BIRDIES FORE LOVE
Corey Conners, defending Valero Texas Open champ, supports past winner’s charitable mission with RSM Birdies Fore Love donation
March 31, 2021
By Cara Canington, PGATOUR.COM
- March 31, 2021
- Corey Conners positioned himself at the top of the RSM Birdies Fore Love charitable giving competition. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Two years ago, Corey Conners entered the Valero Texas Open Monday qualifier as one of 72 players vying for the final four spots in the field. At the time, little did he know that he’d not only qualify, but secure his first PGA TOUR victory – the first Monday qualifer to win on TOUR since Arjun Atwal at the 2010 Wyndham Championship.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Valero Texas Open was cancelled and Conners waited till this week to defend his title. In between, and once it was safe to return to golf, Conners’ success on the course continued. He made a strong run during the fall, where he positioned himself at the top of the RSM Birdies Fore Love charitable giving competition. Recording the most birdies (or better) over the first 11 events of the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season, Conners won $300,000 to donate to charities of his choosing.
“The generosity of RSM for sponsoring the event and sponsoring a donation is pretty remarkable,” Conners said. “This has been a really tough year for a lot of people and for them to step up like this, I'm going to be able to impact a lot of lives with the $300,000, so it’s pretty amazing.”
The third beneficiary? Conners chose to make a donation to help a fellow Valero Texas Open champion – the 2012 winner, Ben Curtis, and his Ben Curtis Foundation.
“I actually got started with the Ben Curtis Foundation when I was playing for Kent State,” Conners said. “The team would all go and volunteer to help his wife, Candace, pack up food for those in need. So, my relationship with the Ben Curtis Foundation started early and I’ve supported ever since.”
Conners would help pack the foundation’s signature Birdie Bags, which are filled with food and toiletries for food-insecure kids to bring home over long weekends during the school year. During that time, the foundation was packing an average of 135 Birdie Bags per month.
Fastforward to today, where COVID-19 has dramatically impacted food insecurity needs, and the Ben Curtis Foundation is now packing more than 4,800 bags per month for kids in six school districts around the Northeast Ohio area.
This wouldn’t be possible without the help of donations like Conners’.
“Corey and Malory’s donation will help provide over 10,000 Birdie Bags to local children who struggle with food insecurity in Northeast Ohio,” said Curtis, a four-time winner on TOUR who has since retired. “We can’t thank Corey, Malory and the PGA TOUR enough for all of the great work they continue to do to support programs and foundations like us.”
“The Ben Curtis Foundation is doing amazing work to help kids and families overcome food insecurity,” Conners said. “Having both won the Valero Texas Open, it means a lot to be able to have that connection with Ben and share a passion for giving back to children and families in need.”