The LPGA hosted a Sponsors’ Summit at The Hard Rock Café in Times Square last night. Commissioner Mike Whan and his chief marketer, Jon Podany, were there to spread the word to a roomful of more than one hundred marketing executives from current and prospective sponsors that the LPGA tour is on the mend. Good news to those of us who love and support women’s golf.
Top Tour Players Attend: Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr, Jimin Kang, Amanda Blumenherst
Under moody lighting, four notable tour players, Morgan Pressel (#10), Cristie Kerr (#2), Jimin Kang (#58) and Amanda Blumenherst (#98), took the stage to talk about the tour, competition, and for Morgan Pressel and Cristie Kerr, projects close to both their hearts. These remarkable women have used their celebrity status to start and grow two foundations aimed at preventing breast cancer: Morgan’s Friends and Birdies For Breast Cancer. These driven, world-class athletes have more on their minds than professional golf.
Morgan’s Friends: Pressel Takes the MammoVan on Tour
“We can always play for ourselves; we’re selfish in that respect when we’re out on Tour,” Pressel told the Palm Beach Post. “But when you can take what you’ve built and what you’ve worked toward and give it to other people and raise money for a cause, there’s nothing that we can do in this world that’s any more important.” Morgan lost her mother to breast cancer in 2003.
Last year, $750,000 of donations raised through Morgan’s Friends went to help purchase a MammoVan – a mobile unit that is part of the Boca Raton Community Hospital ’s Lynn Cancer Institute and the Center for Breast Cancer with state-of-the-art digital mammography capability. It’s a mobile diagnostic center that will travel through Palm Beach County and can be set up outside corporate offices to serve career women who struggle to find time to visit their doctors or at nursing homes or wherever it best serves women in need, according to Morgan.
Birdies For Breast Cancer: Women’s Health Center
For Cristie Kerr, what started as a personal pledge to donate $50 for every birdie she made on tour, morphed into a foundation in 2004 called Birdies For Breast Cancer, where anyone can sign up and pledge donations for her birdies. Yesterday, Cristie inaugurated a new facility, The Cristie Kerr Women’s Health Center, in Hudson County, New Jersey, to offer breast cancer screening (including free mammograms and education on breast cancer) for women with or without health insurance. The center is equipped with state-of-the-art mammography and ultrasound equipment to provide detection, healing, support and recovery services. Diagnosed in 2003, Cristie’s mom, Linda, is a survivor.
Now for the fun part: The B4BC foundation sponsors an annual pro-am charity golf event at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey to raise money for the center. I went last year and had Matthew Settle, of Gossip Girls fame, in my foursome. Our round took about six hours and included numerous shots of tequila, glasses of champagne and edible wonders along the way (all generously provided by the B4BC folks) and was one of the best times, though not best rounds of golf, I’ve had. I’ll be attending the sold-out event again today with its Rock ‘n Roll theme, decked out in black sequins and pink shoes, to honor Cristie’s request that we sport the color so directly identified with promoting breast cancer awareness. “Somebody asked me the other day what do I feel is my greatest achievement. It would for sure be my charity work. It’s a great feeling knowing you can make a difference.” Well said, Morgan!