Guiding Eyes Golf Classic to Feature Eli Manning

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NY Giants Quarterback Eli Manning with a Guiding Eyes pup in training

Blind golfers, magnificent dogs, and a football star: not your average golf charity event.The 34th Annual Guiding Eyes Golf Classic will be held on June 12 and 13 at two Westchester County courses – Mount Kisco Country Club and the Whippoorwill Club. Hosted by New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the outing is played on two golf courses over two days with the country’s best blind golfers and Guiding Eyes dogs in attendance.

Manning’s interest in Guiding Eyes is the result of a childhood friendship with Patrick Browne III whose father, Patrick Browne, Jr., is the 21-time winner of the Corcoran Cup, considered the masters invitational of blind golf. When Eli and Patrick were young, they were taught how to play golf by Browne, Jr., who remains a Manning family friend. “This is my fifth year hosting the Guiding Eyes for the Blind Golf Classic and it’s very special to me,” Manning said. “It’s important to raise money for the school so that people who need guide dogs can have them.” Manning took over hosting duties in 2006 from PGA Masters Cup champion Ken Venturi, a Corcoran Cup founder.

On Sunday, June 12, 14 of the country’s best blind golfers will compete for the Corcoran’s coveted trophy at Mount Kisco Country Club. The community gets into the act on Monday, June 13 at Guiding Eyes’ mega-sponsor charity golf outing held at the two country clubs.  The field will include golfers hosted by Diamond Sponsors Gatorade and Entergy Nuclear Northeast, and over $500,000 will be raised for Guiding Eyes.

Corcoran Cup participants: 2010 Corcoran Cup Champion Patrick Browne, Jr. of New Orleans, and LA and Cribari Trophy recipient David Meador, of Nashville, TN will return to compete in 2011. Also on the roster are Bill McMahon (of Framingham, MA) who received the Joe Spoonster Trophy in 2009 for most improved player, and Sheila Drummond (of Lehighton, PA), winner of the McFarland Trophy. Additional top ranked blind golfers invited to participate in this year’s Corcoran Cup are: Ron Murner (of Wellington, OH), Ron Derry (of Baltimore, OH), Mike Mercado (of Albany, NY), Ted Fass (of Rockville Centre, NY), John Casolo (of Waterbury, CT), Mario Tobia (of Mount Laurel, NJ), George Pilz (of King of Prussia, PA), Jim Baker (of Nashville, TN), Dick Pomo (of Green Valley, AZ), and David Wall (of Canada).

Each blind golfer plays with a coach who aids in club selection, alignment, setup, and distances. At Monday’s sponsor-supported outing, blind golfers will challenge their sighted counterparts to experience golf as a visually impaired person by inviting them to take a shot at hitting the ball blindfolded.

Sponsor information: Sponsorships are available at the Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels. Additional support opportunities include bronze foursomes, individual play, hole sponsorship, and journal advertising.

Those contributing $10,000 or more are invited to a special sponsor recognition party with Eli Manning at Mulino’s of Westchester in White Plains. Current sponsors for the 34th Annual Guiding Eyes Golf Classic include:

Diamond Sponsors: Entergy Nuclear Northeast & Gatorade

Presenting Sponsor: The Journal News

Platinum Sponsors: The Canine Companies, SafeHarbor Risk Management / Kinloch Insurance Services

Gold Sponsors: A. Devito & Son, Atria Senior Living Group, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, JP Morgan Chase, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Silver Sponsors: Aero Hardware, CBS, Citibank, Stanley Cohen, Freeh Group International Solutions, Inc., Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP, Albert and Carol Hallac, Paul Holland, Arthur Levitt, Rolex USA, Skanska USA Civil Inc., The Stewart Family, TBS Shipping, Welby Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, Wilson and Son Jewelers

Individual play is $700 and a foursome ranges from $2,500 to $50,000. These fees include breakfast, lunch, a banquet dinner with silent auction, and a day of golf. Spectators are welcome at the Corcoran Cup; registration is required for gallery seating. To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, or for general golf information, contact Michelle Brier, events and marketing manager, at 914.243.2208 or mbrier@guidingeyes.org.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is located at 611 Granite Springs Road in Yorktown Heights. The organization can be reached at 914.245.4024 or by visiting www.guidingeyes.org.

About Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an internationally accredited nonprofit guide dog school, was founded in 1956 to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired men and women by providing them with the freedom to travel safely, thereby assuring greater independence, dignity and expanded horizons of opportunity. Since that time, Guiding Eyes has become one of the foremost guide dog schools in the world, graduating more than 7,300 guide dog teams. It provides superbly bred Guiding Eyes dogs, professional training and follow-up support services to students at no cost to them and depends on contributions to fulfill its mission. The comprehensive cost of breeding, raising, preparing, training, and supporting a Guiding Eyes team is $45,000. Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s Headquarters and Training Center is located in Yorktown Heights and the Canine Development Center is in Patterson.

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