Posts Tagged ‘PGA’

Kenny Perry and Charity


“Tees and Tunes” Charity Event

My wife and I had the great pleasure of attending Kenny Perry’s “Tees and Tunes” Charity Event with several friends in Franklin, Kentucky on the 6th of September.  The event proceeds were raised to support the Boys & Girls Club of Franklin-Simpson.  The event was held at The Arling, a venue owned and operated by his sister Lydia Perry Petersen and her husband Chuck on the grounds of Kenny’s Country Creek Golf Course.  The event included dinner and a concert by Vince Gill.

Franklin is a small community in south central Kentucky located just above the Tennessee line along interstate 65.  It is about an hour straight north on I-65 from Nashville, Tennessee.  In Franklin, everyone knows Kenny…he grew up there and still lives there with his family.

A History of Charity

Kenny Perry is well known for his charitable efforts.  In 2009 he won the prestigious Payne Stewart Award.  The Payne Stewart Award is given to a player whose “values align with the character, charity and sportsmanship that Stewart showed”.  These values include respect for the traditions of the game, commitment to uphold the game’s heritage of charitable support and professional and meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct. In 2002, he was named the winner of the Charles Bartlett Award, given to a professional golfer for his unselfish contributions to the betterment of society, by the Golf Writers Association of America.  His other awards include being inducted into the Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame, the Western Kentucky University Hall of Fame, the Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni and the Lipscomb University Athletics Hall of Fame.

The PGA website lists his charities as:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee – Franklin
To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Lipscomb University
Lipscomb University is a private coeducational institution whose principal focus is undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, combined with a number of pre-professional fields and masters degree programs. Its primary mission is to integrate Christian faith and practice with academic excellence. The mission is carried out not only in the classroom but also by involvement in numerous services to the church and the larger community. Institutional Values The core values that under-gird the works of Lipscomb University include: Christ-likeness Lipscomb exists because of the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. The constant aim is for each member of the Lipscomb family to grow in His image. Truth Truth is sought in each class and should be lived out in the behavior and speech of each employee and student. Excellence In every facet of our work, Lipscomb University seeks the highest level of performance and service. “Perpetual improvement” is the mantra for each class, department, or administrative area. Service Everything we do and teach should reflect the second great command “to love your neighbor as yourself.” Knowledge acquired and skills gained are to be used to bless the lives of others.

Potter Children’s Home and Family Ministries
The mission of Potter Children’s Home & Family Ministries is to be a tool in the hands of supporting churches of Christ and individual Christians to deliver God’s justice and mercy to children and families in need.

I chatted with several folks during the evening and understand his charitable connection with Lipscomb began as a promise to return through a percentage of winnings the favor of support he received as a struggling pro starting out.  He still tithes a percentage of each purse.


Vince Gill and Charity

Vince Gill’s performance was very personal and entertaining.  With only a microphone, a stool and his guitar, he held the 250-ish crowd spellbound with stories and music.  During one of the songs, a young man proposed marriage to the surprise of all but a select few.  A scratch golfer in his own right, Vince Gill has also had a long relationship with charities and golf with his course The Vinny in East Nashville (in my neighborhood!) and The First Tee.  Gill and Kenny are close friends and Vince provided an intimate look into his professional and personal life because of it – and all for the price of some great fried chicken.  Kenny showed his appreciation by presenting Vince with a custom set of Callaway Clubs and bag – all to Gill’s specs.  Nice.

Entertainers and Charity

It’s inspirational that these entertainers, one a professional golfer and the other a singer/song-writer would give so much of themselves in support of these worthy charities.

“The Match” and Harvie Ward

He’s arguably the best golfer you have never heard of…or at least the best one I have never heard of anyway.  It’s probably a little presumptuous of me to say that you have never heard of him, but before reading “The Match” I hadn’t and I’ve a pretty good knowledge of golfers and golf history.  His name is Harvie Ward. 

I read “The Match” a couple of months ago.  A friend gave me the book to read knowing I would enjoy it.  And I did enjoy it, very much – so much so that I bought a copy after returning the book to my friend.  Mark Frost documented the true story and he does a terrific job of framing the title match between the professionals, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, and the amateurs, Ken Venturi and Harvie Ward, by weaving the match hole by hole with a biographical treatment for each golfer.  It is a once in a lifetime meeting of two of the greatest professional golfers of all time, albeit in their waning years with Nelson having already been retired from tournament golf, and two of the best and most promising amateurs.  It is the moment and the vehicle for illustrating the inevitable transition from the heyday of amateur golf to the world of professional golf we know it today.  Harvie Ward and Ken Venturi were among the best amateurs in the world at a time when the game was still searching for a replacement for Bobby Jones – long since retired.  Harvie Ward could have been that man, but for the ascendency of professional golf and associated growing purses and notoriety it garnered with the public – and some heartbreaking setbacks caused in part by actions taken by the USGA attempting to maintain a firm line on the rules of amateur status.  The outcome of the match?  Read the book, but I bet you can guess.

I, of course, know Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan – again, two of the best professional golfers who ever walked the links.  I also know Ken Venturi, but as the professional he ultimately became, winning the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional in a storybook manner, PGA Player of the Year in 1964, and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the year in 1964 and several other professional titles.  He was also a regular golf commentator throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s with CBS.  I learned of his amateur prowess in the book.  I had never heard of Harvie Ward. 

Harvie Ward had an impressive amateur career.  He won the North and South Amateur at Pinehurst in 1948, the NCAA Championship in 1949, the British Amateur in 1952, and the Canadian Amateur in 1954.  He also participated in three Walker Cup teams (1953, 1955 and 1959) and won many city, state and regional amateur events.  His presence was also felt at many U.S. Open and Masters tournaments finishing high in both on several occasions.  Then the USGA challenged his amateur status and the bottom fell out for Harvie.  “After losing his amateur status, Harvie Ward spent the better part of twenty years, by his own admission, wandering in a wilderness of sorrow, confusion, and loss.”  (The Match, 2007)  He resurfaced years later, ultimately becoming a teacher and legend in Pinehurst, NC. 

Harvie’s story is compelling, I searched for more information on him, there isn’t much out there.  There are some obituaries and he is mentioned in some books I have yet to read, but not much more.  This story introduced me to him and I am glad I know him now.  Read the book, it is entertaining whether a golfer or not.  But, if you are a golfer, it is a must read.