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‘It has endless potential’: KPMG enhances Steph Curry’s Underrated Golf, a junior development program on the rise

Steph Curry felt underrated early and often as the smallest player on his elementary-aged AAU basketball teams and as a teenager overlooked by ACC programs.  As Curry says, he didn’t match the eye test, and his dreams seemingly drifted farther out of reach.

The adversity helped the eventual four-time NBA champion develop a strong work ethic.

“I don’t take anything for granted,” the Golden State Warriors star recently told Golfweek. “Every transition I made to that next level was really difficult and required all of my attention and perseverance and belief in yourself and all of that. Even with all the accomplishments that I’ve had personally, and we’ve had as a team, I still carry that mindset with me, and I feel like that’s a huge part of my DNA when it comes to trying to maintain this as well as I can.”

In January, Curry’s new documentary “Underrated”, which mostly centers around his college career at Davidson, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Curry created the Underrated brand in 2019 to celebrate the underdog, empower and inspire. Last spring, the golf-crazed Curry launched Underrated Golf, an all-expense-paid junior tour designed to help provide access to those who are underrepresented in the game.

Now, Underrated Golf has announced KPMG as its title sponsor, enhancing the initiative with a mentoring and leadership development program for juniors.

Longtime KPMG ambassador Mariah Stackhouse is responsible for connecting Underrated with the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm after she attended the inaugural Curry Cup in San Francisco and recognized a natural synergy between their missions.

“I think it has endless potential,” said Stackhouse, a former All-American at Stanford who, in 2017, became the seventh black player to earn LPGA status. Stackhouse will be an Underrated Golf brand ambassador for the 2023 season.

Mariah Stackhouse looks on from the fifth tee during the second round of the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G at Kenwood Country Club on September 09, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

There currently isn’t a single black player on the LPGA with full status.

Underrated Golf will feature fields of 60 juniors at four tournaments across the country, culminating at the season-ending Curry Cup, reserved for the best 24 boys and girls from the tour. This year’s Underrated tour includes events at The Park West Palm (June 25-27, West Palm Beach, Florida), Firestone Country Club (July 6-8, Akron, Ohio), Paiute Golf Resort (July 18-20, Las Vegas) and Chambers Bay (Aug. 7-9, Seattle).

Juniors will have a chance to meet college golf coaches and golf executives at each stop, with Stackhouse hosting a KPMG Leadership Day at the season-ender.

“Just being in a room where you say ‘Hey, this is something I can see myself being inspired by,’ ” said Curry. “That little bit of interaction or that little bit of awareness can change a dynamic for a kid and how they see themselves and the confidence they have in themselves.

“It might not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way for kids to see themselves in places of power and excitement, and that there’s support and a pipeline for them to do it.”

KPMG has long held a strong commitment to advancing women around the game of golf, hosting an annual Leadership Summit at the KPMG Women’s PGA designed to not only introduce women to golf, but to invest in female leaders aspiring to reach the C-suite. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is heavily involved in the program.

Paul Knopp launched Accelerate 2025 nearly three years ago on his first day as U.S. Chair and CEO of KPMG. Accelerate is a strategic initiative focused on ensuring that more individuals from underrepresented groups choose to work for KPMG and advance to leadership positions within the company.

In 2020, 39 percent of KPMG’s partners and managing directors were from underrepresented groups. In 2022, it was 43 percent. The goal is 50 percent by 2025.

Just as Knopp wants the firm to look more like the rest of society, Curry wants the same for golf.

“We think that the mentoring we’ll be able to provide to them, the work we’ll do with Mariah around affirmation,” said Knopp, “it really, I think, is going to be a powerful combination of the three forces – Stephen, Mariah, KPMG – to try to increase access to the game for women and young people of color and everyone that’s underrepresented.”

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Story originally appeared on GolfWeek