The LPGA took giving to a whole new level at the inaugural Founder's Cup this past weekend, with the entire $1 million purse going to charity. Half the amount went to Girls Golf and the other half to player designated charities with quite a few players choosing Japan Relief charities for their shares.
took action at Hakata station in Fukuoka, a historical city in southern Japan. Eleven players gathered collection bins and lined up their golf bags at Station Square. There they spent spent hours on a rainy Saturday afternoon collecting donations for their countrymen whose lives have been so terribly turned around by the recent disasters. This endeavor was initiated by Yui Kawahara, a twenty two year old player who's know for her whimsical cowboy hats. Her family home actually sustained some damage during the earthquake. Other players who joined the fundraising were Ryuu Ritsuko, Rui Kitada, Baba Yukari, Yumiko Baba, Shinobu Moromizato, Saiki Miki, Iizima Akane, Koga Miho, Sato Nozomi and Arimura Tie. And there to lend the lady golfers a hand were Kazumi Saitou and Nobuhiko Matsunaka players from the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks baseball team.
The group collected 75,480,222 yen in just a couple of hours and a strong media presence at the station ensured that their message of giving would be heard. Others in the Japanese golf industry donated generously as well, with companies like Bridgestone Group, and Yonex... as well as groups like the Japanese Golf Writer's Association and The Women's Professional Association... offering services, products and much needed funds.
Three consecutive JLPGA events have been canceled since the March 11 earthquake. Most recently it was announced that The Yamaha Ladies Open, scheduled for April 1-3, would not take place. The extent of the disaster makes that understandable but I'm guessing it's frustrating for the players.
Ai Miyazato, who'll be playing in the US this week at the Kia Classic wrote a touching story for Golf.com. today, in it the player... who has held the No. 1 spot in the world several time during the past year... spoke of wanting to play now, and to the best of her abilities, because athletes can provide hope and courage. In addition, she'll be fund raising through a website she's set up with Momoko Ueda and Mika Miyazato who are also playing on the LPGA Tour. Their slogan is Makeruna Nippon which means, Never give up, Japan. The site can be found at justgiving.com/MakerunaNippon.
Photos: via GDO Japan
GOLF.com - The tragedy in Japan has inspired me to play better and help others