Norman Xiong in action for Team USA at the 2016 Ryder Cup
(MN Golf Association Photo)
PLAINFIELD, NJ (October 12, 2016) -- Junior boys golfers received some exciting news on Wednesday when the PGA Tour and AJGA announced the formation of a Junior Presidents Cup, beginning in 2017.
The Junior Presidents Cup, which is scheduled for Sept. 25-26 at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J., will feature 24 of the top junior boys ages 19 and under, 12 on the U.S. side and 12 from the rest of the world, excluding Europe.
“The PGA Tour is excited to introduce this new tradition to Presidents Cup week,” said Jay Monahan, deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the PGA Tour. “By partnering with the AJGA, our vision for the Junior Presidents Cup is to provide the best young players in the world with a unique playing opportunity that will not only help advance their golfing careers, but also be a source of inspiration as they then witness their professional golfing heroes compete at the highest level and represent their home countries with pride during the Presidents Cup.”
Said Stephen Hamblin, the AJGA’s executive director: “The overall growth and development of junior golfers is critical to the future of the industry, and we expect the Junior Presidents Cup to become a catalytic event that will inspire and motivate golf’s next generation to earn the honor of playing alongside the best players in the world.”
The qualifying process for the 2017 Junior Presidents Cup is simple: the top 11 eligible U.S. players in the AJGA Polo Golf Rankings as of Aug. 3 will make the team, and a 12th will be added off the rankings on Sept. 6, following the AJGA Junior Players, which will award double points. The International team qualification will use the same cutoff dates, though it will use the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player will serve as honorary captains for the U.S. and International teams, respectively, and will each be supported by a captain, who will handle the primary duties during the competition. Captains for the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup will be major champions David Toms (U.S.) and Trevor Immelman (International).
“I love what is at the foundation of the event, which is to use a goodwill competition between some of the game’s greatest players as a platform to introduce the game around the world and help grow it,” Nicklaus said. “To now marry the mission of the Presidents Cup with a competition for juniors from around the world creates the perfect confluence of objectives.”
Said Player: “The youth are the future of golf and this is just another meaningful way for them to experience the spirit, goodwill and camaraderie of a game that I have so enjoyed for over 60 years now. An international team competition is a fantastic way to bring new excitement to junior golf.”
The Junior Ryder Cup has been a success since its inception in 1997, but since it happens bi-annually (even years now), some juniors are put at a disadvantage to qualify if their graduation year falls on a Junior Ryder Cup year. For those players who graduate the spring before a Junior Ryder Cup, their only real chance to qualify is during their third to final junior-golf season, unless they are very talented as high-school freshmen, which few are.
The Junior Presidents Cup serves as a nice compliment, happening every odd year and giving juniors more chances to experience international match-play competition.
There is, of course, some surprise that girls are not eligible to compete in the Junior Presidents Cup. But there’s always the possibility down the line, as we’ve seen with other events, such as the Arnold Palmer Cup, which will add women to its annual collegiate competition in 2018.