Celebrities take aim at famed ‘Island Green’ for charities

From the Ponte Vedra Recorder

THE PLAYERS continued its tradition in the weeks leading up to the tournament by hosting its charity shootout on Feb. 12.

Five celebrities from former athletes to actors took part in seeing how close to the pin they could hit shots at the famed No. 17 Island Green at TPC Sawgrass.

The charities represented included The Furyk Foundation, Guardian Catholic Schools, The Foster Closet, Tesori Family Foundation and Operation New Hope, with each receiving $5,000.

Hitting it closest to the pin was professional golfer Jim Furyk, who due to his prowess as a golfer was required to hit at a different hole location that was more difficult being just beyond the front bunker.

However, he proved why he is a major champion with a shot that dropped two feet and eight inches from the hole.

Each participant was given a couple of shots each during two rounds.

Dee Brown, who played at Jacksonville University and was the 1991 NBA slam dunk champion had the lead after the first round of shots with a mark of three feet and five inches from the hole, followed by former Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee who hit a shot that settled five feet and 11 inches from the pin.

Furyk represented The Furyk Foundation, while Brown was swinging for Operation New Hope and Scobee for Guardian Catholic Schools.

“I’ve been running their (Guardian Catholic Schools) charity golf tournament for the past 10 years, and we do it at either Deerwood Country Club or Timucuan Country Club,” Scobee said.

According to Scobee, he has been a regular at the event and enjoys coming out every year to give No. 17 his best shot, however, even though he’s been doing it for years, the nerves are always there when he steps up to the tee box.

“The nerves are there regardless,” Scobee said, “Sometimes you just forget every swing tip you’ve ever had, and you just get up there saying ‘please just let me hit the ball.’ Next year I just suggest we have some music going to try to help drown out the sound of our heartbeats (when they are about to hit).”

An intimate crowd of family and friends were on hand to watch with many people from the various charities involved there to root on their associated celebrities, such as, actor Andy Buckley, who represented The Tesori Foundation.

“I’ve become great friends with Paul and Michelle Tesori over the last half a dozen years, and they were kind enough to say, ‘Come on down Buckley,’” he said. “They’re a great bunch of folks and it’s such an easy thing to say yes to.”

Buckley is best known for his role as David Wallace on the television sitcom “The Office,” and even wore a Dunder Mifflin shirt to the event, which was the fictional paper company he worked for in the series.

The sun was out and it made for beautiful weather for the event and for the players as it was also not that windy, which makes No. 17 even more challenging.

“It’s gorgeous out here, and with all the stands set up, you really feel like you’re a bit of a stick,” Buckley chuckled.