Congratulations to the 2012 Tiger Woods Foundation National Junior Golf Team (TWFNJGT) for successfully competing in another Callaway Junior World Golf Championship in San Diego, July 10-13, 2012!
The team's participation in the Junior World Championship started 14 years ago as a result of Earl Woods' belief that kids historically denied from this elite sport should have every opportunity to compete at the highest level. This year, the TWFNJGT team walked away with two of its players finishing in the top 10!
Jonah Texeira, a six-year TWFNJGT veteran, tied for eighth in the boys' 15-17 division. Congratulations also goes to Reese Wilson, who placed sixth in her 7-8 girls division. A total of 22 kids represented TWF at the Callaway Junior World this year, and they made it a point to act as role models in every field they competed.
Over the years, the TWFNJGT's focus has grown to include a concentration on education and volunteerism. Members are handpicked from numerous applicants. To be on the team, applicants not only have to be able to play golf, but they are also required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.2 and clock a minimum of 40 volunteer hours. A few TWFNJGT players have even gone on to establish their own foundations as well as run numerous fundraising golf events for various causes.
One such member is 16-year-old Jonah Texeira. A junior at Granada Hills (Calif.) Charter High School, Jonah plans on attending USC upon graduation, where he was offered a full scholarship to play on the golf team. In the Texeira household, golf is a way of life. Jonah has been playing golf since he was 3 years old and attributes his passion for golf to his dad, who is a lifetime golfer. A TWFNJGT member for six years, Jonah's mother, Terri, was the person who got him connected with the Tiger Woods Foundation.
"She sent in my resumé and had me try out. I was lucky to be chosen for the team and have been on it ever since, which is awesome," Jonah said.
Jonah placed eighth out of many golfers in his division at the 2012 Junior World Championship.
"I just hung in there," he said. "When I got frustrated, I got a little mad. I just took some deep breaths and told myself never to give up, and to try my best and to do the best I can. I got eighth this year. It wasn't bad, but I didn't pull my best. It was a tough win though. I got a trophy for it, which was pretty cool."
In past years, Jonah has placed third and fourth at the Junior World Championship.
"Last December, I played in the San Diego Junior Amateur at Steele Canyon and ended up winning it over a really good field against Beau Hossler, who played in the U.S. Open this year," said Jonah, who travels all over to compete. "The beginning of this month, I also played in the San Diego Junior Masters, and I ended up winning in a three-hole playoff against my good friend."
Jonah also recently played in a one-day Pepsi Tour competition, which he won.
"It was my first pro win, but I was an amateur and that was really cool."
When asked where he will take his passion for golf, Jonah said, "Going pro is the goal, since I was young. I love it. I plan on playing the rest of my life and being the best player I can be.
"I just have to learn from my mistakes and practice hard and work hard every day. It's going to be a long journey just to be on the PGA TOUR."
Well-rounded, Jonah knows the importance of education, as all members on the TWFNJGT do.
"Right now, I'm committed to USC," he said. "I plan to go there for four years and have a backup just in case. I'm probably going to study business. That's what I really want to study. I would like to have my own business one day. I really want to have a clothing business -- a casual golf clothing company."
Like many TWFNJGT members before him, Jonah will undoubtedly go far. Past members have gone on to receive partial or full college scholarships as well as play for golf teams at universities such as Brown, Duke, UCLA, Texas Southern, Princeton, Notre Dame, Stanford, Wake Forest, Tulsa and Ohio. Some have even moved on to play at the professional level. Keep up the good work, Jonah, and the rest of the TWFNJGT!