In an effort to promote interest and participation in the game of golf, the Masters Tournament Foundation, United States Golf Association (USGA) and The PGA of America announced Monday the creation of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, a free, nationwide junior skills competition that will conclude at Augusta National Golf Club in 2014.
Participants in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will advance through local and regional qualifiers conducted throughout the United States. Competitors will be comprised of boys and girls ages 7-15, and they will compete in separate divisions in four age categories. The regional champions in each of the boys and girls divisions from the four age categories will advance to the finals to be held at Augusta National the Sunday before the Masters Tournament, April 6, 2014. The Championship finals will be produced and broadcast by Golf Channel.
"Generations of players have been inspired by the dream of sinking a winning putt on the 18th green at Augusta National," said Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament Foundation. "Now an exciting opportunity exists to make that dream a reality. I am confident that our collective efforts with the USGA and The PGA of America will showcase the talents of kids who already play this game and motivate others to give the sport a try."
Said Glen Nager, President of the USGA: "Among our many responsibilities as a governing body is finding creative ways to make the game more accessible to our nation's young people. The Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is an exciting new opportunity to fulfill this role, and together with our partners at the Masters Tournament Foundation and The PGA of America we look forward to leading its long-term success."
"The game of golf is built on several fundamental skills, which our 27,000 PGA Professionals around the country teach players of all ages every day," said Ted Bishop, President of The PGA of America. "The ability to successfully drive, chip and putt a golf ball are some of the basics to the enjoyment of the sport, and we believe this competition will motivate young players to work hard, practice these principle skills and learn to make golf a game of a lifetime."
Local qualifying events will take place at courses in 19 states and Washington, D.C. In total, local qualifiers will provide more than 17,000 opportunities to compete. An extensive network of PGA Professionals and USGA professional staff and volunteers will conduct these competitions around the country.
Regional qualifying will be conducted at courses in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas (2), Virginia and Washington.
For more information about the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, including official rules, qualifying sites or to register, please visit www.DriveChipandPutt.com.