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Players compete for cancer patients at the Cologuard Classic

6 Min Read


Players compete for cancer patients at the Cologuard Classic

    With March serving as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, there’s no better way to play a role than by simply to help raise awareness. That’s the mission this week’s Cologuard Classic by Exact Sciences is designed for, largely through its Pairings with a Pro program.

    Once again, the objective is to help increase awareness of colon cancer and stress the importance of early detection through screening.

    For the third consecutive season of the Pairings with a Pro initiative, each PGA TOUR Champions player in the Cologuard Classic field will compete on behalf of a colon cancer patient, a cancer survivor or in memory of one who lost the battle to colon cancer.

    Not only will players again don a ribbon in honor of a designated individual affected by cancer, but they will also have the chance to meet their honoree in person at the tournament or virtually.

    “Colon cancer is the second leading cause of death between men and women in the United States,” said Tournament Ambassador Jerry Kelly. “This week’s Cologuard Classic has taken on a life of its own and truly is a golf tournament that saves lives.”

    “It is a really unique and special thing to be paired with a cancer survivor, someone who is battling cancer or a caretaker,” said Dicky Pride, who comes to this week’s Cologuard Classic on the heels of a T4 in his most recent start at the Chubb Classic. “Last year, I represented a girl, named Emily, from the great state of Alabama. She’s someone I keep in touch with to this day. She has fought off colon cancer for the third time. She is doing great.”

    This year, Pride is representing a cancer patient, named Dan.

    “It gets really personal,” Pride said. “I’m about the same age as Dan. He’s got two kids, just as I do. It really makes you feel good to stand up for someone who is in a fight for their life. You want to support them any way you can. It’s so special to have the game of golf be able to bring us all together for the common cause of helping someone get better.”

    At last year’s event, Pride’s caddie took advantage of Cologuard’s testing, only to learn he had polyps. Because of early detection, he was able to get help and have it taken care of without ever experiencing any major problems.”

    “Had he not gone and gotten that test, he would not have ever known to go and do what he needed to do,” added Pride. “Not only is Cologuard a great, great fit for PGA TOUR Champions, but they are also here to help everyone live a healthier life.”

    “We’re all touched by cancer in some way, shape or form,” said 2018 Cologuard Classic champion Steve Stricker. “This is a big week for awareness, and is designed to bring attention to this ugly disease. It’s a disease which, if you get tested early enough, it can greatly increase the chances of being cured. That’s the whole objective with the Pairings with a Pro program at the Cologuard Classic. It’s a big week for those we’re playing for, as well as a big week for us.”

    Stricker, who has never finished worse than sixth in the event, is making his sixth career start in this week’s Cologuard Classic.

    “This is a very special week for everyone, and I think even more special for me because of who I am playing for this week,” said Stricker. “I’m playing for golf long-time golf writer, Steve DiMeglio, who is battling colon cancer. It hits a little closer to home for me, because I know him and have been around him my entire career.”

    A one-of-a-kind and non-invasive colon cancer screening test, Cologuard is the first and only test that looks for abnormal DNA and/or blood in the stool.

    Pairings with a Pro here at the Cologuard Classic is both unique and amazing,” said 2020 Cologuard Classic champion Bernhard Langer, who recently tied the PGA TOUR Champions all-time victory record of 45 wins. “What Cologuard does is very important for cancer awareness before, during and after the tournament. Many cancers can be stopped from spreading if they get caught early enough, and Cologuard is trying extremely hard to do that. It’s fantastic and I feel very fortunate to be a small part of that.”

    “The initiative is a wonderful idea,” said three-time PGA TOUR Champions winner Jim Furyk. “These families have been through so much and, in many cases, have lost a loved one. Cologuard is honoring those who have battled cancer and, in doing so, they can raise awareness that can help people understand the testing procedures and early detection.”

    To help make the effort and action as simple and convenient as possible, even those without a healthcare provider can utilize a telemedicine provider to request Cologuard online.

    “What Cologuard is doing for this event to bring awareness to colon cancer is tremendous,” said Mike Weir, who finished solo-second at the 2021 Cologuard Classic. “They do such a great job with the event. At some point in our lives, I think all of us have someone or know of someone that has been affected by cancer, colon cancer in particular. My fiancé’s father died of colon cancer, so it’s very important to us to get screened. I did it as soon as I turned 50. It’s important that everyone takes cancer seriously by getting that screening done early. Early detection means the prognosis is much better. So, bringing that awareness through this event that Cologuard does is just tremendous. I’m really glad to be a part of this event.”

    While the competitive level remains at a premium this week at Omni Tucson National, there is an equally significant sense of urgency at the Cologuard Classic to stress the importance of early cancer detection by way of honoring colon cancer survivors, patients and caregivers.

    “I am so proud to be here in Tucson, Arizona as part of the Cologuard Classic and love what they are doing with the Pairings with a Pro initiative,” said Justin Leonard, who is poised for his first Cologuard Classic start this week. “Their effort is to really bring to light the need for early screening, and I am really excited to meet my partner, Daniel. He is a cancer survivor from Utah. He had stage for cancer, but currently has no evidence of the disease. It’s a wonderful way to help give back by partnering up with cancer survivors and others. I’m very proud to be a small part of initiative by Cologuard.”

    “This week is so much more than just a golf tournament,” Kelly added. “It means so much to me that all the guys have really gotten on board. It’s incredible to watch the players engage and interact with the survivors,” Kelly said. “It’s a great partnership that we have. Simply put, Cologuard and Exact Sciences do an incredible job.”

    An additional way to increase awareness and raise funds for colon cancer screening, the Cologuard Classic will again feature the Drive to Know initiative. Each tee shot which finds the fairway on Nos. 10, 15 and 18, $100 will be donated to colon cancer screening efforts in the Tucson area, all the way up to $50,000.

    To learn more about Cologuard and all it can do to help eradicate the deadly disease of colon cancer, visit them online at

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