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Big turnout for Chairman of the Greens tournament to support charities of Brooks, Marino

Tommie Jackson, Jeremy Smith, Jerry Smith and Jahna Smith line up a putt during the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21, 2022, at Avila Golf & Country Club in Tampa. (Photo Beverly Bidney)

TAMPA — The greens and fairways at Tampa’s Avila Golf & Country Club were filled with more than 130 golfers eager to score low on the links and bid high at the auction at the third annual Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21.


The tournament was a fundraiser for the Dan Marino Foundation, which helps individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities, and the Derrick Brooks Charities, which provides educational opportunities for socio-economically challenged youth. The event was organized by Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola’s office.


“There is a lot of excitement about this tournament,” said Chairman Osceola. “Our goal is to raise $150,000 for our charities. If we can do that coming out of Covid, that would be great.”

Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. hits a shot during the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21, 2022, at Avila Golf & Country Club in Tampa. (Photo Beverly Bidney)


The Dan Marino Foundation has been affiliated with the tournament in years past, but it was the first year for the Derrick Brooks Charities.


“Derrick Brooks is a great guy and we are happy to help him with his charities,” said Chairman Osceola.
Marino was quarterback for the Miami Dolphins for 17 years and lives in South Florida. Brooks is a Tampa resident and former linebacker who played football at Florida State University and for 14 years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both men are hall of fame inductees.


After the golfers completed their rounds, a luncheon and awards ceremony commenced.

Winners of the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21, 2022, at Avila Golf & Country Club in Tampa are, from left, Mondo Tiger, Mateo Jimenez and Greg Renfroe. (Photo Beverly Bidney)


“The charities are the ones who truly benefit today,” Chairman Osceola said at the luncheon. “With your dollars they will be able to do great things.”


Top sponsor Rick Taylor, from Champion Electrical Contracting, wanted to raise even more money and proposed a challenge. The company offered to donate an additional $5,000 if five others offered up another $1,000 each.


Former Dolphin wide receiver Nat Moore was the first to accept the challenge. Four others followed in short order and an extra $10,000 was raised in a scant few moments.


“The Dan Marino Foundation was founded 30 years ago and has helped many children,” Steffan Lue, director of community engagement at the foundation, told the golfers. “One in 44 kids have autism and one in six have developmental disabilities. We really appreciate your generosity.”

Elrod Bowers follows through on a swing during the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21, 2022, in Tampa. (Photo Beverly Bidney)


The threesome of former Big Cypress Councilman Mondo Tiger, Mateo Jimenez and Greg Renfroe proved to be unbeatable as they fired a sizzling 53. The self-described “Birdie Boys” won by five shots. The foursome of Josh Dennstedt, Tobby Lee, Brian Mirus and Mike Moses finished runner-up with a 58.


It was the second trip to the winners’ circle for Tiger and Jimenez, who were part of the winning team in the 2019 tournament.


Tribal members Richard Henry and Jimmy Wayne Holdiness played with longtime friends Raul Nunez and Daniel Anez for a foursome.


“I’m here to support the Chairman and the foundations,” Henry said. “We also came out to have a good time, meet friends and make new ones.”


Henry got his second Covid-19 vaccine before he played a round of golf during the pandemic and said the stiffness it caused in his arm improved his game. He lamented with a smile that the improvement didn’t last.


“Golf was the perfect sport during the pandemic,” Holdiness said. “You were isolated but outside with your buddies.”


Members of the Smith family – Jerry Smith, Jeremy Smith, Jahna Smith and Tommie Jackson – golf together often as a regular foursome. They carefully lined up each other’s putts, rejoiced the good shots and commiserated on the bad ones.

Raul Nunez watches a shot by Jimmy Wayne Holdiness, who was trying to get the ball back onto the fairway at the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21, 2022, in Tampa. (Photo Beverly Bidney)


On the eighth hole, they tried to beat pro golfer Jack McGuire, an FSU graduate who made the cuts in the 2017 and 2019 U.S. Open, but to no avail. As a consolation prize, McGuire autographed their golf balls before he awaited the next foursome.


Elrod Bowers, from the Chairman’s office, played with Moore, who played with the Dolphins in the 1970s and 1980s and is now an executive with the team. He attributes his long career to listening and learning from coaches.


“When I came into the league I was as fast as a deer,” Moore said. “When I left 13 years later, I was slow as molasses but I could always get open because I knew all the tricks.”


The day was rounded out with a silent auction of 35 high-end items, including gift baskets from Hard Rock, footballs signed by former Dolphins coaching great Don Shula and current quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, luxury handbags, jewelry and other goodies that raised money for the charities.

Seminole Tribe Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. explains the details of the basket the tribe gifted to top sponsor Rich Taylor, from Champion Electrical Contracting, at the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21, 2022, at Avila Golf & Country Club in Tampa. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
Former Miami Dolphins great Nat Moore hits a shot at the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament on March 21, 2022, at Avila Golf & Country Club in Tampa. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
Richard Henry eyes the hole as he prepares to putt the ball onto the green during the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21, 2022, in Tampa. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
From left, Jeremy Smith, Tommie Jackson, Jahna Smith, Jerry Smith watch the ball roll toward the hole during the Chairman of the Greens charity golf tournament March 21, 2022, in Tampa. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
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