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Detroit Golf Club is hosting the John Shippen Men's Invitational this weekend, and fourteen black golfers will play for a spot in next week's Rocket Mortgage Classic PGA event, held at the same venue.

The 36-hole stroke play competition will be accompanied by a business summit. Tournament director and co-founder of The John Shippen, Sommer Woods, says high school and college students will have the opportunity to speak with professionals in the sports industry at the event.

Hear: Sommer Woods talks about John Shippen and the upcoming event


“Because it's an $80 billion industry,” Woods says, “the representation within that $80 billion industry is very low. People don't always think about accountants or finance.”

Woods says the celebration aims to increase diversity in golf. The tournament is named after John Shippen – a man of African-American and Native American descent who competed in several early U.S. Opens at the turn of the century.

At the second U.S. Open, held at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in 1896, Shippen finished fifth.

“When we started this series of events,” says Woods, “we wanted to not only highlight black golfers, but also highlight the personality of John Shippen.”

Woods says the John Shippen not only offers the winner a spot in the Rocket Mortgage Classic, but also supports black golfers with prize money and travel expenses. She points to current PGA player Tim O'Neal as a past winner of the men's invitational who competes at the highest level.

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