Tiger Woods Honors Troops

In what has become an annual tradition, golf legend Tiger Woods, whose late father Earl was a retired Green Beret officer with two tours in Vietnam, honors U.S. service members at his annual Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am golf tournament, held over the 4th of July weekend at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

Joining Tiger for the ceremonial first shot to open the tourna- ment were two U.S. Army wounded warriors, Staff Sgt. Ramon Padilla and Major Ken Dwyer. The golf balls used in the ceremonial tee-off were delivered to the first tee by a four-man precision parachute formation from the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

For the tournament, 26 active duty servicemembers, representing each branch of the armed forces, were given the opportunity to serve as caddies for professional golfers. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Michael Barrett was the lucky man who caddied for Tiger Woods and last year's tournament winner, Anthony Kim.

Barrett, a 16-year Marine Corps veteran, served two tours in Iraq before being injured by a roadside bomb. A drill instructor currently assigned to the Pentagon, Barrett spent 553 days in rehab and recovery as a result of injuries received when the IED exploded.

At a press conference, Tiger paid tribute to our service members, saying, "To see what they deal with on a daily basis and what they have to go through by putting their lives on the line for us . . . . Everyone in this room should thank these service members . . . for what they do." What a refreshing change to see a top celebrity pay tribute to our men and women in uniform, and to express his gratitude for the jobs they perform every day.

Tiger Woods traditionally provides thousands of complimentary and discounted tournament tickets for military members. At the USO tent set up at the tournament to create care packages for deployed troops, Tiger stopped by to pack a care package himself.

So if you receive a care package from the USO for the Independence Day holiday, it just might have been packed by Tiger Woods himself.

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