Industry News

Duke women, Vandy's Michael Shears win Tom Cousins Award

Award, presented at East Lake Cup, recognizes collegiate golfers for academic excellence, community action

ATLANTA, (Oct. 29, 2019) – The recipients of the fifth annual Tom Cousins Award were announced Monday night in conjunction with the East Lake Cup in Atlanta, as the Duke women’s golf team and Vanderbilt’s Michael Shears were presented with the award. The honor recognizes a collegiate golfer(s) best representing the values of the award: excelling in academics and engagement in the community.

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The Duke women’s team earned the distinction for their passion in helping others in their community. Initially established by a teammate who has since graduated, the team’s “Birdies for Babies” initiative raises money for the Duke Children’s Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units, having raised more than $40,000 to-date. The program was adopted during the 2017-’18 season and enables anyone to pledge money for every birdie, eagle, albatross and hole-in-one the team records in competition.

The male recipient, Shears, is a sophomore on Vanderbilt’s men’s golf team, who developed an enthusiasm for helping others while in high school. Since arriving at Vanderbilt, Shears has continued his service efforts as a leader of the university’s student athletic advisory committee, spearheading the team’s engagement with patients at the university’s children’s hospital.

The Tom Cousins Award is named after developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins, who laid out an aspirational blueprint to revitalize the East Lake community of Atlanta by providing cradle-to-college education, mixed-income housing and community wellness to break the cycle of poverty to create a holistic environment. East Lake now acts as a national model for community redevelopment through Purpose Built Communities for transforming a struggling community into a thriving neighborhood.

The East Lake Cup is being contested over three days, following the format from the final three days of the NCAA men’s and women’s golf national championships. On Monday, Oct. 28, the eight teams competed in individual stroke play competition to determine the individual champion and to seed for two days of match-play competition. Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-30, two match-play tournaments will be hosted simultaneously for the men’s and women’s divisions, with the semifinals taking place on Tuesday and the finals and consolation matches on Wednesday.

Teams for the East Lake Cup are competing on the championship golf course at East Lake Golf Club, home of the TOUR Championship, the season-ending event of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup Playoffs. The East Lake Cup benefits the East Lake Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to helping families build better lives and children reach their highest potential through its holistic approach to community revitalization incorporating mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education and community wellness. The East Lake Cup is one of the largest contributors to the East Lake Foundation, having raised more than $1.5 million for the East Lake Foundation since the tournament’s inception in 2015. ZipRecruiter is the presenting sponsor for the East Lake Cup, joining tournament sponsors Bridgestone Golf, Mercedes-Benz, CSX, Uber and Topgolf.

For more information about the East Lake Cup please visit the tournament website Stay connected with the championship using the hashtag #EastLakeCup.

About NBC Sports Group’s GOLF Division
NBC Sports Group’s GOLF division delivers multimedia golf content, technology and services. Co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995, GOLF Channel’s content now is available to nearly 500 million viewers in nine languages across more than 70 countries around the world. GOLF features more live coverage of the sport than all other U.S. networks combined, including global tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, European Tour, NCAA, THE PLAYERS, The Open, Olympics, Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Delivering unmatched coverage from the world of golf via GOLF Channel Digital, fans can access 24/7 live streaming through the NBC Sports App, as well as complementary coverage via PGA TOUR LIVE on NBC Sports Gold. In addition, NBC Sports connects the world to golf through a wide array of technology and lifestyle services, including: GOLFNOW, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform; GOLF Business Solutions, solving business needs through leading technology, marketing and services; GOLFPASS, an all-in-one digital membership delivering comprehensive benefits tailored to the modern golfer’s lifestyle; GOLF Advisor, the ultimate digital destination for the traveling golfer, featuring the largest number of user-generated golf course ratings and reviews in the industry; and GOLF Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour. GOLF’s global reach originates from its world headquarters in Orlando, Fla., and extends to its international office in Belfast, Northern Ireland; regional offices across North America, Europe and Australia; and also includes collaborations with Sky Sports and serving as the Official Media Partner of St Andrews Links.

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Media Contact:
Jeff Szklinski
Golf Channel Communications