Ann Arbor — Once a coach, always a coach.
Former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr took part in the Volvik Championship Pro-Am on Wednesday at Travis Pointe Country Club, and though he was limited to just putting because of an impending shoulder procedure, he appreciated what the event could do for kids getting a chance to come out and see the best players in the game.
“You see what it takes to be a champion,” Carr said before competing in a group that included his son, Jason, and former Red Wings player Joe Kocur. “I think of all the young girls and young boys that get a chance to come out and watch this tournament and watch the best players in the world play and compete. All the things you learn when you follow somebody around a course for 18 holes.”
It’s also a chance for the ChadTough Foundation to team with the tournament to raise funds and awareness for the foundation that was formed after Chad Carr — Lloyd grandson and Jason’s son — died at the age of 5 in November after battling a rare, aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.
Saturday’s round will be an “Orange Out for ChadTough!” Tournament officials are selling a ChadTough Orange Ticket package, and will donate $10 from the sale of each $30 Orange Ticket to the foundation.
“It’s huge,” Jason Carr said. “To partner and have a platform like the LPGA and then Volvik, that is exposure you can’t buy. So we’re excited about it.”
Praise for the course
Players have been positive in their reviews of Travis Pointe after just a couple of days.
“This course is in great, great shape,” said Ariya Jutanugarn, who has won two straight tournaments. “It’s really challenge because I can’t hit my driver, so I had to take my driver out and I just have to keep my game plan. So put my ball in the fairway and hit the second shot even. I’m going to have second shot longer than normal.”
One part of the course that already has gained attention is the No. 13 green. It has a large mound that makes playing the 359-yard par-4 far from easy.
It’s even tough for Sarah Hoffman, the sponsor’s exemption from Saline who has been a member of Travis Pointe since she was 5.
“I played it for so long I know it really well so it doesn’t even — it’s not like a huge thing for me,” Hoffman said. “I just know where to put myself on that green or where to miss the green so you have a better chip than putt. I don’t think the girls are going to like it, though.”
The pro-am brought out plenty of noteworthy players.
Current Red Wings Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard played in separate groups, while announcers Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond played together. Former Michigan State star Gregory Kelser, a member of the 1979 national championship team, also played.
Nyquist was the winner, however, teaming with Michelle Wie on the front nine and Paula Creamer on the back nine.
“It was a lot of fun to play with two of the best players out here,” Nyquist said. “It was pretty cool to see what they can do. I had a blast today.”
Course: Travis Pointe CC (6,709 yards, par 72), Ann Arbor
TV: Golf Channel — 7-9 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Purse: $1.3 million ($195,000 winner)
Defending champion: New tournament
Tickets: Daily passes $20-$40, weeklong passes $60-$120
Details: volviklpga.com or (734) 707-0789
Outlook: Saturday’s round will be an “Orange Out for ChadTough!” with $10 from the sale of each $30 ticket going to the ChadTough Foundation. Tickets include grounds pass, T-shirt and choice of a sleeve of Volvik golf balls, orange Volvik baseball cap or orange tee holder.