On March 22, Somerset-based SHI International named Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour golfers Allisen Corpuz and Annie Park as its newest official brand ambassadors.
Beginning this weekend, Corpuz and Park will wear SHI-branded gear when they play in the Drive On Championship in Arizona. They will also be part of SHI’s 2023 “Solve what’s next” campaign, which highlights the company’s role in helping IT and procurement leaders from more than 17,000 organizations worldwide to meet evolving needs.
The 25-year-old Corpuz and 27-year-old Park are considered among the top young women golfers on tour. But, SHI says, what they bring to the table goes beyond just the course.
“Allisen and Annie are more than just talented athletes. They possess the qualities of inventive thinkers who can adjust both strategy and execution to ensure success,” said Thai Lee, president and CEO of SHI International. “As world-class golfers, they must constantly anticipate and solve for the next obstacles they face on the golf course and those exceptional skills align perfectly with our values. Our employees approach each customer’s unique needs through a similar lens, constantly developing and refining innovative solutions utilizing cutting-edge technologies to deliver positive business outcomes.”
Hitting the links
The LPGA and the PGA of America (PGA) dubbed 2023 as the Year of Women’s Golf in New Jersey in January with four prestigious events set to tee off in the Garden State, including a major championship. Get all the details here.
Corpuz describes Lee’s background and SHI’s accomplishments as inspiring.
“Being affiliated with a female-led enterprise that is shattering norms in the tech sector deeply resonates with my values and fills me with immense pride to represent SHI on and off the course,” said Corpuz.
“I was fortunate to have a strong female role model in my mom who introduced me to golf at the age of 8,” said Park, who won the 2018 ShopRite Classic, which is held at Seaview in Galloway. “I and my fellow LPGA players strive to be that same inspiration for other girls and women. That’s why partnering with the country’s largest minority women-owned business feels like the perfect fit.”
Organizers marked 100 days until the Mizuho Americas Open tees off at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City Feb. 21 – the first time an LPGA Tour event will be held at the prestigious venue – by releasing new details.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament, being held from May 29-June 4, will draw the best golfers in the world competing for a $2.75 million purse, one of the largest non-Major Championship purses on the LPGA Tour calendar this year.
LPGA icon Michelle Wie West will serve as the tournament host.
“The Mizuho Americas Open is one of the most exciting events on the LPGA schedule,” said Wie West. “Not only will it feature the best of the best competing for one of the biggest purses, it also brings to life Mizuho’s vision of a purpose-driven tournament that promotes equity and opportunity for women and supports the next generation of talent.”
The Mizuho America Open will offer the opportunity for 24 female junior golfers on the AJGA Tour to compete beside the 120-player LPGA Tour field for their own individual title. It marks the first time that the AJGA and LPGA have partnered to showcase the stars of today and tomorrow competing together this way. Learn more about the unique event here.
Part of that vision includes a concurrent American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Invitational being hosted by the Mizuho Americas Open.
Organizers also announced that tickets, corporate hospitality packages and volunteer opportunities are available for the event. More information can be found here.
“I am confident that the Mizuho Americas Open is going to bring out some of the very best golf on the Tour and become a fan favorite,” said Wie West.
As NJBIZ reported last month, the tournament will be among four prestigious LPGA events taking place over a six-week span in North and South Jersey, including the Cognizant Founders Cup (May 10-14 at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton), ShopRite LPGA Classic (June 7-11 at Seaview in Galloway Township), and KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 21-25 at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield).
“We are thrilled that N.J. will be the epicenter of women’s golf in 2023, allowing the LPGA, PGA of America, and our sponsors to use our collective platform to inspire young girls and women throughout N.J. and the surrounding tri-state region,” said Mollie Marcoux Samaan, LPGA commissioner, in a statement in January. “The combination of these four truly first-rate and meaningful events played at some of the best golf courses in the world in a major market provides a rare and exciting opportunity to not only elevate women’s golf but also elevate the conversation around women’s leadership and empowerment more broadly.”
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the PGA of America (PGA) dubbed 2023 as the Year of Women’s Golf here in New Jersey in a Jan. 24 announcement, with four prestigious events set to tee off this year in the Garden State, including a major championship.
The events, which will take place over a six-week span in both North and South Jersey, include:
Cognizant Founders Cup: May 10-14 at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton
Mizuho Americas Open: May 30-June 4 at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City
ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer: June 7-11 at Seaview in Galloway Township
KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: June 21-25 at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield
“We are thrilled that N.J. will be the epicenter of women’s golf in 2023, allowing the LPGA, PGA of America and our sponsors to use our collective platform to inspire young girls and women throughout NJ and the surrounding Tri-state region,” said Mollie Marcoux Samaan, LPGA commissioner. “The combination of these four truly first-rate and meaningful events played at some of the best golf courses in the world in a major market provides a rare and exciting opportunity to not only elevate women’s golf but also elevate the conversation around women’s leadership and empowerment more broadly.”
Seth Waugh, CEO, PGA of America, said that hosting a major championship and three LPGA Tour events over a six-week span presents a significant economic impact for the Garden State, especially in the communities surrounding the tournament venues. Last May, NJBIZ examined the economic impacts of the Cognizant Founders Cup and ShopRite LPGA Classic.
“The PGA of America is especially proud to be a part of this important moment for women’s golf when we return to iconic Baltusrol Golf Club, the host of so many historical events, including the 2005 and 2016 PGA Championships, and showcase the world’s best women golfers in a Major championship setting for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship,” said Waugh. “N.J. loves professional golf, and we are excited to be part of a such a powerful lineup of women’s professional events across the Garden State in 2023.”
The sport has seen dramatic growth over the past few years that led a purse increase at nine events in 2022. This year, the LPGA Tour’s 33 tournaments will offer a record-high $101.4 million in prize money, with the four New Jersey events slated to figure prominently into that pot of money.
“This is a great time for women’s professional golf, but we will not stop here,” said Samaan. “The LPGA and its partners and sponsors are fully committed to exponential growth in both events and purses, allowing the talent of our great players to be showcased to the world.”
In the joint press release making the announcement, the LPGA and PGA said that as one of just a few states to host multiple events in a calendar year, the Garden State will establish a significant footprint in women’s golf this year, showcasing the best players in the world while highlighting the importance of business leadership, mentorship and the empowerment of women and young girls through a host of unique marketing programs, philanthropic initiatives, and on-site activations coinciding with the tournaments.
The East Course at Tamarack Golf Course reopened to the public last week after undergoing nearly two years of renovations and upgrades.
The work included improved drainage, a new irrigation system, brand new tee boxes, bunker and finish work, and grassing.
The updates were funded through the Middlesex County Open Space Trust Fund, which provides grants to recreation facilities for the benefit of the community.
County officials says the work will provide an improved experience for players at the East Brunswick facility, which features two 18-hole championship golf courses.
“I am extremely proud of the dramatic transformation our golf courses have undergone and am eager to see the enhancements to come,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald Rios. “Not only will this investment in the Tamarack Golf Course enhance the quality of life for our residents and attract new visitors to our beautiful county, but these renovations will also improve everyone’s playing experience. Whether you’re a golf enthusiast or simply looking for some outdoor recreation, I encourage all residents to visit our newly renovated East Course.”
The project was completed by Indigo Sports, a Troon Company. Each course is designed by experienced golf course architect Mark Mungeam of Mungeam Golf Design Inc.
“Middlesex County has always placed a high value on working with first-in-class partners to deliver high-caliber facilities to our residents,” said Middlesex County Commissioner Charles Tomaro. “The partnership between Middlesex County and Indigo Sports is a testament to that philosophy. Working together, the county, Indigo Sports, and Mark Mungeam of Mungeam Golf Design Inc. have created a world-class facility for our golf-enthusiast residents.”
Later this month, the West Course will close to undergo a similar upgrade and renovation project that is expected to be completed by fall 2024.
“We could not be happier with the outcome of the renovation work on the East Course,” said Jeff Bebbino, regional manager for Indigo Sports. “Middlesex County’s commitment to great golf and affordability to residents is on full display this fall at Tamarack. We’re thrilled to get to work on the West Course next and showcase two fantastic layouts in Central New Jersey.”
“Partnering with the LPGA allows SHI an opportunity to have different conversations with business and IT leaders in a new and fun environment, growing our relationships through a love of golf and an admiration of the world-class abilities the LPGA players possess,” said SHI co-founder, president and CEO, Thai Lee. “We are excited to introduce our customers, business partners, and employees to the sense of community, empowerment, and growth felt at LPGA tour events that make this partnership a natural fit.”
SHI said it is the largest Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise in the U.S. The pairing will allow the LPGA to meet the changing technological needs of the association, while SHI and its customers will have opportunities for corporate branding and on-site hospitality suites at select tour events. According to the announcement, the company will utilize “the LPGA as a tech story-telling platform” to highlight its commitment to supporting women’s sports.
“Thai Lee and her team at SHI have thrived in the IT industry by recognizing the advantages of supporting diversity throughout a company’s workforce and partnership network,” said Kelly Hyne, chief sales officer of the LPGA. “We are thrilled to welcome a new partner whose mission aligns so closely with our values. Together we will continue to elevate our world-class athletes and our sport around the world and strive toward peak performance in all aspects of the organization.”
Though it’s presented other big-banner events, Liberty National Golf Club has never played host to the LPGA. That will change in 2023 when the Mizuho Americas Open is held May 29 – June 4. Golfers will compete for a $2.75 million purse — one of the largest non-Major Championship total prize pools on the LPGA Tour calendar for next year, according to the partners.
The Hudson County country club, situated next to Liberty State Park, hosted The Professional Golfers’ Association’s Northern Trust tournament in 2021 and 2019.
The Mizuho Americas Open stop at Liberty National will occur simultaneously with the American Junior Golf Association Invitational. That event will provide 24 female junior golfers the chance to complete alongside the 120-player LPGA Tour for their own individual title.
The AJGA is a nonprofit dedicated to the growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. According to the partners, this is the first time the AJGA and the LPGA are teaming up to showcase future stars and current players simultaneously, “creating an unprecedented week of education and access to inspire the next generation of LPGA Tour players.”
The multiyear agreement between Mizuho America, LPGA and Liberty National is the first entry into sports sponsorship in the U.S. for the New York City-based arm of the worldwide financial institution. Former LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie West will serve as Tournament Host and Mizuho Brand Ambassador.
“The Mizuho Americas Open is a purpose-driven partnership that aligns our shared values of opportunity, equity, and advancing the next generation of talent,” said Mizuho Americas Chairman and CEO Shuji Matsuura in a statement.
According to the announcement, the LPGA stop in New Jersey comes at a time of record-setting global growth for the organization: In 2022, the Tour’s 32 events offered a record-high $93.5 million in prize money to athletes representing more than 35 counties.
“As the worldwide leader in women’s golf, the LPGA is committed to integrating and growing all parts of the female golf ecosystem and this event is perfectly aligned with that goal,” said LPGA Tour Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan. “From the first time we met the teams at Mizuho and Liberty National, it was clear how committed they both were to making this a game-changing event for players, employees and fans and more broadly, using the tournament as a platform to advance opportunities for girls and women on and off the golf course.”
The Mizuho Americas Open is owned and operated by N.Y.-based sports agency Excel Sports Management, whose representation includes many top players and rising stars on the LPGA Tour. “With a committed Title Sponsor, a unique format, an influential tournament host, and a first-class venue, we have all the pieces in place to create a special experience for our players, sponsors, and the passionate golf and sports fans here in the New York Metropolitan Area,” Excel Vice President Kevin Hopkins said.
On Tuesday, state Sens. Andrew Zwicker, D-16th District, and Richard Codey, D-27th District, introduced legislation that would prohibit sports organizations bankrolled primarily by sovereign wealth funds from hosting sporting or athletic events in New Jersey.
The measure is aimed at LIV Golf, the upstart golf league backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has caused a firestorm in the sports world this summer. Its most recent tournament was held last month at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, drawing sharp criticisms and protests from many, including the families of 9/11 victims.
“New Jersey has long been fertile ground for producing top-quality athletes, and for hosting major sporting events known throughout the world. Yet we do not need further recognition or notoriety from hosting competitions that are bankrolled by repressive governments or unsavory actors like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” said Zwicker. “This legislation will prohibit the Saudi PIF or any other sovereign wealth fund from using New Jersey or its sporting organizations in any shameful ‘sports-washing’ endeavors.”
“No would have believed that after that terrible day that we would be allowing foreign governments to hold events in New Jersey in an attempt to clean up their image after centuries of human rights abuses and connections to terrorists,” said Codey.
Under the legislation, the New Jersey attorney general would have the authority to monitor and ensure compliance with this section by a county, municipality, political subdivision, organization, property owner, and permit or license holder.
“Fans in our host markets have embraced the return of big-time golf to their regions and LIV has loved entertaining them,” LIV Golf told NJBIZ in a statement.
North Jersey served as the stage for one of golf’s most prominent events for women during the weekend of May 12-15 and reaped what likely amounted to tens of millions of dollars in economic activity. The Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton played host to the Cognizant Founders Cup with a $3 million purse that is the largest of any LPGA Tour event outside of the majors and the CME Group Tour Championship.
The Founders Cup began in 2011 to honor the 13 founding members of the LPGA, which dates to 1950, as well as the pioneers who followed. The 72-hole tournament has continued to grow in prestige, popularity and purse. That increased purse came via Teaneck-based Cognizant, one of the world’s leading professional services firms, which doubled the prize money when it took over as title sponsor in 2021.
The event was moved to North Jersey last October after a decade of being played in Phoenix. Tournament Director Scott Wood said as they were deciding where to move the event, organizers were drawn to the New York City television market, as well as proximity to partners and sponsors, such as Cognizant. Wood said moving the tournament to North Jersey was immediately embraced when it was pitched to Cognizant.
“Well you’re based out of Teaneck, New Jersey. The LPGA really doesn’t have a stronghold on northern New Jersey, the metropolitan New York City market,” Wood explained to NJBIZ. “And it was like a light bulb went off and everybody just said, ‘yes, let’s pursue that and let’s make that happen.’”
That tournament was held at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell. While Wood said that the event was successful, organizers wanted to move it back to the spring. That short turnaround took Mountain Ridge out of play, which created an opportunity to go back to a longtime, LPGA partner venue, Upper Montclair, where the tour had not stopped since 2009.
“The LPGA is thrilled to return to Upper Montclair Country Club and make this historic venue the new home of the Cognizant Founders Cup,” said Wood. “After an amazing first year in northern N.J., where women’s golf was passionately embraced by fans and sponsors alike, we are excited to begin a new tradition and create memorable moments at UMCC.”
“We’re committed to creating equal opportunity and diversity, both in and out of the workplace,” said Gaurav Chand, chief marketing officer, Cognizant. “We invested in the Cognizant Founders Cup as part of that commitment with the goal of helping to build a better future for the next generation of female golfers. We’re pleased to continue that effort and look forward supporting the talented athletes of the LPGA in 2022 and beyond through our sponsorship.”
And after a few years of upheaval because of COVID and the change of locations, a multi-year agreement between the tournament and Upper Montclair guarantees a bit of continuity and the chance to build ties within the community. “For us to be able to have a three-year partnership with Upper Montclair, to really put a stronghold, really put our flag here in Northern New Jersey and the Metropolitan area, it’s just going to be a great partnership,” Wood said.
“The membership of Upper Montclair Country Club is truly excited to welcome the LPGA back and host the Cognizant Founders Cup,” said Charlie Dimpfl, the club’s general manager and chief operating officer. “There is no greater supporter of women’s golf and the professional game than UMCC, and we expect today’s world-class women professionals will find our golf course as challenging, yet as fair as their predecessors.”
The tournament also comes during a bit of a lull in professional golf in North Jersey and the New York metropolitan area. The Northern Trust, formerly the Barclays, rotated through New Jersey several times over the last few years, with stops at Liberty National in Jersey City in 2019 and 2021, and Ridgewood in 2018. But, that event, which generated an estimated economic impact of more than $30 million for the area, was relocated to Memphis, Tenn., and renamed with FedEx as the new title sponsor.
The 2022 PGA Championship was originally set to be held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster but was moved following the events of Jan. 6, 2021. That would have been the first men’s major held in the Garden State since the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol in Springfield, which generated approximately between $75 million and $100 million in economic activity. The Women’s PGA Championship will next be played at Baltusrol’s famed Lower Course in 2023, while the Men’s PGA Championship does not return there until 2029.
So, this past weekend offered a great opportunity for the LPGA to fill a bit of that void while expanding its own footprint in the Garden State.
“The players just embraced the move from Arizona to Northern New Jersey,” Wood said. “It already was building to be a marquee stop on our tour. But now, there’s so many factors in play that this is really going to be a can’t miss for all of our players.”
The LPGA also is no stranger to South Jersey. The Shop Rite Classic, held for the last three decades in Galloway, is another of the tour’s most prestigious tournaments with one of its strongest fields. That event returns to its traditional June dates, taking place June 6-12 at the Bay Course at Seaview. Annually, it creates more than $19 million dollars in economic activity for the region.
Wood did not want to make any estimates about the Cognizant Founder Cup’s economic impact because of the event’s relative infancy operating in the area. But he is very optimistic with what he’s seen so far.
“It’s been a great partnership with Upper Montclair and with the city of Clifton, and just everybody here has really embraced us,” Wood said. “We’re very thrilled with what is going to take place this week, the support we’ve had. Ticket sales are very strong.”
He added that he plans to work with local stakeholders to begin putting together economic activity reports as they move through this multi-year partnership. Wood said that many of the local chambers of commerce have also embraced the event.
“They see this as an event that they know their members can get on board with and really start to support. Because they know that we’re bringing several hundred players, caddies, staff members, media to the area,” Wood said. “And that’s going to be an uptick for them throughout this week as they go out and enjoy themselves in this beautiful area. There are so many great little pockets of restaurants and everything around here.”
He also pointed out that the course’s location, nestled between the Garden State Parkway and Route 3, is ideal as they begin marketing the event and establishing its foundation.
“We’re on full display for thousands and thousands every week,” Wood said.
Ultimately, the best way to promote the event is through the product on the course. The 144-player field included most of the tour’s top 100 players, such as World No.1 Jin Young Ko, who won the event in October, finishing 18-under par.
And if you needed any more Jersey flavor. The tournament also featured former Wayne Hills standout Marina Alex, who was returning home, fresh off an exciting win weeks ago at the Palos Verdes Championship where she held off Ko in the final round.
Wood was hopeful that the community would come out to support these athletes and to enjoy world-class golf, while celebrating the LPGA’s past, present and future at an iconic, historic New Jersey course.
“As I tell the world, we need storytellers for women’s golf,” Wood said.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.