I would like to tell you about how my family met Jack. My son, TJ, got his Make-A-Wish® answered by getting to caddy for Jack for 18 holes when he played an exhibition round at Toscana in Palm Desert.
A note from TJ's Dad:
"There is not enough room on this Web site to tell you how happy this made TJ. And Jack, he made the day special for TJ. Not only did TJ carry his bag (with a little help from Tony) and hand him his clubs but Jack (who was miked for the audience) was heard getting distances from and thinking aloud with TJ. It was unbelievable. TJ got special white caddy overalls with NICKLAUS on the back which he wore proudly that day. My wife, Diane, and I walked along proudly as TJ walked stride for stride with Jack Nicklaus; it was like a Make-A-Wish for me.
Jack was gracious, funny, informative and genuine. On 18, just before his birdie putt attempt, Jack gave thanks and acknowledgements to the crowd and told TJ's story and why he was caddying. Then he told TJ to read the putt and he would hit the ball where he said. After a little discussion the line was decided and Jack hit it where TJ read it. It dropped for a birdie, a great finish.
That weekend will live vividly in all of our memories forever. Between the Make-A-Wish people, Tony Lentendre and all of the people at Toscana it was a great trip, but the way Jack interacted with and made TJ feel is what made that day really special. TJ received his Make-A-Wish because he had a brain tumor back in late 2002. He went through surgery, radiation and chemo.
This kid has been through a lot and he deserved this special day
and he could not have picked a better person than Jack.
Unfortunately TJ had a reoccurrence of another tumor just a few months ago and has gone through the whole thing all over again. In late August of this year my wife's cell phone rings and I answer it and the voice says, 'Hi, this is Jack Nicklaus, is TJ there?'
I am somewhat shocked so I say, 'Yeah Jack, (like I know him) he's in his room, I'll get him, this is his dad.'
Jack responds, 'How you doing? How are you and your wife holding up?' I tell him we are doing OK as I am heading to get the phone to TJ. I tell him we were just playing golf on Play Station, Tiger Woods 2005. 'Jack cuts in Tiger Woods??? Man we got to get you guys some good games!' and he laughs. I hand the phone to TJ and they talked (as we tried to listen) for about 10 minutes.
This just goes to show what kind of man Jack is. Forget about being the greatest golfer that ever lived, he's a great man. I could go on and on about that day at Toscana, but if you are a parent or a golfer, just use your imagination."