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Joint Base Andrews Features

NEWS | June 30, 2008

Andrews golfer gets selected to play by Tiger Woods

By Staff Sgt. Alex Saltekoff Capital Flyer editor

At a time when Americans are planning vacations and barbecues, one Andrews sergeant is planning to play golf. 

The Tiger Woods Foundation selected Senior Master Sgt. Kirk Kessler, 316th Civil Engineer Squadron, to play in the 2nd Annual AT&T National golf tournament July 2 at the Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Md. 

Sergeant Kessler was the only military member selected to play in the tournament. "I was truly amazed, shocked, at first, and very honored after it sunk in, to be selected," he said. 

Sergeant Kessler has been in civil engineering in the Air Force for 22 years. He has spent 10 of those years on Andrews. "I am a horizontal craftsman by trade," he said "but I am currently the superintendent of CES Operations Flight." 

He's been playing golf most of his life, but more seriously since 1995. He describes golf not as a sport, but an obsession. 

Golf can be frustrating for some, especially when first starting out. Sergeant Kessler said once he lost his 3 wood on a tee off. The club flew 30 yards and landed in a tree. It is fun, but the challenge of getting better and improving is very addictive, he said. 

"I compare it to wrestling," said Sergeant Kessler. "You cannot blame anyone for your failures and golf is the same way. It is you, the club, and ball. When you hit a great shot, it is a great feeling to know you did it on your own." 

With as much experience playing golf that he's had, Sergeant Kessler is still a little nervous. He has played in tournaments and been a part of three base championship intramural teams, but has never been on a "stage" like this in the spotlight. 

His friends and relatives "are very excited and think it's a chance of a lifetime," said Sergeant Kessler. "First, I am honored that I was selected to represent the Air Force. Second, very excited and privileged to get to do something not too many people actually do." 

Mr. Woods recently won the U.S. Open June 15, but reinjured his knee during the game. Tuesday he underwent successful knee reconstructive surgery which will cause him to miss the rest of the season. 

Even though Mr. Woods won't be able to play, 120 of the world's best golfers are expected to play, including defending champion KJ Choi, Rocco Mediate, Anthony Kim, Stuart Appleby, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, J.B. Holmes, Ryuji Imada, Paul Goydos, Bart Bryant, Jeff Quinney, Daniel Chopra, D.J. Trahan, Fred Funk and Charles Howell III. 

According to the AT&T National website, "this commemorative occasion will pay tribute to the many courageous men and women serving in our Armed Forces. Not the least of whom is Tiger's father, the late Earl Woods, a man with extensive military and Special Forces experience." 

At press time, it still had not been determined who Sergeant Kessler would be paired with for the day.