PRATTVILLE — The 25th Annual Kevin Turner Golf Tournament included a new guest host and Turner’s sons, once again reaching record numbers as 77 teams and 308 golfers took part in the event Monday at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Capitol Hill.
“Every year, I’m like, ‘Can this get any bigger?’ And every year it seems to get bigger,” said event organizer Keith Cantrell of the YMCA of Prattville. “I think it’s a testament to two things – it’s a great cause. We help children, but the most important thing is to pay tribute to a child who grew up in Prattville, grew up coming to the Y and never forgot who he was or where he came from, even when he excelled at highest level.”
Turner, the former Prattville High star who played in Alabama in the late 1980s and for eight years in the National Football League with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, has always supported the event , but his battle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which led to his untimely passing in March 2016, gives the event — and the former Alabama teammates who now serve as guest hosts — a additional cause that makes the event more popular year after year.
“One, when you play in Alabama, you’re part of the family and every time you’re asked to do something, I find it really hard to say no,” said former Crimson Tide tight end Preston Gothard, this year’s guest. host. “Secondly, what Kevin started – and even when he was sick he continued this stuff – and the money it brings in for the cause, I’m very excited to do that. I can’t wait to be there.
Proceeds from the event fund the Coach-A-Child campaign which provides YMCA services to disadvantaged children. Last year’s event drew a record 72 teams, but the event added five more teams for a new record this year.
One of those new teams was Kevin’s father, Raymond, and the late football star’s sons, Nolan and Cole, playing together for the first time in the event. Nolan played in the tournament as a high school student in 2016 just months after his father’s death and Cole accompanied his father on trips to the tournament a decade ago, but the pair never played in the tournament together before Monday.
Nolan, a former Clemson defensive back, will report to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday for the start of rookie camp this weekend, while Cole, a senior wide receiver from Vestavia Hills High, prepares to follow in his footsteps. brother to Clemson.
“It’s good to be able to be here this year,” said Nolan Turner. “It’s crazy to see the growth since the last time I was here. Unfortunately, due to my schedule, I haven’t been able to be back for the past few years, but it means a lot to come back, to see his growth and to have my brother and grandfather to play with me.
Another guest at the event was Alabama sophomore linebacker Ian Jackson. The former Prattville High standout visited the tournament to support the cause, but didn’t bother picking a club.