PGA Tour golfer Scott Stallings loved representing Tennessee in end-of-year tri-state matches as a junior golfer.
Those matches disappeared.
So Stallings, who grew up in Oak Ridge and played at Tennessee Tech, has started something special — the Tennessee Junior Cup.
He will captain a team of 12 golfers, including six from the Chattanooga area, against a team directed by FedEx Cup champion and Nashville resident Brandt Snedeker in Ryder Cup style matches today and Sunday at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.
"It's going to be one of the best junior tournaments you've ever seen," Stallings said from Franklin, Tenn. "I wanted to make it the biggest deal in junior golf in this state. I want it to be every kids' dream."
Stallings recruited his sponsors, the Tennessee Golf Foundation and his Nashville buddy to create an annual reward for juniors across the state.
Under Armour is outfitting the East team; Peter Millar is outfitting the West. Golfers will get an incredible amount of gear including shirts, gloves, balls, bags, hats, umbrellas and free room and board at the Golf House. And the trash-talking across the sides of Interstate 65 already has begun.
"Kids love Under Armour," Stallings joked. "Peter Millar is old and stiff."
Chattanooga-area participants are Scott Stevens, Brooks Thomas, Alexander Riddle, Blakesly Warren, Jenna Burris and Lauren Johnson. Gordon Hulgan and Samantha Griffith are alternates.
The Junior Cup is being held in conjunction with the Tennessee Challenge Cup matches that pit the state's most deserving professionals against amateur points leaders for the season in a Ryder Cup format.
"To have the best pros, amateurs and juniors at the same place at one time — not many states can say that," Stallings said. "We understand these kids are the future of the game, and that's the point of giving back.
"I want the kids to leave here saying it's the best junior tournament they've ever played."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...