GHS junior goes inside ropes with PGA players

January 25, 2014


Briggs Berry hopes to play a lot of golf in his lifetime.

And if an upcoming surgery is successful, it could be a long life for the Granbury High junior.

But before his scheduled bone marrow transplant in late February, Berry got a glimpse of life on the PGA Tour when he played a round with PGA member and former TCU Horned Frog J.J. Henry.

Berry and Henry played on the Grand Del Mar golf course in San Diego Tuesday. They were joined by country-western singer Wade Bowen.

“It was awesome,” said Berry. “We had a blast, just chilling and hanging out with Wade.”

Berry and Henry connected when Henry recently heard about Berry’s immune deficiency condition. News of Berry became widespread following 105.3 FM radio hosts Ben and Skin discussing it on the air and tweeting Berry.

Soon, sports celebrities from all around the Metroplex began contacting Berry. The list includes Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Mavs great Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Cowboys Demarcus Ware and Dez Bryant, and former Texas Ranger/current Boston Red Sox Mike Napoli.

And, of course, Henry.

Henry originally wanted to play a round with Berry locally, but because of his schedule and the upcoming surgery on Feb. 27, he was unable to do so. Then came the idea of having Berry join him in San Diego this week before the Farmer’s Insurance Open at the legendary Torrey Pines course.

“We figured if we can’t get J.J. to Briggs, we’ll get Briggs to J.J.,” said Laura Moses, spokeswoman for the Henry House Foundation.

“J.J.’s a father, so this is very special to him also.”

Berry held his own during the round, shooting a 78, he said.

“The course was tight. It played hard,” said Berry.

Berry had an eagle 3 on the par-5 16th hole.

While he did not get to play Torrey Pines, he did get to carry a golf bag and walk with Henry and other pros during the Wednesday Pro-Am.

“This has been great. They are great people reaching out,” said Berry.

“Don’t forget my good man, Double-D,” he added with a smile as he motioned to Henry’s caddy Don Donatello.

During the week, Berry met numerous big-name celebrities both on and off the PGA Tour, including Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and another country-western star, Randy Rogers.

Berry helped the Granbury Pirates reach the State Golf Tournament last spring.

Berry had an older brother, Tyler Riale, who passed away from the same condition in 2011.

“Briggs is so brave and courageous and strong, and he’s just like his brother, and his brother would be proud,” his mother DeAnna Berry was quoted as saying in a recent TV interview.

Berry will soon undergo chemotherapy in preparation for the transplant.

“I can’t wait,” he said in anticipation of the surgery. “It can’t come fast enough.”

An account has been established at all branches of First National Bank to help Briggs and his family. It’s under Briggs Berry Benefit.

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