America Supports You: Golf Executive Calls Troop Support ‘Imperative’
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 13, 2006 The servicemen and women performing tough, dangerous work to protect America against terrorism deserve the public’s full support, a senior professional golf organization official said here yesterday.
“What’s significant is that they know we support them and their personal commitment in doing that job, and we all need to participate in that,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said at an employee summit meeting.
Finchem said his organization, the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, became the first corporate partner of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program in February 2005. ASY is a nationwide DoD program that recognizes citizens’ support for military men and women and their families.
The son of a career Marine, Finchem said he knows about some of the personal sacrifices that can accompany military service.
“If you’re away from home in a foreign land with your life on the line in a combat environment, it’s imperative for us to make that guy feel and know that people over here are thinking about him and that he’s got support,” Finchem said.
PGA Tour-affiliated golf courses within the Tournament Players Club network have supported U.S. troops in many ways in recent years, Finchem said. For example, funds raised by PGA Tour players, as well as TPC members, guests and employees, have been provided to three beneficiaries:
Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization supported by Tour player Phil Mickelson that adapts or builds new homes for accessibility for servicemen and women with serious injuries and disabilities;
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a nonprofit organization supported by Tour player Rory Sabbatini that provides financial support for families of military personnel who died in performance of their duties; and
Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit group supported by Tour player Frank Lickliter II that provides unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of servicemen and women severely injured in the line of duty.
“To be able to be involved with America Supports You is unique, because our people really get involved personally in it, and it’s very special,” Finchem said.
The PGA Tour-America Supports You partnership raised more than $1.2 million for U.S. servicemembers this year, Finchem said.
“I think it has been a great relationship, and we’re just looking to do more,” he said.