FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Estella Espinosa
August 2, 2005 713.845.1135
Two Houstonians Selected to Play in
Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach
90 Juniors participate in Selection Process at
K-State and Colbert Hills Golf Course
Thirty juniors from The First Tee facilities worldwide have been selected for the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Twenty-two boys and eight girls earned a berth into the landmark event through The First Tee Participant Selection Process, which took place at Kansas State University and Colbert Hills Golf Course, July 23-27. Ninety participants took part in the selection process for a chance to play in the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, an official Champions Tour tournament that pairs 78 junior golfers with 78 professionals. The tournament will take place September 2-4, 2005 on Pebble Beach Golf Links and Del Monte Golf Course and will be televised nationally on The Golf Channel and NBC.
The First Tee Participant Selection Process is unique because it is exclusive to participants in the program and evaluates the field on life skills comprehension, as well as playing ability.
The following juniors were selected to represent The First Tee during the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach:
Brian Batko* The First Tee of Pittsburgh
Ryan Franks The First Tee of Great River
Levi Garcia* The First Tee of Greater Sacramento
Jacques Gatera The First Tee of Phoenix
Peter Gibbs* The First Tee of Greater Sacramento
Robert Hoadley* The First Tee of the Sandhills
Andrew Kayworth The First Tee of St. Johns County
Rayshon Payton The First Tee of Metropolitan Oklahoma City
Scott Langley The First Tee of The Gateway
Scott Melton The First Tee of Chattanooga
Clay Meyers The First Tee of Memphis
Amit Odaiyar The First Tee of Greater Sacramento
Tim Paiz The First Tee of San Antonio
Grant Rappleye The First Tee of Greater Sacramento
James Raymond The First Tee of San Antonio
Tim Riley The First Tee of Tampa Bay
Kevin Sepulveda The First Tee of Central Coast
Preston Schaub* The First Tee of Greater Austin
Colby Smith The First Tee of Greater Sacramento
Timothy Swoboda The First Tee of The Gateway
Jonathan Woo The First Tee of Singapore
Aaron Woodard* The First Tee of Denver
Lisa Chandler The First Tee of the Sandhills
Marissa Cook The First Tee of The Gateway
Katrina Delen-Briones The First Tee of San Francisco
Malorie Luna The First Tee of Houston at F.M. Law Park
Samantha Mosko The First Tee of Three Rivers Park District
Maggie Noel* The First Tee of Houston at F. M. Law Park
Emily Powers The First Tee of Great River
Christina Stockton* The First Tee of Greater Sacramento
*Juniors returning for second appearance
"The thirty juniors moving on to Pebble Beach represent some of the brightest and most talented participants in The First Tee network," said Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., The First Tee executive director. "The First Tee is thrilled to join Wal-Mart, the Champions Tour and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation in providing these young people with an opportunity to play with some of the game's greatest golfers and learn from their vast experiences."
"Everybody who participated in the Selection Process the last few days is a winner," said Champions Tour president Rick George. "The youngsters who are going to the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach are in for the experience of a lifetime. The Champions Tour players who were there last year enjoyed the week as much as the junior golfers did. The atmosphere and camaraderie were unmatched anywhere in golf. Our players can't wait to return and be with all the kids, their family members and everybody else again this year."
The First Tee Participant Selection Process evaluated participants both on and off the golf course througha series of interviews, essays and a 36-hole golf proficiency event. A committee of representatives from
The First Tee, Wal-Mart, Kansas State University and special guests from the golf industry selected the participants based on the following criteria:
• Personal interviews
• Decorum on the golf course
• Proficiency on the golf course
• Personal essay describing the impact of The First Tee on their lives
• Letter of recommendation from a Chapter representative
• Summary of community involvement, awards/recognitions and extracurricular activities
The First Tee participants will join 40 juniors who qualified for the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach through five Regional Open Qualifiers that took place in June and July. These qualifying events were 18-hole, stroke-play competitions open to all junior golfers. The eight remaining junior spots will be determined by exemptions awarded by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, the tournament host organization.
"We look forward to welcoming these extraordinary young people to Pebble Beach for the second annual Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach," states Tournament Director Ollie Nutt. "No other sport can offer this incredible opportunity to play side by side with the legends of the game."
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUBS in all 50 states. Internationally, the company operates in Puerto Rico, Canada, China, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, Argentina and South Korea. The company's securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. Last year, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., contributed more than $150 million to support communities and local non-profit organizations. Customers and associates raised an additional $70 million at stores and clubs.
About The First Tee:
The First Tee is an initiative of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit World Golf Foundation. Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has opened 208 golf-learning facilities and has introduced the game of golf to over 450,000 participants. The focus is to give young people of all backgrounds an opportunity to develop, through golf and character education, life-enhancing values such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship.
About the Champions Tour:
The Champions Tour is a tax-exempt membership organization of professional golfers age 50 and older. Conceived in 1980 as the Senior PGA Tour, it started with just four events and purses totaling $475,000. The Champions Tour now has 28 official events offering a minimum of $50.3 million in prize money in 2005 and its highest average purse ever of $1.8 million. The
Champions Tour's primary purpose is to provide significant competitive and earnings opportunities for players age 50 and older; to protect the integrity of the game; and to help grow the reach of the game in the U.S. and around the world. In addition to providing competitive opportunities for its membership, Champions Tour events also generate significant sums of money for charity. The three Tours of the PGA TOUR and their tournaments have generated $970 million for charity since the first recorded donation was made in 1938, and
are expected to reach the $1 billion milestone later this year. The commissioner of the PGA TOUR is Tim Finchem. Rick George is president of the Champions Tour. TOUR headquarters is in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Our Web site address is PGATOUR.COM.
About the Monterey Peninsula Foundation:
In 1937, Bing Crosby invited a group of friends to get together for some golf, a clambake and, most importantly, to raise money for local charities. Since that time, the tournament, now known as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, has become one of the most popular and internationally recognized stops on the PGA TOUR and has raised over $50 million for nonprofit organizations in Monterey County and surrounding communities. The Monterey Peninsula Foundation also conducts the Wal-Mart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach on the Champions Tour with proceeds dedicated to The First Tee.
As founding corporate partner of The First Tee, Shell Oil Company has provided financial resources to support the development of this charitable youth initiative aimed at promoting character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. Because of Shell's initial contribution, The First Tee has garnered the support of hundreds of corporations and organizations that have provided financial or promotional support to The First Tee and its Chapters.