Tucker Tournament rises in popularity

Published 8:00 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Tucker continues to grow in popularity despite tough economic times. This will be the 16th Tucker, named in memory of West Point Military Academy graduate Tucker Smith.

     The Tucker is scheduled Aug. 31-Sept. 3, at the Brookhaven Country Club. It is a 2-man, match play tournament. Entry fee is $200 per player or $400 per team.

     Teams will be flighted, depending on stroke handicap. There will be eight teams per flight.

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     On Friday, Aug. 31, there will be a practice round from noon to 6 p.m., followed by a pairings party from 7-11 p.m., including a silent auction.

     There will be morning and afternoon rounds on Saturday and Sunday. There will be lunch and an evening barbeque on Saturday. Lunch and a pool party are set Sunday.

     On Labor Day, Sept. 3, the final round will be played that morning, starting at 10 a.m.. After lunch, an awards ceremony will take place at 2 p.m.

     The main beneficiary is the organization known as Folds of Honor Foundation. Tournament chairman Josh Smith said all proceeds will benefit the families of service men and women of Mississippi who have bravely served our country.

     Through Patriots Golf Days events nationwide, corporate and individual sponsors have helped raise more than $5.3 million. That largess has allowed Folds of Honor to award 2,539 post-secondary educational scholarships and 99 children scholarships.

     In 2011, the Tucker Tournament was recognized as a Top 25 event by the Folds of Honor Foundation. Smith said his goal is to break into the Top Ten.

     “The Tucker Tournament survives on the generous contributions of its players and corporate sponsors each year,” said Smith. “In order to reach our goals and make this year’s tournament a success, please consider becoming a sponsor and supporting the families who defend our freedom.”

     For sure, tournament sponsorships are the key to success. Tournament sponsors are asked to contribute $1,000 or more. Team sponsors require a $600 donation. Hole sponsors are $300 and Patron sponsors are $150.

     Last year, the Tucker raised over $25,000. Smith expects 160 golfers to participate this time. The goals are higher, too.

     For sure, it’s a worthwhile cause.


     With millions of folks watching the Olympic Games on TV this month, there should be a spiked interest in sports among youngsters and teenagers. Many of the sporting events are only seen every four years.

     Of particular interest are the track & field events, plus  swimming and gymnastics. It’s amazing to watch those female pole vaulters courageously clearing 15 feet in the vault. Many folks become dizzy when they climb a stepladder and get above four feet from the ground.

     Jenn Suhr made Americans proud by winning the pole vault gold. She cleared 15 feet, 7 inches.

     My wife, Laurie, and I have lost some precious hours of sleep watching the late night Olympic telecasts from London. NBC has done a remarkable job covering all those events. We have fallen in love with the gymnasts as they ignore injury and physical danger,  fly through the air and perform incredible acrobatic feats.

     Gabby Douglas and the rest of the U.S. women’s  gymnastics team have become household words. “I hope Gabby can win another gold medal,” is a common remark around the dinner table.

     Also fascinating are the beach volleyball events. The 2-person team competition is intense on a deep, sandy playing surface. They, too, are remarkable athletes.

     Team volleyball is another great sport. In Mississippi, it remains a mystery at most high schools. In the past, only Salem and McComb from this area elected to field female volleyball teams. Several years ago, former Loyd Star coach Lori Britt started a volleyball team but it was a difficult assignment  because no local teams played the sport, with the exception of McComb.

     Britt’s Lady Hornets had to ride a bus to the Jackson area to find volleyball opponents. Travel became expensive and wearisome. Enthusiasm waned and died.

     This would be an excellent time to revive volleyball on the local scene. It could be played prior to the basketball season so there wouldn’t be a conflict in the gymnasium.

     Volleyball could replace slowpitch softball in the fall. Slowpitch is a dying sport in most areas of the Magnolia State. Mississippi is the only state to still sanction it as a high school activity.

     Another alternative would be to move the fastpitch season to the fall and play volleyball in the spring. Many colleges provide scholarships for the most talented volleyball stars.

     Who knows?

     There could be a future Olympics star playing volleyball in Mississippi.


     Contact sports editor Tom Goetz by Email: tgoetz@dailyleader.com