The real story this weekend was the courage and decisions of Rich Wilton. The 42 year old phenom shot 3 under while paired with another young dominator in Cody Kammerdener. Wilton did not show a sign of aging. Instead he showed signs of being a triumphant class act.
Cody Kammerdener injured himself during a series of swings. On the fifth hole he went down hard and tore his meniscus in his left knee. The trainer is still shocked that he continued to play. She said “it takes a real man to play through an injury of this caliber. He is a true hero and deserves much respect.” Many people agree with what Sue has stated, including Rick Wilton. Rick offered to give up his spot for Kammerdener to play on tour. The reason you ask? His grandmother. Kammerdener told me on Friday that his grandma is the reason he is playing professional golf. He would have never even tried out had his grandma not been sick. Kammerdener’s grandmother has pancreatic cancer and does not have much time left. He had a lengthy post round interview after hitting eight over while playing through an injury. Tears were streaming down his face as he spoke about the memories and impact his grandma has had on him. Kammerdener made nearly everyone cry while being interviewed late Wednesday. Rick really stressed that this tournament be all about Kammerdener. Wilton said that his grandma needs to know how loved she is by her professional golfer.
When asked if he was retiring, Kammerdener began to say that he was thinking about it. He then continued to say that whatever his grandma believes is what he will do. He wanted her to go out on top with all of her grandchildren. With her other grandson Ryan Kammerdener (cody’s brother) graduating from Florida State and her granddaughter Brittany Kammerdener graduating from graduate school, she has had a lot to be proud of. Kammerdener has had a rough ride to get here as well. With the supervision of his grandma at his high school matches he performed the best to his ability, but got no recognition for it. His high school coach (Kammerdener asked not to be named) decided not to post any scores in the newspaper besides the scores that Kammerdener was beat by the coaches son. Kammerdener said “His son was always number one and it helped me to get better every day to beat him.” Two people in particular helped him achieve that.
“My Uncle George spent countless hours with me to show me the correct way to swing and chip outside of practice. During practice, my best friend Marshall Paul, let me know what I was doing wrong and always helped me out. But the real motivation came from my family. My mom and dad spent a lot of money and time to help make me the man I am today. Although they don’t know how to play golf, they still are the best damn parents alive. On the other side of things, my brother helped me to form my competitive side. Ryan helped me have the right attitude and swagger to respectfully kick the heck out of people.” As you can see Kammerdener is a family man. He will do anything it takes to make them happy. “Even though I am a pin, I know they still love me. That goes for my friends as well. All of my friends know the daily struggles I go through. With a nonexistent high school coach I had to work even harder. All of my friends helped me practice. They came with me and played. They are absolutely awful, but they always made me feel good. Zack Fardelmann really made me feel good about my swing. That kid is an amazing person, but not a great golfer. I still love him though. He really helped me to tune out the haters. Joseph Madigan did the same thing. He let me know that I really am the best. I was ready to walk away from everything until Zack, Joseph and Grandma all told me to go for it. I just want to thank everyone good and bad in my life. Without hem having a positive or negative impact in my life, I would not be here.” That is not all Kammerdener had to say. He had so many words for all of his family and friends. Wilton is once again the one that told us to let him have an extended interview. Little do most people know, but this post is supposed to be all about Wilton. Rick really wants to get Cody’s story out there.
The whole interview Kammerdener could not stop thanking Wilton and his family/friends as well.
“Rick is a class act. Not many people would give up so much to get a strangers story out there. I wish him the best and he is one of my good friends now.”
Wilton responded by telling Kammerdener that he was an inspiration and proceeded to walk out of the room saying finish this interview strong.
Kammerdener continued to say:
“My friend list just continues to go on. Katelyn MacElroy, Marissa Johnson, Dylan Seppesy, William Gorham, Kelsey Parker, Aeron DeGroat, you guys have all helped me to perform and have dealt with me every day. Marissa will be the one who will be rubbing my knee later and Kelsey will get my back as I talk to William, Dylan, Katelyn and Aeron about how I am a professional golfer. My friends have been so great to me. Marissa and Katelyn handle all of the flaring emotions, while William and Kelsey handle all of the stupid components to my life. Dylan and Aeron are there for emotional support and do a damn good job. I also can’t forget about Norberto Rivera, Carleigh Mengel, Brittany Riordan, Carson Smith, Spencer Hunt, Kylie Rizer, and Anthony Ferrisi. All of these people have helped shape my life. They are unbelievable people and I love them so much.”
When asked who was his favorite friend, Kammerdener simply replied “My grandma is the best.”
He could not stop Raving about his family and friends. He loves each and every friend and family member. His Aunt Patti actually read each and every tweet to his grandma in their Melbourne home.
“My Aunt saved the day. She made sure my grandma knew what was going on every second. That was the most important thing that went on for my round. I was not concerned with my round! I just wanted to make sure my grandma could see what was going on.”
“Everyone needs to understand the value of family. No one understands hat more than my grandma. She is my rock. I have a special connection that no one else has with her. She understands the person I am. She knows my weak spots. She knows when something is wrong. She knows who I am.”
Kammerdener really wanted to focus on everything but his golf game. He knows that he was hanging the spikes up. He just wanted to focus on the important things. If there is one thing that you take away from his post, let it be known that Cody Kammerdener loves his grandmother very much.
“That was for you grandma. I love you more than anything. Thank you for all of your encouraging words and attendance at every single game that I have been a part of. You really know the true value of family, and I am so thankful that you passed that down to me. I love you Grandma. You are and forever will be, the greatest role model I could ever have.”
“Thank you again Rich! You are the man! I will forever be thankful for your heroic actions.”
Interview done by: Michelle Smith