Everyone listed here has supported our troops and veterans in some way.
Professional Golfers For Warriors
Proudly supported by the PGA TOUR “Birdies for the Brave”
Proudly supported by the PGA TOUR and its affiliates, Birdies for the Brave is a national military outreach initiative dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families.
Our Strong Birdies for the Brave was originally created in 2006 by PGA TOUR player, Phil Mickelson, and his wife, Amy, to support combat-wounded veterans. The PGA TOUR subsequently adopted the program, and expanded it to include a wide variety of military outreach and appreciation activities during tournaments on the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Champions and Web.com Tour, as well as a series of fundraising events conducted at the TOUR’s Tournament Players Clubs (TPCs) and partner courses across the nation – an effort that has raised more than $15 million for non-profit military homefront groups that provide critical programs and services for military families and wounded heroes.
For more information on Birdies for the Brave, visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org or follow them on Facebook.
A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier
The two sand-colored Humvees at the center of the circle stand in stark contrast to the well-manicured lawn and red, white and blue flowers that frame the grand entrance to the iconic Greenbrier Resort.
The Black Hawk helicopter that touched down on the 18th green Tuesday afternoon was an anomaly, as well. Ditto for the four paratroopers who cascaded out of the skies with an giant American flag on Wednesday.
Members of the military, any of whom get into the tournament for free this week, served as caddies during the pro-am. And a C-130 plane brought play to a brief standstill Wednesday as it flew over the mountains and buzzed the 18th green.
While things may seem a little different here at a resort better known for its golf, horseback riding, falconry and even glass blowing, though, it’s with good reason. This is the week of A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.
The eighth renewal of the PGA TOUR event has a new name and a new focus that reflects the history of the resort that has hosted 27 U.S. Presidents, including the incumbent, Donald Trump, on Tuesday night. With the tournament being played during the week of July 4th, the decision to honor the military was a no-brainer.
“We’ve always tried to find some way to have that military tie-in and we just decided it was time to take it a step further and really show that commitment,” says Cam Huffman, director of public relations and content for The Greenbrier.
From a story by Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
The Greenbrier Military History
The military connection at The Greenbrier dates back to the Civil War. The Old White Hotel, which stood on the property before The Greenbrier was built, was actually used as a hospital for both Confederate and Union soldiers at one point or other during the Civil War.
The Army even bought the hotel during World War II and used it as a hospital for the wounded. Known as the Ashford General Hospital from 1942-‘46, it was dubbed “The Shangri-La for Wounded Soldiers and Airmen” as service members were able to use all the facilities while they recovered. German POWs tended to the grounds and worked in the mess hall, among other duties.
“The spa was still open. The golf was still open. It was more of a rehab thing for soldiers to participate in some of those activities while getting back to normal,” Huffman says.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower was among the more than 24,000 military members treated at Ashford Hospital. He fell in love with the facility, and he and his wife, Mamie, even celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary at the Top Notch Cottage, which was built prior to the Civil War. General John W. Pershing completed his memoirs while staying in the same place.
Eisenhower later decided that The Greenbrier would be the perfect place to build a secret facility to house Congress in case of a nuclear attack. So construction on what was called “Project Greek Island” began in 1958.
Workers were told it would be a conference facility, and in fact, some of it was used for that purpose. Beyond those concrete walls that were 3 feet thick, though, was a facility that could house more than 1,000 government officials – complete with metal bunk beds and its own communications system.
For 30 years, until it was “outed” in the Washington Post in 1992, The Bunker stood ready to serve. It was even stocked with enough food to last six months – just in case the worst happened.
As something of an adjunct to The Bunker, the landing strip at nearby Lewisburg Airport had to be expanded so that it could accommodate the likes of Air Force One, as was the case on Tuesday night when President Trump arrived. Roads in and out of the town of 4,000 were shut down as the motorcade made the 20-minute trek to the resort and back again.
“Actually, even when the President is not coming in, Air Force One does a lot of touch down practices at that airport, training exercises and stuff,” Huffman says.
Trump spoke for roughly 30 minutes at a “Salute to Service” dinner for about 100 members of the military and pro-am participants. It was his fifth visit to West Virginia, whose governor, Jim Justice, is a close political ally and owns The Greenbrier.
“We’ve had meetings for weeks to make sure everything is set and perfect,” Huffman says. “It’s kind of eye-opening to see everything that goes into it. They know every step he’s going to make when.
From a story by Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Phil Mickelson – Professional Golfer
Now in his 25th year on the PGA Tour, Phil Mickelson has achieved things almost no other player has. A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, his 42 wins as a professional rank eighth on the all-time list. He has won five of his 90 career major championships as a professional and has finished in the top three 25 times, 41 times in the top 10. This year he will extend his American Ryder Cup team record for most appearances to 10 consecutive Ryder Cups.
He has also contributed substantial time and money to support active and retired military personnel and their families.
In 2004 The Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation committed to donating $100 for every birdie and $500 for every eagle he made on the Tour to two military support groups, Homes for Our Troops and the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Phil and Amy called their program “Birdies for the Brave”.
Weeks later, the band Linkin Park performed in Tampa, home of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The day after the concert bassist Dave Ferrell said, “If Phil’s in, I’m in,” walked into the office and donated his cut from the show, $75,000. The program was off and running.
Two year later, at a Tour event in suburban Chicago, Phil and Amy sat alongside PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and announced the creation of the Tour’s Birdies for the Brave program.
“It's not just about how many dollars we raise,” said Phil, whose father was a Navy fighter pilot. “That's kind of secondary to raising awareness and appreciation of the fact that these guys are putting their lives on the line for us. When they come home they deserve the quality of life that we want them to have, that they should have.”
A decade later the Tour program has raised more than $17 million for non-profit military homefront groups that provide direct support to military members, veterans, and their families. This support ranges from financial aid, rehabilitation services, counseling and housing to educational scholarships and career development.
In August 2016 Phil and Amy’s effort was recognized by Sgt. Major Bryan Battaglia, the former senior advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That day it was announced the Callaway Golf, which Phil has represented since 2004, was donating $100,000 to Birdies for the Brave.
The program continues to grow through fundraising tournaments staged at 17 Tour-owned TPC golf facilities across the country and a number of others services outlined on the Birdies for the Brave website, BirdiesForTheBrave.org.
David Feherty, CBS broadcaster and Troops First founder
Feherty’s Troops First Foundation works to provide meaningful assistance to United States military service members and their families. Co-founded in 2008 by Golf Channel broadcaster David Feherty and Rick Kell, their Troops First Foundation offers programs and specialized events that address relationship building, mentoring, reintegration and looking forward. Troops First Foundation programs include 24/7 Battle Buddies, Operation Front Door, Operation Proper Exit, Operation Warrior Call and the Leroy Petry Village of Honor. Troops First Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Laurel, Md. For more information or to get involved, visit www.TroopsFirstFoundation.org.
David Feherty has been with Golf Channel since 2011, as host of his popular self-titled talk show Feherty. The show originally debuted in June 2011 as the most-watched original series in Golf Channel history. Feherty received an Emmy nomination in 2014 for “Outstanding Sports Personality.” Described as “a cross between Oprah Winfrey and Johnny Carson” by The New York Times, Feherty has made a name for himself not only through his self-titled Golf Channel talk show, but as one of the most irrepressible personalities in golf.
Feherty’s most fulfilling activities are on behalf of badly injured U.S. troops. In 2005, he was part of a Thanksgiving goodwill tour to Iraq and returned with a new mission, determined to do something to better the lives of those he calls “American heroes.” Subsequently, he founded “Feherty’s Troops First Foundation”, which – among other good deeds – works with wounded veterans.
“Losing a limb, or the ability to use a limb, is one thing,” Feherty says. “But the dignity they lose with it is perhaps even more important. And to be able to give them some of that dignity back is my mission these days. It’s not a charity. It’s just us trying to pay back a very small part of the check that we owe them.”
In 2012, Feherty was awarded the third highest honor within the Department of the Army Civilian Awards, the Outstanding Civilian Service Award, for substantial contributions to the U.S. Army community through his work with the Troops First Foundation. In 2013 his Troops First Foundation was named the Military Charity of the year at the AT&T National.
Leroy Petry Village of Honor
In an effort to continue with the Foundation's mission of developing relevant initiatives to assist Warriors with reintegrating to civilian life, we have built the Leroy Petry Village of Honor. This is a transitional housing program located not far from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that consists of seven single-family accessible homes. These homes will be available for a one to two year period to Warriors and their families who are transitioning out of the military after injuries sustained in combat.
Named after Medal of Honor recipient Master Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, the village is located in Prince George’s County, Maryland. All seven homes will be located on Chief Chris Kyle Court, in memory of former sniper and Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The first home at The Leroy Petry Village of Honor is expected to be completed during the spring of 2016.
About Leroy Petry
The village is named in honor for Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Arthur Petry a career United States Army soldier, retired as a Master Sergeant. He received the U.S. military's highest decoration for his actions in Afghanistan in 2008 during Operation Enduring Freedom. Petry deployed several times to both Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. On 26 May 2008 during his seventh deployment, Petry was a member of a team on a mission to capture a Taliban target in Paktia Province. Despite being wounded in both legs by gunfire, Petry continued to fight and give orders. When a grenade landed between him and two other soldiers, Petry grabbed it and attempted to throw it away from them. He saved the soldiers' lives but the grenade exploded, severing his right hand.
Operation Proper Exit
When a Warrior is wounded and forced to leave the battlefield, the swift medical evacuation process often does not allow them the time they need to make a “proper exit.” Operation Proper Exit is a unique initiative designed for Wounded Warfighters who are thriving in recovery and are capable of returning to theater. This program itinerary stages meet-and-greet opportunities with currently deployed troops as well as battlefield circulation returning the Warriors in many cases to the site where they were injured.
Operation Warrior Call
An initiative of Feherty’s Troops First Foundation, Warrior Call is a nationwide effort aimed at encouraging service members to reach out to fellow “battle buddies” in hopes that reconnecting will facilitate honest dialogue, create a desire to stay in contact, and for some Warriors help define a viable pathway forward. Continuing communications between “battle buddies” redeployed home may be essential to transition out of the stress endured “down range.” The comfort of knowing that a trusted friend is just a phone call away could mean the difference between a good decision and a bad decision on any given day.
Warrior Call asks service members to take the Warrior Call Pledge, a promise to reach out to other service members each week and offer support, guidance and communicate openly.
For more information on Warrior Call and how to take the Pledge visit, www.warriorcall.org and www.troopsfirstfoundation.org.
Jordan Spieth – PGA TOUR Player & Major Champion
Since turning professional in December 2012, Jordan Spieth has put together an incredible resume with 14 worldwide wins and earning the title of three-time Major Champion. With his victories at The Masters (2015), The U.S. Open (2015, Chamber’s Bay) and most recently at The Open (2017, Royal Birkdale), Jordan joins Jack Nicklaus as the only other golfer with three Majors before the age of 24. His Open Championship win culminated in one of the most memorable finishes in golf history.
His career highlights include:
3-Time Major Champion – 2015 Masters, 2015 U.S. Open, 2017 The Open
14 Total Professional Career Wins
o Including the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2017
2015 PGA TOUR Player of the Year (Jack Nicklaus Trophy)
2015 Vardon Trophy
2015 Byron Nelson Award (Led TOUR in Scoring Average)
2015 Arnold Palmer Award (Led TOUR in Earnings)
2015 FedEx Cup Champion
Two-time U.S. Ryder Cup
Three-time Presidents Cup Team Member
2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the YEAR
In 2014, Jordan established the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation. The Foundation focuses on supporting the following pillars: Special Needs Youth, Junior Golf, Childhood Cancer, Military Families and Pediatric Cancer.
In 2014, Jordan and his family were honored to establish the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation. The Foundation focuses on the following pillars: Special Needs Youth, Junior Golf, Pediatric Cancer and Military Families.
The pillar supporting Military Families is very personal to Jordan. He made it a mission of the Foundation to give back to those who bravely serve our Country and, through the Jordan Spieth Family Foundation grants, thousands of military men, women and their families have been blessed with holiday gifts, basic home supplies, therapy, programming scholarships and much more. The JSFF continues to proudly support our military & veterans through grants that focus on the physical, mental and family wellness of these brave men and women.
Learn more at: http://www.jordanspiethgolf.com/foundation
Billy Hurley III—Professional Golfer and Navy Academy grad
Billy Hurley III graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2004 and served as a Naval officer from 2004-09. Hurley was a lieutenant aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer serving in the Persian Gulf to protect Iraqi oil platforms. He also spent time on the Red Sea and the South China Sea and served on the USS Chung-Hoon, a 10,000-ton guided-missile destroyer. Hurley also was stationed on a cruiser in Jacksonville, Fla., and a destroyer in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii during his five-year obligation. A skilled sailor Hurley won two ship-driving awards during his Naval career and also navigated the Panama Canal.
As an amateur golfer, Hurley was a member of the victorious American Team in the 2005 Walker Cup, held at the Chicago Golf Club. The Walker Cup is a competition held biennially that matches the top American amateurs against the best of Great Britain and Ireland. He was also captain of the 2004 Palmer Cup team, an annual competition named for Arnold Palmer that matches American collegiate golfers against European college/university players.
Hurley won seven collegiate golf titles at Navy, was named 2004 Patriot League Player of the Year, and earned the award for the top college golfer and sportsman (the Byron Nelson Award). He was ranked the sixth-best amateur in the world.
After making 11 PGA TOUR starts and four starts on the Web.com Tour, Hurley earned his breakthrough PGA TOUR victory at the 2016 Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club near his hometown of Annapolis, Md. Hurley posted a final-round 69 to win the Quicken Loans National by three shots over Vijay Singh for his first PGA TOUR victory in his 104th PGA TOUR start at the age of 34 years. With the win he earned a spot in the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon as part of The Open Qualifying Series. Hurley joined 2015 Quicken Loans National champion Troy Merritt as the only first-time winners of the event.
Hurley along with his wife Heather are active in several charities including: Birdies for the Brave, a military outreach initiative sponsored by the PGA Tour and begun by Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy. They also are involved with MilitaryOneClick and support the SEAL Legacy Foundation and Operation Shower.
Jim Furyk– Professional Golfer
One of the PGA TOUR’s most recognizable and talented golfers, Jim Furyk was born on May 12, 1970 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It seems like Furyk was born to play golf; his father Mike as an assistant pro at Edgmont Country club, and young Jim was raised into the game. Jim Furyk’s only golf instruction came from his father; and many note that might account for his unusual—yet effective—swing. In addition to Edgmont Country Club, Mike Furyk also served as head pro at Uniontown Country Club.
Jim Furyk took that homegrown golf talent to play at the University of Arizona in Tuscon, where he was an All-American twice. He also led the Wildcats to their first (and thus far only) NCAA title in 1992. That same year, Furyk turned professional and the rest, as they say, is history. He joined the PGA TOUR in 1994 and has won at least one tournament each year between 1998 and 2003. His streak took a little bit of a hit in 2004 when Furyk missed three months due to surgery to repair cartilage damage in his wrist. He soon came back into top form finishing a career-high second on the money list in 2006. Furyk truly hit his stride in 2010, winning a career-best three tournaments on the PGA TOUR that year. The most notable victory was the season-ending Tour Championship. That victory earned him the 2010 FedEx Cup. His stellar performance in 2010 won him both the PGA Player of the Year and PGA TOUR Player of the year.
On Sunday August 7, 2016 Jim shot a record 58 at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell Connecticut. The PGA Tour was founded in 1929. Before Sunday, Aug. 7, nobody had ever shot a 58 in tournament play. There had been approximately 1.5 million rounds in the history of the PGA Tour. In that time, there had been six 59s (one by Jim) but no 58s.
Payne Stewart Award for 2016
The Payne Stewart Award is given to a player whose "values align with the character, charity and sportsmanship that Stewart showed". This includes respect for the traditions of the game, commitment to uphold the game's heritage of charitable support and professional and meticulous presentation of himself and the sport through his dress and conduct.
17-Time PGA TOUR Champion Including:
11 Professional Career Wins
2003 U.S. Open
2010 TOUR Championship
2010 Transitions Championship
2010 RBC Heritage
2010 Valspar Championship
2x Grand Slam of Golf Champion (2003, 2008)
3 International Victories
2010 Fed Ex Cup Champion
2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year
2010 PGA of America Player of the Year
15 Consecutive US National Teams
9x Ryder Cup Team Member
7x Presidents Cup Team Member
4th on the All-Time PGA TOUR Career Earnings List
One of just three players to finish inside the Top-15 of the Fed Ex Cup Standings in each of the first four seasons of the Playoff
6th Player in PGA TOUR history to shoot 59 – second round 2013 BMW Championship