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Giants Golf For A Cause:


Former tight ends Bob Tucker and Howard Cross helped lead their teams to victory this week in the annual Giants’ golf outing to benefit the Giants Foundation.

The 18th annual outing was presented by Toyota and held Tuesday at the Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J. Approximately $500,000 was raised for the foundation, including more than $300,000 through sponsorships and another $100,000 via the silent and live auctions.

The Giants Foundation acts as a network for financial and social support for disadvantaged youth and their families throughout the greater metropolitan area. All grant recipients must be 501 (c) 3 charitable organizations involved in areas such as education, health, youth-related services or civic affairs.

In addition to raising money for a terrific cause, almost 300 golfers had a great time on the course, where the fivesomes played a scramble.

Tucker’s team, which included Greg Ferguson, Robert Gulmi, Tony Lombardi and Alan Hoyt, had the low gross score of 15-under par 57. In second place, at 13-under 59, was the team led by Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck, who was joined by Mark Baker, Chris Heusler, Doug Nordstrom and William Tully. Chris Mara, the Giants’ vice president of player evaluation, led the third-place team, which included Dennis Drinkwater, Larry Michaud, Jim Holbrook and Lance Cramer.

Cross’ group – Joe Tranchina, Scott Salmirs, Anthony Cammarata and David Arena – had the low net score of 45, 27-under par. Tuck’s group also had the second-lowest net score, at 25-under 47. Former wide receiver Stephen Baker finished third – with Jim Cacciabeve, Gordon Cheer, Bob Dathe and Paul Natoli – at 24-under 48.

Both current and former Giants players enjoy the annual golf outing because it gives them an opportunity to visit and share stories.

“It’s always great to see your current and former teammates,” Pro Bowl center Shaun O’Hara said. “Though it’s not necessarily great to see them play golf, because it’s safe to say we’re better football players than we are golfers. It is always a great event. The Giants do a great job and Canoe Brook is a fun course. The day is really about raising money for the Giants Foundation and it’s a great day to give back.”

O’Hara enjoys spending time with his predecessors on the offensive line. He spent time at the post-golf reception with Bill Ard, a Giants guard from 1981-88 who, like O’Hara, played high school football in Somerset County, N.J. Ard was part of the famed Suburbanites line that helped lead the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XXI and included Karl Nelson, Chris Godfrey, Bart Oates and Brad Benson. All but Benson were at Canoe Brook on Tuesday.

“All those guys have been great,” O’Hara said. “I’ve known Brad Benson since I was in high school. Getting to know Brad and Bart Oates and Billy Ard and Karl Nelson, I think it’s special. I think it’s very important for us to understand that that’s going to be us in a few years. It’s like you’re looking into the future. They paved the way for us and the things we’re accomplishing now and the salaries we get now is because of guys like them. It’s always important to show them that they are appreciated.”

The highlight of the dinner was an address by head coach Tom Coughlin, who sounded fired up and ready to start the 2009 season. Coughlin began his talk by lauding the Giants’ new state-of-the-art, 199,000 square-foot training complex.

“It’s a very exciting time of year for us,” Coughlin said. “One of the main reasons for that is that we have a fabulous new facility that we’re very, very proud of. We’re just now going through the process. We’re very grateful to the Mara and Tisch families for the facility they have built for the New York Giant team for our training, our office facility. It’s really spectacular. I sit in an office that looks over three full grass fields. We have an entire football field within a field house. We have a 60-yard FieldTurf field in the back. We have a brand new 7,500 square-foot weight room. We have brand new office space, a brand new locker room for our players, a brand new cafeteria, all new offices. So the Giant offices and training facilities will now be at our new training center. I can’t tell you what a wonderful spot this is and how proud and thankful we are as coaches and as players.

“A week ago Monday was our first day in the new facility. We had a weight program that started very early in the morning. Shaun O’Hara came in and told everyone who would listen that the veteran players thought they had all been traded. With the new facility, they couldn’t believe it. We’re extremely proud and very happy to settle into our new facility.”

The Giants yesterday held the first of their 10 organized team activities (OTAs), which will lead into their full-squad minicamp in June.

“For the next three weeks, we’ll be on the field,” Coughlin said. “We have 89 players who are working, who are at the facility. We will have our entire rookie group, our UFAs, our veteran team, those who we have signed, the college free agents, and the other free agents that we’ve been able to pick up in the offseason. We’re really looking forward to getting on the field and working with these people. Then we’ll have a better feel.

“Everyone wants to know how the rookies look. Well, our position normally is let’s just give the rookies a chance to be rookies. Let’s get them in here and get them involved and have a chance to assess their talents and see exactly how we might be able to utilize these young men on our New York Giant team.”

The Giants will report to the University at Albany for training camp on August 1. They will open the preseason on Aug. 17 vs. the Carolina Panthers and the regular season on Sept. 13 against the Washington Redskins, both at home.

“They tell me that they do this schedule by computer at the NFL office – I’m not too sure that I agree with that,” Coughlin said. “We open with Washington at home again in a 4:15 game. We go on the road for three straight games. The first game, you could have bet on this one, we are opening the new stadium in Dallas with the Cowboys on September 20th. We look forward to that. We have outstanding home games with Arizona, San Diego, and Atlanta. You’re talking about playoff teams that are coming to Giants Stadium, the last year of the present Giants Stadium before we go into the new stadium in 2010. I always feel a little bit nostalgic when we talk about a new facility because the old Giants Stadium has been the home of three world champions.”

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