PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The 33rd PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship has a new name, but the same aim: To stage the most culturally important championship in collegiate golf and help student-athletes find a career in the sport.
The 33rd PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship will be held this week at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie. The 54-hole Championship runs Friday through Sunday on the Ryder and Wanamaker courses and is preceded by Thursday night’s PGA WORKS Career Expo.
“We are of a firm belief that this is the most culturally significant championship in collegiate golf,” said Lortiz “Scooter” Clark, Manager of the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship.
“It is of great importance to the PGA of America as it aligns with the ideals of diversity and inclusion and allows us to connect with hundreds of student-athletes from diverse backgrounds, most of whom will continue to play golf for most of their lives.”
Clark knows the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship better than anyone. He played in the inaugural tournament in 1987 (as well as the next three) and then, as Director of Intercollegiate Golf at Bethune-Cookman University, led the women’s and men’s teams to a combined 10 Division I titles, the most in tournament history. He was named Manager of the Championship by the PGA of America last year.
The PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship (formerly known as the National Minority College Championship) originated at a meeting in 1986, following the Jackson State University Golf Tournament. The goal was to elevate the game at minority colleges and universities by providing student-athletes the opportunity to compete on a championship stage during an era when they were excluded from playing in many collegiate golf events. The inaugural Championship was conducted in the spring of 1987 at Highland Park Golf Course in Cleveland.
“As the tapestry of our country has evolved, so has our definition of inclusion, and with that we are repositioning the PGA Minority Collegiate Championship and changing the name of the event to the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship,” Clark said.
Last year, Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach captured a record seventh straight -- and 15th overall -- women’s Division I crown, while the men’s team earned its third-consecutive championship and 10th title overall. The women won by 27 shots over runner-up University of the Incarnate Word and the men won by 57 shots over Savannah State.
Forty-one teams and 189 players – both records for the Championship – are entered this week. For the first time, there will be “live scoring” of the event, provided by the players themselves.
Both Wildcats teams return to defend their titles this week, along with Division II champion University of California State-Dominguez Hills winners of the division title for the third time in the last four years) and NAIA champion for the third straight year University of Houston-Victoria.
“The rankings don’t matter because everybody plays from the heart,” said University of California State-Dominguez Hills coach Ron Eastman.
The PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship is unlike any event as it provides a top-level championship in concert with its PGA WORKS Career Expo. The Expo is designed to cultivate the next generation of golf industry and business leaders, as participating student-athletes are exposed to internships and employment opportunities supported by leading golf companies.
“Playing in this Championship was one of the largest connections in my life,” Clark said. “You meet people who will stay in your life forever.”
Tiger Woods performed a clinic at the 1996 Championship and former PGA Tour member Tim O’Neal played in the tournament. There will be a Long Drive Exhibition on Thursday with men’s and women’s Long Drive Champions, Maurice Allen and Phillis Meti, emceed by Golf Channel’s Jonathan Coachman.
While many of the participating teams represent historically black colleges and universities, the individual competition is open to all minority men and women student-athletes playing collegiate golf at the Division I, Division II or NAIA levels, or participants who are enrolled in one of the PGA of America’s PGA Golf Management University Programs. In 2018, 74% of the student-athletes who competed in the event were non-Caucasian, while 14% of the field’s home country was outside the United States.
Here is a list of schools who will be playing in the 33rd PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship:
1. Alabama A&M University
2. Bethune-Cookman University
3. Bryan College
4. Bishop State Community College
5. California State University, Dominguez Hills
6. Chicago State University
7. Chowan University
8. Corban University
9. Eastern Michigan University
10. Fayetteville State University
11. Ferris State University
12. Florida A&M University
13. Governors State University
14. Hampton University
15. University of Houston-Victoria
16. University of Idaho
17. Johnson C. Smith University
18. Kentucky State University
19. Lake Forest College
20. LeMoyne-Owen College
21. Lincoln University
22. Livingstone College
23. University of Maryland Eastern Shore
24. Miles College
25. Mississippi State University
26. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
27. North Carolina A&T State University
28. North Carolina Central University
29. Paine College
30. Palm Beach Atlantic University
31. Sam Houston State University
32. Savannah State University
33. St. Augustine’s University
34. St. John’s University
35. St. Francis College- NY
36. Tennessee State University
37. Texas A&M University- Kingsville
38. University of Connecticut
39. University of British Columbia- Vancouver
40. Virginia State University
41. Warner Pacific University