Willie Mack III Makes History As First Bethune-Cookman Alum To Compete in PGA Tournament


By Kyra Aleessandrini

Bethune-Cookman University alum Willie Mack III competed at the Pinehurst No. 2 Golf Course in Pinehurst, N.C. on June 13. He made history as the first alum from the HBCU to participate in a PGA major tournament.

Mack qualified for the U.S. Open in June when he won a three-man playoff in a United States Golf Association qualifier. He finished overall with a two-round score of 141, according to HBCU Sports. His appearance in this year’s U.S. Open marks his first participation in a major tournament and his 8th PGA tournament.

Mack failed to make the cut as he lost his momentum on the last nine holes. He wasn’t the only one. Golfers such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler also did not make the cut, according to HBCU Gameday.

“I want to thank my father who introduced me to the great game of golf,” Mack said about his very first participation in a PGA TOUR back in 2021, according to USA Today. “My dream since I first picked up a club has been to play on the PGA TOUR. It’s really special that I will play in my first PGA TOUR event because of an exemption named after Charlie Sifford, a person I’ve long admired, and in a tournament hosted by Tiger Woods, who is the reason I got into golf.”

At the time, Woods announced Mack as the 2021 recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption, which aims to increase diversity in golf.

“Willie learned to golf with his dad just like I did and those are memories that will last forever. I am excited to see Willie make another lasting memory when he tees it up at Riviera,” Woods said.

Mack won 11 tournaments at Bethune-Cookman, from 2008 to 2011. He then became the first Black golfer to win the Michigan Amateur championship.