When you think of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, world class golf comes to mind, but one of the most important aspects of the tournament is the charities that benefit from their generosity.
This year's Charity Challenge golf outing was scrubbed due to rain, but some great sports figures such as former Browns running back Kevin Mack, former Cleveland Indian "Super" Joe Charboneau, and John Hirschbeck, former MLB umpire came to the South Course to say a few words, tell a few golf stories, and talk about what makes this tournament great. Today, Tournament Executive Director Don Padgett III along with the athletes presented a check for $8,000 to Akron Children's Hospital, UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, and Flashes of Hope, who were represented at Firestone Country Club.
Here is audio from Padgett as well as the athletes presenting the check to charity.
That $8,000 came from last year's tournament. In early June, an additional check for more than $1 million was split between 38 local non-profit organizations including the three being represented at Firestone today. John Hirschbeck says this event means a lot to him on a lot of different fronts."It means a lot, because we have our own organization in Youngstown, the Magic of Michael, after our own son, Michael who passed away three years ago, and we've been affiliated with Akron Children's Hospital, trying to raise money and help kids and families facing the 'curve balls 'of life," he says.Retired from umpiring, John says he looks to attend this year's tournament with his wife and see what this year's Bridgestone Invitational is all about.
Former Browns Pro Bowler Kevin Mack, who was invited to hit a shot for University Hospitals said that its an honor for him and other former pro athletes to give back to the community.
"Having been in this area for so long, anytime you have a chance to contribute to any type of charity, you always step forward," he explained.
Mack says he's played Firestone a couple of times over the years and he always thought it was a unique feeling to play where some of the world's greatest golfers have also competed.
Mack played for the Browns from 1985-1993 and now works with the organization in front office.
Charboneau says it's a "great instrument" to have the world's best golfers on a great course and spotlight some great local charities.
"That's what it's all about, helping people," he said.
The tournament runs from August 3rd, through the 6th at the South Course.
Executive Director of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Don Padgett III discussed the new fan amenities coming to the South Course in 2017.
The tournament will be coming to Firestone Country Club August 2-6. Quite a few of the PGA's big names will be playing in this year's event.
The LeBron James Family Foundation is teaming up with a legendary local golf tournament.
LeBron's non-profit is linking up with the World Golf Championship-Bridgestone Invitational.
"LeBron's an Akron institution, and so is the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone,"
says Bridgestone Invitational executive director Don Padgett, "so we felt it made a lot of sense for the two organizations to get together...so we're excited."
Padgett says that it's not just about $50,000 pledge to the foundation...it's about kids getting involved in the tournament....with events both before the tournament and the
"The kids will be out there, they'll get to experience the tournament, behind the scenes tour", Padgett tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "maybe try a shot at our Green Monster Challenge, it's a replica of Firestone's signature 16th hole."
Other youth oriented charities that have benefitted from the tournament include Akron Children's Hospital and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.