One hundred and twenty-five golfers dusted off their irons and drivers and hit the greens this morning for the first annual Del Rio Family Celebrity Golf tournament at the plush Palencia Country Club in St. Augustine. The proceeds from the tournament will go to the Seamark Ranch for abused, neglected and orphaned children.
NFL Hall of Famers Anthony Munoz and Ozzie Newsome, Carolina Panthers quarterback Chris Weinke and Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich were just a few of the celebrities who took time out to play golf for a good cause.
"It's always fun to come out and help raise money for a charity like Seamark," Munoz said. "We understand what kind of platform we have and what kind of opportunity we have to really bring people together. When players and coaches come together and get the business community together we can form a really big team and have a bigger impact on the community. It's also great just getting to see some old coaches and some guys I played against. It's a blast!"
Seamark Ranch, is a non-denominational, Christian children's home incorporated in May 2001, in Jacksonville as an alternative to the foster care system. It's a place where children are provided with a traditional home environment in which eight children live with Christian houseparents or "Moms and Dads."
Seamark Ranch executive director Keith Denton was overwhelmed with how much work and effort was put in to make sure the tournament was a huge success.
"We are real excited to be involved in this project with the Del Rios," Denton said. "We've been here two years and we've just started construction on our first boys home and were about to start constructing our first girls home. To see the Del Rios and the Jaguars community embrace Seamark Ranch has been overwhelming and been an honor and a privilege to be a part of."
The proceeds from the tournament will go to help sponsor children and build homes at Seamark Ranch. The Ranch will admit their first eight boys in the next few months and the first eight girls will be admitted next spring.
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio believes the tournament is just the start of many great tournaments to come and will only get better in time.
"To be able to help youth in the Jacksonville area is really special," Del Rio said. "We had a committee that worked really hard to put all of this together and it's a beautiful day today and we have a great turnout, so we're really excited to be out here raising money for a worthy cause like Seamark Ranch."
As far as his strategy for winning the tournament, Del Rio compared it to coaching.
"My strategy for today is simple, I want to find the best players out here and get on their team," Del Rio said. "It's just like in coaching, you have to be able to pick out some good players and get them on your side. The same strategy applies today."