Rocket Mortgage is collaborating with a group of organizations, including Chicago-based sports marketing agency Intersport, to present The John Shippen, a golf tournament for Black collegiate and professional golfers June 27-28 at Detroit Golf Club.
The new event, intended to identify historical barriers and expand Black representation in golf, will take place prior to the PGA Tour Rocket Mortgage Classic, July 1-4, also at Detroit Golf Club.
The John Shippen is named after the first American-born golf professional and country’s first Black golf professional who played in five U.S. Opens from 1896-1902. His namesake tournament will invite the nation’s top amateur and professional Black golfers to provide a platform for heightened opportunities and recognition within the sport.
The winner of the men’s division will receive an exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic. The winners of the women’s division, which will feature a two-player team format, will earn an exemption into the LPGA’s Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, July 14–17, which also is played as a team event.
To ensure that any financial barriers are removed, the tournament will cover all travel costs (airfare and hotel) for participating players.
“The John Shippen aims to address barriers that have prevented talented Black golfers and aspiring business professionals from realizing their dreams of playing professional golf or working in the golf industry,” says Jay Farner, CEO of Rocket Mortgage CEO. “Rocket Mortgage is proud to support this event.”
A one-hour TV special about The John Shippen will air on CBS leading into final-round coverage of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday, July 4.
The tournament is being managed by Intersport, which has an office in Detroit.
“We at Intersport believe The John Shippen will serve as a springboard from which to bolster accessibility to the sport of golf for young Black players and sports professionals,” says Jason Langwell, executive vice president of Intersport and executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “As a national sports marketing firm, we are fully committed to the creation and expansion of opportunities and growth for Black athletes and professionals, now and in the future.”
The event also was created to address the lack of Black representation in business and leadership roles in golf and across professional sports. To create an avenue for awareness and opportunities, The John Shippen Sports Business Summit for high school and college students will be conducted virtually June 29-30, allowing athletes, influencers, and business professionals to share their experiences and advice about how to pursue and secure a career within the business of sports.
“Through our The John Shippen Sports Business Summit, we will offer scholarships and paid internships to several student participants and will encourage our corporate partners and sponsors to do the same,” says Langwell.
Other sponsors of the tournament are Trion Solutions, Dow, The Children’s Foundation, and Sommer Woods, co-founder of Woods and Watts Effect and vice chair of the Rocket Mortgage Classic.