by: Jeff Dore Updated:
ATLANTA - Professional golf's biggest tournament, the Tour Championship by Coca Cola, began today at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club.
As part of military appreciation day, a lucky soldier and his wife got almost as big a thrill as winning the tournament itself.
The drama on the fairway was actually pretty tame compared to what happened before the golf balls started flying. Before the fans in the stands saw Tiger Woods take a tee, the tournament honored military service members.
A color guard presented flags, parachutists came down and speakers gave praise.
“It's impossible for us to adequately convey our sincere appreciation and support for all they do for us every day,” said tournament chairman, Rob Johnson.
The Military Warrior Support Foundation gave a house to wounded infantryman Justin Foley and his wife.
They knew it was coming, but another wounded soldier, Sgt. Marty Brownlee, thought he was just a backdrop to the ceremony.
A suicide bomber in Afghanistan filled him with shrapnel from ankle to skull.
“It was a lot of shrapnel. Nothing that didn't heal. Some good scars, but it all healed,” Marty said.
Two-and-a-half years after that awful shock, Marty and his wife, Autumn, got a great one.
“One hundred percent mortgage-free home to army platoon sergeant, purple heart recipient and American hero, Marty Brownlee, his wife Autumn and his five children,” the announcer said.
They wore their warriors' face, but Autumn couldn't resist an “awe shucks” nudge.
“Shocked, shaken really, ha ha,” Autumn said. “Very emotional, hard to hold back some of it. Pretty rough, I mean, it was awesome,” Marty said.
The house in Macon is 2,400 square feet and comes with a giant ceremonial key.
If you get a house big enough to handle that key, that's going to be a big house. “Going to be a lot of cleaning. Good thing we have five teenagers,” Marty said.
Sgt. Brownlee will continue his life of service as a police officer in McDonough.