PGA and HLN honor true U.S. hero at Ryder Cup
Edward M. Pio Roda, PGA.com
Ryan Lord, a former lance corporal in the U.S. Marines, is like many of us - he loves golf. Unlike many of us, Ryan doesn't just call it the passion of his life - he credits golf with saving his life.
After suffering a traumatic brain injury while stationed in Iraq, Ryan returned to the states and found his recovery and rehab painful, difficult and quite honestly, depressing. There's a great recap of his injury and recovery as well as golf's pivotal role that can be found here.
Enter Robin Meade and HLN's "Morning Express with Robin Meade."
Robin has a daily "Salute to Troops" on her 6a - 12 noon weekday show where she shows photos and videos sent in by loved ones of those in the military. But one in particular struck her - in part because of her new found passion for golf. Ryan's fiancee, Emily Dipple, sent in an impassioned plea to the Morning Express crew talking about how Ryan's battle and trauma as well as how much his love of golf had not only helped heal him, but also gave him a great mission.
Robin and her team were so moved, they contacted Emily and they coordinated a surprise trip to the Ryder Cup!
Ryan was not only walking the grounds of Medinah today (as he will all week), but he spent time with PGA President Allen Wronowski, four-star general Edward Rice, Major Dan Rooney and Major Ed Pulido from the Folds of Honor Foundation and even spent some private time with USA team captain Davis Love III. Lord even offered the captain some advice, though he won't share the details with others.
"That's between us," he smiled.
I walked around a little with Ryan and Emily today - even had a chance to have a quick lunch with them. They are a true testament to the power of golf, not only as a sport but as a culture and community that supports, loves and heals.
So watch the video of Robin Meade talking to Emily and Ryan, and try to keep a dry eye - don't think you can. But then realize that one hero who was willing to sacrifice it all for this country, and then battled back again from the lowest of the lows, has used golf to heal and recover, used golf to inspire others and enjoyed golf today in a way that will many can appreciate, but few could truly understand. It was an honor to witness it.
Friday morning, Ryan will be on with Robin Meade to talk about his incredible experience thus far. And when you watch the Ryder Cup this weekend, and you hear fans shouting "USA! USA!" - remember that the cheer represents more than one team playing golf - it is an ideal that we can all rally around, and golf can play a role in that. One fan doing the chant can attest to as well as anyone.