Jan 30, 2023
THE HONDA CLASSIC AWARDS SPONSOR’S EXEMPTION TO MARCUS BYRD, WINNER OF THE APGA TOUR FARMERS INSURANCE® INVITATIONAL
Marcus Byrd, the winner of the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour Farmers Insurance® Invitational Sunday at Torrey Pines in LaJolla, CA, will receive an exemption to play in The Honda Classic, a PGA TOUR event February 20-26 at PGA National Resort.
“I’ve never played PGA National, but I’ve watched The Honda Classic on TV and know all about the Bear Trap,” Byrd said. “The tournament has great history, great champions. They always have huge crowds. I’m so thankful to Honda and the tournament for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get there and compete against the best players in the world.”
The APGA Tour is a non-profit organization with the mission to prepare African Americans and other minority golfers to compete and win at the highest level of professional golf. The exemption continues a history of the Honda Classic finding ways to create opportunities for diverse players and grow the game following an exemption in 2021 for APGA Tour player Kamaiu Johnson.
“The level of competition on the APGA Tour continues to rise,” Honda Classic Executive Director Andrew George said. “It’s critical for us to support efforts to grow the game and to provide opportunities to participate and to gain experience against the PGA TOUR’s best.”
On a cold day in difficult conditions at the South Course at Torrey Pines Sunday, Byrd birdied the last two holes to shoot the low round of the day with a 3-over-par for a four-stroke win, securing his third career APGA Tour victory at the APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Invitational. It was a stellar end to the 2022 season which saw Byrd win the APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Fall Series bonus.
“The conditions today were extremely difficult, but that’s really what we want as players. We want to be tested and measure ourselves against the best,” Byrd said. “To be able to birdie the final two holes and win this event is extremely gratifying and a great way to start my season.”
One week ago, Byrd was still determining his golf schedule. Now, he has two starts coming on the PGA TOUR in the next four weeks. Byrd will play in the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles February 16-19 as the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption and then The Honda Classic.
“A goal of mine is just to be a sponge. I’m going to be around the best players in the world so I want to learn as much as I can, pick their brains, see how I can keep improving, make the most of these opportunities,” Byrd said. “I feel like I have the game to be there. Most importantly, I just have to learn.
“A lot of those guys, they’ve been out there for years. I’m going to take advantage of these two opportunities and learn as much as I can. And hopefully the game is in a good spot to where I can play well and perform well those weeks.”
Byrd won the APGA Tour Valley Forge for his first win of the 2022 season and followed with a runner-up finish at the APGA Charlie Sifford Centennial. With the victory, Byrd picks up right where he left off at the end of 2023. On the year, Byrd played in 14 APGA Tour events and had 11 top-10 finishes including 8 top-3s and five runner-up finishes to go along with his victory in August. In his last eight starts on the APGA Tour, he has finishes that included T2, T2, T5, 1st, T2, 2nd and 1st.
“I feel relieved first, just seeing all the hard work pay off, to start the new year off with a win and just being able to play the game that I love,” Byrd said. “It’s always good to finish off with a win, but more importantly, it’s great being around this group of people, this group of guys that we play against. Just really excited for what’s to come over these next couple months.”
The decision to partner with the APGA was simple for The Honda Classic.
“We are proud to once again provide a high-profile platform to support the dreams of minority players competing on the PGA TOUR,” said Jessika Laudermilk, assistant vice president of marketing at American Honda.
Grounds tickets, Goslings Bear Trap tickets and other hospitality tickets and packages for the 2022 Honda Classic are on sale at thehondaclassic.com or by calling 1-844-8Honda8 (844-846-6328).
ABOUT THE APGA TOUR
The APGA Tour was established in 2010 as a non-profit organization with the mission to bring greater diversity to the game of golf. The APGA Tour Board of Directors works to accomplish this by hosting and operating professional golf tournaments, player development programs, mentoring programs and by introducing the game to inner city young people. In addition to conducting an expected 18 tournaments awarding close to $1 million in prize and bonus money in 2023, the APGA has organized a Player Development Program to aid young minority golfers as they work to chase their goals in professional golf.