NAME: Shawn Whitmore
BIRTH PLACE: Frankfurt, Germany
REGIMENT: 82nd Airborne Division
INJURY: TBI, PTSD, seizures, spinal injury l3, l4, l5, C5, C6, right pelvis hip femur reconstruction, right and left shoulder reconstructions replacement, right and left bicep replacement, left and right clavical fracture, partial blindness in right eye. I have a total of 22lbs of metal in my body
1. Tell us who you are outside of the Simpson Cup. How would you describe yourself? Outside of golf I am a father of 5 and a husband for 13 years. I have a great support team in my family and my family and I spend most days helping other Veterans. I enjoy working at TaylorMade where I help fellow golfers with their needs and that also involves a lot of Veteran golfers. I spend most of my time with family doing family things like soccer practices, school band, baseball practices, and golf practice.
2. Would you be willing to share with us your experiences in the military, and the events that led to your injury? I loved every minute of the military. I joined to be in the 82nd Airborne and to be a Paratrooper like my father and my grandfather were. I started later in life at the age of 31 but that never stopped me. I was a great soldier and in less than two years of service I was already a Sergeant with a promising career ahead of me. The military was great to my family and I never had to worry about anything while I was gone because of the strong family I had while I was away training or deployed. My first deployment 2007, less than a year in service, I was in Afghanistan on a routine patrol when my vehicle was hit by an IED and I was thrown from it. I was half in and half out of the vehicle at the time because we were dismounting for a patrol. When I came to I had suffered total compression of L3 thru L5 and a piece of shrapnel in the back of my neck next to C5 and C6. My shoulders were completely separated and fractured and my clavicle was crushed. Both biceps had been ripped from my arms and I was partially blind in my right eye. My right hip shattered and compressed into the pelvis and my femur and right knee were severely unrepairable. I was revived 3 times before being MEDEVACED. If it was not for the physical condition I was in prior to my injury I would be dead. I was again injured in 2010 by a 107mm rocket explosion that bruised my brain and again sent home from Afghanistan.
3. How did your involvement with the On Course Foundation begin? In 2013, I was asked to try out for the Simpson Cup by a friend of mine John McAfee and Joe Caley. I first went to an OCF work study and learned about what OCF does and how they help Veterans not only play golf but compete in golf. I also learned that they helped with getting the Veterans into the golf business if they wanted to be. I saw and met many people who, like, me were using golf to get back into the world and recover. Through those friendships I decided to qualify for the Simpson Cup team in Congressional and we all know what happened next.
4. Had you played golf before the On Course Foundation, and the Simpson Cup? Tell us what the game of golf means to you, and how it has helped with your recovery? I played golf before the military and I even was a club pro many years ago before most of these guys were born. I love golf because it is a sport that my father and my kids can play together and for four or five hours they are playing a game and talking and listening without even noticing its life lessons. It is the only sport where we can compete against professionals using the handicap system. Golf allowed me to leave the house and OCF helped surround me with people who experienced what I experienced and by the end of the round you're talking about problems and solutions and how you can help each other. Once I was bitten by the OCF bug and the Simpson Cup I have done nothing but strive to remain a positive role model for myself and the organization to promote what happiness and healing powers it holds. OCF found me at the lowest point of my life and through my friendships and interactions helped me be a better person, which made me a better father and husband.
5. Tell us about your best moment in the Simpson Cup so far? Besides being named Vice-Captain last year with Steve Ogletree knowing that I was Captain this year with another fellow Airborne brother in Paul Skivington, I would have to say that final putt at Congressional to give Team USA our first victory ever in Simpson Cup play and in our nation’s capital. That putt and my release of emotion when I saw the guys on the hill cheering and wanting that first win so bad will forever be burned in my mind as not only my best Simpson Cup memory, but also a win for my recovery that I have finally come full circle, and it was because of OCF and the Simpson Cup giving me that power.
6. Lastly, tell us what it means to you to be leading your team out in the Simpson Cup this year? Without a doubt it is the most humbling and exciting time of my life. I’m excited for the guys who have been there before and for the ones who are experiencing this for the first time. I am also excited that I get to be Captain next to Paul. We have so much in common and we are great together, but true and fair sport always comes first. I have led men into battle for my country using guns and bullets and not all came home. This captaincy is my tribute to my team, those who did not return, and for my country. This is the only way I can fight for my country with my fellow brothers as we did when we were in the military and it’s unbelievable. I have waited for this moment since I started with OCF and the Simpson Cup. To be that person to lead the charge and win, lose, or draw, respond in a true Captain's manner, with grace and respect. Make no mistake - we want to win. But as Steve put it so elegantly last year, camaraderie always wins. I could not have asked for a better group of men to lead and lead them I will. This is the greatest golf honor I have ever received.
Player to look out for this year? Steve Ogletree
Teammate with worst fashion sense? Chris McCoy
Teammate with best sense of humor? Chris Hall
Favorite sports team? Team USA Ryder Cup
Childhood Hero? My Father
Favorite Food? Steak and Eggs
Favorite Drink? Diet Pepsi
Favorite Band? Darius Rucker, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Michael Jackson
Score prediction for Simpson Cup? USA 12 GB 6