Amateur that best exhibits qualities of Arnold Palmer earns berth in Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard - Event to be renamed the Arnold Palmer Cup in 2016
ORLANDO, Fla. - Starting in 2016, one of the 20 participants in the annual Palmer Cup matches will be extended an invitation to compete in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, tournament officials announced today.
In related news, the event's name will be changed to the Arnold Palmer Cup beginning in 2016.
Founded in 1997, the Palmer Cup is a team match play competition featuring 10 collegiate golfers from the United States against 10 golfers from Europe. This year's event is June 12-14 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Europe won last year's edition 18 1/2 to 11 1/2 at Walton Heath Golf Club in England. The U.S. leads the series 9-8-1.
"By affording the opportunity for a player from the Palmer Cup to compete in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, we can ensure that top collegiate players from the United States and Europe have another reason to participate in the Palmer Cup, and we can strengthen the ties between the Palmer Cup and the Arnold Palmer Invitational," said Scott Wellington, executive director for the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard. "Both of these prestigious events carry the name of Arnold Palmer and they should have an official relationship.
"We already extend an invitation to the winner of the U.S. Amateur and the Southern Amateur, and extending an invitation to one participant of the Palmer Cup is a natural extension of our commitment to help young players gain exposure to world-class competition and to support the amateur game."
Wellington added that the Palmer Cup exemption would replace the exemption given to the Southern Amateur champion.
Selection of the Palmer Cup representative in the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard will be determined by a vote of the 20 Palmer Cup participants prior to the competition. The players will select a member of each team (excluding themselves) who they think best represents the "Arnold Palmer Legacy," that is, the values that Arnold Palmer has exhibited during his legendary career. The top vote getter from the winning team will earn the invitation. The Palmer Cup player selected must remain a collegiate golfer to compete at Bay Hill.
The junior caddie for the designated Palmer Cup player also will be invited to Bay Hill.
"I am thrilled that one player from the Palmer Cup will be competing here at Bay Hill next year," says Palmer, who welcomed the first Palmer Cup to Bay Hill Club in 1997. "The Palmer Cup has gained a lot of recognition and continues to grow and become a very significant event for the best college amateur golfers. I think it will become more and more important to the golf world over time. The quality of the golf is very high. Bringing one of the participants from the Palmer Cup to compete at Bay Hill provides a wonderful opportunity for a young player to test his game against the world's best golfers, and we look forward to seeing how these young men compete in the coming years."
Matt Every, the 2014 winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, played in the Palmer Cup in 2004-05 and is one of 91 former Palmer Cup players who competes currently on the PGA TOUR or the European Tour. Other notable Palmer Cup participants include major champions Webb Simpson, Ben Curtis, Lucas Glover and Graeme McDowell, plus Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Charles Howell III, Jonas Blixt, Russell Henley, Jonathan Byrd, Ryan Moore, Alejandro Canazares, Gonzalo Castano, J.B. Holmes, Richard Ramsey and Pablo Martin.
Palmer Cup alumni have 98 victories on the PGA TOUR and 50 on the European Tour. The combined PGA TOUR winnings of these players exceeded $80 million in 2014.