ANDERSON — The team of Fox 59 chief meteorologist Brian Wilkes, along with Dave Redlin, Tommy Niemier, Johnny Kirkwood and Steve Hart, may have taken the first-place title at the 29th annual Children’s Clinic Classic at Anderson Country Club Tuesday, but the kids helped by the clinic were the real winners this year.With the addition of the Children’s Clinic Celebrity Benefit and Pairings Party to the slate of events, $70,000 was raised to help support the Children’s Clinic, surpassing last year’s mark of $57,000 and the goal for this year’s events that was set at just over $60,000.In just his second year hosting the event, Golf Channel play-by-play host Brian Hammons said he felt like the event was a great success. Celebrities and locals alike went up to him after the awards ceremony to thank him for increasing the impact and enjoyment of the day’s tournament.“I think it’s something the people don’t normally get a chance to do, to play with people they see on television or athletes that they’ve watched play,” Hammons said.But since Hammons began running the event last year, he’s brought along some of his colleagues from the Golf Channel to hold a short clinic on Monday evening and increase the hype by having former PGA professionals around the course.“I just think it elevates the event. It just makes it that much bigger to say ‘I’ve played a golf hole with John Mahaffey, who won a major championship, or I played with Billy Ray Brown or Curt Byrum,’” Hammons said. “Plus, they really enjoy interacting with the people, and not many people can say they’ve played with a PGA Tour player.”Former Indiana Pacers head coach and color commentator Bobby “Slick” Leonard has been involved with the Clinic Classic nearly every year, having participated in more than 20 events since it began in 1985.Although Leonard’s participation at age 81 is year-to-year, he said he always enjoys coming out and seeing the event grow and increase in impact, especially since Hammons took over and added the impact of the Golf Channel hosts.Over the years, Leonard said, he’s had several great memories and met people whom he looks forward to seeing every year at the event, although some of the participants he played with during his first few years have now passed away.And though his golf game isn’t what it used to be, the golf tournament isn’t really why people come out to support the St. John’s Children’s Clinic, he said.“I had some friends over here in Anderson. The combination of those friends wanting me to come over and what the money was going towards, that’s why I came here,” Leonard said. “They’re doing a great job helping the little kids.“It’s been very worthwhile for everybody.”
$70,000 surpasses goal to help support clinic
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