Demonstrating its commitment to growing and diversifying the game of golf, PGA TOUR University and the APGA Tour shared details about a new program to help top Black golfers transition from the collegiate game into the professional ranks.
The new APGA Collegiate Ranking identifies five players from Division I, II or III programs – including HBCUs – and exempts them into summer events on the APGA Tour as well as the Pre-Qualifying Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament that same year starting in 2021.
The inaugural APGA Collegiate Ranking highlights the top five players in the current standings, with Florida A&M University players taking four of the spots. Mulbe Dillard (1), Mahindra Lutchman (3), Ethan Mangum (4) and Cameron Riley (5) lead the Rattlers in the top five rankings, while Michigan State’s Andrew Walker debuted at No. 2 on the list.
“Today’s APGA Collegiate Ranking announcement is a tremendous step forward for these dedicated student-athletes looking to establish a career in professional golf,” Ken Bentley, co-founder and CEO of the APGA Tour said. “Young Black players across all divisions of NCAA golf – including HBCUs – have been the most important talent resource for the APGA Tour since we launched in 2010, and this program will provide incentive for top college players to seize an incredible opportunity.”
The announcement comes as part of the PGA TOUR’s commitment to racial equity and inclusion. As part of the plan announced at THE TOUR Championship, the TOUR is pledging at least $100 million over the next 10 years to support nonprofit organizations whose services directly address the inequities and disparities that affect African-American citizens as well as underrepresented and underserved populations in the communities in which tournaments are conducted. The TOUR and APGA also recently expanded their ongoing partnership.
The Collegiate Ranking will ease the financial costs associated with playing developmental tours as well as application fees for the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament. Eligible players for the Collegiate Ranking are Black NCAA Division I, II or III golfers who exhaust a minimum of four collegiate years.
“The APGA Tour has created a great platform for diverse competition in our sport, and we’re excited to further the PGA TOUR’s support of those efforts with today’s announcement,” said Korn Ferry Tour President Alex Baldwin. “The Collegiate Ranking will deliver a tremendous avenue for more Black golfers to pursue their TOUR dreams after the conclusion of their college careers.”
The top five players from the APGA Collegiate Ranking will earn the following benefits for the current season once they turn professional after completion of their collegiate career:
• APGA Tour membership
• Entry into all remaining APGA Tour events
• Travel costs associated with each APGA Tour event
• Exemption into the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament
• Pre-Qualifying Stage unless otherwise exempt into another Stage
The APGA Collegiate Ranking uses the Golfstat adjusted scoring average as the ranking measurement, specifically designed to capture the top players positioned to qualify for APGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament access. This ranking list will be updated periodically throughout the 2020-21 NCAA men’s golf season.
This is an exciting new opportunity for Black college golfers ready to move into the professional space!