My Week in Bethesda

Special Olympics Athlete Tyler Lagasse of Massachusetts with his cap autographed by Tiger Woods at the 2012 AT&T National Pro-Am.

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The week of June 26-29 was the most historic week of my life. I was one of four Special Olympic golfers that was chosen to play in the AT&T National Pro-Am Tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012. The other golfers that were invited to play in Maryland were Florida’s Tyler Whitehurst, Louisiana’s Joel Murray, and South Carolina’s Scott Rohrer. I spent four days in the Old Line State with my mother as my only companion for the trip. Mom and I enjoyed all four of those days.

Tiger Woods gols at the 2012 AT&T National Pro-Am in Bethesda Maryland.

I was in a foursome with Joel Murray, Derrick Kraemer, and PGA Tour Professional Gary Woodland. My team was the very next one to tee off after Tiger Woods! My highlights from the Pro-Am include making four pars (one of them on the 11th hole, the most difficult hole in the tournament) and a birdie on the 18th hole. I even got to catch up to Tiger Woods so that he could autograph my hat. However, the biggest highlight of all from the tournament was Gary Woodland making a hole-in-one on the par-3, 233 yard long 2nd hole. My team would go on to finish 3rd in the morning Pro-Am with a team score of 58, 13 strokes under par.

After the Tournament all the Special Olympics golfers including myself got to attend a private party at the clubhouse at Congressional Country Club. There we got to meet David Feherty from The Golf Channel and CBS Sports. Then we got to meet Tiger Woods and had pictures taken with him. I even got him to sign my AT&T National hat which will later be auctioned off to benefit Special Olympics. I told Tiger that he was the best and I wished him good luck in the AT&T National Tournament which he would later win. He even congratulated me on my performance in the Pro-Am, how about that? Playing on a PGA Tour course with a pro, witnessing a hole-in-one right before my eyes, making four pars and a birdie, finishing in 3rd place, and meeting my childhood golfing idol all made it the most historic week of my life.

I want to thank Special Olympics for making my most historic week possible. It has enabled me to develop as an athlete and most of all as a human being. Thanks to this organization I have been able to travel around the United States to take part in sporting events, meet some fascinating individuals, reconnect with old friends, and show the world that people with disabilities are more than what they live with everyday. The donors and the volunteers of Special Olympics are also the ones that have made my time in Bethesda possible and I want to thank them too. Together, we all have made a difference and together we still can make a difference. Together, WE are the Special Olympics.

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—Tyler Lagasse

Golf pro Gary Woodland tees off at the AT&T National Pro-Am in Bethesda, Maryland.

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