Fore! Well actually, 42.

That’s the number of years the Riverside Healthcare Foundation annual Pro-Am Golf Tournament has been held. It is the longest-running Illinois PGA sanctioned Pro-Am in the state of Illinois and attracts golfers and a crowd every year. This year’s event took place Friday at the Kankakee Country Club.

The tournament has a long-standing legacy throughout the Kankakee County area and the community loves to kick-off the summer golf tournament season at the Riverside Healthcare Foundation Pro-Am.

The real winner of the tournament is the community. This year, $208,000 was raised, an event record. Proceeds support the advancement of urology services at Riverside Medical Center and $2,000 of event proceeds will be designated to a permanent scholarship endowment fund.

“Millions of men and women deal with urinary tract infections, overactive bladders, kidney stones and bladder and prostate cancers. We are committed to treating these conditions right here in our community,” said Riverside Healthcare President and CEO Phil Kambic in a message to the golfers. Kambic was unable to attend the event. He was in California accepting an award for Riverside being named a Top 100 Hospital in the U.S., an award the hospital has received 10 times.

Dave Tyson has chaired the outing for 10 years. He golfed in the tournament, as did his wife, Gigi Tyson and their son, R.J. Tyson, the Bishop McNamara Catholic Schools golf coach.

“I give a lot of the credit to the leadership,” said Matt McBurnie, vice president of institutional advancement. “Dave (Tyson) has chaired the event for 10 years and prior to that, Col. James Kasler chaired the event for 18 years.

“There is stability from leadership and the committee members who are deeply committed to the community and Riverside Healthcare. And the Kankakee Country Club has been our partner to make this a great event year after year,” said McBurnie.

As for the tournament, Tyson noted, “If I play good I’ll be happy. Even if I don’t play good, I’ll still be happy. This is such an important fundraising event. We are making the community a healthier place.”

The outing featured a competitive league and a scramble league. Each team included a professional golfer. The professional golfers, representing courses from across Illinois, participate year after year, a testament to Riverside Healthcare Foundation and the course itself.

“It’s such a nice camaraderie. It’s something the golfers and pros look forward to every year. Having a professional golfer with every group is a unique experience for our golfers,” said McBurnie.

Tournament talk from the participants:

• Jim Bridgewater has golfed in each of the 42 events. “One of the most important things in the community is healthcare. I have made a commitment to support this community’s health care and the facilities at Riverside. We all need health care someday. Having excellent facilities is key. This event makes a difference in the community.”

• Bruce Payne was on the first committee that formed the event. He has golfed in the event at least 30 times. When he underwent a recent knee surgery, the first thing he made sure was that his wife, Nancy, could take his place. “I love being out here on this gorgeous and challenging course,” said Nancy, who golfed in the competitive league.

• Mark Argyelan has played in the tournament for 21 years. “It’s for such as good cause and the golfers who play are such superior individuals to play with. And playing with a pro is great. You get to ask a professional for advice and they are more than willing to help.”

• Chris Curtis, Kankakee alderman, noted, “The longevity and tradition of this tournament makes it so special to participate in. It’s a great afternoon and it benefits health care in the community.”

• Gigi Tyson golfed in the competitive league and commented, “I love golf and Riverside is such as great organization. We want to support the Foundation and all they do for the community. ‘’

• Brenda Wilken golfed in the competitive league and was looking forward to “just playing well.” She attended the event as a Mother’s Day present from her daughters. Other women who participated in the competitive league were Diane Downs, Marilyn Jenkins and Lisa Zipsie.

Other tournament notes:

• The Legacy Player Award was presented to Bob Miller, former and longtime Riverside CEO. The Legacy Professional Award was presented to Barry Butterfield.

{span}•{/span} Tournament competitive league winners were Jeff Smith, Dan Rudin, Dr. Nadeem Ansari and Bob Gessner, golfing with professional Kurt Uniek.

{span}•{/span} Tournament scramble winners were Sally Hendron, Brad Hove, Ryan Magruder and David Crawford, golfing with professional Ben Nachtwag.

• Dr. Jessica Shin, of Riverside Orthopedic Specialists, played collegiate level golf and is known for her putting skills. On the 18th hole, golfers could opt for Dr. Shin to putt for them and take her score.

• Golfers were able to play the Country Club’s signature hole – No. 17, a par 5 also known as “The Monster.” Because of the severe spring wet weather, part of the hole that runs adjacent to the Kankakee River had been underwater. The hole opened up Tuesday just in time for the outing.

• The Riverside Healthcare Foundation Pro-Am Tournament committee included chairperson Tyson, with members Kambic, Kankakee Country Club golf pro Kevin Fitzgerald, Mark Argyelan, Bob Gessner, Steve Lemon, Tim Milner, Paul Reinking and Patt Vilt.

For more information or to support the Riverside Healthcare Foundation, visit riversidehealthcare.org/foundation.

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