GUILFORD, Maine — While most people play golf for enjoyment or relaxation, James Watson plays to make a difference in the lives of others.
For the last four years, the Sangerville native has participated in the Friends Fighting for the Cure Golf Tournament at Piscataquis Golf Course in Guilford. All proceeds from the tournament go toward the Jimmy Fund Foundation to help find a cure for cancer.
Watson holds the cause near and dear to him and the tournament has allowed him to use his passion for golf to combat the disease.
“My mother, grandmother and aunt have all fought against cancer and have been defeating it with no major issue,” said Watson. “That’s why I am so passionate about this cause and want to make the fight just as easy for other families.”
Along with his participation in the golf tournament, Watson has has worked with the Give Kids the World Foundation, which provides a dream vacation experience for terminally-ill patients and their families.
“I’ve helped with the kids and I see all their happiness, even when they may not have lot of time,” Watson said. “Seeing all that motivates me to help other people.”
Watson, a student at the Professional Golfers Career College in Orlando, Fla., will not be able to attend this year’s tournament as his graduation ceremony falls on the same day. He also said the total number of participants has gone down for this year’s tournament.
“It’s tough because if there a limited number of golfers, then there isn’t enough money being made to continue the tournament in the years to come,” he said.
“We have everything lined up, it’s just a matter of getting the golfers,” said Tim Richardson, the tournament organizer.
The tournament typically gets 60-70 golfers to participate, with each golfer donating $40 for their round and other festivities.
Richardson has been able to run the tournament without a hitch over the last four years, but it has come with varying difficulty.
“There is a benchmark of $5,000 we need to reach to continue holding the tournament,” said Richardson. “The economy has made it hard, but we feel it’s a reasonable price for a great cause.”
Richardson’s attachment to the cause and its effect on the community were the leading factors behind the creation of the tournament and partnership with the Jimmy Fund.
“Ninety-eight cents of every dollar we raise goes directly toward finding cancer research,” said Richardson. “With this area being struck so hard by cancer, we wanted to give directly, which the Jimmy Fund allows us to do in such a unique way.”
Players keep coming back each year for the cause, but the atmosphere the tournament provides has also been a factor.
“We have a very easy-going group each time out, which makes things very relaxed,” said Watson. “People just need to come out and participate, then they will want to come back and find more ways to help.”
The best-ball tournament will be held Aug. 11 with tee times at 8 a.m. and noon.
Players can register in teams of up to four or register individually and be placed on a team. The $40 donation covers 18 holes with lunch and dinner.
For information or to register, call Richardson at 343-1970. Players can register at Piscataquis Golf Course the day of the event.