue to offer positive impressions to help build our great game."
The Ryder Cup Junior Academy is a week-long program that emphasizes the PGA Sports Academy in a variety of skills, including playing and competing in both stroke- and match-play formats, swing mechanics, competitive course management, as well as fitness and physical assessments. Highlights of the week will include a Captains' Clinic, Captains' Dinner and golf instruction from award-winning PGA Professionals.
Ryder Cup Captains Casper and Finsterwald, each who have etched their names in golf history and provided support to both golf's premier spectacle and PGA of America programs, will share their experiences with the junior attendees.
The 1977 U.S. Captain, Finsterwald won the 1958 PGA Championship, the first conducted in a stroke play format. A member of the PGA Professional Hall of Fame, Finsterwald compiled a 9-3-1 record while competing on the 1957, '59, '61 and '63 U.S. Teams.
Casper, the 1979 U.S. Captain and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is the all-time U.S. leading point-winner in Ryder Cup competition. He earned 23 1/2 points, while competing on eight U.S. Teams in 1961, '63, '65, '67, '69, '71, '73 and '75. Casper captured three major championships, including the 1959, '66 U.S. Open, and the 1970 Masters.
The Ryder Cup Junior Academy is designed to expand the outreach of the Ryder Cup and provide aspiring young players an opportunity to experience an elite player development academy, while targeting those who may not have the resources or means to attend. It will also offer the juniors expert instruction from past U.S. Ryder Cup Captains and award-winning PGA Professionals.
As part of the 2010 United States Ryder Cup Team's commitment—which has already impacted U.S-based charitable organizations and students at colleges and universities nationwide—the team designated a total of $650,000 to create and support the Ryder Cup Junior Academy.
Each of the 41 PGA Sections nationwide were given the opportunity to nominate one boy and one girl each, with the remainder of the juniors selected through an at-large process. Also receiving invitations were boy and girl participants from the Notah Begay III Foundation, Lorena Ochoa Golf Foundation, Bill Dickey Scholarship Association, Pan-American Golf Association, and the AJGA Ace Grant Program.
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Since its founding in 1916, The PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, The PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As The PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf.