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Tom Watson, Bruce Edwards "Driving 4 Life"

June 19, 2003 - Caddie Bruce Edwards was on the bag for his friend, Tom Watson, for four more rounds of U.S. Open golf this past weekend. By the time they walked up the 72nd hole together, tears were flowing among spectators, many of whom serenaded Edwards with cries of "Bruuuuuuuuce!"
Unless you have a heart made of surlyn, you were among those moved by the storyline.

Earlier this year, Edwards was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease - amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The disease is fatal, and there is no cure.

Watson's storybook 65 in the first round of the Open gave the 53-year-old great another day in the spotlight, and it was a spotlight he shifted to the disease that is killing his friend and caddie of more than 30 years.

"Knowing Tom," said Edwards, his speech slurred, to NBC Sports, "he did it for me."

Watson, Edwards, Edwards' wife Marsha and former PGA pro Jeff Julian - also an ALS victim - have launched a drive to raise funds for ALS research and awareness of the disease.

Money raised through the site will help fund research conducted by the Boston-based ALS Therapy Development Foundation.

"We need to find a cure now," Watson said in his post-tournament news conference. "Believe it or not, money can speed up the cure. A lot of money. ALS is an orphan disease. It affects 30,000 people. That doesn't make it a big enough disease for the drug companies to spend millions of dollars to find a cure as AIDS, cancer, heart disease and things like that."

When ALS forced Gehrig to retire from baseball, he gave one the most poignant speeches in American sports history. On "Lou Gehrig Day" at Yankee Stadium, the dying superstar told the fans he'd been dealt a bad break, "Yet today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

The efforts of Watson and others working for a cure to ALS cannot possibly come to fruition fast enough to save Edwards.

But in post-tournament interviews, Edwards echoed Gehrig's word from 65 years ago: "I was thinking how lucky I was and not, 'Oh woe is me.' "

Said Watson: "Bruce's tears, they'll always be with me. They're etched in my heart. I want to find something for him."

More Info on ALS
? ALS Resources from About's Rare/Orphan Diseases Guide
? ALS Association
? ALS Survival Guide

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