No Damn Three Putts: A golf blog with balls.

The #1 golf blog for gossip, breaking news and irreverent banter.

February 15, 2010

The Incredible Jordan Thomas Story

Imagine this horrific scene, if you can…

It’s a beautiful mid-August summer day. The sky is clear blue, not a cloud in sight. The water is a magnificent turquoise blue, sparkling from sunlight.

The air is calm, hot and sticky, as your son jumps off the back of the boat.

As you glance back to watch him, the smile on your face quickly disappears.

The beautiful water has quickly turned to red from blood. Your son is screaming.

You realize the boat’s wake has violently pulled your son into the razor-sharp, whirling propellers.

At first, you think you are seeing things, this can’t be happening – it’s not real. But it is.

Would you know what to do? Could you handle the stress, the pressure?

Well, luckily for Jordan Thomas – his parents are doctors, and they could.

Perhaps it's best if you hear it in his own words:

If this story doesn't bring a tear to your eye, you may not be human.

Let’s take a trip back to 2005 and head to the warm Florida Keys waters…

At the time Jordan, who was captain of his high school's golf team, was 16 when the accident happened.

As he put it, “It was a beautiful day, and we were going to go scuba diving… I looked down - my black fins were gone, and all I saw was red just everywhere... But I had this unbelievable calmness over my body."

His parents, both doctors from Chattanooga, Tennessee, knew exactly what to do.

"All of a sudden, my 16-year old, happy-go-lucky captain of the golf team was potentially dying," said Dr. Liz Kennedy-Thomas.

Jordan was sent to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami where he underwent 3 surgeries. Losing both of his legs from the calf down. He spent two weeks in the hospital and returned home for rehab.

In 2007, he graduated from the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There he was a member of the golf and bowling teams.

While in rehab he set a goal to rejoin his teammates for his senior year.

And get this, he did!
Right now, he’s in his sophomore year at the College of Charleston (Go Cougars!).

Of course, the story doesn’t end there.

You see, while Jordan was in the hospital – something incredible happened.

He realized that there are hundreds, even thousands, of kids who would never be able to play golf, bowl or do whatever it is they enjoy doing because they don’t have enough money.

Enough money to pay for rehabilitation, prosthetics, or the surgeries they need to be able to improve and cope with life better.

In particular, there was one boy he met in the hospital that had a tremendous impact on what he would decide to devote a good portion of his life to.

His name is Larry (no relation to yours truly).

Larry was severely burned and recovering in the Trauma Rehabilitation Unit. But he didn’t have the financial resources to continue his rehabilitation after discharge.

Even worse, Larry was placed on a waiting list to go to a foster home - his parents had abandoned him.

As Jordan put it, "I just remember seeing so many kids who didn't have parents, didn't have health care… I just knew that the future was grim for them."

At that moment, Jordan realized how much loving support he received during his recovery. And how fortunate he was that his parents had the resources to pay for $24,000 prosthetic legs so he could play golf again.

With that in mind, he established the Jordan Thomas Foundation.

The goal of JTF: To Rebuild Children After Traumatic Injury

So how is the Foundation doing these days?

Well, the folks at CNN think the Foundation is doing amazing work. That's why Jordan Thomas was selected as one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes for 2009.

That should give you a bit of insight as to the incredible work this young man, he's now 20, is doing.

Today, Jordan is a junior at the College of Charleston, and his Jordan Thomas Foundation is going strong. He’s raised over $400,000 to help children. He’s done this through the sale of bracelets, BBQ’s and a charity golf tournament. INCREDIBLE!

Indeed, Jordan is an incredible young man. I encourage you to read the stories of the beneficiaries who he has helped. If these little stories don't inspire you to donate at least a few dollars to this great foundation - again, you may not be human.

To find out more about the children Jordan is helping, the Foundation itself, or more importantly to DONATE (hint, hint) – just click here now!

February 10, 2010

Here's How Donald Trump Kicks a Member Out of Trump International Golf Club

Let's face it, when it comes to Donald Trump ya either like or dislike him. For most people there's really no kinda, sorta, or in between... it's one or the other.

I've always liked him. For several reasons...

For one, he's a heck of a business man. He sets his sight on something and come hell or high water - he makes it happen.

He says what's on his mind. He doesn't care what people think or about 'political correctness'... when he has something to say - he says it. Ya gotta respect a man with convictions.

And, way back when, when I was a young lad... I valet parked cars for him at Mar-a-Lago. One night, on the eve of an elegant party - I did the one thing the 'help' wasn't supposed to do: I talked to The Donald. I couldn't help it. The valet gig was just a way for me to make a couple extra bucks and have some fun.

So what did we talk about? Well, earlier that morning on my ride to work I heard Mr. Trump on the Howard Stern Radio Show and I simply said, "Good interview on Howard this morning." He looked at me, shook his head, smiled and said, "Thanks, it was a lot of fun."

Nothing earth shattering, but it was good to see he has a solid sense of humor.

Now, back to why I'm really writing today...

Last year, a guy named Harry Theodoracopulos was a member of Trump International Golf Club, it's in West Palm Beach near a prison (seriously) - down the road about 15 miles from where I live. I've never played there, but I've been there for the LPGA event that's there each November.

Well, apparently Mr. Theodoracopulos is a loud, obnoxious, and repulsive man who threatened a caddy with a golf club one day. But get this, that's not why he was kicked out, although it's part of the reason.

Does this look like a rich, spoiled Palm Beacher to you?

One day while Harry (his last name is too long to keep typing) was yelling and screaming about something there were prospective members taking a tour of the club. After hearing the tirade they decided Trump International Golf Club is not right for them.

As we all know, money talks when it comes to Trump... So when word got to him that Harry just cost him a few hundred thousand dollars in membership dues. He was livid.

What did he do? He sent Harry the following letter revoking his membership.
Read Part One Here
Read Part Two Here

Good for you Donald Trump - that letter is an instant classic in my book. Just cause someone is rich (Theodoracopulos) doesn't give him the right to do whatever he wants. It's good to see his money is no longer good at Trump International.

February 06, 2010

The Nick Lachey & Jimmy Johnson Super Skins Celebrity Golf Tournament

Hey all you Clay Aiken fans - it took just 7 hours! Yep, that's it.

Just 7 hours after my previous post, one of you emailed me an article on a celebrity charity golf tournament that benefits kids. Nice work folks, give yourselves a pat on the back.

Now, if I may, I'd like to do something, Clay Aiken, and his fans, refer to as: "Using Your Voice."

Turns out, I missed the 3rd Annual Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic Tee Off at The Biltmore Hotel & Golf Club (A beautiful hotel, with an amazing pool - I highly recommend it!) in Coral Gables, Florida, by a single day.

But, that's okay, it's still more than worthy of a mention. Here's why...

The Super Skins event is chaired by NASCAR Driver Jimmie Johnson and Singer Nick Lachey. Two young men who could be doing a million other fun things right now, besides hosting a charitable golf tournament, but they're not.
Photo from fOTOGLIF

Nick and Jimmie are taking advantage of their celebrity status - and putting it to great use - by raising money for charity. Nice work gentlemen.

So why the word "Super" in the tournaments name? Good question, and here's (hopefully) a good answer. Each year, Lachey and Johnson host the event on Super Bowl weekend at a golf club in the host city.

It's a smart idea, really. With all the celebrities and folks with "deep pockets" at an event like this - why not raise money for a good cause or two.

Their goal: To raise $1 million for charity this year. Considering they raised over $600,000 last year, they may have a chance.

As for the celebs playing in the event. Here's a few: Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey, NFL greats Jason Sehorn, Michael Strahan, Jerry Rice, Dhani Jones, Jason Taylor and Matt Ryan; baseball legends Ken Griffey Jr., Jamie Moyer and Jeff Fassero; and WPGA pro golfer Cristie Kerr.

Now, for those of you who are not familiar with Nick Lachey, a bit of background...

Lachey is a singer and the former front-man for the band 98 Degrees (they sold over 10 million albums). Today, he has a successful solo music career. But I don't know him from his music, not at all. I know Lachey from the reality TV show he had with his now ex-wife Jessica Simpson.

But I'm not here today to write a biography about Lachey, I'm here to tell you where the money raised at this charity golf tournament is going.

Lachey is the founder of The Nick Lachey Foundation, an organization that supports different schools and charities throughout the U.S. His primary focus is children’s and humanitarian causes with a focus on the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Feeding America.

You can really here the passion in his voice when he talks about the event, "Last year's Super Skins proved to be one of the highlights of my year... Jimmie and I were blown away at the amount of support we received last year even in difficult economic times. We're looking forward to yet another successful year driving much-needed funds to causes that so desperately need them."

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a website to give you a little more info on Nick's Foundation.

So what I'd like to do is show you what Jimmie Johnson, the 5-time NASCAR winner, is all about... cause it's quite a nice story. In fact, it looks like he's starting to tear up at the end of the video:

This mission of The Jimmie Johnson Foundation: To assist children, families and communities in need throughout the United States.

That's a mighty lofty goal, but they're well on their way. Here's what I mean...

The Foundation has already helped save tens of thousands of lives through blood collection and by adding individuals to the National Marrow Donor Program Registry®. They have also granted wishes to children and adults in need.

As Johnson so eloquently put it, "It has truly been magical."

To date, The Jimmie Johnson Foundation has contributed over $2 million to various organizations since its inception in 2006. They do a lot of work nationally, but Johnson has also begun to make an impact in his hometown of El Cajon, CA and in his adopted new home of Charlotte, NC. Soon, they expect to begin doing work in his wife Chandra Janway Johnson's home state, Oklahoma.

I really like to see people who go back to their roots, the place that made them into who they are today and give back like that.

To donate to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation directly click here or if you'd prefer to get one of the cool Helmet of Hope t-shirts (see below) - they're just $10 bucks - you can get one now by clicking right here. The best part: All proceeds goes directly to the Foundation.

Phew, that's a lot more than I expected to write today.

Have a great weekend,

P.S. Thanks to all of you who have have supported No Three Putts and his growing family (and my advertisers) by cl1ck1ng on the links on this page.

P.P.S. Remember, if you hear about a charity (preferably one with a website) that's having a golf tournament - please send me a link.

P.P.P.S. It will be interesting to see if there's a difference in response from different fans. For instance, who will have more fans coming to the site... Nick Lachey... Jimmie Johnson... or Clay Aiken? Which fans will leave more comments? Who will Tweet/Facebook these posts more? Only time will tell, but I'll be sure to share the results.

February 05, 2010

How You Crazy Clay Aiken Fans & A Brief Talk With Mother Inspired Me

Since Tuesday night, 4,658 Clay Aiken fans have visited this golf blog. That’s pretty darn amazing if you ask me.

In fact, I was so impressed with how passionate every one is with Clay and his National Inclusion Project that I shared the craziness from the last few days with my Mother today.

I sent her links to the blog posts I wrote and I specifically asked her to read all of the comments you people left.

(Brief side note: I’m not sure whether I should call you all: Clay Mates, Clay Nation or Clay Heads (like Dead Heads)… I’m smart enough to know “you people” isn’t right. :)  And I’m also sure that about 37 of you will let me know the proper term).

Now back to my story…

She summed it up by saying, “Wow. I can’t believe the response you’ve had. Your becoming such a humanitarian like your Grandfather was.”

For a bit of background on my Grandfather you can read this really cool post I wrote last month in honor of his birthday.

And that got me thinking…

Is there any thing I could do to keep up the family tradition by giving back to people in need, more specifically – to children.

Considering I have a family, I coach sports for my sons, I try my best to help my wife around the house, and I work in between all of this – I knew that I really don’t have much free time to spare.

Then - BAM!

It hit me like a sliced golf ball.

I’ve got this golf blog. I just posted a little ditty about Clay Aiken and his National Inclusion Product… and some pretty cool things are starting to happen…

Why don’t I post more stories like Clay’s in the future?

And that’s exactly what I’ve decided to do. Going forward, I am going to scour the internet for celebrity (and non-celebrity) charity golf tournaments and post stories about them.

Let me be clear, although I prefer to promote child-oriented charitable events – I have absolutely no problem posting stories on charities for other worthy causes.

My goal: To raise a few dollars for the charity and to raise awareness of whatever the cause may be.

So if you happen to know of any charity golf tournaments in the near future – please let me know. I’d be happy to post a brief write-up and provide a link. No strings attached.

Larry the Golfer

P.S. Again, thanks to all the Clay Aiken fans for the kind words on your forums and blogs. To the person who asked if I knew about “Goodsearch”… I do now, and I’ll try to add it to this blog at some point soon.

P.P.S. To all of you who bought a hat to support Ken Green: Thank you very much. He and I really appreciate it. I’m sure he’ll post a message soon saying so himself.

P.P.P.S. Since I know about 29 of you will ask if I listened to any of the 458 songs you suggested. The answer is yes. But did I like his music? In short, I did. He has a solid voice.

But I need to be honest with you, I think it’s his stage presence that impressed me the most. I really enjoy the way he riffs with the crowd. In particular, there was one video I watched where he kept going on about the lady in the 4th row, and the one in the 5th row. It was pretty funny. I’m sure you Clay-riffic people know the video I’m talking about. Am I right?

P.P.P.P.S. And now I know what NJU means!

February 04, 2010

Tragedy Strikes Ken Green Again... But That Won't Stop His Comeback!

Let me take you back a few years...

It's 1982, I'm 13 years-old living in Portland, CT (Yes, there is a Portland in Connecticut). Golf is now my passion. I play it, read about it and watch it on TV as much as possible.

And up through the ranks comes a young guy with glasses from Connecticut wearing emerald green golf shoes.
Finally, someone from the Nutmeg state is on tour!

In a small state like CT, Kenny Green instantly becomes a hometown hero. Considering his accomplishments in the eighties it's not hard to see why.

Here's a look at results from his entire career:

Earned card at Q-School in Fall 1981 (after failing in ’79 & ’80)
Lost card after 1982 $11,899; regained card at ’82 Q-School
Lost card after 1984 $20,160, regained card at ’84 Q-School
Won the 1985 Buick Open, his 1st of 5 PGA Tour wins
PGA Career Earnings: $4,046,331
PGA TOUR (1982-2006) $3,745,345:
. . .508 events played, 274 cuts made
. . .Tour Wins: 5
. . .93 Top25’s, 44 Top10’s, 7 2nds, 4 3rds
NATIONWIDE TOUR (2005-2008) $154,169:
. . .55 events, 20 cuts, 1 3rd 6 Top10, 12 Top25
CHAMPIONS TOUR (2008-2009) $146,817:
. . .18 events, 18 cuts, 1 Top10, 2 Top25

With 5 PGA Tour wins, including two in a row, no doubt he's had a remarkable career.

But as we all know, golf is a very mental game... without a clear head it's unlikely any golfer can succeed at such a high level of play. And this is exactly what caused things to start going downhill for Ken Green.

Let's spring ahead to the mid-90's and see what's going on...

Green's life is beginning to spiral downward. He went through a brutal divorce, suffered depression, went into debt and (like many people in his situation) began drinking.

As he put it, "There are years, whole years from about 1998 to 2002 that I basically don't remember."

His life was such a mess that he even had thoughts of suicide.

But Green is a strong guy, has a lot of friends, and got through his bout with depression (etc.). He began playing golf again, this time on the Nationwide Tour. He had moderate success. In his head, he knew this was a great way to gear himself up for the Champions Tour as he approached 50 years-old.

During this time, he met a great woman who motivated, encouraged and helped him get his life in order. Things are looking up.

Kenny is now on the Champions Tour and having success, life is good. But then tragedy struck.

While driving between golf tournaments on June 8, 2009 on a Mississippi highway his RV blew out a tire, rolled over and was in a horrific accident.

Green lost his brother, Billy, his girlfriend, Jeanne Hodgin, and his dog, Nip - who he once saved from the jaws of an alligator by jumping in a canal behind his house and hitting the gator - in the accident.

"I lost the three best friends I had on the planet," Green said. "I'm never going to see them or talk to them again. There isn't one day I don't miss them, and that's never going to change... I still cry a lot, but you have two choices: You can move on or you can slowly rot and cause yourself more emotional pain than what you already feel... I'm choosing not to rot."

Ken was critically injured but needed multiple surgeries, ultimately having to get his leg amputated.

So could Ken Green ever play golf again? YEP!

Green asked his doctor about golf right away. It went like this, "That conversation was pretty brief... the doctor said the leg could be saved, but it'd be nothing more than a fixture. I'd walk, but that's about all. He said I could play golf, but I wouldn't be any good."

So Green asked, "What if you cut it off?"

"You could get a prosthesis and play," was the answer.

"I told him, 'Chop it!' " Green said. "I think I made it easier for them, because it was obvious they thought it was the best thing to do. If you get a patient who's reluctant, it presents a whole different set of problems."

Ken went through rehab, Peter Kostis has been working with him to get his swing back, and he's on his way to recovery.

Then, in January 2010, tragedy struck again...

The worst nightmare any parent could ever have. Ken's son Hunter passed away at college. I'm not going to get into details of that here, and I'm not going to talk about his nasty ex-wife who made this situation very difficult on Ken.

What I will say is this: Ken Green is one strong, resilient man. He will make it back on the Champions Tour, and he will succeed. With every fairway he hits, with every putt he drains - Billy, Jeanne, Nip and Hunter will be watching from above.

But here's the thing, Ken needs financial support from friends, family, and the golf community to get back on tour. As you may know, it's not cheap traveling the country, paying entry fees, food, etc...

Yet, there's a simple way we can support Ken Green's comeback. All it takes is $30 and you'll get one of these sweet hats in return:

All proceeds from the sale of these hats is donated directly to the Ken Green Living Expenses Trust.

To support Ken as he continues his comeback, just CLICK HERE and get a great looking hat and support this remarkable man.

He's been through more in the last few years than any man should have to go through in a lifetime.

If you really want to see firsthand what a good person he is, I recommend you read Ken Green's blog.


P.S. Ken is good friends with my brother-in-law Del and I often get to hear some very cool stories about what a good guy he truly is.

P.P.S. Just to show you what a fun guy Ken Green is here's a great story: When paired with Arnold Palmer at the 1997 Masters, Green had a pal bring him a beer on the 15th hole so he could always have a story to tell about having a beer with The King.

February 03, 2010

A Special Message To Clay Aiken Fans

I've got to tell ya, all of you Clay Aiken fans shocked me.

You see, last night, after putting my kids to bed I decided to write a brief article about Clay Aiken and the National Inclusion Project golf tournament.


Because this is a golf blog, the tournament is held down the road from my house, I've played the Mirasol golf course several times and this charity seems like a really good cause.

To me, it was no big deal, I was just making an observation about a celebrity - who until today I only knew as the guy who came in second place to Ruben Studdard (not sure where he is now).

But you people, you Clay Aiken fans - you blew me away.

Here's why...

This morning when I got up and checked this little golf blogs logs - I was astonished at what I saw.

What did I see? Glad you asked... I saw a staggering amount of visitors from websites I never knew existed. For instance:
So, I visited these sites and wanted to see what the heck was going on. And you know what I found. I found heartfelt comments like these:
"Nice work, Larry. We need more people like you, who actually look at facts and judge someone by their actions."
"What a very nice mention for The Project by a non-fan."

"THAT was a nice surprise!!!"

"It is nice to see someone get what we have know all along! Great blog!!"

"Just fun reading this blog.....wonder if Clay has ever attempted to golf after seeing all having fun!? Great that this golfer "gets it"!"

"I liked that a lot. I posted it to fb so my family could read it."

"Thanks for posting this. These are the people we need to reach-the fans know what Clay is doing-this is wonderful and reaches out to a whole new audience."
To be honest, I had no idea Clay had so many fans and that so many people really believe in him, and his cause - the National Inclusion Project.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that all of your comments and the over 2,000 visitors (and counting) who came to this golf blog simply because I mentioned Clay Aiken - really struck a chord with me.

So, here's what I decided to do...

First, over on the right side of my blog you'll see I've added a National Inclusion Project banner ad. That way my readers will become aware of this cause, check it out and hopefully make a donation.

Next, I'm going to download a couple of Clay's songs from iTunes to check his music out. I'm willing to listen with an open ear. Please add comments to this post with suggestions.

And finally, if someone could email me (my email address is on the top right of your screen) next year, one month before the Inclusion tournament - I'm going to post a brief write-up on the tournament and encourage my readers to attend... Plus, I'll contact my fellow golf bloggers and ask them to do the same.

Again, thank you all for your kind words.

P.S. On one of the forums someone wrote "A Nice Blog From A NJU About Clay Who Was At GFI." My questions is: What does 'NJU' stand for?

February 02, 2010

Clay Aiken's National Inclusion Project Golf Tournament

I'll tell ya this - I never, ever thought I'd be writing about Clay Aiken here on my golf blog.

But yesterday, at Mirasol Golf Club (which is about 3 miles from my house) was the third annual golf event to benefit the National Inclusion Project.

Golf pro Wayne Player (whose son played on my sons flag football team this year, and I'll brag for a second - they went undefeated) has been helping Clay Aiken with his golf game for 3 years and at the pre-tourney clinics... as Aiken mentioned - he has no game.

Here it is in his own words, “I still don’t know anything... We do the clinic and I still don’t know what (Player) is talking about. I just stand there and make a few jokes.”

So why am I writing about Aiken here?

Because I really believe in his cause. It's called The National Inclusion Project and he has created a curriculum that can be used by already-existing camps to make their facilities accessible and fun for would-be campers with disabilities.

In short, the Project puts it like this: What would you do if it were your child who couldn't participate?

Frankly, I don't know what I would do. But I do know this: Although I've never been much of a fan of Clay Aiken, I now respect him as a person and admire the work he's doing for children.

For the 3rd year, N.I.P. has donated $15,000 to a Florida camp – this year the money went to the Florida Lion’s Camp in Lake Wales.

It's nice to see a celebrity put his name and valuable time to good use. Nice work Clay Aiken.

...More Golf Stuff