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Hadley, Brown join forces to aid Puerto Rico

Chesson Hadley during the final round of the 2014 Puerto Rico Open.
(Michael Cohen/Getty Images)

October 3, 2017

By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR Staff

The devastating impact Hurricane Maria made on the island of Puerto Rico is summed up in two words by Puerto Rico Open Tournament Chairman David Chaffey; “beyond imaginable.”

The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is home to over 3.4 million. All were impacted to some degree.

As news organizations reported heavily on Hurricane Irma’s destruction of Florida, Hurricane Maria barreled through Puerto Rico, leaving in its wake a disaster that will take years – decades, even – to correct.

Since 2008, Puerto Rico has been home to the Puerto Rico Open. Players and their families descend upon the annual PGA TOUR event with an enthusiasm anticipation. So, when tragedy strikes a place near to the heart, there comes a personal connection to the aid efforts.

“We didn't hear a lot about it and that's why we're speaking up,” said Amanda Hadley, wife of 2014 Puerto Rico Open champion Chesson Hadley. “We all know there is a lot going on in our country right now and we just had two huge hurricanes devastate Texas and Florida. The media and disaster relief organizations have been rightly focused on those areas, but we want to make sure our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico receive the same attention.”

At this week’s Safeway Open, Amanda and Chesson Hadley join forces with 2013 Puerto Rico Open champion Scott Brown and his wife Allison to help raise funds and awareness to the plight of Puerto Rico.

“Most of all, we want to raise awareness to what's going on,” Amanda Hadley said. “The people down there are without power, without supplies... even basic essentials, like baby formula and gasoline. They need money and aid. We want to bring attention to organizations that are ready and willing to assist and also help contribute funds. We're planning to donate a certain amount for every birdie and a higher amount for every eagle made during the tournament to Samaritan's Purse, a faith-based disaster relief agency that is already on the ground in Puerto Rico.”

“When I heard about the depth and scope of the damage and the situation that the people of Puerto Rico are in now, I was immediately filled with sorrow and sadness,” said Allison Brown, wife of Scott. “I began to think, ‘how would my children feel if we were in their shoes? What can we do to help?”

Players at Silverado Country Club this week are invited to join the help started by Hadleys and Browns.

"Puerto Rico is where one of my lifelong dreams came true.,” said Chesson Hadley. “It's where I became a TOUR winner and is a place I will never forget. It takes a lot of volunteers to successfully run a golf tournament and every year. So, countless locals donate their time to make the tournament possible. The least we can do is give back now during their time of need."

“Being in the spotlight of professional golf gives you a voice and it's one we hope to use for good,” said Amanda Hadley. “There is so much negativity reported today that it's tempting to just turn off the tv and turn a blind eye to other's struggles, but we believe ‘to whom much has been given, much is required.’”

In most cases right now in Puerto Rico, any kind of time frame is the rarest commodity. The area was too badly beaten for officials to yet get their arms around the destruction enough to even let families know when they might have their power restored.

Puerto Rico is home to nearly 3.5 million people. Many are displaced, homeless and/or without any bare necessities. Restoring and repairing are the two most important things. And as it re-builds towards its future, motivation of the past is also a needle mover.

“Puerto Rico changed our lives,” said Allison Brown. “While I have never actually been to Puerto Rico, I remember Scott playing there one year and he got water trapped in his ear. The tournament staff went above and beyond to find a doctor who could suction his ear on short notice…the Wednesday before the tournament. The doctor was so kind and hospitable. That is something we will always remember. I remember Scott calling to tell me how kind and caring the people were. I feel like It’s our time to give back to them.”

“I first thought about the people I encounter each year when I go back to Puerto Rico to play” said Scott Brown. “I was wanting to know if they were all okay, and about their families and children. From the hotel staff to the golf course staff and tournament staff, the servers in the restaurants we eat at year after year, I just wondered if they were all okay. Just a sense of concern fell over me. The people in Puerto Rico become like family while we visit and I have been worried about them.”

Though the motivation behind the Browns and Hadleys actions this week would succeed on its own, the platform of the PGA TOUR is one which broadens the reach.

“We are so fortunate to be able to travel to different places and for our husbands to compete, but the communities we visit become "home" to us for the week,” said Allison Brown. “When there, we always try to make a positive difference in some way, whether it's working on a Habitat for Humanity home, dining at local family owned restaurants, playing whiffle ball with local school children, and shopping and supporting small businesses.”

“We are all so blessed and others aren't as fortunate, so we always want share our humanitarian efforts when we can,” said Scott Brown. “We have a lot of faith in our golf family and we believe that together we can lift Puerto Rico up.”

READ MORE ABOUT: , Safeway Open , Disaster Relief
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