SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For the second consecutive year, PGA of America, Grayhawk Golf Club and National Car Rental have partnered with Golf Channel to air a two-hour, primetime special highlighting the 2017 PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental. The special will air Dec. 5 (Tuesday) at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, with a rebroadcast at 12:30 a.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT.
Undefeated Georgia vaulted to the mountaintop of PGA Jr. League as national champions with a dramatic 6½ to 5½ victory over New Jersey at picturesque Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, Nov. 17-19.
Golf Channel coverage will include player features, daily highlights from each round of play, and the awards ceremony following the Championship match. An encore telecast is scheduled to air on Friday, Dec. 15 at Noon ET/9 a.m. PT. Golf Channel’s broadcast team for the event includes Ryan Burr (play-by-play) and Tripp Isenhour (analyst), while Kay Cockerill and Billy Ray Brown serve as on-course reporters. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra Laughlin was onsite at Grayhawk Golf Club contributing to the network’s social media platforms, with several live activations, including interviews with those in the field.
“Partnering with Golf Channel to highlight the stories and talents of the players and PGA Professional Captains participating in the PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental is a tremendous opportunity,” said PGA President Paul Levy. “Just as with last year’s broadcast, our aim is to bring more national awareness to PGA Jr. League and its fun and welcoming team format, and ultimately inspire parents and kids to join the team in 2018.”
“PGA Jr. League has developed a winning formula through the PGA of America’s commitment to providing kids with a fun and engaging forum to learn the game from PGA and LPGA Professionals,” said Molly Solomon, EVP of Content & Executive Producer, and Golf Channel. “The passion for the game exemplified by these standout junior golfers is something we’re privileged to showcase to our viewers, along with the competition’s innovative format that fosters inclusion and being part of a team.”
The PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental teed off on Nov. 16, with a skills challenge, followed by entertainment from The Human Calculator Scott Flansburg, a cookout and a corn hole tournament for the teams. On Nov. 17, eight All-Star teams of junior golfers began competing for the title on the back nine of Grayhawk Golf Club’s Tom Fazio-designed Raptor course.
“Grayhawk has been fortunate to host national events at every level, and this one is as cool as they come,” said Joe Shershenovich, Director of Golf for Grayhawk Golf Club. “As the host venue and Southwest PGA Member, we were happy to welcome everyone involved to Scottsdale. Golf Channel’s coverage boosts the profile of PGA Jr. League by showing kids nationwide just how fun it is to learn and play the game through this unique program. As someone who’s been involved from the beginning, it’s easy to see why the PGA Jr. League is growing so fast. Those who tune into Golf Channel on Dec. 5 will get an opportunity to see for themselves.”
“Since partnering with the PGA of America in 2012, National’s commitment has been to helping grow the game of golf at the grassroots level,” said Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing at National Car Rental. “So, we’re especially proud to invest in the future of the sport by once again sponsoring this exciting championship that raises the visibility of some of the nation’s most talented young golfers.”
In addition to its second-year sponsorship of the prime-time telecast, National has invested in on-site enhancements at this year’s Championship, including a parents' reception, an Emerald Club All-Star Parents Lounge and an Emerald Club All-Star Team Zone for teams to relax and enjoy when they’re off the course.
Through PGA Jr. League, kids from all backgrounds learn the game in a fun and engaging team setting, receiving expert instruction from PGA and LPGA Professionals. Players wear numbered jerseys and compete in a two-person scramble format that encourages mentorship and builds confidence. In 2017, a record number of 42,000 boys and girls participated on 3,400 PGA Jr. League teams – surpassing the 36,000 participants on 2,900 teams in 2016.
At the Championship, the eight competing All-Star teams were divided into two divisions and played each other in a series of round-robin, nine-hole matches, utilizing the two-person scramble format. Captains are allowed to substitute players every three holes so that all team members can participate. First place teams in each division played for the national title on Sunday, Nov. 19.
On Oct. 29, Golf Channel aired a live division reveal, which introduced each team, its PGA Professional Captain and Assistant Coach. Below are the eight All-Star teams from the 2017 PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental, including the home golf facilities of each from the regular season:
Team New Jersey – All players are from Royce Brook Golf Club (Hillsborough, New Jersey)
Captained by Anthony Latham, PGA
Coached by Colin Sanderson
Team Texas – All players are from Axis Golf Academy (Montgomery, Texas)
Captained by EJ Kim, PGA
Coached by Ben Willman, PGA
Team Arkansas – Players are from Hot Springs Country Club; Pleasant Valley Country Club, The Country Club of Little Rock; Maumelle Country Club; and Pine Bluff Country Club
Captained by Barry Howard, PGA
Coached by Leonardo Di Marino
Team Illinois – All players are from Cog Hill Golf & Country Club (Lemont, Illinois)
Captained by Kevin Weeks, PGA
Coached by Clayton Pendergraft
Team New Hampshire – All players are from Atkinson (New Hampshire) Resort & Country Club
Captained by Peter Doherty, PGA
Coached by Brian Diamond, PGA
Team Ohio – All players are from Mallard Creek Golf Club (Columbia Station, Ohio)
Captained by Jim Wise, PGA
Coached by Chris Reed
Team Georgia –All players are from TPC Sugarloaf (Duluth, Georgia)
Captained by PGA Professional Patrick McCrary
Coached by Greg Powers
Team California – All players are from Santa Teresa Golf Club (San Jose, California)
Captained by Terry Sullivan, PGA
Coached by Kevin Kauinana, PGA
Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie, Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson serve as Official Ambassadors for PGA Jr. League.
PGA Jr. League is the flagship program for the youth pillar of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. Visit PGAJrLeague.com to learn more.