The Arnie Award: Golfers Who Give Back

Golf Digest

We’re proud of what golf does for charity, and for the eighth year, Golf Digest is celebrating Golfers Who Give Back, partnering with the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Monterey Peninsula Foundation. Our joint committee has selected three-time major champion Jordan Spieth, country-music artist Toby Keith and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young as this year’s Golfers Who Give Back. Here’s a look back at all of our Golfers Who Give Back honorees over the years who have used their love of the game to help others.

Originally Appeared on Golf Digest

<p>Inspired by his younger sister, Ellie, who was born with a neurological disorder, Spieth has been giving back since first volunteering at Ellie's school when he was in high school. At 21, he and his family started the Jordan Spieth Foundation, which helps youth with special needs as well as junior golf, military families and pediatric cancer. Spieth, now 26, has plenty of time to continue to give back: “I’m excited about the possibilities ahead of me, both on and off the course,” he says. “It all goes hand in hand.”</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/jordan-spieth-learned-the-joy-of-giving-early-on?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
JORDAN SPIETH

Inspired by his younger sister, Ellie, who was born with a neurological disorder, Spieth has been giving back since first volunteering at Ellie's school when he was in high school. At 21, he and his family started the Jordan Spieth Foundation, which helps youth with special needs as well as junior golf, military families and pediatric cancer. Spieth, now 26, has plenty of time to continue to give back: “I’m excited about the possibilities ahead of me, both on and off the course,” he says. “It all goes hand in hand.”

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<p>Young and his wife, Barb, oversee the Forever Young Foundation, which helps seriously ill and disadvantaged children across the United States and in Ghana. The initiatives, which include the Sophie’s Place music-therapy spaces and 8 to 80 Zones that Young runs with help from former teammate Jerry Rice, have served more than 17,000 kids since 1993 and are funded almost entirely through charity golf tournaments.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/steve-youngs-foundation-helps-kids-forget-their-troubles?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
STEVE YOUNG

Young and his wife, Barb, oversee the Forever Young Foundation, which helps seriously ill and disadvantaged children across the United States and in Ghana. The initiatives, which include the Sophie’s Place music-therapy spaces and 8 to 80 Zones that Young runs with help from former teammate Jerry Rice, have served more than 17,000 kids since 1993 and are funded almost entirely through charity golf tournaments.

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<p>Emulating St. Jude Children’s Research Center, Keith established the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City as a place for entire families to stay for free while children receive treatment at the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center and the Proton Therapy Center. The Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic has been a major driver of the funds necessary to open and run the operation.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/toby-keith-answers-a-calling-with-ok-kids-korral?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
TOBY KEITH

Emulating St. Jude Children’s Research Center, Keith established the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City as a place for entire families to stay for free while children receive treatment at the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center and the Proton Therapy Center. The Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic has been a major driver of the funds necessary to open and run the operation.

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<p>Nantz's father died after battling Alzheimer's in 2008. Three years later, he and his wife, Courtney, along with his mother and sister, opened the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Hospital. "Together, we made a lifetime commitment to raise money and awareness to fight this insidious disease. We are proud to have our clinical care and research institute named for Dad."</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/jim-nantz-a-commitment-to-dad-and-the-fight-against-alzheimers-golfers-who-give-back-arnie-award?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
JIM NANTZ

Nantz's father died after battling Alzheimer's in 2008. Three years later, he and his wife, Courtney, along with his mother and sister, opened the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Hospital. "Together, we made a lifetime commitment to raise money and awareness to fight this insidious disease. We are proud to have our clinical care and research institute named for Dad."

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<p>Rucker started playing golf as a teenager, developing a love for the game that continued as he became a three-time Grammy winning singer. "That's one of the tour manager's jobs—to make sure there's golf wherever we go," says Rucker, who tees it up four or five days a week. The 52-year-old has taken the lead in organizing several charitable tournaments that have raised millions for various causes.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/darius-rucker-his-music-raises-millions-and-he-has-fun-doing-it-golfers-who-give-back-arnie-award?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
DARIUS RUCKER

Rucker started playing golf as a teenager, developing a love for the game that continued as he became a three-time Grammy winning singer. "That's one of the tour manager's jobs—to make sure there's golf wherever we go," says Rucker, who tees it up four or five days a week. The 52-year-old has taken the lead in organizing several charitable tournaments that have raised millions for various causes.

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<p>The World Golf Hall of Famer's passion for golf intersects with his love for Sea Island, Ga., the community where he lives. Since becoming the host of the PGA Tour's fall stop there, the RSM Classic, more than $9 million in charity has come from the tournament to the Davis Love Foundation, which has then gone back to businesses and individuals in the area.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/davis-love-iii-doing-good-work-in-small-places-golfers-who-give-back-arnie-award?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
DAVIS LOVE III

The World Golf Hall of Famer's passion for golf intersects with his love for Sea Island, Ga., the community where he lives. Since becoming the host of the PGA Tour's fall stop there, the RSM Classic, more than $9 million in charity has come from the tournament to the Davis Love Foundation, which has then gone back to businesses and individuals in the area.

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<p><em>Kelly Slater, the World Surf League champion a record 11 times, took up golf at 23 and has played more than 150 rounds a year.</em></p> <p>"Omaze is a cool online fundraising group. I’ve done three or four projects in the past with them. We’ve done two trips to Fiji, where we’ve given the winner a free trip to Tavarua. We raised quite a bit of money from that and gave it to a couple of different funds." – Kelly Slater</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-2018-kelly-slater-turfs-up?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
KELLY SLATER

Kelly Slater, the World Surf League champion a record 11 times, took up golf at 23 and has played more than 150 rounds a year.

"Omaze is a cool online fundraising group. I’ve done three or four projects in the past with them. We’ve done two trips to Fiji, where we’ve given the winner a free trip to Tavarua. We raised quite a bit of money from that and gave it to a couple of different funds." – Kelly Slater

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<p>For more than a decade, country-music star Clay Walker has dedicated himself to raising money for and improving the lives of those with multiple sclerosis. There’s a reason for that: Walker has had the disease, which disrupts the central nervous system, for more than 20 years.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-2018-clay-walker-the-fight-against-ms-is-personal?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
CLAY WALKER

For more than a decade, country-music star Clay Walker has dedicated himself to raising money for and improving the lives of those with multiple sclerosis. There’s a reason for that: Walker has had the disease, which disrupts the central nervous system, for more than 20 years.

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<p>"Golf is unique among all sports for what it does for charity on an almost daily basis. There are the big LPGA Tour and PGA Tour events, which over the years have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars. But then there are the thousands of smaller golf tournaments at everyday clubs every week. The sum of it has to be incredible. I think it’s human nature to wonder how you can help."– Juli Inkster</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-2018-juli-inkster-dishes-on-the-solheim-cup-pangs-for-rwanda-and-why-rules-breakers-need-to-be-stopped?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
JULI INKSTER

"Golf is unique among all sports for what it does for charity on an almost daily basis. There are the big LPGA Tour and PGA Tour events, which over the years have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars. But then there are the thousands of smaller golf tournaments at everyday clubs every week. The sum of it has to be incredible. I think it’s human nature to wonder how you can help."– Juli Inkster

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<p>"I've hosted seven Make-A-Wish kids in the past three years. You know, I live my life and do things through how I believe and how I see the world. Basketball is fun and has provided a lot for me and my family. We're able to impact a lot of people with a lot of different stories and give them hope."– Steph Curry</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-interview-with-nba-finals-mvp-stephen-curry?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
STEPHEN CURRY

"I've hosted seven Make-A-Wish kids in the past three years. You know, I live my life and do things through how I believe and how I see the world. Basketball is fun and has provided a lot for me and my family. We're able to impact a lot of people with a lot of different stories and give them hope."– Steph Curry

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<p>"I appreciate how lucky I am to be in this position," said Horan, who helped raise nearly a million pounds for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens and the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation designed to fight childhood hunger in the United States. "From the very start of the band, we've all made an effort to give back as much as we could." Next on the radar: the Masters Tournament Foundation, which invests in development programs for golf.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/niall-horan-gets-our-arnie-award-and-helps-guide-the-games-talent?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
NIALL HORAN

"I appreciate how lucky I am to be in this position," said Horan, who helped raise nearly a million pounds for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens and the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation designed to fight childhood hunger in the United States. "From the very start of the band, we've all made an effort to give back as much as we could." Next on the radar: the Masters Tournament Foundation, which invests in development programs for golf.

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<p>Fitzgerald combines his passion for travel and photography with his dedication to improving the lives of others. An award-winning humanitarian, Fitzgerald has been to nearly 100 countries, providing life-changing aid to people in India, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Malaysia and the Philippines. His Larry Fitzgerald First-Down Fund supports kids and families in crisis, and he has been hugely involved in the fight against breast cancer, the disease that claimed the life of his mother, Carol, when Larry was a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-nfl-all-pro-larry-fitzgerald?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
LARRY FITZGERALD

Fitzgerald combines his passion for travel and photography with his dedication to improving the lives of others. An award-winning humanitarian, Fitzgerald has been to nearly 100 countries, providing life-changing aid to people in India, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Malaysia and the Philippines. His Larry Fitzgerald First-Down Fund supports kids and families in crisis, and he has been hugely involved in the fight against breast cancer, the disease that claimed the life of his mother, Carol, when Larry was a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh.

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<p>Chris O'Donnell learned from his dad and his Jesuit high school upbringing the importance of giving back, and he doesn't need to be praised for it. "My dad was on the board of a group in Chicago called The Safer Foundation that helped to rehabilitate ex-cons," O'Donnell says. "I remember as a kid thinking, <em>Why in the hell would you want to do that?</em> When my dad explained it to me, it made total sense."</p> <p>Today O’Donnell works with REDF, the California-based nonprofit that finds jobs for people facing the greatest barriers to work (dropouts, ex-cons, the homeless and the mentally ill).</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/chris-o-donnell?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
CHRIS O'DONNELL

Chris O'Donnell learned from his dad and his Jesuit high school upbringing the importance of giving back, and he doesn't need to be praised for it. "My dad was on the board of a group in Chicago called The Safer Foundation that helped to rehabilitate ex-cons," O'Donnell says. "I remember as a kid thinking, Why in the hell would you want to do that? When my dad explained it to me, it made total sense."

Today O’Donnell works with REDF, the California-based nonprofit that finds jobs for people facing the greatest barriers to work (dropouts, ex-cons, the homeless and the mentally ill).

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<p>The former NFL quarterback's charitable work has included the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis and the Peyback Foundation for disadvantaged youth.</p> <p>"The greatest part for all of us, golfers and entertainers, is being able to help one another. And golf is usually the common denominator."–Jake Owen</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-jake-owen?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
PEYTON MANNING

The former NFL quarterback's charitable work has included the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis and the Peyback Foundation for disadvantaged youth.

"The greatest part for all of us, golfers and entertainers, is being able to help one another. And golf is usually the common denominator."–Jake Owen

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<p>Mickelson and his wife, Amy, through the Phil & Amy Foundation, have supported Birdies for the Brave, which funds several military-support organizations, including the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Homes For Our Troops. The Mickelsons also partnered to develop the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, a curriculum that gives grade-school teachers tools to motivate students in math and science.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-phil-mickelson?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
PHIL MICKELSON

Mickelson and his wife, Amy, through the Phil & Amy Foundation, have supported Birdies for the Brave, which funds several military-support organizations, including the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Homes For Our Troops. The Mickelsons also partnered to develop the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, a curriculum that gives grade-school teachers tools to motivate students in math and science.

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<p>"The greatest part for all of us, golfers and entertainers, is being able to help one another. And golf is usually the common denominator."–Jake Owen</p> <p>The Jake Owen Foundation has benefited several organizations, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Hibiscus Children's Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Habitat for Humanity, and Autism Speaks.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-jake-owen?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
JAKE OWEN

"The greatest part for all of us, golfers and entertainers, is being able to help one another. And golf is usually the common denominator."–Jake Owen

The Jake Owen Foundation has benefited several organizations, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Hibiscus Children's Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Habitat for Humanity, and Autism Speaks.

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<p>"My wife needed [a marrow transplant] to live, and we were fortunate to get a donor from Germany who was found through the organization," McGrath says. "Through our events so far, we've found matches for 11 people who might have otherwise died. It's an amazing feeling to save someone's life."</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/golfers-who-give-back-jeremy-mcgrath?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read more →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read more →</a></p>
JEREMY MCGRAPH

"My wife needed [a marrow transplant] to live, and we were fortunate to get a donor from Germany who was found through the organization," McGrath says. "Through our events so far, we've found matches for 11 people who might have otherwise died. It's an amazing feeling to save someone's life."

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<p><strong><em>On how well he can play with Parkinson's disease:</em></strong></p> <p>"I've been so lucky to be celebrated for what I do and really kind of humbled about that. It's great to do something where I really suck. My best score for 18 holes is 46 out and 46 in, and I'm a 22-handicap. My friend Clark Gregg, from the "Avengers" movies, has a great description of me teeing off: He says I look like I'm between two subway cars with a foot on each platform. Then he says, 'And you hit the ball 220 yards, and I don't know how you do it.'" – Michael J. Fox</p>
MICHAEL J. FOX

On how well he can play with Parkinson's disease:

"I've been so lucky to be celebrated for what I do and really kind of humbled about that. It's great to do something where I really suck. My best score for 18 holes is 46 out and 46 in, and I'm a 22-handicap. My friend Clark Gregg, from the "Avengers" movies, has a great description of me teeing off: He says I look like I'm between two subway cars with a foot on each platform. Then he says, 'And you hit the ball 220 yards, and I don't know how you do it.'" – Michael J. Fox

<p><strong><em>On his occasional displays of frustration on the course:</em></strong></p> <p>"Oh yeah, I've thrown clubs. I launched my 7-iron and managed to get it stuck in a tree. All my buddies were laughing because they know how competitive I am. They love torturing me in the only sport I can't beat them."</p>
MICHAEL PHELPS

On his occasional displays of frustration on the course:

"Oh yeah, I've thrown clubs. I launched my 7-iron and managed to get it stuck in a tree. All my buddies were laughing because they know how competitive I am. They love torturing me in the only sport I can't beat them."

<p><strong><em>On the health benefits of golf:</em></strong></p> <p>"If you walk a hilly course on a windy day and you play all 18 holes, you won't say golf isn't a sport and golfers aren't athletes. I'm convinced one of the reasons my stepfather lived to 89 and lived as well as he did was because he played a lot of golf."</p>
BILL CLINTON

On the health benefits of golf:

"If you walk a hilly course on a windy day and you play all 18 holes, you won't say golf isn't a sport and golfers aren't athletes. I'm convinced one of the reasons my stepfather lived to 89 and lived as well as he did was because he played a lot of golf."

<p><strong><em>On the Rock River Foundation:</em></strong></p> <p>"I set it up because I realized once I got out in the world that I really got a good education at my segregated school in Greenwood. Now I go back, and it’s the worst school system in the country. Literally. Somehow, that has to be dealt with. So I set up a foundation to do that."</p>
MORGAN FREEMAN

On the Rock River Foundation:

"I set it up because I realized once I got out in the world that I really got a good education at my segregated school in Greenwood. Now I go back, and it’s the worst school system in the country. Literally. Somehow, that has to be dealt with. So I set up a foundation to do that."

Harris Barton, who won three Super Bowls with the 49ers, raises money for research into the brain tumors that killed his parents, 10 years apart.
HARRIS BARTON
Harris Barton, who won three Super Bowls with the 49ers, raises money for research into the brain tumors that killed his parents, 10 years apart.
After watching her mother go through a lumpectomy and eight months of radiation, Kerr launched Birdies For Breast Cancer in 2004 and began donating $50 for every birdie she makes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation founded by the late Evelyn Lauder.
CRISTIE KERR
After watching her mother go through a lumpectomy and eight months of radiation, Kerr launched Birdies For Breast Cancer in 2004 and began donating $50 for every birdie she makes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation founded by the late Evelyn Lauder.
<p>"I think the high standards of golf remind people of how . . . fortunate they are, to be able to play the game. And many people, when they have this sense of good luck or good draw of the cards, know they have an obligation to give back." – George W. Bush</p> <p>President George W. Bush followed his father as honorary chairman of golf's most prominent charity, The First Tee, a junior program that promotes life skills, but he's most dedicated to the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative with annual golf and mountain-biking events.</p> <p><a href="https://www.golfdigest.com/story/george-bush?mbid=synd_yahoo_rss" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Read Q&A With George W. Bush →" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Read Q&A With George W. Bush →</a></p>
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH

"I think the high standards of golf remind people of how . . . fortunate they are, to be able to play the game. And many people, when they have this sense of good luck or good draw of the cards, know they have an obligation to give back." – George W. Bush

President George W. Bush followed his father as honorary chairman of golf's most prominent charity, The First Tee, a junior program that promotes life skills, but he's most dedicated to the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative with annual golf and mountain-biking events.

Read Q&A With George W. Bush →

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has distributed more than $5.5 million to children's charities and to inspire at-risk youths. "It's all about the kids," he says. "If you don't give back to them, how can anything evolve?"
EMERIL LAGASSE
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has distributed more than $5.5 million to children's charities and to inspire at-risk youths. "It's all about the kids," he says. "If you don't give back to them, how can anything evolve?"
The Sheckler Foundation benefits underprivileged children and other pediatric causes, as well as injured action-sports athletes.
RYAN SHECKLER
The Sheckler Foundation benefits underprivileged children and other pediatric causes, as well as injured action-sports athletes.

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