HBCU, black golfers, Bridgestone, PGA Tour

Bridgestone Partners With PGA Tour For Inaugural Bridgestone HBCU Invitational To Create Diverse And Inclusive Golfing Opportunities

Bridgestone Americas and the PGA Tour hosted the inaugural Bridgestone HBCU invitational, a first-of-its-kind golf tournament featuring teams and players from 15 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Taking place at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia, the invitational included 10 men’s teams and five women’s teams for two days of competition Nov. 1 and 2. The invitational is a part of Bridgestone’s Collegiate Development Program and a part of the PGA TOUR’s Pathway to Progression program, which aims to achieve greater diversity in golf by developing talent from diverse and historically underrepresented groups. 

Both the men’s and women’s tournaments were closely contested, as one stroke was the difference between first and second place. On the men’s side, Arkansas Pine Bluff took home the victory with a score of 563, while the Alabama State women’s team was victorious, with a total score of 654. With their wins, both teams earned a two-day development camp at the prestigious TPC Sawgrass golf course, home of THE PLAYERS Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. 

Additionally, the Arkansas Pine Bluff also earned an invite to the Bridgestone Collegiate Invitational, which will take place March 24-26, 2024, at the Silverado Country Club in Napa, California. 

Caitlyn Ranson, head of partnership marketing for Bridgestone Americas, said in a statement that the brand is committed to creating opportunities to make golf a more diverse game.

“Bridgestone is committed to utilizing our platform and resources to make the game of golf more accessible for student-athletes of diverse backgrounds,” said Ranson. “The Bridgestone HBCU Invitational was a pivotal first step in developing a stronger and more inclusive golf community. We are excited about the future of our new program with the PGA TOUR and what we can achieve together to support the whole athlete on and off the course.”

Last month, student-athletes from Drew Charter School in Atlanta joined Morehouse College golfers and coaches who participated in the Invitational for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Bridgestone Golf facility in Covington, Georgia, where they received a custom ball fitting and shared perspectives on their golf journeys.

Following the event, Bridgestone hosted a welcome dinner at TPC Sugarloaf for all teams competing in the invitational, where Eastside Golf founders Earl Cooper and Olajuwon Ajanaku spoke to the HBCU student-athletes about their mission to raise awareness of golf and promote diversity in the game. The groundbreaking lifestyle brand will partner with Bridgestone in the coming months to reach underserved communities and diversify the game of golf through the Bridgestone Collegiate Development Program.

“The PGA TOUR appreciates the support of Bridgestone in helping put together this incredible week of competition, and we congratulate the Arkansas Pine-Bluff men’s team, Alabama State women’s team, and Gonzalo Moreno of Alabama State and Trinity Ahing of North Carolina Central on their individual victories,” said Kenyatta Ramsey, PGA Tour’s vice president, player development. “The Bridgestone HBCU Invitational was a great starting point as we look to inspire the next generation of golfers from diverse backgrounds, and we are excited to see how the event grows and develops in the years ahead.”

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