Justin Leonard and Brad Faxon have organized a pro-am to help victims of Hurricane Dorian
More than once over the past four weeks Justin Leonard has had to ask Brad Faxon, “What are you still doing up?” The pair, along with their wives, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh, and “so many awesome and passionate” volunteers, have been scrambling to put together the Bahamas Strong Pro-Am at Old Marsh Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.
Doing in one month what normally takes six to 12 has had the two PGA Tour veterans texting at all hours of the night. That is particularly true of Faxon, whose Florida home is two time zones east of Leonard’s place in Texas. Still, neither one complained. “It’s been daunting at times,” Leonard says, “but this is about helping the people who have lost so much and been devastated by this event.”
Despite that desire, the project started slowly. “We didn’t even know how to get a golf course,” Leonard says, “but Ole Marsh stepped up, and they’ve been amazing.” And despite a string of “noes” from players who couldn’t make their schedules work, an A-list of pros soon assembled, including Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Justin Thomas, and Jessica Korda, among others. “Having those players on board brought excitement,” says Leonard, who owns a home in the Bahamas that took minimal damage. “And after about a week we got the website up, made a social media push, and Brad and I did some interviews, and it started to take off. It’s been encouraging to see how many people want to help.”
The field of 24 foursomes, each playing with a pro, filled so quickly that the organizers had to turn away interested participants. “So many people want to contribute, it made us realize this is maybe just the beginning of something,” Leonard says. “Maybe it’s not a golf tournament, but so much needs to be done that there could be other events in the future. It’s going to take time and a lot of money, but it’s been uplifting to see how many golfers want to help.”