There’s little doubt that the sport of golf does more for charities than any other sport. The PGA Tour points to donations of more than $1.7 billion from its events. The Valero Texas Open in San Antonio led the way in 2010 with more than $8 million. The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the HP Byron Nelson in Irving weren’t far behind with contributions of $6.1 and $4.9 million. The LPGA donated the entire $1 million purse for its RR Donnelley Founders Cup—half to the LPGA Foundation and half to the charities of the top 10 finishers, including $100,000 from Karrie Webb for the Japanese disaster. Nearly every local charity tries to use golf events as a way to raise funds.
Many of the game’s biggest stars step up to the plate with generous contributions, but none could compare with what Japanese golf professional Ryo Ishikarwa did last week, announcing that he would donate his entire 2011 winnings plus a bonus 100,000 yen—worth $750+ here in the U.S.—for each birdie he makes to do his part to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated his native country.
His generosity is unbelievable, especially when you consider he won $1.8 million last season and made hundreds of birdies.
Talking to reporters, Ishikawa said, “I believe this is the most positive way for me to spend my money. I have enough money to spend for my golf. I still have savings.”
Earlier, LPGA pro Inkyung Kim also went beyond what might be expected when she donated the entire $220,000 winner’s share from the Lorena Ochoa event, including half to Ochoa’s foundation.
After going to a pre-event party and hearing how Ochoa was helping kids, Kim said, “I decided if I win, I will give all the money to the people who need help.”
I’d like to hear more stories like these!