October 16, 2009–Some of the best golfers in the world are in Las Vegas this week, again showing how this city is an Ultimate Golf Destination. But some of the most giving people in the world are also showcasing what they do in Las Vegas, and we're talking about the Shriners, who have teamed with the PGA Tour and Justin Timberlake to put on the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The Shriners are all over the TPC Summerlin grounds, and money and awareness raised this week helps offset the cost of giving free healthcare to kids at their 22 hospitals. Last night, Imperial Potentate Jack Jones spoke about the cause at the 2009 Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, and the message is spreading all over Las Vegas and the world through media coverage of this Las Vegas golf event.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is a one-of-a-kind international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative medical research and outstanding teaching programs. Children up to age 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services at no charge – regardless of financial need. There is no better message than that when it comes to PGA Tour golf in Las Vegas this week. Thanks, Shriners.
The 2009 Class of the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame is officially inducted, via a long ceremony in the TPC Summerlin clubhouse on the Thursday evening of tournament week. Jimmie Bullard, Edward Fryatt, Dwaine Knight, and Jack Sheehan jnow join other former inductees such as Jim Colbert, Butch Harmon, Helen Cannon, Robert Gamez and many others as members. The ceremony featured videos of each of the new inductees and was attended by several PGA Tour players and former UNLV Rebels including Chris Riley, who presented Knight and brought the house down with his speech, Chad Campbell, a 3-time Ryder Cup player, and Charley Hoffman, in addition to other Rebels Chris Berry, 1991 National Champion Warren Schutte, and Jeremy Anderson, a member of the 1998 National Championship team. Assistant coach and former player Daron Dorsey was also in attendance.
The best line of the night came from Riley, who related that when he was a 4-time All-American at UNLV, all of his teammates would tease him that he was the "Coach's pet". Riley says that since they share a similar pale appearance and red hair, the common joke what that Knight liked "Riles" best, an insinuation that Riley firmly denied … until about three months ago. "When I got the call from coach a few months ago, and he told me he was being inducted into the Las Vegas Golf Hall of Fame and he wanted me to present him, the first thing I thought was, 'I guess I am his favorite!'" said Riley, to huge laughter. "It only took me 13 years to realize that, but now I know."
Fryatt, also an All-American at UNLV and a 5-time international champion, was overcome with emotion and delivered a poignant speech. He has left competitive golf, and the evening provided a chance for him to re-connect with "what seems like a former life." Fryatt may be the best amateur in the history of the Las Vegas area, as when he played amateur golf he was a 3-time Southern Nevada Golf Association Player of the Year, won the Las Vegas City Amateur five times in a row, and was also a Nevada State Champion. He was presented by longtime friend Jimmy Lee.
Jimmie Bullard, a longtime PGA of America professional who has been teaching the fame for about four decades, was presented by photographer and longtime friend Rick Martin. Bullard was also a lounge singer and his video featured a personal rendition of 'My Way' and photos from his entertainment and golf career. Butch Harmon, the emcee of the event and who operates the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Las Vegas resort golf course Rio Secco Golf Club, commented that the thing he liked most about Bullard was his passion for the game, a trait that they both share.
Las Vegas golf author and personality Jack Sheehan rounded out the class and was presented by college roomate Jim Van Wyck, a heavyweight Hollywood producer with films such as Lethal Weapon, Dick Tracy and Armageddon on his resume. Van Wyck told the crowd how Sheehan freely gives of his time to help raise funds for Las Vegas charity events, and also related a few comical stories from their days at the University of Oregon. But Harmon had his own thoughts saying that Las Vegas always has a unique way of doing things, so much so that Sheehan "wrote his way into the hall of fame." Sheehan thanked family and friends in attendance, many who traveled a long way to attend the event.