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Callaway treats Wounded Warriors at John Deere Classic

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Andrew Music knew Tuesday would be special yet it even exceeded his expectations.

He was one of a handful of military veterans who were fitted by Callaway's pros for an entire set of clubs before the John Deere Classic at TPC Deer Run. And everywhere he looked -- on the putting green, at the driving range -- he saw Tour stars.

"Man, I felt like I was on the Tour for a second," said Music, who was honorably discharged with injuries after serving in the Marine Corps' Alpha Company 124 in Fallujah, a major city west of Baghdad. "I was like, 'Wow, this is awesome!' I've never had anyone cater to me like that before."

This year, Callaway Golf started an initiative to honor the nation's armed forces so they teamed up with the PGA Tour and Birdies for the Brave to professionally fit veterans with a customized full set of clubs. By year's end, Callaway will do 15 of these fittings at events.

"The neatest thing is, Callaway is the only company that's doing it," said Mike Sposa, a former pro who is the woods and metals rep for Callaway. "It's an honor to get to do this."

In about 10 days, Music will receive a full set -- from putter to irons to woods and a driver -- as well as a new golf bag. 

"I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas," Music said. 

Golf is Music's only real competitive outlet now. He grew up playing basketball, hockey and football, but his life changed when an IED (an improvised explosive device) blasted his Humvee. He sustained numerous injuries, most notably to his brain. 

After suffering six concussions, a doctor told him he couldn't take anymore risks, even discouraging him from playing flag football.

"Being in the military," Music said, "you have a competitive nature."

So Music asked his doctor what he could do. 

"Take up golf," the doctor told him.

So he did.

And he fell in love. 

"Golf is a really competitive sport," Music said. "It's almost been a saving grace."

That's why it meant so much to Music that, in addition to his fitting, several pros visited with the Wounded Warriors. Zach Johnson stopped by but Frank Lickliter stuck around for a while, showing them the grip as well as providing several other tips. 

"He was really a great help," Music said. "That was amazing. It was so humbling that these guys took time out of their busy schedules to show us a thing or two."

A few years ago, Sposa traveled to Iraq for nearly two weeks, along with a couple other golfers. He marveled at the courage of the soldiers and the conditions they endured on a daily basis.

"So to be able to do that and give back and do this with Callaway is really neat," Sposa said.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on July 12, 2012 12:32 PM.

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