Golf-Balls-to-Iraq Update

By Adam BarrNovember 28, 2007, 5:00 pm
The holiday season has begun, traditionally a time for keeping in touch with friends old and new. So we're glad to have just heard from Capt. James Hartman about the continuing success of your efforts to get golf equipment to our servicemen and women in Iraq.
 
We started this program in 2006 with a column I wrote about an old high school friend, Army Reserve chaplain Capt. David Sifferd. When I exchanged e-mails with Dave, I asked him what he needed over there. Instead of the expected sweat-socks-and-magazines answer, Dave asked for golf gear that stressed, weary troops could use to blow off some steam in down hours.
 
I put out the call to TGC viewers and Web readers. As expected, they ponied up happily and often, and they're not done yet. Here's what Capt. Hartman has to report:
 
I just wanted to drop you a line and provide an update on the Baghdad Driving Range.
 
Jonathan Lankford Memorial Driving Range
David Feherty, Butch Harmon and Tom Watson help dedicate the driving range.
We greatly appreciate all the support that this range has received. When Chaplain Sifferd went home, First Sergeant Merritte, Command Sergeant Major Lankford, and myself took over the range. The Command Sergeant Major and I are both from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion (the bomb squad) that is next to the PSYOPs unit.
 
We have worked tirelessly to expand and improve the range and we have received an incredible amount of support for the range. I have been truly amazed by what has been given to us.
 
Sadly about two months ago, Command Sergeant Major Lankford, a man in peak physical condition in the prime of his life, died of a heart attack while doing Physical Training. This weekend we dedicated the range to him. We had the assistance of six great golfers to help us out with this. The USO put together a tour of golfers and when they stopped in Baghdad, they helped us out. We had David Feherty, Tom Watson, Butch Harmon, Joe Inman, and several others here to help. I have attached a couple of pictures. It was a great event.
 
Thanks to some great donations we now have enough balls to keep us going for a long time. We can always use range maintenance equipment like ball shaggers and ball buckets. We are very healthy on irons, but we are hard on woods, hybrids, and drivers. Those are always appreciated.
 
I am rotating home soon, but this range will live on. It averages over 1000 people a month hitting. We pick up over 10,000 balls every Saturday. I can not thank everyone enough.

 
CPT Jim Hartman
79th OD BN (EOD)
Assistant Operations Officer
DSN 318-822-2697
SVOIP 242-0088
NIPR: james.hartman@iraq.centcom.mil
SIPR: james.hartman@s-iraq.centcom.smil.mil
 
Chaplain (CPT) Tim Kersten
POTF-Iraq
Unit #42061
APO AE 09342-2061
 
And on the home front:
 
Mr. Barr,
 
I wanted to say that I enjoyed seeing your article, the photos and the video about the driving range in Iraq. I am very happy to know that the driving range in Iraq is such a success.
 
My husband has been at Camp Victory for one month. He was at the dedication of the driving range this past weekend. He enjoyed meeting the PGA players who were at the dedication.
 
This touches my heart because our whole family plays golf together. My husband Ken and I play golf together as often as we can. Our two boys who are 10 and 9 play golf and our daugther who is 5 is learning to play.
 
Even though Ken is away, I am glad to know that he can still practice at the driving range to keep his game going. Thank you for the time and effort you give to support my husband and all the soldiers in Iraq.
 
Go Army!
Cammie Walkington

 
Thanks again to everyone who has helped. And remember, there's plenty of chances remaining to do your part. Thanks especially to all who serve, close to harm, far from home, but never far from our thoughts.
 
Thanks.
 
Related Links:
  • Golf Balls in the Danger Zone
     
    Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
  • Getty Images

    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

    Getty Images

    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

    Getty Images

    McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

    Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

    The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

    McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

    Getty Images

    Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

    The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

    Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

    Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

    Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.