With all the money thrown around in golf these days, it’s nice to know some players can say thanks and show appreciation that goes beyond the Herculean effort of hoisting one of those oversized cardboard winner’s checks.
On Tuesday in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the four champions of the up-and-coming Mayakoba Golf Classic gathered to participate in a skins game for charity to celebrate the tournament’s fifth anniversary.
Brian Gay, who captured his first Tour victory at Mayakoba in 2008, was the big winner, collecting four skins and $12,000 in the nine-hole exhibition. His winnings were donated to the City of Joy Foundation and Un Hogar Con Amor (“A Home With Love”), organizations that assist children and orphans in the Riviera Maya and Cancun.
Fred Funk (Mayakoba’s inaugural champion from 2007) won four skins and $6,000 (which went to the Fred Funk Foundation that supports charities in northern Florida). Mark Wilson (2009) won the first skin and $1,000 (donated to Golf PARa Todos, or Golf FORE Everyone, which helps teach the game to Mexican youths).
Cameron Beckman, who won this year’s Classic in February (his third PGA Tour title), was recovering from a tendon injury to his right hand and did not compete, but he did attend and provided some on-course commentary on the other three champions.
In a quiet time of the year when many players shut it down and take a well-earned rest, four PGA Tour pros splitting up 20 grand somewhere across the border likely won’t do much to move the media needle. It truth, it will hardly garner any attention at all. But you can bet that day at El Camaleon Golf Club meant the world to the folks at Mayakoba and those who live in the region.
In today’s police-blotter-driven, TMZ world, good guys and good deeds don’t always grab the headlines.
Well done, lads. Nice job. Take a bow.