Baskett golf tourney goes off without hitch

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico

CLOVIS — A light rain wasn’t enough to dampen the desire to golf in Hank Baskett III’s Tee’d Off About Child Abuse tournament Saturday at Chaparral Country Club.

Or, come to think of it, the notion of pulling in charity donations for The Oasis by any means necessary.

Hank Baskett II, minutes before the opening ceremonies, joked to an aide that she shouldn’t be giving change back for purchased mulligans.

“Hey, hey, hey,” he said with a laugh. “Don’t give money back.”

The charity tournament drew 30 teams, with Baskett III, a wide receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles, in charge. The tournament raises money for The Oasis, a nonprofit child abuse awareness organization run by the receiver’s father.

That number was down from last year’s total of 36, but should still raise $10,000 to $12,000 for the organization.

“It’s not about the teams that don’t show up,” the elder Baskett said. “It’s about the teams that do. It’s all about the people that help out, the hole sponsors and the donors that give.”

He said factors of his son’s NFL career — an appearance in Super Bowl XLIV, and filming of a television show with wife Kendra — made organizing a little more difficult. Next season, he said the tournament will be in May to adjust for the new time constraints.

But the participants had few complaints.

“It was excellent, well-organized,” said Curt Jones of Clovis. “I don’t miss one. I don’t play (every year), but I still sponsor it.”

The winning team of Jordan Moore, Cass Cooper, Norman Kelley and Tanner Williams combined to shoot a 57 using “best ball” rules. It defied the wishes of Baskett III, who said he was going to win the tournament and joked he could bend the rules to that end because it’s his tournament.

“The biggest point is that it’s for a good cause,” he said at the country club between rounds of pictures with neighborhood children. “Aside from the serious aspect, it’s great to see people here, from the people I’ve grown up knowing to people I met five minutes ago.”

It’s those people, he said, that make the fundraiser possible.

“Look at the weather,” the receiver said. “It’s raining and miserable, but still people are out here supporting a good cause.”

The Basketts played together on a four-man team, and the elder Baskett told his son that he hopes he lives long to see what gets accomplished when “El Quattro,” Hank Baskett IV, is an adult and his son is in that position.