BIRDIES FORE LOVE
Griffin leads RSM Birdies Fore Love entering final week
November 18, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- November 18, 2019
- Lanto Griffin has made 127 birdies or better heading into The RSM Classic. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Lanto Griffin’s goal of starting his own charitable foundation didn’t just suddenly click on after posting his first PGA TOUR win last month at the Houston Open.
Griffin actually thought about it four years ago when he won a SwingThought Tour event in South Carolina, having entered the tournament late after barely missing out on Monday qualifying for the Wyndham Championship on the PGA TOUR.
After winning the first prize of $20,000, Griffin spoke to a couple of people about how to create the foundation. Unfortunately, his pocketbook could not yet match his eagerness. “Looking back,” Griffin said, “I didn’t have any of the resources to do it.”
But now he’s on the verge of having plenty of resources. Griffin enters this week’s The RSM Classic as the leader in the RSM Birdies Fore Love standings, a competition held during the fall portion of the TOUR’s schedule that rewards players who make the most birdies or better by making donations to the players’ charities.
The player with the most birdies or better at each weekly event receives $50,000 for his charity, and so Griffin already has that in the bank by virtue of his field-leading 24 birdies or better in Houston. There is also a fall competition, with the top three players making the most birdies during the 11-event early portion of the 2019-20 schedule receiving charitable payouts.
First place after the conclusion of The RSM Classic is $300,000, with $150,000 for second and $50,000 for third. Griffin enters Sea Island with 127 birdies or better this fall, eight more than his closest pursuers (Maverick McNealy, Scottie Scheffler and Xinjun Zhang, each with 119). If Griffin maintains the lead after Sunday, he’ll have at least $325,000 to start his foundation (Griffin is donating the other $25,000 to the Houston Astros Foundation).
“That would be a dream for me,” said Griffin, who adjusted his playing schedule to add starts at the Bermuda Championship, last week’s Mayakoba Golf Classic and the RSM Classic just so he could maximize his opportunities to win the Birdies Fore Love top prize. “Having that capital to disperse to different areas that need it, that means a lot to me.”
Griffin already knows the two causes he wants his foundation to focus on – helping financially challenged youth to play sports (“Doesn’t have to be golf,” Griffin said) and helping families that are battling terminal illnesses. Griffin saw first-hand how challenging that can be, as his mother had to go back to work after his dad passed away instead of being able to stay at home and raise the four children.
“Cancer research is important to me, too, but you have to donate a lot of money for that to do anything,” Griffin said. “So I feel like if I can help some families immediately when they’re in the time of crisis – obviously there’s plenty of instances like that.”
With Griffin starting this week with a hefty lead, the most intriguing competition could come down to the second- and third-place finishers. All three players currently tied for second are in the field, as are four of the next five players in the standings.
TOP 10 RSM BIRDIES FORE LOVE CONTENDERS Players Total birdies/better At RSM this week? 1. Lanto Griffin 127 Yes T2. Maverick McNealy 119 Yes T2. Scottie Scheffler 119 Yes T2. Xinjun Zhang 119 Yes 5. Denny McCarthy 117 Yes 6. Brian Gay 116 Yes 7. Sungjae Im 115 No 8. Adam Long 110 Yes 9. Mark Hubbard 109 Yes 10. Byeong Hun An 106 No
WEEKLY RSM BIRDIES FORE LOVE WINNERS AND THEIR CHARITIES
Week 1 - Joaquin Niemann (at A Military Tribute at the Greenbrier). ... Golf Action
Week 2 - Dylan Frittelli (at Sanderson Farms Championship) ... The Quell Foundation
Week 3 - Corey Conners (at Safeway Open) ... TBD
Week 4 - Kevin Na (at Shriners Hospitals for Children Open ) ... Shriners Hospitals
Week 5 - Lanto Griffin (at Houston Open) ... $25,000 to Houston Astros Foundation/$25,000 to create his own foundation
Week 6 - Justin Thomas (at CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES) ... Justin Thomas Foundation
Week 7 - Hideki Matsuyama (at THE ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP) ... First Tee of Central Florida
Week 8 - Xander Schauffele (at World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions) ... Creating his own foundation
Week 8 - Brendon Todd (at Bermuda Championship) ... TBD
Week 9 - Carlos Ortiz (at Mayakoba Golf Classic) ... TBD