January 17, 2024

Tiger Woods announces Chase Johnson as recipient of The 2024 Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption

Tournament host Tiger Woods has announced Chase Johnson as the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption into the 2024 Genesis Invitational. Johnson will join the field at The Riviera Country Club February 15-18. Awarded annually since 2009, the Sifford exemption represents the advancement of diversity in the game of golf.

“Chase earned the 2024 Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption with his play over the past year,” Woods said. “He let his game speak for itself, and that is something I know Charlie would be proud of.”

Last year was a banner season for Johnson, with significant accomplishments on the PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry Tour and the Advocates Professional Golf Association (APGA) Tour. Johnson is looking to keep his momentum going this year.

“I am beyond excited to receive the Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption and to play in The Genesis Invitational,” Johnson said. “Tiger has been an inspiration to me, and I look forward to putting my game to the test at Riviera and playing in honor of Mr. Sifford.”

In June of 2023, Johnson competed in, and won, The John Shippen Invitational, earning a start the following week in the PGA TOUR’s Detroit stop. It was Johnson’s second career start on the PGA TOUR and his first made cut. In addition to his start in Detroit, Johnson played in the PGA TOUR’s World Wide Technologies Championship and the Butterfield Bermuda Championship this past year. He made the cut at the World Wide Technologies Championship held at El Cardonal at Diamante, the first course designed by Woods’ TGR Design to host a PGA TOUR event. Johnson made his PGA TOUR debut at the 2021 Memorial Tournament.

During the 2023 APGA Tour season, Johnson finished near the top of the leaderboard in all 11 of his starts. Johnson notched three wins (APGA Ascension Classic, APGA Farmers Insurance Cincinnati and APGA Farmers Insurance Austin), seven second-place finishes and a fifth place in on the APGA Tour in 2023. As a result of this fantastic season, Johnson finished atop the tour’s Player of the Year award standings, having the most combined points throughout the different APGA Tour events. Johnson also secured the tour’s fall series bonus as two of his victories in Cincinnati and Austin kicked off the three-event fall series.

“My game has been trending consistently for a while, and last year was a nice validation that my approach has been working,” Johnson said. “I have put in the work and know that my game is ready for Riviera.”

Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Johnson was introduced to golf at a very young age. His father, Mel, put a club in his hand before he could walk, and the now 28-year-old’s first words as a child were ‘da ball’ pointing to a golf ball. But golf wasn’t Johnson’s only love growing up. An avid gamer – Johnson’s favorite game was Tiger Woods PGA Tour – and fan of the Harry Potter series, Johnson still listens to the books while practicing.

On the golf course, Johnson excelled through the First Tee of Akron program and won multiple youth championships while earning a golf scholarship to play at Kent State University. While at Kent State, Johnson was the MAC Player of the Year in 2015-16 and a three-time all-conference selection. Following college, Johnson moved to Florida, where he worked as a caddie as he honed his game. He played in 11 PGA Tour Latinoamérica events in 2019 and advanced to the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020, making 32 starts.

Since 2009, an exemption has been given to a golfer representing a minority background to play in the annual PGA TOUR event at Riviera. In 2017, the exemption was re-named to honor the memory of Charlie Sifford, the first African-American player to compete on the PGA TOUR and the winner of the 1969 Los Angeles Open at Rancho Park.

The full list of previous Charlie Sifford Memorial Exemption recipients includes Vincent Johnson (2009), Joshua Wooding (2010), Joseph Bramlett (2011 & 2020), Andy Walker (2012), Jeremiah Wooding (2013), Harold Varner III (2014), Carlos Sainz, Jr. (2015), J.J. Spaun (2016), Kevin M. Hall (2017), Cameron Champ (2018), Tim O’Neal (2019), Willie Mack III (2021), Aaron Beverly (2022) and Marcus Byrd (2023).

The Genesis Invitational will be held February 15-18 and broadcast on GOLF Channel and CBS. Tickets to the tournament are currently available for purchase by clicking here.