Industry News

Flint, Michigan native Willie Mack III captures The John Shippen Men’s Invitational and secures exemption into PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic

Mack III will play in the Rocket Mortgage Classic for the second time, June 25-30 at Detroit Golf Club

DETROIT (June 23, 2024) – Flint, Michigan native Willie Mack III will play in the PGA TOUR’s Rocket Mortgage Classic for the second time after earning an exemption Sunday by winning THE JOHN SHIPPEN Men’s Invitational at Detroit Golf Club.

Mack III will tee it up alongside the world’s best golfers at the Rocket Mortgage Classic starting Thursday after shooting 63-74---137 on the same course Saturday and Sunday to earn a two-stroke victory at the SHIPPEN event. His victory also earned him a first-place prize of $13,200 from the event’s $22,000 purse.

In 2021, Mack III was granted a sponsor’s exemption into the Rocket Mortgage Classic and tied for 71st, making his first cut on the PGA TOUR. He continued his success by making the cut at the John Deere Classic the following week. Mack III made his major championship debut at this year’s U.S. Open.

THE JOHN SHIPPEN is a series of competitions created to provide playing opportunities on the LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR for the nation’s top Black amateur and professional women and men golfers. The series includes THE JOHN SHIPPEN Cognizant Cup, THE JOHN SHIPPEN Women’s Invitational and THE JOHN SHIPPEN Men’s Invitational. The events are named after John Shippen, Jr., who was both the first American-born golf professional and the country’s first Black golf professional.

“I played in the U.S. Open a week ago and I’m probably more excited to play back in my hometown in Michigan. This is my first cut made on the PGA TOUR a couple of years so hopefully I can play well on Sunday, be in contention, and represent everybody in Michigan,” Mack III said.

“What THE JOHN SHIPPEN is doing, giving us an opportunity to come out here and play in a PGA TOUR event, these opportunities weren’t necessarily provided when I started playing professional golf. To see the younger players being able to get these opportunities and hone in their skills to when they play on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour is amazing.”

For the first time since its 2021 debut, THE JOHN SHIPPEN features prize purses for all three of its 2024 events. A $60,000 total purse will be distributed across three events: THE JOHN SHIPPEN Cognizant Cup, THE JOHN SHIPPEN Women’s Invitational and THE JOHN SHIPPEN Men’s Invitational.

Mack III opened plenty of eyes with his opening round of the two-day JOHN SHIPPEN Men’s Invitational, carding 10 birdies for a 9-under-par 63. Going into Sunday’s final round with a five-shot lead, Mack struggled on the front nine with four bogeys but picked it up on the back nine and birdied the 12th, 13th and 18th holes.  

Nyasha Mauchaza (139) placed second, with Kevin Hall and Cameron Riley tied for third (142).

Mack is a three-time THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Invitational competitor (2021-2023), a 2023 Korn Ferry Tour member and has 80 professional wins.

Intersport, a leading Chicago-based sports marketing and media agency, partnered with Woods & Watts Effect in 2021 to create THE JOHN SHIPPEN - a series of competitions created to provide playing opportunities on the LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR for the nation’s top Black women and men golfers. THE JOHN SHIPPEN Sports Business Summit will also be held for the fourth year to create awareness about employment opportunities within the business of sports.

THE JOHN SHIPPEN was created to identify historical barriers, expand Black representation in golf, and address the lack of Black representation in business and leadership roles within the golf and larger sports industry for people of color.

Since 2021, 90 of the nation’s best Black men and women golfers have competed in THE JOHN SHIPPEN. THE JOHN SHIPPEN has awarded 16 playing opportunities on the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour, and donated $340,000 to local charities, scholarships and fellowships. SHIPPEN alumni continue to see success beyond the National Invitational through player-earned memberships on the PGA TOUR Champions, PGA TOUR Americas and Ladies European Tours. 

For updated information on THE JOHN SHIPPEN, please visit and follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@TheJohnShippen) and Twitter (@TheJShippen). For information about sponsorship opportunities or how to get involved, please email us at

About Intersport
Since 1985, Intersport has been an award-winning innovator and leader in creating sports, lifestyle, culinary, and entertainment-based marketing platforms. With expertise in Sponsorship Consulting, Experiential Marketing, Hospitality, Customer Engagement, Content Marketing, Productions, and Sports Properties, this Chicago-based Marketing & Media Solutions Company helps its clients create ideas, content, and experiences that attract and engage passionate audiences. To learn more about Intersport, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

About Woods & Watts Effect
Woods & Watts Effect is an equity and inclusion consulting firm of transformation engineers, co-founded by Sommer Woods and Michele Lewis Watts, Ph.D. They are a solutions-driven team that adeptly designs programs that assess a company’s strengths and areas for improvement relative to inclusion and social equity. Woods & Watts Effect provides innovative thinking, engagement, and execution. They produce viable, actionable solutions for sustainable change through a bold, non-traditional, and engaging approach. More information is available at

About Rocket Mortgage
Detroit-based Rocket Mortgage is the largest retail mortgage lender and is a part of Rocket Companies (NYSE: RKT).

The lender enables the American Dream of homeownership and financial freedom through its obsession with an industry-leading, digital-driven client experience. In late 2015, it introduced the first fully digital, completely online mortgage experience. Since its founding in 1985, Rocket Mortgage has closed more than $1.7 trillion of mortgage volume across all 50 states.

J.D. Power has ranked Rocket Mortgage #1 in client satisfaction for both primary mortgage origination and servicing 21 times – the most of any mortgage lender. Rocket Companies, Rocket Mortgage’s parent company, has placed in the top third of Fortune’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” the list for 21 consecutive years.

Solomon Hughes, 614-315-2446,
Greg Ball, 760-271-9183,

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