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With the Heart of a Pro : Amateur Golf Champ Tiger Woods, Others Honored for Heroic Efforts for CHOC

February 27, 1996|ANN CONWAY

U.S. Amateur golf champion Tiger Woods, 20, hit a benefit hole-in-one Sunday when he drew 600 guests to the Westin South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa for Children's Hospital of Orange County.

The Heroes of the Heart dinner netted more than $85,000 and featured a talk by the young athlete, who has postponed his entry into professional golf until after his graduation from Stanford University.

Woods, who attended the event with his parents, Earl and Kultida Woods of Cypress, was given the Hero of the Heart Award by the Padrinos support group of CHOC for his work with children.

Woods on Stage

"Last week I was in Hawaii, playing in a tournament," Woods told the crowd. "The team didn't do too well; that's what happens sometimes.

"So I was over there, complaining about the wind . . . bummed out. Then, I thought about a person I truly admire, Kelsea, a little girl I met at CHOC last December, who has leukemia.

"She has been in the hospital for four years . . . and all she wanted was to go home for Christmas and then, if that came true, to stay there.

"When you put it like that, my problems didn't amount to a hill of . . . well, you know what I mean.

"One of the great things about being an athlete is that you can give yourself to a cause. My father taught me at a very young age that it takes two little things to get involved--a person to care and then to share.

"If you care, then share, from your heart. That's what life is really about."

More Inspiration

Olympic gold medalist Janet Evans of Placentia--one of last year's Hero of the Heart winners--presented Woods' award.

"Being an athlete is a great thing," said Evans, a swimmer training for this year's Olympics. "I get to go all over the world, win gold medals. . . .

"But the greatest part of being an athlete is that I can volunteer my time for charitable organizations.

"More than anything else, that is what I enjoy about my life--making a difference. I think events like this are just great because they recognize things like that."

Other Heroes of the Heart

Other awards were given to Jason Bovshow, 13, of Anaheim, a volunteer who gave 130 hours last summer to Anaheim's Therapeutic Recreation Program; Joshua Riggs, 16, of Mission Viejo, who volunteers for the deaf as well as for senior citizen and high school student programs; Candace Hurley of Laguna Beach, founder of Sidelines, a national support group for women with high-risk pregnancies; and George Wills of Seal Beach, a volunteer with Interval House shelter for battered women.

Michael Maxsenti of Laguna Beach was event chairman.

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