Wiregrass Wonders: Press Thornton Future Masters
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - When it comes to junior golf.
“Any junior golfer in the south has heard of the Future Masters,” said tournament director Kevin Klein.
The Future Masters is the cream of the crop.
“They feel like tour players at age 12,” said Klein.
For over 70 years, the Press Thornton Future Masters golf tournament has been a proving ground for the top junior golfers in the sport.
“I think it is looked at by junior golf, some of the scoreboard stuff and those who keep up with the rankings as sort of a major,” said general chairman King Thornton.
The late Press Thornton began this tournament all the way back in 1950 and over 7seven decades later, the allure surrounding this event continues to bring in the best of the best.
“We are our own entity, that we aren’t associated with anybody, we almost look at it like the regular Masters,” said Thornton. “I think that is sort of what happens. I think the way people are treated when they are here. That’s the word of mouth and I think that’s really how the tournament has grown more than anything.”
“We had over 800 applications this year,” said tournament coordinator Angelia Turner. “To have that kind of people looking into our tournament is exciting. And just to see the different people you meet and to see the past PGA tour players.”
That’s right! Some of golfs best and brightest have made their way to Dothan to compete in the Future Masters.
“Bubba Watson, Stewart Cink, Trevor Immelmann. There are over 100 PGA tour players that have played here. You know, Scottie Scheffler winning the Masters. I was here when he played in the 10-under. It’s just cool to watch those kids grow.”
Grow. That is an important word to the Future Masters crew. It’s slogan reads: growing golf since 1950. But those closest to the tournament will tell you that goes well beyond what happens on the course.
“We’ve always said it’s not just the competition,” said Thornton. “It’s the camaraderie, the families, the enjoyment of competing and meeting new people.”
“Just watching the kids grow up is what I enjoy most about it,” said Klein. “It’s really rewarding to see a kid at eight years old show up here to play golf and watch them come here every year with his family and watch him in his last year when they are 17 or 18 leave to go to college. The amazing transformation of these kids you see.”
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