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Monday, July 2, 2012

Ol' Mother Nature and a Great Organization...

Our Nation’s Capital was my home for the week and thanks to a disgruntled visit from Ol’ Mother Nature, the AT&T National at Congressional took a pretty hard hit under the chin.  Violent lightning and winds recorded at 80 mph hit the area late Friday evening.  Hundreds of trees were uprooted, tents were sent airborne, and several grandstands were flattened.  The damage was incredible and even though tee times were pushed back several hours on Saturday, many people believed that the course would be unplayable until Sunday.  However, thanks to the hundreds of volunteers, I found myself with a tee time only 3 hours later than normal!  Incredible.  When I got to the course, trees were everywhere!  The tennis court was destroyed, fences were demolished, and several buildings and trailers had enormous trees lying on top of them.  I couldn’t believe the amount of damage that Ol’ Mother Nature had created.  In what I believe was an extremely smart move by the Tour, no spectators or volunteers were allowed on the course during Saturday’s round.  But wow…what a strange feeling that created!  Saturday of a PGA Tour event and not a soul was on site!  The grandstands (the ones that stood strong during the storm) were just sitting there…empty.  There were no cheers, no applause and no encouragement all day.  In fact, when I was fortunate enough to hole a difficult chip shot on the 11th hole, there wasn’t a sound…not even a peep from outside the ropes.  I looked at my playing partners and jokingly said, “Dang, tough crowd!”

Congressional Country Club was the host of the 2011 U.S. Open and it played extremely difficult.  I drove the ball well (#2 in Driving Accuracy for the entire field) but my irons weren’t very sharp and a balky putter led to a mediocre finish.  I made the weekend (which in my Profession is a good thing) but I didn’t play anywhere near my best.  I finished the event in a tie for 49th and lost to a man who chalked up his 74th career PGA Tour victory.  Tiger won for the third time this year and this W was pretty special for two reasons.  #1.  He won the event where he was the Host and #2. He passed Jack Nicklaus on the list for career victories (now #2 behind Sam Snead).   As I drove to West Virginia for this week’s event, one thing was disappointingly clear…I am now 74 PGA Tour wins behind Tiger!  Wow…I better get on my horse!

This week’s event, The Greenbrier Classic, will once again be special.  In what has become one of the Tour’s favorite stops, the Players and Fans are in for a treat.  Music will once again be the theme for the week as Toby Keith, Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart, and Bon Jovi take the stage beginning Wednesday.  I am playing tomorrow morning with my good friend, Kenny Perry and I am looking forward to our time together.  He has been a huge blessing to me during my time on the PGA Tour and I am grateful for all his insight and support.  He spends most of his time on the Champions Tour these days so our normal Tuesday game isn’t so normal anymore!  Beth is coming in town on Wednesday without our two precious but wild monkeys.  It should be a great week of relaxation for her.

This week’s question comes from Jim in Indiana.  He writes:  Blake, I know that the PGA Tour is very supportive of charities.  What charities or organizations do you support?

Jim, Thank you for the email and the question.  Most people don’t realize this fact... Each year, the PGA Tour donates MORE MONEY to charities and organizations than the NBA, the NFL, and Major League Baseball COMBINED!!  Charities are a huge part of my life.  I try and support as many as I can each and every year.  From fundraisers to general donations, I try my best to help out others.  Obviously, it is impossible to give to everyone who asks but I do my best.  Rather than list every charity or organization that I contribute to each year, I would like to mention one that is very dear to my heart.  The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is truly one of the best organizations that I have ever been a part of.  Their impact on young men and women is incredible.  I contribute to their National fund every year and attend yearly fundraisers and events.  I was both humbled and honored when the FCA approached me for their support in my hometown of Eatonton, Georgia.  With their help, I am hosting an FCA Golf Tournament at Cuscowilla on September 24th of this year.  The event will provide a platform to impact and spread God’s Good Will on a countless number of men and women.  I am honored to be a part of this great organization and I encourage each of you to support FCA or any charity that is dear to your heart.  I am providing information to the Golf Tournament below as well as on my website (  Please get involved with something in your community for the sake of those in need.

FCA Golf Tournament Information:  under Schedules Tab/ Community Appearances

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