New college event named for former Augusta National chairman boasts impressive lineup of host courses
Augusta National chairman Jack Stephens speaks during the trophy presentation at the 1994 Masters.
What the newly created Stephens Cup lacks in history it makes up for in anticipation. On Wednesday, organizers unveiled plans for the collegiate tournament, named after late Augusta National chairman Jack Stephens and set to debut Oct. 17-20, 2021. In the process, they left a great first impression when listing the courses scheduled to host the competition in its the first three years.
2021: The Alotian Club, Roland, Ark.
2022: Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, Fla.
2023: Trinity Forest Golf Club, Dallas
Suffice it to say, trying to be among the eight men’s and women’s teams participating each year is likely to become fierce competition. For 2021, a selection committee will invite seven teams from the top of NCAA D-I rankings, while the eighth team will be picked by the host club. In subsequent years, invitations will be determined by a formal ranking system.
“Our goal is to create a distinctive and highly competitive collegiate tournament that is comprised of tomorrow’s PGA Tour and LPGA stars playing some of the country’s premier golf courses,” said Warren Stephens, son of the tournament’s namesake, who’ll serve as tournament chairman. “Dad truly believed that golf instilled life lessons and built character, especially when started young. Therefore, he would be very humbled and proud that this tournament is named in his honor.
The tournament’s format will be a mix of stroke and match play. Each team will play 27 holes of stroke play over the first two days. The top four teams in the men’s and women’s competition after 54 holes then play head-to-head match play to determine the team champ.
Working with Warren Stephens will be CBS golf announcer Bill Macatee, who’ll serve as vice chair, and Mark Brazil, tournament director of the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship, who will also be the TD of the college event. The AJGA will managed the competition and operations.
The Alotian Club is a fitting first host; the club was founded by Warren Stephens in 2004.