Stephen Curry Named 2023 Ambassador of Golf
AKRON, OH - On Saturday, July 8, the Kaulig Companies Championship, PGA TOUR Champions and Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation recognized NBA champion Stephen Curry as the 2023 recipient of the Ambassador of Golf Award, presented by the FirstEnergy Foundation, at Firestone Country Club. The award – which benefits the Northern Ohio Golf Charities Foundation – honors a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concerns for others extends beyond the golf course.
“It’s a great honor to receive this award and an encouragement to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Curry. “The list of past honorees features titans of golf and former presidents, so it’s amazing to be included on that list. I’ve tried to find creative ways to leverage my platform to bring major partners together to create opportunities for the next generation to pursue golf at the highest level and open up the world of golf for kids who deserve it. We are blessed to have accomplished what we have accomplished so far, but we’re just getting started.”
In addition to Curry being named the 2023 Ambassador of Golf, PGA TOUR Champions partnered with UNDERRATED Golf, hosting an event at Firestone Country Club from Thursday, July 6 through Saturday, July 8, 2023. This competition featured 96 junior golfers – including 48 boys and 48 girls, ages 12 to 18, from across the country. The event was contested on the South Course at Firestone Country Club – the same course where the Kaulig Companies Championship will be contested this week.
“Stephen Curry using his platform as a global icon and one of the NBA’s all-time greats to help make the game of golf more diverse and welcoming to all is truly remarkable,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan in February 2023. “Through UNDERRATED Golf, he has helped make huge strides in bridging the gap, providing access and opportunity to underserved communities. These efforts – along with his support of the neighboring Memorial Tournament presented by Workday – make him the ideal 2023 Ambassador of Golf. On behalf of the PGA TOUR, we are elated to honor him with this distinction at the Kaulig Companies Championship.”
The UNDERRATED Tour started in 2019 as a basketball showcase event for players who might not have otherwise been scouted by college coaches. The Tour is open to players who were ranked as three-star recruits or lower, like Curry. In 2021, Curry launched UNDERRATED Golf, a purpose-driven business endeavor with the overarching commitment to provide equity, access and opportunity to student-athletes from every community by balancing participation in the sport to truly reflect our society.
The inspiring movement joined the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) in efforts to address the sports’ lack of diversity. The UNDERRATED Tour is built upon three key pillars – equity: the quality of being just and fair; access: the ability, right or permission to enter; and opportunity: a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. The UNDERRATED Tour utilizes golf as a platform to offer young, overlooked golfers special programming experiences, including an ongoing speaker series and networking events with brands and corporations, allowing them to understand what it means to make connections and build successful careers
In its inaugural year, the UNDERRATED Tour held four tournaments, beginning in Chicago and concluding with the best 24 boys and girls competing for the Curry Cup in the Tour’s season-ending championship tournament in San Francisco in late August of 2021. The 2022 season saw five total competitions held. This week’s event at Firestone Country Club was the second of four regular season events for the 2023 UNDERRATED Tour, which concludes with the Curry Cup, held at Lake Merced in San Francisco in August.
An avid golfer himself, Curry teamed up with Howard University in August 2019 to announce that the school would add NCAA Division I teams in men's and women's golf starting in the 2020–21 school year, with Curry guaranteeing full funding of both teams for six years, ultimately helping Howard golf regain its status as a Division I competitor.
The NBA superstar also paired up with NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning in November 2020 for The Match: Champions for Change, a charity event against NBA Hall of Fame forward Charles Barkley and Phil Mickelson that raised money for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Curry’s additional charitable efforts continue to make a lasting impact. In 2012, Curry started donating three insecticide-treated mosquito nets for every three-pointer he made to the United Nations Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign to combat malaria, after being introduced to the cause by a former college teammate. In July 2019, Stephen and his wife Ayesha launched their Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation. The non-profit was created to focus on improving the lives of kids and families in Oakland, the Bay Area and across the country. Rooted in three of the most vital pillars for a healthy childhood—nutrition, education and physical activity – Eat. Learn. Play. is working to ensure that every child in Oakland has access to the nutritious food they need to be healthy and thrive; is equipped with the resources to foster a love for learning and reading; and is provided safe places and equitable opportunities to play.
Away from the court, he continues to use his influence to support and further foster growth with initiatives and organizations such as GoodSports, Positive Coaching Alliance, Charity Bounce, Oakland Parks, Recreation & Youth Development and Oakland Athletic League.
The Charlotte, North Carolina native was selected by the Golden State Warriors with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft out of Davidson College. Since joining the NBA, he has been selected to eight All-NBA Teams and voted league MVP twice.
Born in Akron, Ohio, while his father, Dell Curry, played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Curry went on to earn his bachelor's degree in sociology in May 2022 from Davidson, after opting out of his senior year in 2009. He became the first Davidson player to have his number retired at a ceremony held in August 2022 where he also entered the school’s Hall of Fame and physically received his diploma. Curry married his long-time girlfriend and Toronto-area native, Ayesha, in 2011. The couple share three children – Riley, Ryan and Canon.
Curry joins an illustrious list of Ambassador of Golf Award winners: 1981 Chi Chi Rodriguez; 1982 Bing Crosby; 1983 Byron Nelson; 1984 Gene Sarazen; 1985 President Gerald Ford; 1986 Bob Hope; 1987 Dinah Shore; 1988 Joe Dey; 1989 Frank Chirkinian; 1990 Barbara Nicklaus; 1991 Arnold Palmer; 1992 Nancy Lopez; 1993 Roberto De Vicenzo; 1994 President George H.W. Bush; 1995 Michael Bonnallack; 1996 Deane Beman; 1997 Peter Thomson; 1998 Ken Venturi; 1999 Gary Player; 2000 Ben Hogan and Sam Snead; 2001 Del de Windt; 2002 Joanne Carner; 2003 Robert Dedman, Sr. and Jack Vickers; 2004 Lee Trevino; 2005 Pete Dye; 2006 Ken Schofield; 2007 Tony Jacklin; 2008 Charlie Sifford; 2009 Hale Irwin; 2010 Tom Watson; 2011 Nick Price; 2012 Nick Faldo; 2013 Jack Nicklaus; 2014 Johnny Miller; 2015 Judy Rankin; 2016 Davis Love III; 2017 Peter Jacobsen; 2018 Jim Nantz; 2019 Fred Couples; 2021 President George W. Bush and 2022 Condoleezza Rice.