Unlike any other athletic endeavor on the planet, golf has the capacity and willingness to aid those in need. The game has a long history of doing so. The COVID-19 period is flush with examples of golf associations, courses, clubs and other entities raising money and distributing it to those who were injured economically by the pandemic. The examples are too numerous to list.
In the past two weeks, two families in the game encountered hardship, and once again the game stepped up.
By now, you likely have heard of the tragedy near Atlanta, Georgia, that saw a PGA of America golf professional murdered on the course where he worked. On Saturday, July 3, Gene Siller, the director of golf at Pinetree Country Club, went out to see why a truck had ventured onto the course. He was greeted by a hail of bullets and was pronounced dead on the scene. It was a senseless, random act of violence, one that shocked all who knew Siller as well as the community in which he lived.
Siller was a highly respected and admired 46-year-old professional. He leaves behind his wife, Ashley, and two young boys, Beau and Banks.
Very quickly, a GoFundMe page was established to help the family; by Sunday more than $700,000 had been pledged to this account. No doubt the family would rather have their husband and father back, but in the years to come the funds generated by this outpouring of love and support will help them cope with their loss.
The day before that tragedy, while Jane Park was competing in the LPGA’s Volunteers of America Classic, her 10-month-old child began having seizures. Before Friday night, baby Grace hadn’t had so much as a common cold. She was rushed to Children’s Medical Center Dallas where she remains in critical condition. She is looking at an extended stay in the hospital. You can imagine what the daily cost of such care is, even if you are well insured.
Park turned pro in 2006. The LPGA veteran has 17 career top-10s but no wins. Her husband, Pete Godfrey, is the full-time caddie for Ariya Jutanugarn on the LPGA Tour.
College teammate and fellow LPGA compatriot Tiffany Joh quickly took charge of the situation, organizing a food train and encouraging Venmo gifts. She also launched a similar GoFundMe page for the family.
Park shared her thoughts by starting a blog, found here. It is heartbreaking to read.
Park and her husband are going to be sidelined from their work for who knows how long. They need our help. Click here to help at their GoFundMe page.
As it always has, and as it always will, golf steps up when needed. That’s just another reason why this game is different and special.
Top: The Siller family