WINDERMERE – Willie Mack III is headed to the PGA Tour.

The professional golfer from Flint, MI will make his PGA Tour debut Feb. 18-21 in The Genesis Invitational at famed Riviera Country Club after receiving the 2021 Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption.

None other than Tiger Woods, the tournament host, announced that Mack would be receiving the exemption named in honor of the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour. “I want to thank my father who introduced me to the great game of golf,” Mack said in a statement. “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.”

“Willie learned to golf with his dad just like I did and those are memories that will last forever,” Woods said in a statement. “I am excited to see Willie make another lasting memory when he tees it up at Riviera.” Woods also mentioned that, “Willie has endured through difficult times off the course the past few years and I know Charlie would be proud of how he has stayed focused on achieving his dream.”

Mack, who became the first African-American to win the Michigan Amateur Championship in 2011, currently plays on the Advocates Pro Golf Association tour as well as the Florida Professional Golf Tour. He was the Player of the Year on both tours in 2019. He previously played on the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Latinoamerica Tour.

According to a press release from The Genesis Invitational, the exemption given to Mack has been awarded since 2009 to a “golfer representing a minority background to play in the annual PGA Tour event at Riviera.” In 2017, it was renamed in honor of Sifford.

Previous recipients include current PGA Tour members Cameron Champ, Harold Varner III, Tim O’neal, Joseph Bramlett, and UGA Executive Andy Walker.