Golf course for veterans inspires donor

By Associated PressJune 16, 2009, 4:00 pm
LAKEWOOD, Wash. ' Out of the hospital with a repaired heart and a new appreciation for life, millionaire businessman Gene Lynn went searching for a way to share his good fortune.
 
When he read about American Lake Veterans Golf Course, a spot that caters to military veterans and welcomes those with physical challenges, Lynn realized hed discovered a project worth tackling.
 
Now, thanks to a $200,000 gift from him, a little help from Jack Nicklaus and a determined volunteer staff that keeps the course running on land owned by the Veterans Administration, the courses shoestring fundraising efforts have developed into a new, more ambitious effort.
 
The goal is to upgrade the nine-hole course just a short drive from Fort Lewis, creating a golf complex thats accessible for any veteran no matter what their physical ailment might be.
 
Everyone I met out here gives their time. Im used to a world where everyone is trying to make a buck. These guys all give their time. They love what theyre doing, said Lynn, who learned about American Lake by reading an Associated Press story published last year. Its a calling, there is no doubt about it.
 
To accomplish their goal, the Friends of American Lake Foundation is launching a $5 million fundraising drive this month with a pair of well-known co-chairmen: golfing great Nicklaus and Gen. John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one-time commander in chief of U.S. forces in Europe.
 
Organizers are convinced that golf purists will be drawn to the Golden Bear, while veterans will pitch in out of respect for the former four-star general.
 
What makes these efforts even more amazing is that the course has survived without any true government funding and operates solely with a dedicated staff of volunteers, Nicklaus said in a statement. So if there is anything our organization can do by volunteering our support and services, we are going to do that.
 
When Pepper Roberts started volunteering as an instructor eight years ago, he could only imagine a day when such an undertaking was suggested.
 
In the last couple of years, the Friends of American Lake raised an average of $256,000 in small donations for manageable course projects like rebuilding tee boxes, making bunkers accessible for SoloRider golf carts and building a picnic shelter.
 
The organizations new goal is to raise enough to pay for the construction of a clubhouse-rehabilitation center, to build nine new holes previously designed by Nicklaus group, and to provide a cushion to buoy the foundation in the future.
 
Ultimately, the course ' which was played more than 20,000 times last year ' would like to set an example for other veterans golf facilities around the country. All have been without federal funding since it was cut by the government in the mid 1990s.
 
Its going to be unique. I dont know of any other course in the United States that the golf course is designed for the handicapped, said Roberts, the foundation president. There are other courses that might have other people come that are handicapped and play it but the course itself is not designed for them. This one is going to be designed for them.
 
After his first visit to the course, Lynn ' who served in the Army from 1955-57 and was stationed in Alaska ' immediately pledged $200,000 toward the project. Hes already hitting up friends that live in the same exclusive residential community outside Palm Springs, Calif., and has hired a fundraiser.
 
He thinks big, with names like Gates and Clinton regularly rolling off his tongue as potential donor targets. His daily passion is pushing forward with the projects at the golf course.
 
Lynn constantly reiterates hes not in this for attention. Its his quest for fulfillment ' he hopes to give about $500,000 of his personal money eventually.
 
This is the most compelling situation Ive ever come across in my life, Lynn said.
 
Shalikashvili was never a golfer because the game took too long.
 
But even now, nearly 74 and following a major stroke five years ago, he can be helped into a SoloRider cart, and taught how to swing a club. Even more than that opportunity, Shalikashvili realizes the importance of camaraderie for all vets who use the course.
 
I feel great about it. Im a Vietnam war vet and Im a Desert Storm vet and we came home from Vietnam and you didnt want to wear your uniform. The welcome was not there, Shalikashvili said. But now these guys come back and theyre welcomed with open arms and have the feeling that the VA and military services are worrying and caring about them and welcoming them (back).

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

Getty Images

Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.