Tiger Woods Helps Flint Golfer Gain Invitation to Debut on PGA Tour


Flint, MI — January 21, 2021

Perseverance pays off. Local golfer Willie Mack III is getting his shot to play in his first tournament on the PGA Tour. It’s been over a decade since Mack, now 32, was a high school golf star at Grand Blanc. Willie Mack went on to play for Bethune-Cookman at the collegiate level where he won 11 tournament titles as a Wildcat.

Mack has competed on lower-tiered professional golf tours, he became the first black golfer to win the Michigan Amateur Championship in 2011, and currently plays on the Advocates Pro Golf Association(APGA) Tour. In 2019 we won the APGA’s Lexus Cup as the top player on the tour.

Photo Credit: Keyur Khamar / PGA TOUR

Willie Mack’s big break comes via an invitation from golf’s biggest star, Tiger Woods.

The Genesis Invitational

Woods hosts the annual Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. The PGA TOUR reported that Tiger announced Willie Mack III as the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption into the 2021 Genesis Invitational field. Awarded since 2009, the exemption represents the advancement of diversity in the game of golf.

“Willie learned to golf with his dad just like I did and those are memories that will last forever. I am excited to see Willie make another lasting memory when he tees it up at Riviera,” Woods said. “Willie has endured through difficult times off of the course the past few years and I know Charlie would be proud of how he has stayed focused on achieving his dream.”

“I want to thank my father who introduced me to the great game of golf,” Mack said. “My dream since I first picked up a club has been to play on the PGA TOUR. It’s really special that I will play in my first PGA TOUR event because of an exemption named after Charlie Sifford, a person I’ve long admired, and in a tournament hosted by Tiger Woods, who is the reason I got into golf.”

The start at Riviera during the 2021 Genesis Invitational will be Mack’s first on the PGA TOUR. Mack has previously played on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Tour.

Since 2009, the exemption has been given to a golfer representing a minority background to play in the annual PGA TOUR event at Riviera. In 2017, the exemption was re-named to honor the memory of Charlie Sifford, the first African American player to compete on the PGA TOUR. Previous exemption recipients include Vincent Johnson (2009), Joshua Wooding (2010), Joseph Bramlett (2011 & 2020), Andy Walker (2012), Jeremiah Wooding (2013), Harold Varner III (2014), Carlos Sainz, Jr. (2015), J.J. Spaun (2016), Kevin M. Hall (2017), Cameron Champ (2018) and Tim O’Neal (2019).

Follow Willie Mack as he Competes

The 2021 Genesis Invitational will be held February 15-21 and broadcast on GOLF Channel and CBS. To enhance the fan experience at home, the tournament is excited to offer games, activities, and more to keep viewers engaged with the tournament while watching. Also, the Genesis Invitational is taking its family village virtual in 2021 with digital activities, challenges, education resources, and more for kids ages 5-12. These fan enhancement elements will be available on GenesisInvitational.com in the coming weeks. For the latest news and information, follow the tournament on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @TheGenesisInv.

The Lasco Press will keep readers up to date on Willie’s progress, as he heads to California for the Tournament we wish him success.