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It's Gotta Be the Shoes

Rory Sabbatini (left) and Hunter Mahan take time to put their own special touches on shoes that will be auctioned off to benefit the PGA TOUR Wives Assocation and The First Tee of Monterey.

February 9, 2011

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM Chief of Correspondents

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.—Somewhere, there’s a Green Bay Packers fan who needs a new pair of shoes, and Mark Wilson has created the perfect ones.

Wilson decorated a pair of TOMS slip-ons with a gold-and-green “G” on one side, a cheesehead on the other and the Lombardi Trophy at the front. He was channeling his inner artist on Tuesday evening—less than 12 hours after he won his second PGA TOUR event in three starts, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. 

“I’m thinking of throwing a little Waste Management and a little lei over here,” said Wilson, who also won last month’s Sony Open in Hawaii, as he pointed to the sides of the shoes and grinned. "I may be here all night.”

The shoes—along with others decorated by Rory Sabbatini, Jonathan Byrd, Charley Hoffman, Hunter Mahan, actor Bill Murray, San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain and singer Darius Rucker—will be auctioned off to benefit the PGA TOUR Wives Association and The First Tee of Monterey County. The auction concludes at the end of play on Sunday.

In addition, TOMS Shoes will donate $5 back to the PTWA and First Tee of Monterey for any online purchase made at using the promo code “pgawives” through Feb 17.

The players and celebrities decorated the shoes at a “Style Your Sole” event Tuesday evening. While the fathers worked, their children could get their faces painted like their favorite superheroes or princesses. Balloon animals and light sabers littered the room.

Wilson, who has a 336-point lead in the FedExCup, took his art project seriously. He drew the Lombardi Trophy several times on the paper tablecloth before he tried to transfer it to the shoes.

“Look at all the practicing I did,” said Wilson, whose wife, Amy, is the president of the PGA TOUR Wives Association. “John Rollins has really been getting on me. He’s happy I have another job.”

While Wilson was hard at work, Rucker had just selected the shoes he was planning to decorate. Asked what he planned to draw, Rucker said something that featured the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Miami Dolphins, his two favorite teams.

“I have no artistic ability at all, so it’s going to be scary,” Rucker said, smiling broadly.

Rucker, formerly the front man of Hootie and the Blowfish and an avid golfer, recently released “Together, Anything’s Possible.” All proceeds from the $1.29 download on iTunes go to benefit PGA TOUR Charities, Inc.

“This is really one of those things that’s awesome to be a part of,” said Rucker, who now tops the country charts. “That’s why when they came to be about the song it was such a no-brainer for me. Golf and charity—it’s what I do. It’s just cool to walk around here. There’s Bill Murray over there; all these people here doing something because they want to help somebody.”

TOMS Shoes fits that mold, as well. In 2006, Blake Mycoskie was traveling in Argentina where he befriended some needy children outside of Buenos Aires. He returned home and created TOMS Shoes, selling 10,000 pairs out of his apartment—and matching that total in donations to the children.

“Every time we sell a pair of shoes, we give a pair away,” said Mycoskie, who is playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this week and attended Tuesday’s function. “This year we went back to Argentina and we gave away our one millionth pair. Pretty amazing.”


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