Troops Support Tiger Woods Throughout Inaugural AT&T National
July 12, 2007
By Tim Hipps
BETHESDA, Md. (Army News Service, July 12, 2007) - Spc. Carmel Louis-Jacques led a contingent of Soldiers who supported tournament host Tiger Woods' tribute to the military throughout the inaugural AT&T National PGA Tour event July 3-8 at Congressional Country Club.
"I had always dreamed of hosting an event like this one day," Mr. Woods said following an elaborate opening ceremony July 4 that was heavily supported by the U.S. military. "It is unreal to have this kind of reception. It has given me chills already."
Spc. Louis-Jacques, an information technology specialist with the U.S. Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Va., took his Family along for an experience they may never forget. His sons - Jonathan, 7, and Geoffrey, 10 - had their picture taken with Mr. Woods and former president George H.W. Bush on the Fourth of July at historic Congressional.
"My kids already are asking me if they can play golf," Spc. Louis-Jacques said. "They are very happy. No words can explain what Tiger has done."
"I've wanted to play golf since I was five," Jonathan chimed in. "Now that I've met Tiger Woods, I want to play even more."
"When Tiger gets older, he's going to have to have a replacement, so we're working on it," said Mirna Jacques-Louis, the boys' mother. "It's been very nice to see Tiger and all the others out here. Everybody is enjoying themselves and it's so peaceful. We want to thank him, too, for giving us to opportunity to come here for the military and their Families. I wish all of them could be here. This is wonderful."
The AT&T National, Tiger Woods Foundation and America Supports You teamed to issue 30,000 complimentary tickets for the tournament to active-duty military through the Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's ITT/ITR Office at the Pentagon. America Supports You is a Department of Defense program that provides opportunities for citizens to show their support for the U.S. Armed Forces.
"My fellow Soldiers overseas will feel that they have some famous people encouraging them and thinking about them while they are over there," Spc. Louis-Jacques said. "Unfortunately, they could not make it here, but this should be a big morale booster for all of the Soldiers."
Spc. Louis-Jacques was the only Soldier to work the entire tournament in uniform. He was in charge of handling a 75-foot-long American flag that was unfurled by Soldiers and military Family members during the tournament's opening and closing ceremonies.
"Everybody has been saying: 'Thank you for your service,' even people who do not know anything about the military, and that definitely has been appreciated," Spc. Louis-Jacques said of his reception among golf enthusiasts. "All I knew about Tiger Woods before this week was that he was a famous star and a good golfer."
Woods, likewise, appreciated the support of the troops and their Families.
Spc. Vicki Golding, the Army Family and MWR Command's 2006 Military Idol winner, sang the national anthem a cappella during the tournament's opening ceremonies July 4. The U.S. Air Force Drill Team also performed.
"I'm just honored, thrilled and excited," Spc. Golding said. "Fourth of July, Tiger Woods, (former) president Bush - it's just surreal to me. I'm just a little girl from Brisbane, Australia. I didn't actually realize that Tiger had that military connection until just recently, so it all makes sense now. This whole day is just wonderful."
Soldiers from the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization aimed at assisting the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have been severely injured during the war on terrorism, and a group of special forces Soldiers from Fort Bragg, N.C., surrounded the tee box where military pageantry unfolded on America's 231st birthday just outside the nation's capital.
"To have some of the troops out this week has been touching to me because obviously that's how I grew up," said Woods, the son of a Soldier. "To have them out there supporting and watching, it just touches you because I know the commitment that it takes for them to do what they do, and to come out here and give their support to what we're trying to do, it is awfully special."
(Tim Hipps writes for the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command Public Affairs.)