Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Jimmy Self Invitational is a special event in junior golf — and at Palmetto Dunes

(HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.) — The 2020 Jimmy Self Invitational will be contested this weekend — Friday, July 17th through Sunday, July 19th — at the Arthur Hills Course at Hilton Head Island’s Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort.

Named in honor of a man who gave so much to golf, the Jimmy Self Invitational has become one of the top high school tournaments in South Carolina, and has hosted some of the top high school teams and players in the Southeast.

Indeed, golf always held a special place in the life of James C. “Jimmy” Self Jr.

An outstanding player, Self captained the Clemson University golf team in 1964 and 1965. He later served on the Board of the South Carolina Golf Association from 1969 to 1971 and remained generous to the game of golf — particularly junior golf — in the years that followed.

Self’s father, James C. “Jim” Self, served as the Chairperson for Greenwood Development, which was founded in 1942 by Jimmy’s grandfather, James C. Self. In 1979, Greenwood Development acquired Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island.

Jimmy Self died tragically at 52 years old in May 1995, when he was hit by a truck crossing a busy highway. A room at Clemson’s clubhouse is named in his honor. A Greenwood Index-Journal editorial on May 8, 1995, read, “His good works, quiet and unspectacularly, had a positive effect on many. They will never know, and that would make him happy. That was Jimmy Self.”

The Jimmy Self Invitational was introduced in 1996 as a fitting tribute to a man who devoted so much of his life to the game.

“My cousin, Thomas Self, played a lot of junior golf,” said Self’s son, Furman. “My uncle was taking him to a lot of junior golf tournaments with the South Carolina Junior Golf Association. It was during that summer he approached my older brother, Jay, and myself to ask what we thought about possibly having a tournament in our father’s honor.”

The 36-hole event has been presented by Greenwood since its inception. The original idea was to rotate the tournament’s location between Charleston, Greenwood and Hilton Head Island.

The inaugural Jimmy Self Invitational at Coosaw Creek in North Charleston was won by high school sensation Lucas Glover, who would go on to star at Clemson and on the PGA Tour. Glover later captured the 2009 U.S. Open.

Glover ended up winning the Jimmy Self Invitational in back-to-back years, as did another future PGA Tour player, D.J. Trahan, in 1998 and ’99. Other former champions include PGA Tour members, 2011 FedEx Cup Champion Bill Haas, Kevin Kisner and Ben Martin.

For more than a decade, the tournament was a fixture at Greenwood Country Club during the “Festival of Flowers,” and was often heralded as the first South Carolina Junior Golf Association major of the season.

Bryson Nimmer, who captured the Jimmy Self in 2012 and 2013, went to Clemson where he was a first-team All-American as a senior and became just the third Clemson men’s golfer to earn four-time first-team All-ACC selection. On the girls’ side, 2015 Jimmy Self champion Natalie Srinivasan is now a senior starring at Furman University. In April, the three-time All-SoCon selection tied for 17th at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Last July, the Jimmy Self Invitational returned to Hilton Head Island for the ninth time. Luke Sullivan of Columbia and Buggy Reinke of Rock Hill captured the closely contested championships at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort’s Arthur Hills Golf Course.

This year’s competition at Palmetto Dunes continues the Jimmy Self Invitational’s legacy, adding to South Carolina’s rich history of amateur and junior golf.

“My father was a great golfer in his own right,” Furman Self said. “He knew that in the game you meet a lot of great folks. He always said it’s the only sport where you call a penalty on yourself. That says a lot about the integrity of the people who play the game.”

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