OWASSO — At 1 p.m., taps blared over speakers throughout the scenic hills and valleys at The Patriot Golf Course, followed by a bell that tolled 13 times, which represented the 13 folds of a U.S. flag.
It's a daily ritual at the par-72 golf course that's affiliated with the Folds of Honor Foundation, which raises college scholarships for families of U.S. military personnel killed or injured in service.
An estimated 4,500 fans on Monday attended the third annual Patriot Cup pro-am held on Memorial Day.
Featuring PGA and Champions Tour players, celebrities and 38 active military members with a handicap of 5 or better, the event continues to grow.
“This is what Memorial Day is about,” said Major Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor. “It's so great to see all the kids out. It warms my heart in such unbelievable ways as they watch these military heroes play alongside tour players.
“We hope it becomes one of the biggest Memorial Day traditions in the state of Oklahoma, if not the country, by the time it's all said and done.”
The Patriot Golf Club's goal is to host a tour event, possibly host a Champions Senior Tour event as early as next year.
“A Champions Tour event would be wonderful,” said 1995 U.S. Open champion Corey Pavin. “On the Champions Tour, we kind of get it. We're older, we've seen things. We sometimes have a better view of the bigger picture. Hopefully, that's something that will happen.”
Other groups and companies already are committed to Folds of Honor. Golf courses around the country and Major League Baseball are connected to the organization that's already raised nearly $13 million its first five years.
“It's just going to get bigger and bigger,” said Oak Tree pro Bob Tway. “This is just awesome what is happening here. What Budweiser has done is a big commitment.”
Budweiser is the event's title sponsor. Budweiser's team of Clydesdales were part of Monday's opening ceremonies along with four jets that had flyovers during opening ceremonies and taps.