- The Washington Times - Monday, May 13, 2002

Tony "Cart-Man" Ballard, who missed a golf tournament last Mother's Day to stand beside his mother's hospital bed, golfed his 38th game in Pennsylvania yesterday on his fund-raising quest to play 48 states in 48 days.
Mr. Ballard, 41, whose mother has been diagnosed with cancer, began playing one course each day early last month to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
After golfing his way down the East Coast, through the South and parts of the Midwest with his souped-up golf cart, he is now well past the halfway mark.
"This is a lot bigger than I ever anticipated," said Mr. Ballard from a Best Western Hotel in Cheny, Wash., where he played on April 30.
The media have embraced Mr. Ballard since day one, when WJLA-TV (Channel 7) and several radio crews covered his first swings.
Radio disc jockeys are interviewing him on morning talk shows, news crews routinely cover his rounds, and photographers are shooting his customized "low rider" golf cart.
The metallic-blue cart that Mr. Ballard tows behind his Chevrolet Tahoe has silver stripes, a leather interior, a 40-watt stereo system, exterior running lights and a color TV.
WTOP-AM Radio, a local radio station, updates listeners every Wednesday on Mr. Ballard's rounds. The station's Web site has a link to the golfer's own site (www.dabstuff.com), where he posts photos and blurbs.
Mr. Ballard, a resident of Falls Church, scored an 86 after sinking a 90-foot putt on the 18th hole on his first round on Penderbrook Golf Club in Fairfax on April 5. His mother rode with him that day for 13 holes.
From Virginia, he zigzagged south to Florida's Panhandle, headed west and then north along the West Coast.
After crossing the Great Divide several times and passing through the continental time zones, he is finally back east. En route to Maine, he will play in New York tomorrow, then circle back through New England to Maryland.
Mr. Ballard has draped his arm around a Colorado waitress, posed with a pretty Texan bartender, lounged in South Carolina rocking chairs and met his daughter in Mississippi. He has let police and press members sit in his golf cart and, of course, has kept in touch with his mother.
"I don't even set my clock. I just roll into the hotel and say, 'Wake me up at 5,'" he said. Averaging five or six hours of sleep each night, he pulls over for 20 minutes whenever he gets tired.
"The only thing that's going to stop me is Mother Nature or a freak accident," Mr. Ballard said before he began the 11,000-mile journey.
Mother Nature hasn't stopped him, but she hasn't made it easy either. He has had fun on his journey, but he has had to play in weather that usually would keep him far from his clubs.
In West Virginia, he was the only player on snow-covered Lewisburg Elks Country Club golf course on April 6. He played through pouring rain in Pensacola, Fla., on April 13 and in 105-degree heat in Needles, Calif., on April 24, when he scored his worst game 90.
"Tuesday was not a great day for golf in western North Carolina," said an article about Mr. Ballard in the Citizen-Times of Asheville, N.C., where he played on April 9. "And Saturday in West Virginia, with snow on the greens, was even worse. But there was one man out on the golf course and he brought his custom-made golf cart."
Local newspapers covering his quest have been sending copies to his mother in Falls Church.
"They are all basically the same article, but I ask them to send a copy of the whole paper so she gets to see what's going on in each town," Mr. Ballard said.
His mother, Pat Ballard, 62, was diagnosed with brain cancer last May and had the tumor removed on Mother's Day. Although the brain tumor is gone, the cancer has spread to her lungs.
Mr. Ballard will write a check to the American Cancer Society on June 16 with the money he has been receiving from donations. Though he does not yet know how much he has raised, he said his mother has been depositing donations every day.
To make a donation, send a check to the Tour of the Lower Forty-Eight, P.O. Box 2638, Falls Church, VA 22042.
Mr. Ballard will play the last round May 22 on Maryland's Worthington Manor Golf Club in Urbana.


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