Photo: Left to right, Kyle Westmoreland, Chris Nowak, Tom Lehman, Dan Rooney and Corey Pavin.
The 11th annual Patriot Cup was held on Memorial Day in Owasso, with several of the participants in the Senior PGA Championship staying around an extra day to lend their support.
Lt. Col. Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor, and Chris Nowak, a military veteran and spokesmen for PGA Hope, both attended a press conference at the PGA Senior Championship Saturday to explain the new partnership between the two organizations first announced in the fall of 2020.
PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is funded by the PGA of America’s foundation PGA Reach. It offers veterans with disabilities an eight-week curriculum taught by PGA professionals, meant to enhance their mental, social and emotional well being.
“Our goal in this is to give the veteran a skill set to play the game of golf,” Nowak said. “Because as we all know who play the game, that’s the one thing you need to be thinking about — striking the golf ball. We call that a moment in time at PGA HOPE.
“And that moment in time allows the veteran not to relive the trauma they dealt with, the trauma they’re dealing with and the other issues they’re dealing with as they come back and integrate back into society and start being productive members of society.”
Folds of Honor is the Owasso-based foundation founded by Rooney that offers higher education scholarships to the families of veterans killed or wounded in active duty.
The agreement calls for Folds of Honor to help sponsor PGA Hope by sharing revenues derived from Patriot Golf Days. Those include the donations that individuals make and the events that PGA professionals run on that weekend.
Patriot Golf Day had traditionally been over the Labor Day weekend but the intent this year was to move it to the Memorial Day weekend to coincide with the Patriot Cup and the holiday that honors veterans. Although some courses may not have been aware of the switch, individuals can contribute at any time by going to www.foldsofhonor.com.
Among the Tour players who participated Monday in the Patriot Cup were Michael Allen, Olin Browne, Ken Duke, Joe Durant, Paul Goydos, Tom Lehman, Scott McCarron, Corey Pavin, Tom Pernice Jr., Tim Petrovic, Gene Sauers and Wes Short Jr. Other participants include Bo Van Pelt, Robin Ventura and E.J. Pfister.
“Today is a time we celebrate and remember our fallen heroes who have died protecting our freedom,” Rooney said. ”This is an opportunity for us to honor our veterans, recognize our recipients, and thank our partners We’re grateful for the Tour players and PGA members who give their time and support.”
Since its inception, the Folds of Honor has provided over 10,000 scholarships totaling more than $50 million.