NORTON (CBS) – It’s always a special weekend at the TPC Boston in Norton when the Deutsche Bank Championship rolls around. But this year, it’s going to be even more special.
The Spaulding Rehab Center along with GolfSmith and Nike Golf have set up a swing adaptive program at the course, fitting clubs for people with disabilities. On Wednesday six players who have lost limbs, including survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombings, got a chance to test drive their new custom clubs, and return to a game they either loved or are just getting the swing of.
Mery Daniel lost a leg during Marathon bombings and spent two months in the hospital. But that didn’t stop her hacking away on Wednesday, and even though she had never golfed until today, is ready to hit the links again.
“It’s doing something new and being up for the challenge,” she said. “It’s how you choose to live. If you’re going to live by letting things get you down you’re going to get depressed and not living. And that’s not how I choose to live.”
Stoneham’s J.P. Norden, who lost his right leg below the knee when the second bomb went off on Marathon Monday, was also on hand on Wednesday. He just took his first steps with his new prosthetic leg last month and cannot swing the custom clubs yet, but is ready when the day comes.
“I’m excited, and can’t wait to start playing again,” said Norden. “I want to get back to how life was. I know it’s going to be different, and it already is. I don’t want to go rock climbing or anything like that, I just want to get back to the things I was doing; golfing, fishing.”
“This program is amazing,” he said. “They are making it amazing for us.”
Also on hand was Muji Karim, a former athlete who lost both legs and most of his left hand in a 2011 car accident on Storrow Drive.
A college basketball and football player, Karim had never played golf until after his accident.
“Now I see why Tiger gets paid so much money. If you can do it that well all the time it’s a special talent,” he said with a smile. “It’s challenging. It was another sport I could do, because I can’t play basketball like I used to, so you look for other outlets of recreation. Adaptive golf is awesome; it has given me another sport to get better at.”
Conquering the golf course is nothing compared to what Karim’s recovery from the accident was like, but Karim was determined to continue to live his life the way he wanted to.
“There’s nothing easy about it. It’s tough and you’d never wish it on your worst enemy. At some point you have to decide whether you’re going to let it get the best of you or move on with your life,” said Karim. “I’m still alive and I’m still here, so I’m making the best out of what I have. I’ve always been a positive guy, and that’s the way I am.”
The Deutsche Bank Championship will honor the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombings all weekend. Monday, the final round of the tournament, is “Boston Strong Day,” with golfers and caddy’s being asked to wear blue and yellow.