'Shot from the Top' raises money for local hospital

March 03, 2010
PGA TOUR staff

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. -- In six years, the Toshiba Classic's "Shot from the Top" has carved out a niche as the most unique event on the Champions Tour and one that brings out the nerves, comedy and charity in its participants.

The nerves? Those came from Champions Tour rookie and Toshiba Classic rookie Corey Pavin, who hit the closest shot among the three participating pros: launching his shot from the roof of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa to the second green of the Newport Beach Country Club -- 162 feet and 16 stories below.

"It's kind of weird standing up there. You feel like if you step off the platform, you'll fall off the roof," said Pavin, who hit his best of three shots to 6 feet, 8 inches. "You can't, of course. But the ball stays in the air a long time. I'm not sure if I've ever had a ball stay in the air that long."

The comedy? That came from fellow pro Craig Stadler, who competed for the second time. Apparently not happy with his shot to 19 feet from the pin, Stadler flung his wedge and golf glove off the roof. Officials on the ground measured his wedge toss at 153 feet from the pin.

"It was all in fun," Stadler said about a club toss into a safe, empty area that brought raucous laughter to sponsors, tournament officials, media and spectators. "This event is always one of the most fun things we do all year."

The charity? Under a new format -- the "Charity Challenge" -- that involved sponsors pledging money to Hoag Hospital Foundation based on their shots to the green, the "Shot from the Top" raised $4,100 for Hoag Hospital Foundation, the primary charitable beneficiary of the Toshiba Classic.

The closest shots to the pin didn't come from Pavin, Stadler or Fuzzy Zoeller (13 feet), the third participating pro and a longtime "Shot from the Top" participant. They came from sponsor and amateur Tom Thomson of Coto de Caza and media member Dave Marr III of GOLF Channel. Thomson hit his shot to 3 feet, the closest shot to the pin in the six-year history of the event.

"I was a little nervous standing there, but then I looked at my target and treated it as a normal shot," said Thomson.

Thomson, a 4 handicap, said that dealing with Zoeller's banter was more nerve-racking than the shot itself.

As a longtime reporter for GOLF Channel, Marr is used to Zoeller's banter. That helped him win the media title, bettering his broadcast and print media counterparts with a shot that landed 4 feet, 7 inches from the pin.

Marr, who entered the 2010 "Shot from the Top" with the second-closest shot (3 feet, 10 inches in 2007) in event history, brought gasps from the roof when his shot landed 9 inches from the pin, then spun past the cup.

Daily tickets for the Toshiba Classic are $25 at the gate. Clubhouse badges providing week-long admission to the grounds and clubhouse for practice rounds and the tournament are $100. All tickets, including corporate ticket packages, can be obtained by calling 949-660-1001 or visiting http://www.toshibaclassic.com/.

The Toshiba Classic's lead charity and operator is Hoag Hospital Foundation. During the last 12 years, the Toshiba Classic has generated more than $12.1 million for charity, the most on the Champions Tour. Hoag Hospital Foundation also received the inaugural Champions Tour Charity of the Year Award in 1998.

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