PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Special Olympics athletes, coaches, volunteers, and guests will gather on Thursday, Oct. 17, for the Opening Ceremony of the 14th Annual Special Olympics North America Golf Invitational Tournament at the Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club in Galloway, N.J., Oct. 17-20, 2013.
CBS News television personality Jack Ford will be the master of ceremonies for the Olympic-style Opening Ceremony and introduce delegations from 23 Special Olympics North America programs. The Opening Ceremony will include a presentation of colors, national anthem and competitors will recite the Special Olympics oath – "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." – before the tournament is declared officially open. The Opening Ceremony will take place near the Bayview Terrace of the Stockton Seaview Hotel on Thursday, from 7:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Special Olympics Golf, part of a worldwide sports program for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, offers five levels of play for athletes with different golf abilities. Tournament competitors range in age from 13-years old to 61-years old and represent Special Olympics programs from Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, plus Manitoba and Ontario, Canada.
Three competitive golf rounds will be played on the Stockton Seaview Pines and Bay Courses on Friday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 20. Tournament awards ceremonies will take place on the Bayview Terrace immediately following the final round on Sunday, Oct. 20.
The Special Olympics North America Golf Invitational Tournament, presented by KPMG, is being hosted by the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Organizing Committee, in conjunction with Special Olympics North America. The 2013 Special Olympics North America Golf Invitational Tournament is also being supported by tournament sponsors The PGA of America, USGA and PGA Tour.
Special Olympics Golf allows athletes to grow in the game as they gain experience. Level I competition consists of an individual skills contest, where six golf skills are tested. Level II is an alternate shot team play, where a Special Olympics athlete is paired with a non-Special Olympics Partner (golfer without intellectual disability) of more advanced skill for a 9-hole competition. Level III is Special Olympics Unified Sports team play, pairing Special Olympics and Partners of similar ability for an 18-hole competition. Levels IV and V are individual stroke play 9-hole and 18-hole competitions, respectively.
Scores, updates, and photos from the Special Olympics North America Golf Invitational will be available by visiting www.2014specialolympics.org . The Opening Ceremony, competition and medal ceremonies throughout the weekend are free and open to the public.
About Special Olympics Golf
The Special Olympics Golf program began in 1988 with the assistance of The PGA of America and USGA. Since then both associations contribute to the growth of the program with grassroots training, rules education, tournament administration and national program financial support. The PGA Tour also provides ongoing financial support to the program. PGA Tour player Padraig Harrington and LPGA Tour player I.K. Kim are global sport ambassadors for Special Olympics, helping to implement golf programs and initiatives designed to spread respect for people with intellectual disabilities.
Currently, 50 U.S. Special Olympics Programs offer golf training and competition, and more than 18,000 athletes participate in golf competitions in Special Olympics in North America. Golf is one of 30 Olympic-style summer and winter sports offered by Special Olympics in more than 170 countries worldwide.
Next year, approximately 200 golfers from throughout the United States will compete at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, being held June 14-21, in the Princeton and Greater Mercer County area of New Jersey. The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will feature nearly 3,500 athletes, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, competing in 16 Olympic-style sports, with the support of 1,000 coaches; 10,000 volunteers and an estimated 70,000 family, friends and spectators. For more information about the 2014 USA Games, visit www.2014specialolympics.org  and follow the Games on Facebook at Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUSAGames  and Twitter @2014USAGames .
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4.2 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org . Engage with us on:Twitter @specialolympics ; fb.com/specialolympics ; and youtube.com/specialolympicshq .