I thoroughly enjoyed photographing the 2013 Tim Tebow Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra, Florida for MANY reasons! The two-day affair began with Tim Tebow’s 1995 Ford Thunderbird greeting guests as they arrived (newly decked out by Richard Petty) on the red carpet:
The opening reception included a silent and live auction to raise money “to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.” That’s the mission for all FIVE branches of Tebow’s charity foundations (W15H Program, Timmy’s Playroom, Tebow Cure Hospital, Orphan Care, Team Tebow). Football talk aside, it’s impossible not to admire all of the good that Tebow has been able to accomplish (and continues to do).
Some favorite moments from the evening included:
1) a rap from a young Tebow Foundation recipient to the tune of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ with actor, Alfonso Ribeiro (Carleton Banks)
2) learning about the life, challenges and optimism from Lauren Scruggs (model and blogger who suffered horrific injuries to her entire left side as well as a fractured skull, broken left collarbone and brain injuries after walking into a plane propeller and losing her left hand and eye)
5) Seeing Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson donate a big chunk of money on tennis tickets for his wife, Korie.
6) Hearing Tim Tebow speak about how his success in athletics is secondary and just a means to enable the success of the Foundation to help others. It was also hilarious to hear him tease Willie Robertson on his diet…
7) Seeing the adorable and talented Whitney Miller, 22-yr old winner of Gordon Ramsey’s show, “Masterchef“. Someone bid a small fortune to have her come cook a meal for all of their friends, it was awesome.
So the biggest question from most folks after this photo shoot… Is Tim Tebow as nice as he seems on tv? I now think he’s even NICER! The more I observed over the two days, the harder I had to work to get photos because he doesn’t ‘pose’ for the cameras or ‘act’ friendly for the publicity. He goes so far out of his way to be friendly to children in need just to bring smiles. Some of the FIVE charity branches include bringing kids in need to each and every one of his NFL games (home or away), building playrooms in Children’s Hospitals, and building an entire hospital of his own!!!
He stopped to hug, sign autographs, and pose for pictures (their cameras), so many times, but here’s one of my favorite moments. Tebow asked one of his Foundation Recipients (who was heading to senior prom that evening) to putt for him on one of the holes, and this was the scene when he stood up from the wheelchair and came so very close to sinking the putt (several times)…Again, one of the neatest things I want to share is that this was not for tv cameras, and I had to run to be in the right place to capture this, because it wasn’t for ‘show’ it was to make this boy’s day:
The celebrity guest participants included: Florida State Football Coach Bobby Bowden and Florida Football Coach Will Muschamp, Duck Dynasty’s Jep Robertson, singer Jason Michael Carroll (so very nice!), Miami Dolphins Center Mike Pouncey , NFL Network Red Zone man Scott Hanson (so personable and friendly!), Denver Broncos NFL great Von Miller (quirky and fun to watch), American Idol singer Kristy Lee Cook (gorgeous, funny and awesome singer), Very tall 7’2 NBA legend Artis Gilmore (did I mention SEVEN FEET TWO INCHES), actor Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks from ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘), NFL great Vinny Testaverde, New England Patriot Leon Washington, MMA Fighter Brendan Schaub, Tim Tebow, NFL great Fred Taylor and Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson…among others like Cleveland Browns receiver David Nelson (awesome guy) and PGA pro golfer Chris DiMarco…)
It’s hard to keep this blog post short! Here are a just a few of my favorite moments from throughout the day of golfing at the gorgeous TPC Sawgrass course including crowd shots, NFL receiver David Nelson teeing off at the 17th hole, and Von Miller messing around:
I’m officially a new fan of former American Idol contestant and current singer/songwriter Kristy Lee Cook. It was her first time golfing and she was a great sport with a smile from ear to ear…especially when Tim Tebow gave her a challenge… He said if she missed the ball on her next swing she would be required to sing…sure enough she rocked ‘Amazing Grace’ after spinning around in a circle, it was awesome!
On a side note, in case you were wondering, I’m pretty sure Tim Tebow’s muscles have muscles…he’s ripped!
It sure was fun getting the chance to photograph for the Tim Tebow Foundation, meeting all of the celebrities (especially David Nelson, Kristy Lee Cook, Scott Hanson and Jason Michael Carroll), and attempting to photograph golf… I’m happy to report that over 1.3 MILLION dollars was raised! I hope I get the chance to participate again! Side note, one of the neatest fundraising ideas I saw occurred when a helicopter dropped golf balls that were purchased and numbered…those in and closest to the hole won prizes!)
Thank you Ali Miller for helping!