It’s a beautiful, sunny day on the green at Stonebriar Country Club where The St. Jude/Derek Harper Golf Classic is taking place. Golfing is as pleasant in Frisco, Texas, as Palm Springs this time of year, and club members are outside enjoying 18 holes of their favorite sport. Celebrities in attendance include Derek Harper himself, Lee Trevino (PGA Champion), Jordan Spieth (seventeen year-old Longhorn to-be & youngest Byron Nelson qualifier), Tim Brown (Heisman Trophy recipient) and Tucker Allen (9 year-old scratch golfer). These notables are present at the classic for a good cause: this event is leading up to the Evening Under the Star Party, held on the Cowboys Stadium field this October 29th, where all proceeds will go directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
You+Dallas’s Gina Lynn and I are following Perry Smith, Event Co-chair, and Sabra Girard, Owner of SGPR, in a golf cart, dressed in work attire (us, not the golf cart) noting how disappointed our fathers would be if they knew their daughters were wearing dresses and high heels on the green. Disappointed, and not to mention jealous. We’re perusing the course for the whereabouts of Derek Harper, the man whose namesake golf classic we have the privilege of attending on this gorgeous October afternoon. Passersby yell out to Perry, “How’d you get to hang out with those three lovely women?” he laughs and replies, “just the luck of the draw, I guess”. We spot Mr. Harper and Team Spectrum on the 4th hole, and he is kind enough to let us snag an interview. Being the avid Mavs and Lakers fan that I am, I’m understandably stoked to shake his hand, and Gina asks the former basketball star a few questions.
Namesake Tournament, how many years have you been hosting the classic?
A couple of years ago, Joe Haggar and I sat down at a restaurant in Addison and he gave me the opportunity to get involved. The only way I could get involved though, was to take a visit to the hospital in Memphis, and I spent a day there and pretty much the rest is history. To go there and to actually experience the hospital, what the hospital is all about–and I’m sure you’ve heard the hospital doesn’t turn away any patients–when you get an opportunity to help some people make a difference you have to take advantage of that, and here I am.
That’s wonderful. In terms of how important fundraising is for the cause, and hosting the upcoming event, the Evening Under the Star Party, what are some goals in terms of fundraising on a local level, and what’s in store in the years to come?
I think huge things. I was watching an NFL game yesterday, and I saw Troy Aikman, and Terry Bradshaw–just a whole crew of guys–talking about St. Jude, the importance of St. Jude, and I think the more people that are aware about the tournament make a difference for a lot of different families, a lot of different kids; the sky is the limit, obviously, for where it can go.
Now I’ve heard you’ve dabbled a bit in other sports, not just golf. So in terms of fulfillment in doing the great things you’re doing for St. Jude versus winning a game, what is the difference between the two?
It’s two different things. It’s like night and day. Basketball is something that I grew up doing, I’ve been around it all of my life, and it’s paved a fun life for myself, but I think when you start talking about charities, and making a difference for kids and making a difference for other people, there’s no comparison. Basketball is second when you start thinking about what this tournament does, what the St. Jude Research Center does. Basketball has to take a back seat.
We say our thank yous, let Mr. Harper continue to dominate the golf course, and continue on our search for more good-hearted celebs in golfing gear. Curious about our conversations with Tucker Allen and Jordan Speith? Check back next week to hear what they have to say about the classic, and their love of golf.