MIDDLETON –- Monday marked the fourth annual Putts and Punches Golf Tournament to benefit research into Parkinson’s disease, and it’s a day that tourney organizer Shawn Thornton looks forward to every summer.
This summer’s tourney at the Ferncroft Country Club is a little different, however, as it's the first time the event was organized by the newly formed Thornton Foundation.
The funds culled from the golf tourney -- which also featured Tuukka Rask and Daniel Paille as well as Thornton -- will benefit equally the Shawn Thornton Foundation, the American Parkinson Disease Association and the Boston Bruins Foundation.
As always, the Bruins tough guy runs the event in loving memory of his grandmother, Maureen, who succumbed to the disease after a long, emotional 14-year battle.
“I started the tournament the summer after she passed away, so it hits close to home for me,” said Thornton. “We were really tight and it was awful toward the end. I’d walk out in tears after visiting her in the home.
“So we got this started and it’s been getting bigger and bigger every year. I made a few calls to get a few more celebs out, so we could charge a little bit more and raise a little bit more. Obviously my foundation got off the ground in January, and I started it so this tournament would still go on even if things blew up and [the lockout] went the wrong way. So we’re here now and I’m hoping it’s a perfect day.”
The golf tourney is just one of a number of events Thornton holds throughout the year to raise money for the charity. The Thornton Foundation had a team in the Falmouth Road Race last weekend, and will use its UFC connections for a charity fundraiser on Wednesday night in Boston. Thornton, UFC president Dana White, and UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin will host "UFC Homecoming" at Boston's Barrio Cantina, an event which will raise money for the Shawn Thornton Foundation.