May 5, 2005
Raleigh, N.C. – Tuesdays are one of the most important days of the week for a professional golfer on the Nationwide Tour. Hundreds of balls are hit on the practice range, putting strokes are perfected and course knowledge is gathered in an effort to be as prepared as possible for the latest Tour stop, or in this case The Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh, North Carolina.
But on this particular day as they prepared for their Nationwide Tour event in Raleigh, N.C., former Tech All-Americans Bryce Molder, Troy Matteson and Matt Weibring altered their typical practice routine to give back to the local community by visiting cancer patients at the Rex Cancer Center – a cancer facility devoted to the prevention and treatment of cancer through cutting-edge therapies and individualized care.
Each player is highly regarded and well-known in golf circles – Molder for being one of only four players to earn first team All-American status all four years of college, Matteson for breaking through a few weeks ago with his first Tour win at the Virginia Beach Open and Weibring for being the son of D.A., a five-time PGA TOUR winner and current Champions Tour member. In addition, all three were golf standouts for the Yellow Jackets.
Career achievements and college affiliations mattered little to the patients and staff of the Rex Cancer Center on this day, however. What was important was the players spent time signing autographs, giving out golf balls and caps, and showing a genuine concern for the health and well-being of each patient.
“For these players to take time out of their day and visit with our patients and our staff shows how much they care,” said Vickie Byler, Rex Cancer Center Director. “They are supporting our efforts to serve the community and we are so grateful.”
As is usually the case, the players seemed to walk away from the experience feeling like more was gained than given.
“It was great to go and see firsthand how the money raised at this week’s tournament will be used,” said Weibring, alluding to all proceeds going towards cancer and heart disease education and early detection. “It puts everything in perspective … It shows you that missing a five-footer is not the end of the world, especially when you get a chance to meet people who have cancer and see what they have to go through on a daily basis.”
Case in point, Molder, Matteson and Weibring had the opportunity of visiting one patient who was receiving her first cancer treatment blood transfusion. Their visit put the young lady at ease, with her focus quickly turning away from the treatment to friendly banter with the three players.
“Yes, I play golf,” she informed them. Then she laughed and said, “Unfortunately, I miss the ball more times than I hit it.”
As the Tour players departed, the patient said, “I appreciate you guys taking time to stop and talk to me. Thank you and good luck this week.”
The Nationwide Tour has played a big part in helping the PGA TOUR contribute over $950 million to charity since 1938. This week in Raleigh, three Tour players showed that money isn’t the only way of supporting a good cause – sometimes all it takes is a little time.