A 54-hole fundraising tournament involving a handful of Dallas-area pros and top amateurs, including former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, will take place this week, with entry fees earmarked for the caddies at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas.
Golf Channel first reported the event and Alison Morrison, managing member at Maridoe Golf Club, confirmed the details of the tournament to ESPN, with 18 holes to play Tuesday through Thursday, mostly by members of the club.
The event, called the Maridoe Samaritan Fund Invitational, was only conceived a little more than a week ago, Morrison said, and quickly turned into a sellout that required the club to turn away potential players.
“We’re a caddie-only club and our caddies have not been working because of COVID-19,” Morrison said. “We thought, why don’t we have a little bit of a match, so to speak, sharpen our blades, put on a 54-hole social distancing event. Leave the pins. No rakes in bunkers. Let’s play for them basically. And within a day, I had 24 members who said yes.”
The event will feature 72 players who each pay $250 to enter, with those fees going to the club’s caddies. A separate pool is being raised as a purse for the pros who compete in the event, with Morrison expecting portions of any winnings to also go to the caddies.
The club has remained open during the coronavirus pandemic but there will be strict rules in place, including the various social distancing guidelines that are in effect around the country. The driving range has been converted to a short par-3 course, where players can warm-up — but they will not be permitted to arrive more than 30 minutes before their tee time.
The players will compete in threesomes but are required to carry their own bag or use a pull cart. No caddies will work the event, except as walking scorers in each group. Players will not turn in scorecards.
Three-time major champion Jordan Spieth is a member at Meridoe but won’t be able to compete, Morrison said, though she expects him to attend.
The event will be separated into three flights by handicap, including an elite flight that will see the various pros in the field compete for a small purse.
Because the clubhouse is closed, instead of a welcome dinner and rules seminar, the tournament will conduct a Zoom call on Monday night in which all of the rules and various social distancing measures will be explained to participants. No media will be able to attend.
“We believe confidently that we can do this and have a great event and show that this is a fantastic sport to enjoy in these times,” Morrison said. “We hope others embrace it as well. This is bigger than shooting a good score.”
Texas is scheduled to be the location for the first official PGA Tour event in June when a revised schedule has the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial in Forth Worth, June 11-14. The tournament is to be played without spectators.
“Maridoe embraces the social-distancing responsibilities and is particularly suited to meet all the necessary criteria to have a safe and healthy tournament,” the club’s owner, Albert Huddleston, said in a statement. “This was a beautiful opportunity to contribute to the Maridoe Samaritan Fund and help those caddies who have been affected.”