Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, with support from the PGA TOUR, Ask Golf Community to Play Yellow for Children’s Hospitals
Inspired by the color that once honored a sick boy, the hope is to raise $100 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
March 13, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 13, 2019
Commissioner Monahan and Jack Nicklaus announcement at THE PLAYERS
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLA. — On the eve of THE PLAYERS Championship, the PGA TOUR’s flagship event, Jack and Barbara Nicklaus joined TOUR officials to urge the global golf community to Play Yellow for children’s hospitals and help raise $100 million over the next five years.
For years, the Nicklaus family has supported Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, recognizing their reliance on donations to fund pediatric care insurance programs do not cover. In partnership with CMN Hospitals, the Nicklaus family, along with support from the PGA TOUR and many of its partners, is encouraging the golf community to fill this funding gap in pediatric healthcare through the Play Yellow campaign.
Outreach for support of the Play Yellow campaign began earlier this year, and the list of core partners grows daily. The list thus far includes: the PGA TOUR, THE PLAYERS, the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, Travelers Championship, Topgolf, Callaway, Srixon, the TPC Network, PGA TOUR Superstore, Marriott Golf, TaylorMade, Titleist, FootJoy and Golf Digest.
“The PGA TOUR is honored to join Jack and Barbara Nicklaus to Play Yellow,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “With your support, we can help patients at children’s hospitals across North America. For many years, the Nicklaus family has supported children’s hospitals in their home states of Ohio and Florida. Today, the PGA TOUR is excited to join them and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to engage the entire golf world in impacting even more lives with a unique, new initiative.”
Play Yellow stems from the yellow shirts Jack often wore in the final round of tournaments in honor of Craig Smith, the son of a close family friend and who was battling a rare bone cancer. Craig passed way in 1971 at the age of 13. Fifteen years later, on the morning of the ’86 Masters, Jack, at age 46, once again wore a yellow shirt, playing one of golf history’s most iconic rounds and winning his record sixth Green Jacket.
“We are inspired by this story and the Nicklaus family,” said Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ President and CEO John Lauck. “They and the PGA TOUR are really driving positive impact at unprecedented levels to support and improve local communities. We’re grateful for their support and the continued impact Play Yellow will make on kids’ health.”
Benefiting from Play Yellow are kids like 9-year-old A.J. Blinn of Jacksonville, Fla., who attended the announcement. A year ago, he had major hip surgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville to treat a rare childhood hip condition. Recovery from hip surgery has kept him from most of the sports he loves, except golf. He has remained active on the course, evident by his swing.
“There isn’t a higher calling than helping a child in need,” said Barbara Nicklaus. Jack echoed his wife: “I completely agree. We hope you’ll join the cause and Play Yellow for kids.”
Barbara and Jack have a long history and close ties to a number of CMN Hospitals, most notably Nationwide Children’s Hospital in their hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami. The Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide has benefited Nationwide Children’s Hospital since its inception in 1976, and it was The Honda Classic’s move to Palm Beach County and down the street from the Nicklauses’ North Palm Beach, Fla., home that inspired Barbara and Jack to create the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation in 2004. In the 14-plus years since, the Foundation has raised over $100 million, and their support of pediatric programs in South Florida led renowned Miami Children’s Hospital to rebrand to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Several years later, the entire Miami Children’s Health System was renamed Nicklaus Children’s Health System. There are now 14 Nicklaus Children’s Outpatient Centers spread throughout the state. The foundation has become the primary beneficiary of The Honda Classic, and Barbara has joined the Board of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.