DORADO, Puerto Rico – When Emma Talley arrived in Puerto Rico on Friday, her driver from the airport told her how he still doesn’t have power in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and he won’t get it back until May.
He has a family, and she said it was a heartbreaking story to see how much the people of Puerto Rico need help.
“But it’s an honor to be able to come down here and help,” she said.
Talley, an LPGA Tour rookie, was part of a contingent of LPGA Tour members who participated in this week’s Puerto Rico Open Charity Pro-Am, in concert with the PGA TOUR. She and Maria Torres – a native Puerto Rican – are good friends, and Torres invited her to participate this week, as she wasn’t in the field of the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.
Talley, who has made both cuts so far in her rookie season – notching her first top-10 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open – said it’s been a cool opportunity to be part of an event that is set to raise $500,000 for local charities, and she was thrilled to be able to help out Torres as well.
“You see on the news that Puerto Rico is destroyed, but you see people and hear their stories and it’s crazy they’re suffering so bad. They’re still trying to rebuild but hopefully this will help out and raise some money,” she said. “This has been a great event. I’ve played a lot of Pro-Am’s in the past but none for a place that’s been this hurt and in need of support.”
Wanting to step in and help out as much as they could was why both Belen Mozo and Cheyenne Woods are here as well.
Mozo, who lives in South America, has some good friends who live in Puerto Rico including Baseball Hall of Fame member Ivan Rodriguez. The second they said they needed help for this event she said yes.
“I thought it would be great to be part of this amazing tournament. It’s a great cause, and we need to help out as much as we can,” she said.
Mozo asked Woods if she was interested in helping out and she was quick to say yes as well. She said it was a great opportunity to give back and actually have some feet on the ground in the country versus just watching things unfold on the news or donating some money from the United States.
Woods, who has played two events so far on the LPGA Tour in 2018, said she was really excited to come to Puerto Rico and help out and was honored to be part of a global group of both LPGA and PGA TOUR players.
“Everyone was so welcoming, and everyone is very proud and excited for us to be here,” she said. “Overall, it’s been a really good experience.”
The experience was made that much sweeter for Woods, whose Pro-Am team (she split pro duties with 2012 Puerto Rico Open winner George McNeil) fired a 16-under-par 56 to win the event by one shot.
Although they were here for a serious cause, Mozo was thrilled at the opportunity to have some fun Saturday at TPC Dorado Beach, about 30 minutes from Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re helping it just feels like you’re having a good time. But, we’re raising a ton of money for a great cause,” she said. “Golf has given me this opportunity, beyond my capabilities, and I couldn’t be more blessed to be in this position. We’re helping so much, and it’s a great place to be at.”