RALEIGH, N.C . -- The worlds of NASCAR and the Nationwide Tour crossed paths on Wednesday with racing superstar Michael Waltrip visiting the site of The Rex Hospital Open.
Waltrip, winner of the 2001 Daytona 500, was in town to hit a ceremonial tee shot at the TPC at Wakefield Plantation in the PGA TOURs ongoing Drive to a Billion campaign.
The PGA TOUR and its tournaments are celebrating the spirit of giving and teamwork through Drive to a Billion, a campaign aimed at reaching the $1 billion milestone in total charitable contributions in the next 10 months.
To commemorate the first recorded donation of $10,000 made by the Palm Beach Invitational on Long Island in 1938, Waltrip hit a ceremonial tee shot with a replica 1938 driver, which is acting as a torch for the Drive to a Billion campaign as it travels the country. Without any practice swings, Waltrips drive sailed 220 yards down the middle of the fairway.
It all started in 1938 and Im happy to be a part of it in 2005, said Waltrip. Im helping the PGA TOUR celebrate giving away a billion dollars to charity. Im glad to be a part of that.
Entering The Rex Hospital Open, the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour have combined to generate more than $950 million for charity. Locally, tournament dollars will benefit the Rex Hospital Foundation and its dedication to cancer and heart disease education and early detection.
We are very grateful for the many people in this region that have helped us raise money for area charities, said Jeff Kleiber, Tournament Director for The Rex Hospital Open. We are proud of the impact weve been able to make in our community and proud to contribute to the PGA TOURs Drive to a Billion campaign.
Waltrip was equally as proud to take part in the TOURs campaign. He spent time at the golf course signing autographs, posing for photographs, as well as meeting Nationwide Tour players Ricky Barnes, John Morse and Ryan Armour, just to name a few.
Im a big golf fan, said Waltrip. Im a fan of anyone who can hit a golf ball. I love watching these guys on the Nationwide Tour play. I watch the Golf Channel more than I watch the Speed Channel.