By Theresa Edwards Makrush
The 11th Annual Play Golf. Fight Cancer.® Classic presented by IBA and .decimal was held on the First Coast for the first time. It was previously held in the Orlando area, and in its first 10 years raised more than one million dollars to support cancer research at UF Health Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville. The event took place Oct. 11 and 12 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., with a dinner and auction in the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum and a tournament on the location’s two championship courses – the King & Bear and the Slammer & Squire. To see photos of the event, click here.
Dinner & Auction – Sunday, Oct. 11
This year the event included a dinner and auction the evening before the tournament, making it possible for supporters who do not play golf to participate. Approximately 200 guests gathered in the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum to enjoy an evening of golf history and chances to bid on and win auction items. Dr. Tony Parker, the museum’s official historian, related stories of his time working at the famed St. Andrews course in Scotland and the celebrities he met including actors Michael Douglas and Jack Nicholson and professional golfers like Jack Nicklaus. Proton therapy patient and breast cancer survivor Kelly Jones shared her story. And celebrity Chef Robert Tulko led a live auction of five premium items including a week stay in a beautiful North Carolina cabin and a dinner for six prepared by Chef Robert.
Golf Tournament – Monday, Oct. 12
More than 200 golfers teed off at the two courses at the World Golf Village. Honorary Chair Shannon Miller greeted players during the tournament and at the awards reception shared her experience winning 1996 Olympic gold in gymnastics and later fighting and surviving cancer. World Golf Hall of Fame member Hubert Green, a cancer survivor, played in the tournament as did Josh Scobee, NFL kicker and former Jacksonville Jaguars player. Other special guests included Jaguars’ mascot Jaxson de Ville, Nease High School’s Navy JROTC Color Guard and vocalist Virginia Beverly who participated in the opening ceremonies at both courses and Naval Air Station Jacksonville sailors who tended the U.S. flag at the 18th hole on both courses. On-course activities included chances to win a car by making a hole-in-one, a contest for closest to the pin and a contest for longest drive. Trophies were awarded for the best-scoring teams in each of three skill levels at each course.