Today celebrities and professional athletes can really have an impact on the world around them especially on children. I think it's important those in the public eye realize the power and affect they can have when they are seen in person, on the radio or television and on social media.
|Graci practices her swing on the Largo Golf Course|
with Coach Eric Swanman
My daughter Graci has been golfing since she was seven. She started playing during the summer at the golf camps with the Largo Recreation and now plays at the Bayou Club. When she was nine, my husband took her to her first professional golf tournament, the 2015 Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor.
It was an event that really had an impact on Graci. It was the last day of the tournament and those leading were Jordan Spieth and Ryan Moore. My husband and Graci were able to follow the two of them from hole to hole that day not knowing Jordan Spieth would end up winning the Championship. My daughter loved it because she was up close with two professional athletes who played her sport. It's different watching professionals swing the club and seeing the ball fly through the air in person. The thrill of being there with them gives you the sense of knowing the athletes, even though you don't know them personally.
How often do you get to be within a few feet of a professional athlete? Not too often, but in golf you do and it's a different type of sport.
It wasn't that they even said a word to her directly, but she was impressed by how well they played. After leaving the golf course, she started following golf more closely and watching these two players particularly because she had watched them on the golf course. That year Spieth went on to win Masters Tournament, U.S. Open Championship along with a few other tournaments and ended the year as the number one-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking. Graci was rooting for him every time she would watch golf on television.
I think we can learn a lot of life's lessons by watching golf. It truly is a gentleman's sport. It is a game of honor and integrity, golfers call penalties on themselves. Lately, I don't think we see enough honor and integrity in people who are put in a position of making an impact on young people.
Spieth and Moore made an impression in just a few hours of her watching them play, that has lasted with Graci. She loves the game and if she continues with the sport she could receive a golf scholarship for college. Professional athletes like Spieth and Moore, may never know who they influence along, being good role models for young kids can truly inspire kids and make a difference in a child's life.
If you get a chance to go this year to the Valspar Championship, March 6-12, you are sure to have a great time. It is family friendly and there are some new and exciting activities including the first Food Truck Rally and the Grape & Grain, a wine and spirits emporium. Friday and Saturday celebrity chef Ming Tsai will be on hand doing cooking demonstrations. Valspar LIVE!, the tournament's free concert will be on Saturday evening with Superstar singer-songwriter Toby Keith who recently played at President Trumps Inauguration. Kids 15 and under are free all week when accompanied by a ticketed adult. For more information and to find out the professional golfers will be golfing go to www.valsparchampionship.com
2017 Schedule of Events
(as of 1/10/2017)
SUNDAY, March 5
HSN Cares Par4Miler to benefit Moffitt Cancer Center
MONDAY, March 6
Monday Pro-Celebrity-Am presented by BB&T in support of the
International Institute for Orthotics & Prosthetics
TUESDAY, March 7
Professional Practice Rounds
Executive Women’s Day
WEDNESDAY, March 8
Island Pro-Am – Island Course – 8:00am
THURSDAY, March 9 (Senior Day)
First Round, Valspar Championship
FRIDAY, March 10
Second Round, Valspar Championship
SATURDAY, March 11
Third Round, Valspar Championship
Valspar Live! featuring Toby Keith – Osprey Driving Range (evening)
SUNDAY, March 12 (Senior Day / TeeOff.com Day)
Final Round, Valspar Championship
MONDAY, March 13
Monday After Challenge – 7:45am & 1:00pm