A big contingent of former Georgia Tech golfers – seven of them – will be playing in the Tampa Bay area this week at the Valspar Championship. Seven soloists, to be sure, because their sport is very much the one-man show.
But they also will be bound by the teal ribbon they will be wearing in a show of support for a former teammate whose family is dealing with grief and loss.
Teal is the color that has come to represent the battle against ovarian cancer, the battle well fought but ultimately lost last week by the older sister of former Tech golfer Bo Andrews. After fighting cancer for 10 years, Rhyne Andrews died March 14 in Raleigh. She was 30.
Andrews got a call Wednesday night from one of the seven Tech players at the Valspar, Chesson Hadley, asking how he was holding up and telling him about the gesture this week. It was Hadley’s wife, Amanda, who had spearheaded the idea to make the ribbons and pass them out to all the Tech players.
“I was thrilled. It’s a super nice gesture by a bunch of guys I’ve been close to,” said Andrews, who graduated from Tech in 2014. “I really want to get Rhyne’s story out because she was such an inspiration to me, and an inspiration to so many others.”
“I just want to be there for my buddy, Bo,” said Hadley, who like Andrews is from the Raleigh area and preceded Andrews at Tech by a couple years. “We’re doing this for Bo, for the Andrews family. They’re amazing people. It’s just a way to say, hey, we’re thinking about you and we love you.”
The Tech players at the Valspar are Hadley, Stewart Cink, Roberto Castro, Seth Reeves, Ollie Schniederjans, Cameron Tringale and Richy Werenski. Many crossed paths with Andrews, who between 2009 and 2014 played for two ACC championships and twice went deep in the NCAA tournament (quarterfinals and semis). And even those of older vintage have a connection to the cause. For instance, Cink’s wife is a cancer survivor.
The gesture is all the more meaningful because the Andrews family had worked so hard raising money for ovarian cancer research during Rhyne’s life. Through a series of fundraising events, they had contributed more than $100,000 to the effort.
Now the assistant golf coach at Tennessee, Bo Andrews will watch the tournament from afar this week, hoping as many of his Tech brethren as possible make the weekend and perhaps spread Rhyne’s story to a wider audience.
“If it can affect or improve one person’s life by changing their perspective, inspiring them that day or helping them with something they’re dealing with, I think that’s great,” he said.
And for those who spot the ribbons and perhaps wonder what they represent, Andrews would want them to know this about his sister: “I’d want them to know that she was tough as nails, never complained about the bad cards she was dealt. Her ability to basically dance and live life in the middle of a thunderstorm was truly inspirational.”
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