Saturday, September 29, 2007

Christina's Smile

We often hear about the charitable contributions of PGA Tour events - how much money each tournament raises for its local charities. It's a big part of the PGA Tour experience, and a major goal of each tournament. And it really matters to the people in charge of raising those funds, and it really matters to the PGA Tour, too. There have been times in the recent past when the Texas Open, for example, was considered endangered on the PGA Tour schedule. But because the tournament raised so much money for charity, it always survived. And now, under Valero's stewardship, the Texas Open is the single largest fund-raiser on the PGA Tour. And that has something to do with promises from the tour to move to the tournament to a more favorable spot on the calendar.

There are many more charitable endeavors associated with the PGA Tour, however, than just the fund-raising that goes on around a tournament.

Christina's Smile is an example of one of those "auxiliary" charity efforts. Started by Austin dentist Dr. Richard R. Garza in 1989, the Christina's Smile Children's Dental Clinic travels in conjunction with PGA Tour events and provides, through a mobile dental lab, free dental care to needy children in the tournament city.

Christina's Smile will be in San Antonio Oct. 1-3 in conjunction with the Texas Open. Local dentists and dental assistants volunteer their time and services, working out of a "48-foot trailer (that) houses three fully equipped state-of-the-art dental treatment operatories along with X-ray and sterilization equipment."

The San Antonio Independent School District will help select the children most in need of services, children ages 6-15, and somewhere around $75,000 of free dental care will be dispersed through the program during the Texas Open. Just one more thing for the PGA Tour to smile about.

You can learn more about Christina's Smile at http://www.csmile.com/.

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