Emma Rodriguez, 5, squealed with delight as her golf ball slipped past an inflatable palm tree, through a tiki mask and into a bedpan on the indoor putting green at Cook Children's Medical Center.
A high-five from professional golfer Y.E. Yang topped off the moment. About 100 children got a break from medical treatments Tuesday during the annual Bedpan Open at Cook Children's, held while the PGA Tour is in Fort Worth for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Casts, IV poles and wheelchairs did not stop the young patients from knocking balls through construction pipes, around fish-filled ponds, even into a bedpan disguised as a Batmobile. Each hole was designed by experts who went all out to transport the children to a golfing world populated with action heroes or characters from Alice in Wonderland.
Despite having a cast on her leg, Victoria Vaughn, 10, zipped through the course smiling all the way.
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Her mother, Vivian Vaughn of North Richland Hills, said the game was a welcome diversion for the patients.
"It's pretty great how the hospital does it," she said.
Earlier in the day, Yang presented a $75,000 check to Cook Children's. The Southlake resident, who won the 2009 PGA Championship, said through an interpreter that as the father of three sons, he wanted to help children in the community.
Although his sons are healthy and well-provided-for, he wasn't always so fortunate when he was growing up in South Korea.
When he was 19, he was hospitalized with a serious knee injury.
"My father was a farmer and I had to go to surgery on my own and pay for it myself," he said. "It was a gloomy two months in the hospital."
His experience taught him that it's difficult to deal with illness without financial or family support, Yang said.
He hopes the donation will help needy families who face tough times.
The gift will be used to create a teen room in the tower under construction at the hospital, said Gary Cole, vice president for development for Cook Children's Health Foundation.
Pro golfers Chad Campbell and Ryan Palmer and amateur golfer Kyle Stanley helped Yang entertain and encourage the children throughout the event.
Brittany Foglesong, 15, was impressed with the elaborate course and the coaching she received.
"It was really cool to meet the pro golfers and get their autographs," said Foglesong, who is from Oklahoma.
JAN JARVIS, 817-390-7664