FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 21st, 2022
I AM A GOLFER FOUNDATION UNVEILS NATIONALLY TELEVISED “SOUTHWEST AIRLINES SHOWCASE AT CEDAR CREST”
Top Black Collegiate Men and Women to Compete in Televised Event on GOLF Channel at Historic Cedar Crest Golf Course with Goal of Positively Impacting Southern Dallas
DALLAS, Texas – Oct. 21, 2022 – The I AM a Golfer Foundation, a Dallas nonprofit focused on historic Cedar Crest Golf Course, with support from Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, announced today an addition to GOLF Channel’s 2023 lineup of live televised college golf tournaments: The Southwest Airlines Showcase at Cedar Crest. The event will be comprised of Black collegiate golfers, and include development opportunities for participants and area residents.
The top-21 male and 21 female Black collegiate golfers in the country will compete in 54-hole stroke play contests in their respective divisions. The inaugural three-day tournament will debut November 13, 2023, with a second event scheduled for 2024. GOLF Channel will televise all three rounds live and replay the tournaments in the evenings.
“We are delighted to announce this new event that provides opportunity for these talented collegiate golfers to showcase their talents on national television, exposure that is generally limited to players on a handful of Division 1 teams,” said Dave Ridley, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Foundation. “This event will highlight the history of Cedar Crest and the impact the Foundation is making on the lives of young people through our varied programs at the course and within the Dallas community.”
Chartered in 1919, Cedar Crest was designed by famed golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast. Among other significant national tournaments, Cedar Crest hosted the 1927 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen and the 1954 UGA Negro National Open won by Charlie Sifford. Tillinghast, Hagen, and Sifford are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“Cedar Crest Golf Course is a special place with a rich history,” said Ira Molayo, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of IAMGF. “Our Foundation’s mission is to help this ‘hidden gem’ be a catalyst for community transformation in the Cedar Crest neighborhood and surrounding communities.”
Since inception in 2018, IAMGF has engaged more than 450 area youth in instructional programming, created and hosted 71 paid internship positions for area students, and awarded more than $95,000 in college and higher education scholarships.
“Showing up for people in the markets we serve – including our hometown of Dallas – is at the heart of who we are,” said Ryan Green, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Southwest Airlines. “The contributions made by IAMGF align with our commitment to Dallas and support our mission to be a part of the surrounding communities.”
In addition to its youth programs, IAMGF founded the Dallas Amateur Championship in 2018 for DFW-area competitive golfers and as a fund-raiser for the Foundation. More than 600 participants compete annually.
“I could not be more proud and thankful to the leadership at the Foundation and Southwest Airlines for creating this event that will showcase our great city to a national audience,” said Mayor of Dallas Eric Johnson. “This unique collegiate, community and cause-related event will serve a purpose unlike any other in our city.”
A Saturday evening gala dinner with a keynote speaker and a Sunday morning 18-hole Collegiate-Amateur event will precede the three days of competition.
During the morning of each day’s competition, the schedule allows for conferences, seminars, and job fairs, not only for the participants in the event but also for area youth.
“I have long seen Cedar Crest Golf Course as an untapped economic engine for this community,” said Dallas City Councilmember for District 4, Carolyn King Arnold. “This new tournament, with its national reach, will add fuel to that engine and help attract a broad range of stakeholders who can help build on the momentum we have in the southern Dallas corridor to have a positive impact on our neighborhoods and residents.”
The Southwest Airlines Showcase at Cedar Crest will be the very first televised tournament exclusively featuring the top male and female Black collegiate players and showcased as part of GOLF Channel’s annual coverage of college golf throughout the fall and spring.
“We are excited to introduce this dynamic, historic event into our college golf portfolio beginning next fall and continue to raise the profile of student athletes throughout the year across our platforms,” said Tom Knapp, Executive Vice President, Partnerships & Programming, NBC Sports.
“We are looking forward to showcasing not only the achievements of the Black men and women on the course at historic Cedar Crest during this tournament, but also telling the stories of their important, long-standing impact in the local Dallas community together with the Foundation,” added Damon Phillips, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Head of Diversity and Inclusion, NBC Sports.
The tournament will be the first-ever televised event at historic Cedar Crest Golf Course. GOLF Channel will provide live afternoon coverage of all three rounds with an encore presentation of each round totaling six telecasts and 18 total hours of programming.
“For Cedar Crest to host these talented collegiate players is a testament to Southwest Airlines’ investment in the communities that support them and to the city’s partnership with I Am a Golfer and Cedar Crest golf professionals. This golf gathering is creating economic development opportunities for southern Dallas that will ensure the course remains the “crown jewel” of this community and a favorite among golfers,” said Arun Agarwal, President, Dallas Park and Recreation Board.
Cedar Crest Golf Course is the oldest of six golf courses in the Dallas Park and Recreation collection, and the only course to have hosted tournaments on a national level including a major championship.
“Cedar Crest has been the stage for larger-than-life and blue-ribbon moments in golf history. Its rich legacy continues with this tournament’s debut, a game changer for our park system and for golf in this country,” said John D. Jenkins, director, Dallas Park and Recreation Department. “Hosting the Southwest Airlines Showcase is significant not only for Cedar Crest but also for Oak Cliff and southern Dallas neighborhoods. Recent enhancements to the greens and facility will give golfers an incredible playing experience.”
In addition to Southwest Airlines as Title Sponsor, the Louis L. Borick Foundation will serve as a “Foundational” supporter of the event. Two corporate “Proud Partners” are being pursued as well as various “Official Sponsor” partnerships.
Eligibility criteria for the 42-player invitational field of Black collegiate contestants will include, but not be limited to:
- Must still be in college
- Top TBD available men based on rankings
- Top TBD available women based on rankings
- Other accomplished men and women players in college
- Up to eight (8) tournament/sponsor exemptions; 4 men / 4 women
The final field of contestants is scheduled to be announced in late June or early July of 2023, after the completion of the college golf season and championships.
About the I Am a Golfer Foundation
The I AM a Golfer Foundation (IAMGF) was established in 2018 with the mission to be a catalyst for community renewal and transformation in southern Dallas through the programming, preservation, and promotion of the historic Cedar Crest Golf Course. IAMGF’s belief is that the promotion of the sport and activity to diverse and historically underserved communities will have an impact beyond the course and into the daily lives of those reached by its initiatives. Since inception, IAMGF has engaged over 450 area youth in instructional programming, created and hosted 71 paid internship positions for area students, and awarded more than $95,000 in college and higher education scholarships. Additionally, IAMGF has advocated for and assisted with more than $1 million in improvements at Cedar Crest and annually conducts the Dallas Amateur Championship, Friends of Cedar Crest Golf Classic, and other events designed to bring increased awareness to the historic course and community. For additional info, visit www.iamagolfer.com.
About Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Co. operates one of the world’s most admired and awarded airlines, offering its one-of-a-kind value and Hospitality at 121 airports across 11 countries. Having celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2021, Southwest took flight in 1971 to democratize the sky through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel and now carries more air travelers flying nonstop within the United States than any other airline. Based in Dallas and famous for an Employee-first corporate Culture, Southwest maintains an unprecedented record of no involuntary furloughs or layoffs in its history. By empowering its more than 62,000 People to deliver unparalleled Hospitality, the maverick airline cherishes a passionate loyalty among as many as 130 million Customers carried a year.
About Cedar Crest Golf Course
Built in 1919 as a private club and designed by legendary course architect A.W. Tillinghast, Cedar Crest Golf Course has long been regarded as a favorite by both local and national golf enthusiasts. After hosting the Dallas Open in 1926 won by MacDonald Smith, Cedar Crest was awarded the 1927 PGA Championship won by World Golf Hall of Fame member Walter Hagen. This was the first major championship played in the southwest. After purchase by the city of Dallas in 1946, Cedar Crest hosted the 1954 UGA Negro National Open won by Charlie Sifford, along with the USGA’s acclaimed Public Links Championship.
The surrounding neighborhood and residents played a pivotal role in the fight for desegregation and civil rights throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s and has been home to notable residents including Dr. Emmett J. Conrad, the first African American on the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Independent School District, Civil Rights leader Crawford Bunkley Jr., a Supreme Court case-winning attorney, and Dallas Cowboy and Olympic great “Bullet Bob” Hayes. Over the course’s 100-year history, the tradition of high-quality golf and service to the community has remained and is stewarded today by General Manager and Director of Golf Ira Molayo, PGA.
About GOLF Channel’s College Golf Platform
GOLF Channel is the television home for college golf, currently providing live coverage of eight college golf championships. GOLF Channel deploys its comprehensive portfolio of news, digital and social media coverage year-round in covering collegiate golf, including season preview shows, signing day specials, regional and national qualifying coverage, serving as the exclusive media partner of PGA TOUR University Presented by Velocity Global and the Velocity Global Ranking, and exclusive annual coverage for the Haskins and ANNIKA Awards Presented by Stifel.
Following its announcement in 2013 as the exclusive television provider of the NCAA Golf Championships, GOLF Channel has provided live coverage of the men’s NCAA Championships since 2014 and the women’s NCAA Championships since 2015, which are hosted at the same venue in consecutive weeks at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona. GOLF Channel also annually televises the three-day East Lake Cup at historic East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.; the Western Intercollegiate Presented by Topgolf, one of the longest-running college tournaments in the U.S. taking place at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif.; the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate Presented by PXG at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C.; the Blessings Collegiate Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark; the Jackson T. Stephens Cup; and the Southwestern Invitational Presented by Topgolf at North Ranch Country Club in Westlake Village, Calif.
Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Jennifer Kupcho, Bronte Law and Maria Fassi are just a few of the professional golfers who appeared on GOLF Channel while competing in college.