Team Cordillera and Team Baltusrol gathered with Jimmy Walker for a picture before play began.
The Jimmy Walker Challenge has been named the recipient of the 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award by the American Junior Golf Association. The inaugural event was hosted at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, Texas, the home course of PGA TOUR professional Jimmy Walker.
Each year, the AJGA presents awards to the tournaments with the best individual hospitality, Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament, charitable giving and volunteer base. Awards are also given to the events with engaged media and social media participation. Finally, the AJGA recognizes the year’s most outstanding golf professional, superintendent and general manager, as well as the most improved event, best new event, best Junior Golf Hub Preview Series tournament, best ACDS Junior All-Star Series tournament, best Invitational and overall tournament of the year. Tournament awards for the 2016 season will be presented on-site at 2017 tournaments.
The Jimmy Walker Challenge debuted a match play team format. Two teams of 16 boys were drafted into “Team Cordillera” and “Team Baltusrol,” aptly named after the host course and the course where Walker won the 2016 PGA Championship, his first major. The teams faced off in foursome and four-ball matches in October of 2016.
“Going into the tournament, we were excited to see how the new team format would be received, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result,” Walker said. “I think match-play experience is extremely important, and the guys this year really got into it. The team spirit was on full display all weekend.”
Spurred by involvement from Walker, his wife, Erin, and even his two young sons, the tournament was a huge success. Jimmy Walker hosted a Q&A with the players, competed against them in mini golf and watched matches throughout the weekend, while Erin assisted in distributing the trophies at the Awards Ceremony. The atmosphere was electric, and the teams even created their own chants at the first tee.
To top it off, Walker showed off two impressive pieces of hardware at the Welcome Dinner from 2016: the Wanamaker Trophy and the Ryder Cup. Video footage of the event appeared on Golf Channel the following week as a part of its annual “Junior Golf Week.”
Walker cited his commitment to providing match play opportunities as a reason he started the event. Walker is one of almost 40 PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour professionals that support the AJGA.
“It’s great to be able to give these players an opportunity to come together as teams, and they embraced it with chants and camaraderie on the golf course,” Walker said. “We’re excited to bring the tournament back to The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch in 2017.”
The Jimmy Walker Challenge will return as a part of the 2017 schedule October 20-22.