The First Tee of Tampa Bay, a Tampa YMCA program, is sending 15-year-old James Morotti to compete in the 2016 Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, an official PGA TOUR Champions event that will be held September 13-18 and televised internationally on Golf Channel.
James was selected by a national panel of judges who evaluated playing ability and comprehension of the life skills and character education learned through their involvement with The First Tee. He will join 80 other participants from The First Tee chapters for the event, which is in its 13th year.
The juniors will be teamed with 81 PGA TOUR Champions players and 162 amateurs as they compete for the pro-junior title at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Poppy Hills Golf Course. Play will be conducted on these courses on Friday and Saturday, and the final round will be played on Pebble Beach Sunday. Players committed to compete include two-time major championship winner John Daly, World Golf Hall of Fame member and 28-time PGA TOUR Champions winner Bernhard Langer, and defending champion Esteban Toledo.
James, 15, has been playing golf for more than 10 years. He joined The First Tee at the age of 7, and says he was provided with equipment that his family could not afford, and the opportunity to play at golf courses and tournaments that he would have never been able to play on.
The First Tee Program Director Mackenzie Mack, who also was a member of The First Tee as a young adult, says James is a great representative, not only because he’s a good golfer, but because he has a positive attitude, good grades, and good values.
The First Tee of Tampa Bay is one of 165 chapters around the country and in select international locations. Serving Hillsborough County since 1999, more than 50,000 young people have been impacted through chapter programs and The First Tee National School Program, which is in more than 115 Hillsborough County Public Schools. The golf-based programs are focused on building character through The First Tee Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy, and judgment.