Two men from Kansas City ' Watsons home town ' have heard them. Mark Barrow and Darren McBratney have decided to drive from Kansas City to Pebble Beach, Cal., hoping to help out by raising $250,000 in gifts and pledges for the fight against ALS. They began the journey Tuesday with a round of golf in KC, then hit the road.
There is a unique twist, though. They will make 2,037-mile drive in a specially equipped golf cart. The vehicle, nicknamed the Iron Horse, is street-legal and has a maximum speed of 25 mph. They hope to reach their destination ' Pebble Beach, the site of the U.S. Open where Watson won with his magnificent 17th-hole chip-in in 1982 ' in 14 days.
As a kid, I idolized Tom Watson, said McBratney. When we saw Tom and Bruce on TV at the U.S. Open, we were moved. We want people to know that ALS is a disease that needs more money and more attention, just as Tom Watson has been saying all year. We are asking companies and individuals alike to join us in this cause by supporting us through donations and sponsorships.
Burrow and McBratney plan to raise money through corporate and individual sponsorship. Individuals can donate money for each of the 2,037 miles at www.driving4bruce.org. For example, a donation of just one penny per mile will raise $20.37.
Burrow and McBratney plan several adventures on their journey.
We have some special stops planned, said Burrow. For example, we will drive to the Four Corners, where Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico
come together and slice a golf ball through all four states. We will visit Las Vegas and many smaller towns on the journey. Its a fun trip for a serious cause and a chance for sponsors to be a part of something unique and worthy all at the same time, he said.
The trip will be made in conjunction with Drive 4 Life, a fund-raising initiative of the ALS Therapy Development Foundation. Watson and Edwards are joined in Drive 4 Life by Jeff Julian, a professional golfer who has also been diagnosed with ALS.
There is currently no cure for ALS, in which the body's nervous system gradually degenerates - robbing its victims of the ability to walk, speak and, eventually, swallow or breathe. Most ALS victims live 2-5 years after diagnosis.
'Thirty thousand people are affected by ALS,' said Watson. Ive seen first-hand the cruelty of this disease, and I'm determined to do my part to help find a cure. Doctors tell us one may be out there, but money is needed for critical research. That's where all these local efforts will help.'