The Jackson T. Stephens Cup, named in honor of the late Augusta National chairman, is a new tournament arriving to the college golf calendar in 2021, and it has lofty aspirations.
The national event, which will debut Oct. 17-20 at the Alotian Club in Roland, Arkansas, is aiming to have one of the strongest fields in the college game. Eight top Division I men’s and women’s teams will be invited by a selection committee for the inaugural event, while subsequent years of the tournament will have teams qualify through a Stephens Cup ranking. With the 2022 event heading for Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida, and the 2023 event scheduled for Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, the tournament has credibility just from the venues that will play host to it.
The event’s namesake, an Arkansas native who died in 2005 at age 81, was chairman of Augusta National Golf Club from 1991-98. Investment banker Warren Stephens, Jack’s son, will serve as tournament chairman, while longtime CBS Sports golf announcer Bill Macatee will be the vice chairman.
“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,” Warren Stephens said. “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 format will be 54 holes of stroke play, setting the field for a final day of 18-hole match play. Men’s and women’s winners of the stroke-play portion also will be recognized.
Mark Brazil, the tournament director of the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship, will be the Stephens Cup tournament director, and the American Junior Golf Association will manage competition and operations.
“Having spent my entire career in golf, whether working with PGA Tour pros at the Wyndham Championship or the future stars at the AJGA, it is clear we are creating something very special with the Stephens Cup,” Brazil said. “Our goal is to create an event that will be played at world-class venues; an event that will be a foundation in college and amateur golf. In short, an event worthy of its namesake.”