SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 30, 2018) – For the third consecutive year, PGA REACH, Grayhawk Golf Club and National Car Rental have partnered with Golf Channel to air a two-hour, primetime special highlighting the 2018 PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental. The program will debut Tuesday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, with a rebroadcast at 12:30 a.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT, and re-air Dec. 14 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT and Dec. 25 at 6 a.m. ET/3 a.m. PT.
The PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental has been hosted at Grayhawk Golf Club since 2016, and it will stay at the picturesque Scottsdale, Arizona, facility through 2022. The 2018 Championship, held Nov. 16-19, expanded to 12 teams from eight in previous years in response to the overall growth of the program. Team California (San Diego) captured the national title over Team Minnesota (Blaine) 7 ½ to 4 ½.
“Featuring the PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental on Golf Channel is an amazing opportunity to bring awareness to the program’s fun and welcoming team format,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “The broadcast allows us to not only highlight the skills and celebrate the accomplishments of these 120 players and their Captains and Coaches, but also to tell their stories – and the story of PGA Jr. League – to a nationwide audience.”
Golf Channel coverage will include player features, daily highlights from each round of play and the trophy presentation following the Championship match. Golf Channel’s broadcast team for the event included Ryan Burr (play-by-play) and Tripp Isenhour (analyst), while Paige Mackenzie and Billy Ray Brown served as on-course reporters. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’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.
New this year, 11-year-old PGA Jr. League player and Riverton, Utah, native Warren Fisher served as an onsite correspondent and cub reporter for social media and Golf Channel reports throughout the Championship. Fisher regularly hosts “The Warren Report” for the Utah PGA Section.
“Introducing the game to the next generation of golfers is one of our most cherished initiatives,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive vice president, content and executive producer. “The PGA of America’s commitment to growing the game through the PGA Jr. League is proving to be a winning formula by providing junior golfers a fun and engaging forum to learn the game in a team environment.”
In addition to the exposure the broadcast brings to PGA Jr. League, it was announced in conjunction with the Championship that Golden State Warriors All-Star and two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry and Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Alex Morgan were named the newest PGA Jr. League Ambassadors. They join Ambassadors Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie, Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson, all of whom are committed to growing youth golf.
The PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental teed off Nov. 16 with the welcome reception and skills challenge followed by a cookout and a cornhole tournament for the teams. This year’s special guest was singer/songwriter Kelley James, a regular performer at PGA Tour events, who personalized his signature freestyling to each of the 120 competitors, as they rotated through the long-drive portion of the skill challenge. On Nov. 17, the 12 All-Star teams of junior golfers ages 9-14 began competing for the title on Grayhawk Golf Club’s Tom Fazio-designed Raptor course.
“Everyone involved can take pride in the competition and especially the incredible experiences created for the 120 players and their families,” said Grayhawk PGA Director of Golf Joe Shershenovich. “They all walked away making new friends, and they will take their excitement for golf back to their home communities where it will gain even more momentum. We’re privileged to host this each year, and thrilled to watch this fun, team golf experience grow the game.”
In addition to its third year of sponsoring the primetime telecast, National Car Rental created an Emerald Club All-Star Team Zone, as well as a Parent Zone, onsite at the Championship to provide an elevated experience for attending families. National also hosted an event at Topgolf for all PGA Jr. League Championship players and their families Saturday evening.
“National is proud to support PGA Jr. League and its development of the next generation of golfers,” said Frank Thurman, vice president of marketing for National Car Rental. “We were excited to expand that support at this year’s Championship by hosting activities created to grow awareness of and participation in this great game by engaging young golfers and their families in a fun, memorable way.”
PGA Jr. League brings friends and families together around fun, co-ed team golf experiences, with expert coaching and instruction from PGA and LPGA Professionals. Boys and girls learn and play golf in a fun and inclusive team environment, utilizing a scramble format for competition that accommodates players of all skill levels. This year, a record of over 50,000 boys and girls played on 4,200 teams nationwide, up from 42,000 kids on 3,400 teams in 2017.
At the Championship, the 12 teams were divided into two divisions – Ryder and Wanamaker – and played each other in a series of round-robin, nine-hole matches, utilizing a two-person, scramble format. Each team competed against the five other teams in its division throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 17-18); and on Monday morning (Nov. 17-19).
Below are the 12 competing teams and their Captains and Coaches, which includes the regular-season golf facilities of each All-Star team, as well as the final standings:
Ryder Division Standings (FINAL)
*California (San Diego): 6-0-0 Record, 49.5 Points Players are from Encinitas (Calif.) Ranch Golf Course Captain: John Mason, PGA; Coach: Jackie DeWald-Mason
**Louisiana (Shreveport): 3-2-1 Record, 36 Points Players are from David Toms Golf Academy (Shreveport, La.); East Ridge Country Club (Shreveport, La.); and Southern Trace Country Club (Shreveport, La.) Captain: Shaun Webb, PGA; Coach: Adam Young (both of David Toms Golf Academy)
Virginia (Dulles): 2-1-2 Record, 33.5 Points Players are from 1757 Golf Club in Dulles, Va. Captain: Scott Holmes, PGA; Coach: Mike Aldrich, PGA
Ohio (Columbia Station): 2-2-1 Record, 33 Points Players are from Mallard Creek Golf Club in Columbia Station, Ohio Captain: Jim Wise, PGA; Coach: Chris Reed
Washington (Bellingham): 1-4-0 Record, 22 Points Players are from Bellingham (Wash.) Golf & Country Club and Skagit Golf & Country Club (Burlington, Wash.) Captain: Rick Blankenburg, PGA, Bellingham Golf & Country Club; Coach: Keith Wilson
Connecticut (Harwinton): 0-5-0 Record, 17 Points Players are from Fairview Farm Golf Course (Harwinton, Conn.); Chippanee Golf Club (Bristol, Conn.); Crestbrook Park Golf Course (Watertown, Conn.); and Watertown (Conn.) Golf Club
Captain: Bob Sparks, PGA; Coach: Jim Bunel, PGA Associate (both of Fairview Farm Golf Course)
*Won Championship and Division Title
**Finished in 4th Place overall
Wanamaker Division Standings (FINAL)
#Minnesota (Blaine): 5-1-0 Record, 42.5 Points Players are from TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn. Captain: Jay Norman, PGA; Coach: Tony Serpico, PGA Associate
##Texas (Montgomery): 5-1-0 Record, 47 Points Players are from Axis Golf Academy in Montgomery, Texas Captain: Ben Willman, PGA; Coach: EJ Kim, PGA
Georgia (Duluth): 2-2-1 Record, 35 Points Players are from TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. Captain: Patrick McCrary, PGA; Coach: Greg Powers
Illinois (Lemont): 2-2-1 Record, 29.5 Points Players are from Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Ill. Captain: Kevin Weeks, PGA; Coach: Clayton Pendergraft, PGA
Delaware (Wilmington): 0-4-1 Record, 21 Points Players are from Hartefeld National Golf Course (Avondale, Pa.); Wilmington (Delaware) Country Club; Rock Manor Golf Course (Wilmington, Del.); and Kennett Square (Penn.) Golf & Country Club Captain: Dave Seeman, PGA, Hartefeld National Golf Course; Coach: Shawn Gross
Arkansas (Hot Springs): 0-4-1 Record, 18 Points Players are from Hot Springs (Ark.) Country Club; Pleasant Valley Country Club (Little Rock, Ark.); and Hot Springs Village (Ark.)
Captain: Barry Howard, PGA; Coach: Leo Di Marino (both of Hot Springs Country Club)
#Finished in 2nd Place overall/Won Division Title
##Finished in 3rd Place overall
PGA Jr. League teams for 2019 will be forming soon at golf facilities across the country. For more information about joining a team or finding a local participating facility, visit PGAJrLeague.com.
About PGA REACH
PGA REACH is the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America. The mission of PGA REACH is to positively impact the lives of youth, military and diverse populations by enabling access to PGA Professionals, PGA Sections and the game of golf. For more information about PGA REACH, visit PGAREACH.org.
About PGA Jr. League
PGA Jr. League is the flagship youth pillar program of the PGA of America’s 501 (c)(3) foundation, PGA REACH, with the goal of making the program accessible to all interested kids in the United States and around the world. Sports superstars Steph Curry, Alex Morgan, Rory McIlroy, Michelle Wie, Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson are Official Ambassadors for PGA Jr. League. Visit PGAJrLeague.com to learn more.
About National Car Rental
As a premium, internationally recognized brand serving the daily rental needs of frequent airport travelers worldwide and the Official Partner of PGA Jr. League, National Car Rental is committed to growing future business leaders by growing junior golf. National Car Rental helps provide fun, engaging and welcoming experiences for PGA Jr. League golfers and their families all season and postseason long. For more information about National, visit nationalcar.com or facebook.com/NationalCarRental and follow @NationalPro on Twitter.
About Grayhawk Golf Club
The PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental was held for the third consecutive year on Grayhawk Golf Club’s Raptor course. Most recently, Grayhawk Golf Club, a 36-hole facility open to the public, was selected to host the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Golf Championships beginning in 2020 through 2022. The Frys.com Open was held from 2007-2009, Tommy Bahama Challenge (2004 and ‘05), Williams World Challenge (2000), Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf (1995, 1997 and ’98), and the Thunderbird International Junior (since 2000).