Audit, tax and advisory firm Grant Thornton and its ambassador Michael Wilbon are on a mission to “grow the game of golf” with HBCU golf programs. Texas Southern, North Carolina A&T, Alabama State, Tennessee State, Prairie View A&M and North Carolina Central Student-athletes on golf teams will receive support “on and off the golf course,” Wilbon said in a video announcement.
The Pardon the Interruption co-host and longtime Washington Post columnist enjoys playing golf. He often berated his co-host, Tony Kornheiser, about their golf course challenges.
Recently, HBCU Legends reported how United Airlines and its President Brett Hart provided travel grants to 51 HBCU golf programs to ease the burden of travel to and from golf tournaments. Hart plans to expand airline support for careers outside of golf for HBCU students.
Additionally, Wells Fargo has created new programs for HBCU and minority golfers in the Washington, DC area. NBA basketball champion Steph Curry sponsors the Howard University golf team, and former NBA champion JR Smith is a student-athlete who plays for the A&T Aggies golf program from North Carolina.
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Diversity and inclusion are rare for black golf professionals on the PGA and LPGA Tours. In 2022, only four blacks (2.3%) out of 175 golfers have PGA Tour qualifier status – Tiger Woods, Harold Warner III, Cameron Champ and Joseph Bramlett. In 2021, Mariah Stackhouse was the Only full-time black golfer in the LPGA on tour. Last season, Cheyenne Woods (niece of Tiger Woods) and Amari Avery qualified for the 76th US Women’s Open.
Grant Thornton has not announced new program terms for the six HBCU golf programs. It’s great to see how big corporations donating to HBCU golf are on the rise. The hope is that more golfers will compete on the PGA and LPGA Tours.