Around 80 junior golfers, including Bell County's Andrew Caldwell, are playing in the 2018 PURE Insurance Championship Impacting The First Tee this week. The annual event, hosted by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, is currently taking place at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif., and is televised internationally on Golf Channel.
The PURE Insurance Championship is the only event of its kind in which 81 junior golfers are teamed with 81 PGA Tour Champions players and 162 amateurs during an official PGA Tour Champions tournament. The juniors, ages 14 to 18, compete for the pro-junior title. Representing 22 states, the juniors were selected by a national panel of judges based on playing ability and application of the Nine Core Values and life skills learned through The First Tee’s programs.
The junior golfers from Kentucky selected are Calvin's Andrew Santiago Caldwell (pictured) of The First Tee of Pine Mountain and Cold Spring's Cameron Martin of The First Tee of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
The junior field was announced earlier this summer on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. The show included PGA Tour winner Jason Gore, Web.com Tour member Cameron Champ, Arizona State University football coach Herm Edwards, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais and Golf Channel host Charlie Rymer, with 11 junior golfers receiving surprises informing them of their selection.
“We are proud to be a part of such a prestigious event that supports so many deserving young men and women from The First Tee throughout the country,” said Katherine Frattarola, Chief Marketing Officer of the PURE Group of Insurance Companies. “They are what make this tournament so special, and it’s humbling to be a part of something that has such a profound impact on their lives both on and off the course.”
Several well-known golfers have committed to compete in the PURE Insurance Championship, including defending champion and World Golf Hall of Fame member Bernhard Langer, as well as fellow World Golf Hall of Fame members Colin Montgomerie, Mark O’Meara and Sandy Lyle.
“We are proud of the junior golfers selected to play at this year’s PURE Insurance Championship,” said Keith Dawkins, Chief Executive Officer of The First Tee. “These 81 teens, and the event, embody The First Tee’s beliefs around the importance of fan engagement, diversity and inclusion and having a sense of civic responsibility that is expressed through our Nine Core Values.”
Caldwell said, "I have had The Pure Insurance Open at Pebble Beach among my goals since I was nine years old. This experience can help me secure a Division I golf scholarship to Stanford. My dream is to play on the PGA TOUR and give back accordingly.
"I love golf because it is such a mental challenge but is still fun to play. I love it because it is an old game with great tradition and history. It can bring people of different backgrounds together and help them share great experiences."
Caldwell's middle name, "Santiago," is kind of unusual since he grew up in southeast Kentucky.
"My name is Andrew "Santiago" Caldwell. That is unusual because I'm in rural Appalachia in Kentucky and not in Argentina or Mexico," explained Caldwell. "Before I was born, my Dad had a new golf student from Argentina helping at The First Tee and giving him golf lessons. My parents admired his personality and his appreciation of others so much that they actually named me after him."
In this 15th tournament year, more than 870 kids from The First Tee have played in the tournament, meeting and learning from PGA TOUR Champions players and amateurs in the field while showcasing the Nine Core Values and the leadership and life skills they have acquired at The First Tee chapters.
Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the sport of golf and The First Tee’s Nine Core Values to more than 15 million kids, positively impacting their lives along the way. The First Tee’s Nine Core Values are: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. The PURE Insurance Championship is one of 10 national opportunities provided by The First Tee headquarters to encourage and motivate kids as they progress through the program and toward high school graduation.
Clint Eastwood is chairman of the event. Play will be conducted on Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course on Friday and Saturday, with the final round contested solely at Pebble Beach on Sunday.
For more information on the tournament, please visit PUREInsuranceChampionship.com.
To learn more about The First Tee, please visit TheFirstTee.org.