a special feature from Matt Gelzcis,* LPGA Tour Caddy
The ‘c’ word is a pretty scary thing…it depicts a horrible worldwide epidemic that affects not only the afflicted, but their friends and loved ones as well. Regardless of gender, breast cancer is a demon that lurks in the shadows for both men and women. It is a constant conflict of our life — taking the lives of so many and sickening so many.
My two sisters are among some of the lucky ones. Both had breast cancer and both are survivors. I feel as though I have been through as much as they. Our love for one another poses all the shared symptoms minus the treatment in the literal sense. After my initial shock, I rallied all my strength to be there physically and emotionally; and when they finally conquered this battle, I gleefully walked on the other side of life with them.
I know they are among some of the lucky ones, and others don’t get that opportunity. I know I can still share my life with both my sisters, do the simple things that give substance to our existence like laughing together, sharing a walk on the beach, enjoying a cup of coffee, and talking just to name a few. Yes, I know how deeply lucky I am.
I have a good friend on Tour who is a caddy on the LPGA with me. Tom Watson (yes, that’s really his name) had an aunt who was lost to breast cancer and his mother was a survivor. One day when he revealed this to me, I asked myself what we could do together to continue to raise awareness and inspire others to get involved in this much needed eradication of breast cancer through charitable donations. Eureka! Here we are in the public eye day after day, week after week, in the USA and overseas. We are a strong vision in the public arena. People watch golf and people watch their caddies! So with that in mind, both Tom and I agreed that we would designate one day a week on Tour to what we called, ‘Pink Friday”. On that specific day, no matter where we are, in the USA or overseas, we would dress in pink — or as much pink as we cold muster up in our caddy wardrobe. First we bought pink sneakers(a must for walking and carry a tour players bag!), and then it grew into things like pink hats, and clothes or any accessory we could get our hands on. Soon enough, there was so much talk on tour every week from not only the other tour caddies, but also their employers, the players themselves. And before you knew it, we were creating and inspiring others to raise awareness which grew to it’s own epidemic proportions!
As a little FYI on the LPGA, there are more than just a few players who count Breast Cancer Charities among the ones they support. Some even have their own foundations like Cristie Kerr or Morgan Pressel. So for Tom and for me, we have joined the wave of professional women golfers who offer their time and money to one day find a cure for this awful disease. And now there are a lot of tour caddies who have joined us.
I can tell you this, I wear my pink shoes and shirt and hat and ribbon with a great sense of pride. I relish the comments given to me by the players, fellow caddies, members of the media, and even spectators. When they yell, “nice shoes dude”- I give them a thumbs-up and invite them to join in our efforts; such a simple gesture of support for a cause that is so distressing to life and living.
- Matt Gelczis hails from Pittsburgh and is a major football fan even though he is a Tour Caddy by profession. He is a lover of wines, travel, and a real foodie so to speak! Most of all, he is determined to engage others in his ever inspiring and fun way, helping to say goodbye to this killer disease, breast cancer.