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In celebration of the global impact of the Presidents Cup, tournament officials and Presidents Cup Global Partner Citi have announced the return of the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge with a ‘Drive to Melbourne’.

Once again, Citi is inviting everyone to collectively drive a golf ball 44 million yards – the length it takes to circle the globe – either in-person or virtually. This time, the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge is aimed at supporting the launch of a First Tee chapter, to be managed by the PGA of Australia, at the 2019 Presidents Cup.

Ed Skyler, Global Head of Public Affairs at Citi, said: “We are proud to again partner with the Presidents Cup and support the return of the Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge and the expansion of First Tee into Australia.

“We see golf as a platform that allows us to give back. By supporting First Tee, we hope to provide opportunities to enrich the lives of young people around the world. The challenge also helps unite people around the world in pursuit of a common goal, reminding us in the process that the circumference of the globe is a mere 44 million yards!”

The Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge will feature a web-based game, a simulator and a mobile game, allowing fans from all over the world to play and enjoy an interactive experience, while driving toward the opportunity to expand First Tee programmes in Australia.

The simulator will be placed in popular locations throughout Australia, and other select locations, to build excitement and increase awareness for the 2019 Presidents Cup, which will return to Royal Melbourne Golf Club for a third time from December 9-15.

The full list of simulator locations is still being determined but fans in Melbourne got a preview this past weekend, at popular Federation Square. The first location in the United States debuted at Brookfield Place New York.

The Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge will drive toward a launch of First Tee programmes in Australia later this year. Each year, First Tee (www.thefirsttee.org) provides education programmes to young people throughout the United States on golf courses, in schools and at other youth-focused locations.

The launch of a First Tee chapter in Australia will mark the organisation’s sixth international location, including Canada, Japan, Korea, Morocco and Mexico. First Tee positively impacts the lives of young people through the game of golf by providing education programmes that build character and instil life-enhancing values.

“Citi has been an engaged and valued Global Partner of the Presidents Cup. The Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge is a fantastic extension of the core values of giving back that makes the Presidents Cup special. We are excited to bring it to life as the buzz and momentum continues to build toward what we believe will be the best Presidents Cup yet this December,” said Matt Kamienski, Executive Director of the Presidents Cup.

After winning his first PGA Tour event in New Orleans in 2017, Australian Cameron Smith made a significant donation to a local First Tee Chapter in Florida. Along with the donation he wrote a note that read: “I remember being your age, hitting balls, dreaming of being on the world’s biggest stage and practicing making putts to win PGA Tour tournaments. Without the nine core values, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Using these values each day, I strive to be a great person before a great golfer.”

Smith also recognised Citi for their efforts. “It’s great that Citi is not only launching this initiative to help bring awareness to the Presidents Cup, but First Tee will have a lasting legacy on the youth in Australia, not just as golfers, but to build overall life lessons and opportunities outside of the game.”

First Tee President Greg McLaughlinsaid: “We’re grateful to Presidents Cup, Citi and PGA of Australia for collaborating around the idea of bringing First Tee programmes to young people in Australia as a part of 2019 Presidents Cup. While our programmes have been in place in the US for more than 22 years, I am pleased we are able to look for ways to strategically expand through relationships like this.”

The Citi 44 Million Yard Challenge mobile game will allow participants to take shots on the 18th hole at Liberty National Golf Club (host of the 2017 Presidents Cup) and the 18th at Royal Melbourne. The online game can be accessed globally by users who go to www.PresidentsCup.com/Citi and Presidents Cup social channels. The game will be available in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.