The 26th annual Carolina Kids Classic featured former Carolina basketball stars, Head Football Coach Larry Fedora and of course, charity tournament founder Woody Durham teeing it up for a great cause beneath beautiful Carolina blue skies at the UNC Finley Golf Course Tuesday.
“He looked at me and he said, ‘Woody, let’s put on a golf tournament.’ So that’s what we did,” Durham says.
Durham, along with Greensboro businessman, Mike Haley, developed the Carolina Kids Classic golf tournament while serving together on the Ronald McDonald House’s board of directors in the 1980’s.
Durham says the tournament hasn’t changed all that much through the years.
“I think the same flavor is still here. It’s good. Last year, we pushed closer to the $3.5 million mark. It’s doing what it ought to do,” Durham says.
To date, the charity tournament has raised more than $3.5 million for children’s charities. This year, proceeds benefited N.C. Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.
The Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill provides a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill or injured children being treated at N.C. Children’s Hospital.
Before the shotgun start to the tournament, a $120,000 check was presented on the driving range, where former Tar Heel standouts Sean May and Jawad Williams were still squeezing in a few last-minute practice swings.
Coach Fedora was out walking the fairways Tuesday at Finley. He says he’s enjoyed getting to know the famous tournament co-founder in his time here in Chapel Hill.
“I’m fortunate to have got to know the legend and be around Woody. I understand Woody started this event. It’s just a tremendous thing. And to have Woody backing it, it means probably more to them than anything,” Coach Fedora says.
Former Carolina basketball star and NBA veteran Antawn Jamison was all smiles at the event. He says he’s always happy to come back and support this event with such a great cause in a community he loves.
“It’s for a good cause. That’s the most important thing. They do so much for the kids. For me to have my name attached to that to bring some awareness to what they’re doing and all the positive things they’re doing for our kids, that’s the most important thing,” Jamison says.
Jamison says he’s always surprised at how much changes in Chapel Hill between visits. He says he went to a brand new restaurant Monday night with his wife.
But he says he always enjoys his time back at the site of so many warm memories and is excited to bring his kids back later in the summer for camp.
“To see familiar faces, reminisce of my time here, and just really coming back. I’ve got a camp here coming up next month. The kids will here, so they get an opportunity to see where dad went to college,” Jamison says.
Susan Dillingham, a tournament volunteer and 1977 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, says she’s happy to be back for a second year at the tournament.
“I’m really proud to be out here as a volunteer. It’s just a great, fun day to see people come out, have fun, and give to the great causes we have out here,” Dillingham says.
As for the tournament founder’s golf game these days? Durham says he’s not too satisfied.
“I used to play pretty good – not great, but pretty good. I can’t get it back to where it was. I’ve turned a lot of calendars page-by-page since I was pretty good. But I’m trying to get back there,” Durham says.
Hopefully, Durham and the rest of the community members will have plenty more years to work on their games and give back in this yearly event that has become an important Chapel Hill tradition.