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Remote Control Commotion

Rickie Fowler (left) glady joined the remote-control racing at Kris Blanks' charity event in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Doug Milne/PGA TOUR

February 29, 2012

By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR Staff

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.—In golf, the goal is to win by posting the fewest number of shots, driven by an honor code of not cutting any corners. But, when the rubber met the road Feb. 28 at The Honda Classic for PGA TOUR player Kris Blanks and a posse of his peeps, the most cut corners was the goal to take home gold honors.

And en route, there were wrecks. There was heckling and yelling, speeding and busted-up parts, victory laps and bragging rights. Daytona had nothing on this night.

Blanks, the son of a retired Air Force serviceman, coupled his competitive drive and big-kid personality for a night of fun, with charity at the heart of it all.

With Birdies for the Brave the recipient, Blanks and nearly a dozen fellow PGA TOUR players gathered at Bashers RC Raceway here where they traded in their clubs for custom-designed, remote control cars. The cars were sold to individual and/or group sponsors, with all of the funds raised going to the PGA TOUR’s military initiative. In addition to the cars, which were provided free, a silent auction, with items donated by TOUR players, was also held.

 “My father served in the Armed Forces, so I just wanted to do something to raise a few dollars for such an important cause. We’re just trying to do something different and knew everyone would really have a good time with this,” Blanks said. 

That they did. Other players involved in the special evening included Rickie Fowler, Kevin Streelman, Joe Ogilvie, Dicky Pride, Jason Bohn and Carl Pettersson. Smooth, reckless abandon was a good description of the event.

Despite the proverbial inside track, Pride, the 1994 FedEx St. Jude Classic winner, remained upbeat, though less than optimistic about his chances at victory.

“I’ve got a 10-year-old son at home who taught me all I know about remote control car racing. I’d be in trouble if he knew I was here without him. He knows me well enough, though. He knows I’m destined to crash and burn.”

“Any time we can give back, we do,” Pride added. “That is the best part of the PGA TOUR. Birdies for the Brave is a great charity, and this is an awesome way for us to have fun and raise money at the same time.”

 “Kris came and asked for a favor,” said Streelman who, along with his wife, Courtney, Pride and Bohn held the fund-raising endeavor last year to help the victims of the tornadoes which ripped through the state of Alabama. “We all bond together out here on TOUR. We’re in this together. My dad served in Vietnam. I was born red, white and blue.”

Unlike Pride, the Streelmans’ confidence was beaming right from the starting line. “We’ve clearly got the best-looking car,” he boasted. “It’s painted half-Duke, half-Alabama, representing Courtney and my universities. Without question, we will be the fastest.”

 “This is such a great, fun way to raise money for Birdies for the Brave,” said Bohn. “To get to come out here and race cars with kids and family and friends watching is a really cool idea. We’re all competitive and all want to win. So, it’s fun. Humiliating, maybe, but fun. Our hats are off to the Blanks family for putting this together.”

Not surprisingly, the event’s host took advantage of local knowledge and left the competition in his tracks. “When I’m in town, my kids and I are here at least once a week,” Blanks admitted. “We have this track down!

“We are blessed to be able to play golf for a living,” Blanks continued. “But to be able to utilize the TOUR platform we have to give for the greater good is an even more significant blessing.”




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