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PGA TOUR Wives take home Winnie Palmer Award

June 20, 2013

By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR staff

WESTCHESTER, N.Y-  In 1988, a seven year-old Justin Rose watched Curtis Strange win the U.S. Open, Nike unveiled its “Just do it” slogan and “Together Forever” by Rick Astley topped the Billboard music charts. 1988 was also the year a group of women with the ability to help those less fortunate decided to ban together. That then-nascent organization is today guided by the “Together, Anything’s Possible” mantra and known as the PGA TOUR Wives Association.

If you’re reading this, you know of the Association. You know of its history and its resolve. You know if they had it their way, the job they do wouldn’t draw attention to them, but hope to those they help. And chances are, by now you also know of the PGA TOUR Wives Association’s latest made stride.

On Tuesday, the Association received the 2013 Winnie Palmer Award in New York, given by the Met Golf Writers Association.

It was an evening defined by sentiment and endurance, passion and motivation. Its humble, but genuine start remains the bold motivation behind where it is these ladies are going and who they’re taking with them.

“It was fantastic,” said Amy Wilson, president of the PGA TOUR Wives Association. “Along with a number of TOUR wives, there were about 900 people in the room. It was such a special moment for us.”

Wilson, who accepted the Winnie Palmer Award on behalf of Association, gave perspective to it by recounting a recent conversation with, of all people, Barbara Nicklaus.

“At the Memorial, I was talking with Barbara about Winnie,” Wilson said. “We agreed that Winnie never sought attention to the work she did for those less fortunate. As a group, we approach what we do the same way. Our husbands have jobs that keep them in the limelight. That’s just not where we want to be.”

“Winnie was a part of that early group who set out to make a difference,” said Sara Moores, director of player relations and special programs at the PGA TOUR. “To receive an award named after a woman who, herself, embodied the spirit of helping others, was very special.”

For 25 years now, these women have strived to operate from the shadows as they deliver a little sunshine into the lives of countless children and families. Twenty-five years ago, it was an idea to just do it – once. The original idea developed into the 1988 TOUR Wives Golf Classic. The outing raised roughly $75,000 to fund the Nancy Reagan TPC Village in North Florida.

As the Winnie Palmer Award was given last night in New York, Moores took pause to think back to that first event. As someone, really the only one, who has been riding this dream with the PGA TOUR since day one, she had every right to delve into sentiment. She was there in 1988 and was front and center last night.

“That day, a seed was planted,” Moores said. “For 25 years, hundreds of women have come together to nurture and grow that idea and that desire to help others.  On the course, they are the silent partner, encouraging their husbands merely by their presence. But through the organization, they are a strong voice, a collection of gifts and talents, skills and passions that are all focused on one thing, to help those in need.”

Rather than a rousing roar of well-deserved congratulations, keep it to something simple, like a golf clap. These women prefer it that way.

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