DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2021) – The Symetra Tour announced today that as part of the LPGA Tour’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and in celebration of Black History Month, three golf tournaments that showcase minority golfers have been selected to receive a “Symetra Tour MVP Invite” for the 2021 season. Symetra Tour MVP Invites will be selected by the respective tournament’s committee and earn exemption into a designated Symetra Tour event.
“We are proud to continue the LPGA’s 70-year legacy of championing diversity and a renewed effort to affect change with the face of golf,” said Mike Nichols, Chief Business Officer of LPGA Qualifying Tours and a member of the LPGA Tour’s ‘C-Me’ DEI Committee. “The National Women’s Collegiate Golf Championship has a rich legacy of showcasing players from HBCU’s, while the Mack Champ Invitational has assembled an incredible field of players in their inaugural year.”
The Mack Champ Invitational will be the first tournament to receive a Symetra Tour MVP Invite. The invitational is named in honor of Mack Champ—PGA TOUR player Cameron Champ’s late grandfather—and honors Mack’s legacy by identifying talented, diverse players. Taking place at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston, Texas, from March 19-21, the Symetra MVP Invite will provide an exemption into the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes Golf Club in Garden City, Kan., from April 30-May 2.
“We are incredibly excited and grateful for the Symetra Tour’s enthusiasm in supporting our mission with the establishment of the Symetra Tour MVP Invite. Having the ability to award a player in our field with an exemption to compete in the Garden City Classic is huge,” said Cameron Champ. “That will be a fantastic experience for one of these young players and could also lead them to many more opportunities, which is exactly what we’ve set out to accomplish with the Mack Champ Invitational – opening more doors for golfers of diverse backgrounds to have the chance to succeed in this great sport.”
The second tournament to receive a Symetra Tour MVP Invite will be the National Women’s Collegiate Golf Championship hosted by Women in Golf Foundation, Inc. Taking place at Callaway Resort and Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., from April 12-14, this Symetra MVP Invite will receive an exemption into the Symetra Classic at River Run Country Club in Davidson, N.C., from May 14-16.
"The Women in Golf Foundation is excited to be awarded an exemption for a collegiate player of color to play in a Symetra Tour event. Partnering with the LPGA to move the Diversity and Inclusion effort forward is consistent with the goals and mission of our organization,” said LaJean Gould, President of the Women in Golf Foundation. “Partnerships like this will impact our efforts to change the face of golf and enable more young female golfers of color to maximize their potential."
The third and final event to receive a Symetra Tour MVP Invite will be announced in the weeks to come.
“This is exciting news because it’s providing a new playing opportunity early on for collegiate players,” said Shasta Averyhardt, a Jackson State University alumna and current Symetra Tour professional. “To experience a professional event, to get her feet wet and see what it's like at the highest level, she will be able to prepare herself adequately for the next steps in her career after experiencing it first-hand.”