The Cooper Yerger Post 28 of the American Legion Golf Tournament’s auction at the Clarksdale Country Club on Saturday provided an opportunity to play at the TPC Southwind course in Memphis.
That was one of many rewards the tournament provided.
“As you all know, TPC Southwind is the site of the FedEx St. Jude Classic this year,” said Legion member Sammy Chow to the room during the auction. “TPC will host the World Golf Championship-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. This is quite a feather in the cap for Memphis. Because of this tournament, 50 of the world’s top players will be invited and there will be no cuts. So you can play the same course as players Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. You now have the chance. This round of golf for four is worth $800.”
Rodney Garrison led the auction and Mark Crumpton won the opportunity to play on the course at the tournament in the next couple of weeks.
“These are prestigious courses to play in and everyone off the street can’t play,” said Chow comparing it with other prestigious courses at the Colonial Country Club and Windyke Country Club in Memphis.
There was also an opportunity to win a chance to play at the Ridgeway Country Club in Memphis during the auction.
“When you get off Poplar Avenue in Memphis, you will not think you are still in the city limits,” Chow said. “Everything is spot-on gorgeous - all the trees, lakes, flowers. You think you are playing on carpet. Tee box is mowed twice a week to three-eighths of an inch. Fairways are also mowed two times a week to one-half inch.”
Chow said, last year, there was just an auction to play at TPC Southwind, but this year, there were two opportunities to play at top-notch courses. He added next year there may be another item in the auction.
There was a $150 chip off where one golfer from each team had a shot at a hole. The golfer who was closest won the chip off.
The actual tournament was a three-person scramble with two flights.
Adam Byrd, Sumpter Bass and Beau Ryals won the championship flight with a score of 60. Crawford Allen, Tripp Dulaney and Kellum Barrett won the first flight with a score of 66.
The first-place winning teams received $300, the second-place teams received $225, and the third-place teams received $150.
The tournament also helps raise money for high school students to go to the Boys State and Girls State conventions in Mississippi. Sponsors also help raise money.
Last year, five boys and four girls went to the Boys and Girls State.
“It’s a patriotic thing for young people for high school to teach them about freedom and democracy and also about how the government is run,” Chow said.
Students campaign for office, give speeches and do the work of congressmen. They earn the opportunity to participate based on scholastic achievements.
Chow was pleased with the turnout and put things into perspective for those present.
“Golfers, I would like to welcome all of you to the American Legion Golf Tournament and thank you for participating,” he said. “It is because of you that this tournament is a success. Your support is a means for the American Legion to help veterans and their families and to education the community about the importance of freedom and democracy.
“These flags you see outside this building are the same flags the American Legion places on the graves of every veteran at Oakridge Cemetery Memorial Gardens and other cemeteries around Clarksdale. These flags are placed each year on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. This year, just at Oakridge Cemetery, the American Legion places over 1,000 flags. It is imperative that we never forget the men and women who sacrificed their all for this country. Also, we cannot forget those who are still fighting to preserve our freedom. We must never take this for granted.”