Two tournaments debuted on the PGA TOUR this season, seamlessly joining more than 80 other tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and Korn Ferry Tour in hosting military outreach and appreciation activities. The Rocket Mortgage Classic, held June 27-30 at Detroit Golf Club in Detroit, MI, and the 3M Open, played July 4-7 at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, MN, proudly engaged with TOUR players, fans and tournaments in showing the courageous members of our U.S. Armed Forces and their families how much their service and sacrifice are appreciated.
The Rocket Mortgage Classic, the first-ever PGA TOUR event to be held in the city of Detroit, honored our military by offering complimentary tournament tickets; providing fans with the opportunity to write sentiments of admiration and appreciation to deployed military members on its Wall of Heroes; and providing military guests with an array of services and amenities in the Heroes Hall military-exclusive hospitality venue, including complimentary haircuts. In addition, the tournament hosted the interactive “Shot For Heroes” experience, where fans took a 60-yard shot for the chance to win prizes and donate funds to Built for Zero compliments of Quicken Loans. Built For Zero (www.joinbuiltforzero.org) is a national change effort working to end veteran homelessness.
Rocket Mortgage Classic fan Frank Worden, who retired as a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force after more than 20 years of service, explained how invaluable it was to share the tournament experience with other military guests in Heroes Hall. “You don’t know them, but when they’re a veteran, and you’re a veteran, you’ve been overseas, they’ve been overseas…they’ve lived in foxholes and mudholes like you, and wherever we’ve been in the world, they’ve been there and they understand. There’s a camaraderie, an automatic nod of the head. The kinship was amazing.”
Nate Lashley, a U.S. Army Scholar Athlete Award winner in high school and an avid supporter of our military, captured his first PGA TOUR win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He continued to show his support by giving away his golf bag, hats and head covers to an active duty service member at the conclusion of the tournament.
The 3M Open was equally enthusiastic about supporting our military, offering complimentary tickets for military members and their families and hosting the Polaris Patriots’ Outpost military hospitality venue from Tuesday through Sunday. In addition, the tournament hosted the Callaway Warrior Club Fitting program on Tuesday where two local wounded heroes were fit with their own custom set of Callaway golf clubs; provided active duty service members with the opportunity to caddie for TOUR players for one hole during the Wednesday Pro-Am; and conducted a special ceremony in the Polaris Patriots’ Outpost on Friday, where Polaris presented Birdies for the Brave homefront group K9s For Warriors with the donation of a service dog.
Twenty-year-old Matthew Wolff won the 3M Open in dramatic fashion during his third professional start, just six weeks after winning the NCAA individual title with Oklahoma State University. He joins Tiger Woods and Ben Crenshaw as one of only three players to win the NCAA individual title and a PGA TOUR title in the same year.
For more information about Birdies for the Brave, including a list of tournaments, fundraising events and volunteer opportunities in communities across the U.S. – or to make a donation, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org or follow them on Facebook.