Swinging for the fences at Wrigley

September, 13, 2011

LEMONT, Ill. -- Ernie Banks was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame seven years before Dustin Johnson was even born, but the two shared a bond this week.

Hitting golf balls, of all things, at Wrigley Field.

Banks, 80, who played his entire career for the Chicago Cubs (and never once saw the postseason) took part in a charity event with BMW Championship defending champion Johnson on Monday with the hopes of earning $100,000 for the Evans Scholarship Foundation, the tournament's beneficiary.

Johnson, 26, was born 13 years after Banks retired with 512 home runs. An avid golfer, Banks left the game after the 1971 season and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977. Johnson was making his first visit to Wrigley.

"I'd never done something like this before,'' Johnson said. "And to do it with Mr. Cub is pretty special. It was pretty cool to meet him."

Both players took two swings from a tee-box platform set up in the right-field bleachers, with a bulls-eye green created in left field, leaving them with a 140-yard shot. Johnson hit his shots to 25 feet, while Banks ended up 30 feet away. No $100,000 donation, but $10,000 as a consolation prize.

It was the first time any kind of golf event was staged at the iconic baseball venue since 1950, when Sam Snead hit shots from home plate off the center field scoreboard. According to local legend, he hit a 4-iron shot into the scoreboard and a 2-iron over it.

Last year, Johnson came from three strokes back in the final round to win the BMW, his fourth PGA Tour title. He added a fifth three weeks ago at the Barclays and is second in the FedEx Cup playoff standings to Webb Simpson.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

Bob Harig | email

ESPN Senior Writer




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