NORCROSS, Ga. -- For millions, golf serves as a sanctuary from life's daily demands and pressures. However, the impact and influence of golf on two amateurs transcends the golf course. Mizuno Golf announced the next members of its 2014 "Team JPX" roster of inspirational, "game-improvement" amateur players, both of whom will be featured in the popular Mizuno "Play Famously" campaign.
Jerry Leonard and Kadin Mahmet, from Pearl River, La. and Crown Point, Ind. respectively, were selected to join 2014 Team JPX. As members of the team, both will be outfitted from head to toe with Mizuno gear and apparel, including the new JPX EZ irons, and will begin their personal game-improvement journeys in preparation for competition at the second annual JPX Invitational in Atlanta in September.
A former high school biology teacher and current athletic director for his alma mater in southern Louisiana, Leonard was all too familiar with hurricane warnings and usually took them with a grain of salt, but in August 2005 all that changed when Hurricane Katrina devastated his hometown. Leonard was tasked with revitalizing the athletic department after his local high school was destroyed. His first task was fielding a football team, but they had no equipment or proper practice facilities. During this stressful time, Leonard discovered the game of golf served as the perfect escape for him to find peace and clear his mind when the weight of his hometown was on his shoulders. Through the rebuilding process, golf taught Leonard perseverance, patience and afforded him the ability to overcome adversity in trying times.
"There are several life-long lessons golf has provided, some that I even instill in my students now, including taking one day at a time, one shot at a time, and make small changes to improve oneself every day," said Leonard. "It's an incredible feeling for an average golfer like myself to be treated like a pro and I'm inspired to be part of Mizuno's team."
Serving as a police officer in northern Indiana, Mahmet was struck head-on by a fleeing suspect resulting in a major back injury that required surgery. After intensive surgery to rebuild Mahmet's spine, he had to go from the fast-paced world of law enforcement to months of slow-going, pain-staking recovery. Mahmet found parallels in the game of golf and his recovery, which he used to conquer his injury and stay motivated.
"The doctors told me walking was the best way to keep my back in shape. The only fun way to walk in my mind is on the golf course," said Mahmet. "Slowly I started walking and added hitting a golf ball to the walking regimen. This was my saving grace. Now I look to golf to help fulfill what my job as an officer once did, fueling my competitive and athletic nature, and granting piece of mind. I'm ready to take advantage of the opportunity presented by Mizuno on Team JPX."
"The stories of Jerry and Kadin further represent the hurdles golf helps so many individuals overcome and we're proud to have them join Team JPX," said Dick Lyons, Vice President and General Manager, Golf and Team Sports Division for Mizuno USA. "Both men exemplify how perseverance equates to accomplishment and we believe their challenges will inspire golfers nationwide."
The remaining eight members of "Team JPX" will be selected through an online contest at www.playfamously.com. Golfers are encouraged to try the new JPX EZ irons at a participating retailer and provide their feedback and submit a short essay, photos and/or videos. The submissions should demonstrate their passion for golf and a specific challenge that golf has helped, or is helping them overcome in their lives. The next two coveted spots on "Team JPX" will be announced Friday, April 25, 2014.
At the center of the Play Famously campaign is the newest addition to the JPX line of game-improvement irons, the JPX EZ. The line establishes an entirely new standard for forgiveness with proven sweet spot 83 percent bigger than TaylorMade Rocketbladez and more than 50 percent larger than Ping G25 and Callaway X-Hot. JPX EZ utilizes an ultra-thin, Hot Metal face that delivers an enhanced 'trampoline effect' for the extra distance all players desire.
To see how the JPX EZ irons stack up against the competition and submit to become one of the newest members of Team JPX, visit www.playfamously.com.
Connect with Mizuno on Facebook and Twitter @Golf_Mizuno to keep up with product news, Tour updates and custom content and fitting tools.
About Mizuno USA, Inc.
Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, track & field, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for North America. Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in Norcross, Georgia.
Mike Whitmark, 562-546-6008
Harper Cornell, 770-453-7853