The origins of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

By Jason SobelAugust 19, 2014, 4:00 pm

Chris Kennedy is a professional golfer on the minor-league West Florida Tour. The 26-year-old has won three times already this year and leads the money list with $18,250 earned in 24 starts.

“It’s been a good year,” he says. “Things are starting to click a little bit. I’m starting to figure out how to play this game.”

That's nice for his burgeoning career, but it doesn't account for how he became one of the founding fathers of the Internet’s latest charitable phenomenon.

No, for that we must trace the circuitous and fortuitous route of a single $100 donation and how social media has turned it into $22 million and counting.

Just over a month ago, Kennedy’s trainer, James Whatmore, was assigned to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge. A fad rapidly sweeping the nation, it consisted of a person pouring ice water over his head, then passing on the challenge to someone else. It was not only harmless, but philanthropic. Anyone who failed to complete the challenge in 24 hours was required to make a donation to their favorite charity. Even those who completed it often made a contribution.

Whatmore doused himself in ice water and passed it on to Jon Bullas, Kennedy’s swing coach. Then Bullas passed it on to Kennedy. On July 14, Kennedy recorded video of himself taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. He then called out three others, including his wife’s cousin, Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband, Anthony, is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – more commonly known as ALS.



Kennedy then kicked in $100 to help fight a disease which so far has no cure.

Meanwhile, Senerchia completed her challenge and posted the video to Facebook, retaining a connection to ALS with a donation to the non-profit organization that she and Anthony started to help underprivileged families who are suffering from the disease.

Residents of their Pelham, N.Y., neighborhood rallied around the Senerchias. Anthony’s three brothers completed the challenge. Old high school teachers. Parents, kids, entire families.

“Everybody came together in our community,” Senerchia beams. “We couldn’t keep up with all the videos.”

Kennedy’s wife, Ariana, started a YouTube channel and had about 400 videos collected after a single week. More and more people added to it each day.

Through it all, none of them changed the charity. They all kept donating to ALS and spreading the word about a deadly disease.

Not long after, these videos started clogging the social media pages of Pat Quinn, an ALS sufferer who has many connections in that community. He passed it on to Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball captain, who in turn passed it on to various athletes and celebrities.

And that’s where the Ice Bucket Challenge really took off. That’s where it officially became the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

That’s how everyone from LeBron James to Oprah Winfrey to Justin Bieber - even Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy together - has taken to pouring icy water over their heads in the name of charity.

That’s how a largely underfunded cause has turned into the fastest growing charitable campaigns in the world right now.

That’s how a $100 donation has morphed into more than $22 million in just over a month.

“The real story here is that donations are up 766 percent, which is crazy,” Kennedy says. “It’s been a little overwhelming, but obviously we’re all very proud of how it started and what it’s gotten to. It’s going to fund some research and help families. Hopefully it will help a lot of people. It’s been crazy, but in a good way.”

“It’s much needed attention for ALS,” Jeanette agrees. “I feel like it’s getting recognition that it desperately needs. We need more funding for research and we need to find a cure.”

That’s not all the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has done.

Anthony has been fighting ALS for 11 years now, which is two or three times longer than most who are diagnosed with the disease are usually given to live.

He can still walk,  but he needs a wheelchair when going longer distances. He can still talk, but his speech is impaired.

This latest craze has not only kept Anthony up past midnight lately, clicking all over the Internet to find the newest challenges, it’s given him a new lease on life.

“He’s always been kind of quiet and to himself,” his wife explains. “But he said he actually feels more comfortable going out and sitting in a restaurant now, because everyone in town knows about his disease. It’s not just about the money. He feels more comfortable in his own skin. He doesn’t feel like he has to hide from people.”

This isn’t just a story about how $100 has become $22 million and counting. It’s a story about raising awareness for a deadly disease and how an entire world can feel like one tight-knit community when it comes together for a cause.

As Jeanette Senerchia says, “I know people are like, 'We’re so tired of this thing.' But at the end of the day, we’re raising money and getting the word out. If one person learns about it, then it’s a win.”

Donations to The Anthony Senerchia Jr. Charitable Foundation (a non-profit foundation) can be sent to: 417 Ninth Avenue. Pelham, NY 10803. The Ice for Ant Senerchia YouTube channel can be found here.

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Davies headlines field at Senior LPGA at French Lick

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 14, 2018, 10:40 pm

Laura Davies will be looking to win her second senior major championship this year when she tees it up in Monday’s start of the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick Resort in Indiana.

Davies, who won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open in July, will join a field that includes fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Jan Stephenson, who was announced last week with Peggy Kirk Bell as the Hall’s newest members. Hall of Famers Juli Inkster and Hollis Stacy are also in the 54-hole event.

Trish Johnson is back to defend her title after winning the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship a year ago. Brandi Burton, Jane Geddes, Helen Alfredsson and Liselotte Neumann are also in the field of 81 players who will compete for a $600,000 purse, with $90,000 going to the winner.

Golf Channel will televise all three rounds live from 4-6 p.m. ET on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Langer (65) wins regular-season finale by six

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 10:07 pm

CARY, N.C. – Bernhard Langer ran away with the SAS Championship on Sunday to take the points lead into the PGA Tour Champions' Charles Schwab Cup playoffs

Langer shot a bogey-free 7-under 65 for a six-stroke victory in the regular-season finale.

''I just played very solid all day long,'' Langer said. ''Putted well, hit the ball where I was looking and did everything exceptionally well.''

The 61-year-old German star has 38 victories on the 50-and-over tour, also winning this year near Houston. He has a record four victories after turning 60.

''I don't have anything to prove, but I still have golf,'' Langer said. ''I still want to improve my own game. I still want to play to the best Bernhard Langer can play. I don't think I need to prove anything, but I love competing, I love winning or being in the hunt. As long as I can do that, I think you're going to see me out here.''

Langer finished with a tournament-record 22-under 194 total at Prestonwood Country Club, the tree-lined layout softened by heavy rain Thursday from Hurricane Michael. He opened with a 62 on Friday to match Gene Sauers and Tom Lehman for the lead, and had a 67 on Saturday to remain atop the leaderboard with Sauers.


Full-field scores from the SAS Championship


''The 10 under was amazing,'' Langer said. ''I couldn't believe there were two other guys who shot 10 under.''

The four-time Charles Schwab Cup winner also won at Prestonwood in 2012.

''It's always fun to go back to where you've won before because you feel like you know how to play the course and you're somewhat comfortable and that's certainly the case here,'' Langer said. ''I've been probably 50, 70 times now around this golf course and I know how to play every hole.''

Scott Parel was second, closing with a double bogey for a 65.

''Bernhard is just in his own world this week,'' Parel said.

Jerry Kelly had a 68 to finish third at 15 under, and Lehman followed at 13 under after a 71.

Sauers shot a 75 to tie for fifth with Miguel Angel Jimenez (68) at 12 under.

The top 72 players in the Schwab Cup standings qualified for the playoffs, the three-event series that begins next week with the Dominion Energy Charity Classic in Richmond, Va. Dan Forsman tied for 56th to jump from 74th to 72nd, edging John Huston for the final spot by $932. Huston tied for 46th.

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Pepperell captures British Masters, eyes Augusta

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2018, 5:29 pm

WALTON HEATH, England -- Eddie Pepperell won his second European Tour title with a two-shot victory at the British Masters on Sunday and likely secured the even bigger prize of a place in next year's Masters at Augusta National.

The Englishman shot an even-par 72 and held off his playing partner, Sweden's Alexander Bjork (71), as the pair went to the 72nd hole at a wet and windy Walton Heath with Pepperell just a stroke in front.

Pepperell finished on 9-under 279.

Herbert Lucas (69) and Jordan Smith (73) were tied for third, another two shots behind Bjork.

English pair Sam Horsfield (69) and Tom Lewis (70) along with American Julian Suri (74) tied for fifth, one shot in front of tournament host Justin Rose (70).

The victory takes Pepperell into the world's top 35 and almost certainly secures a first appearance at Augusta in 2019. The top 50 at the end of the year are guaranteed a place in the first major of the year in April.

Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood (72) finished 2 under in a seven-way tie for ninth.


Full-field scores from the British Masters


A top-two finish on Sunday would have seen Rose reach the top of the world rankings for the second time this season, the 38-year-old having spent two weeks as No. 1 in September

Pepperell was ranked outside the top 500 as recently as May last year, but won the Qatar Masters in February and followed a runner-up finish in the Scottish Open with a tie for sixth in the British Open seven days later, carding a closing 67 at Carnoustie despite saying he had a hangover.

His three-shot overnight lead was down to a single stroke on Sunday when Bjork covered the front nine in 34 and Pepperell three-putted the ninth, the same hole where he enjoyed a spectacular hole-in-one on Thursday.

However, the 27-year-old Pepperell promptly holed his second shot to the 10th from 122 yards for an eagle to move three clear and a par save from off the green on the 14th looked to have sealed the win.

There was still time for some late drama, though, as Pepperell dropped shots on Nos. 15 and 16 to see his lead cut to a single shot, but Bjork bogeyed the 18th after driving into the heather and Pepperell saved par from a greenside bunker.

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Disappointed Sharma fades to T-10 at CIMB

By Will GrayOctober 14, 2018, 1:46 pm

For the second time this year, India's Shubankhar Sharma watched an opportunity for a breakthrough win turn into a learning experience.

Sharma burst onto the scene in March, taking a two-shot lead into the final round of the WGC-Mexico Championship only to fade to a tie for ninth. It was a similar story Sunday at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, where Sharma started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead but struggled to an even-par 72 that dropped him into a tie for 10th.

"Disappointing, not really happy with the way I finished," Sharma told reporters.


Full-field scores from CIMB Classic

CIMB Classic: Articles, photos and videos


The 22-year-old was 1 over for his first six holes, but he battled back with four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10 to get within three shots of eventual winner Marc Leishman. But his tee shot at the par-3 11th found the water, leading to the first of three straight bogeys that ended any hopes of victory.

"That was probably one of the worst swings of the day," Sharma said. "That 11th hole I think killed the momentum for me. A par there would have gone a long way, and I probably could have made more birdies after that."

Sharma remained optimistic this spring following his final-round fade in Mexico, and he retained a positive mindset despite a rough afternoon as he eyes upcoming starts at both the CJ Cup in South Korea and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China.

"Great experience. Very, very good to have two top-10s on the PGA Tour, so that's a good way of looking at it," he said. "Also, it pushes me to keep playing well. I feel like I have it in me to win out there on the PGA Tour, and I've given myself two opportunities. Game is in a decent place now."