Jerry Kelly player hosting 2024 Cologuard Classic is about more than golf

Cologuard Classic - Round Two
Cologuard Classic - Round Two / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Everyone on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, LIV Golf, LPGA Tour, DP World Tour and any professional golf tour on the planet has their own reasons for teeing it up. Sometimes, it's the love of the game. For others, it's the love of the payday. There are certainly some in-betweens there too. But there are also times when it's about more than the game of golf.

PGA Tour veteran and current PGA Tour Champions player Jerry Kelly exemplifies that final category, specifically leading up to the March 8 start of the 2024 Cologuard Classic where Kelly is serving as the player host for the event.

The tournament is a stop on the PGA Tour Champions, sure, but it's also a crucial event constructed to help raise awareness for colorectal cancer, make screenings accessible and available, recognize those who have battled the disease, and much more to help fight this affliction at the start of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

That's a plight that is extremely personal to Kelly, who wears Cologuard as a sponsor on his hat. But it's about more than a logo on headwear or showing up at this tournament for him.

Jerry Kelly explains the personal importance, impact of the 2024 Cologuard Classic's mission

"It's been a great seven year relationship with Exact Sciences and Cologuard," Kelly said. "And in that time, I've lost friends to this disease -- and friends that could have easily been cured with early detection."

Speaking with Kelly, it was clear that this was more than just a golf tournament to him. The personal weight of the aforementioned friends who have passed away due to colorectal cancer and what raising awareness could mean to save lives was evident.

"Even media day gets emotional, sometimes even more so than the tournament because we really have to start with that awareness," Kelly said. "We have to understand, really, if you're new to the game, that's it's nine out of 10, with early detection, [who] survive this disease and one out of 10 in late detection. So just those basic statistics should show people that we need to talk about it. We've got 60 million people who are behind in their screening. We're going to start one person at a time. And this tournament creates that awareness."

One person at a time and spreading beyond that is a mission for Kelly, for Cologuard, and for this tournament. But make no mistake, they want one person in a time to go far beyond just Tucson, AZ where the event is being held.

"If we can get this community -- if we can get Arizona, if we can get nationwide and, who knows, someday we can go worldwide," Kelly said. "There's a lot of people who have been saved already and we've got a ton of work to do. But that's what this golf tournament is about. It's about a lot more than, playing for the title. We've got guys playing for specific individuals, and they feel that connection, heart to heart. So it's a lot more to this golf tournament. It's a great mission to be on."

The golf tournament is secondary, clearly, to Kelly and Cologuard's mission. And everyone should be in full support of the great mission that they're on.

Jerry Kelly spoke with FanSided as the player host for the 2024 Cologuard Classic by Exact Sciences, a PGA TOUR Champions tournament that will take place at La Paloma Country Club in Tucson.

The mission of the Cologuard Classic by Exact Sciences is to raise awareness of colon cancer, highlight available screening options, and recognize those who have been affected by the disease.

The Cologuard Classic by Exact Sciences helps kick off National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March. 

This year, over 230 survivors and loved ones from 3 countries and 28 states will attend the tournament where they will be recognized for their continued fight against the disease.

Tune into the 2024 Cologuard Classic by Exact Sciences on the Golf Channel from March 8–10 to help increase awareness of colon cancer and the vital importance of early detection through screening.

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