Mike McCarthy hosts golf tournament for good cause

GREEN BAY, Wis. — It’s been a Green Bay Packers head coach tradition since 1988 and it’s one that Mike McCarthy takes very seriously. McCarthy, like the four coaches who preceded him, was the face and name of the Packers’ cystic fibrosis celebrity golf outing Monday.

“Our history and our tradition for the Green Bay Packers obviously far exceeds what happens on the football field and this tournament definitely represents that,” McCarthy said prior to teeing off. “It’s a privilege to keep this tournament going, raise the money for cystic fibrosis, a great cause.

“It’s a special event.”

McCarthy was joined on the course by several members of his coaching staff and scouting department, who were all split up and teamed with various local golfers for a best-ball format. Though McCarthy takes a powerful swing at the ball, his group will have to enjoy his company more than his contributions to the team’s score.

“I’m a survivor; I just make sure I have enough balls in my bag to make sure I get through the round,” McCarthy said. “I play with the same group every year . . . and we don’t do very well. It’s going to be a long day.”

With the event taking place one day before the opening of minicamp, no current players were able to participate. But McCarthy has been keeping tabs on his players beyond just what they do on the football field.

“The scouting report I was given here at the Green Bay Country Club is that (fullback) John Kuhn and (offensive tackle) Bryan Bulaga have been here every day in the offseason,” McCarthy said. “I know (kicker) Mason (Crosby) is an excellent golfer. I know a lot of guys have been playing a lot of golf. Hopefully their game has improved. Talking to John out here last week, he said it hasn’t.

“We have some good golfers. I know (quarterback) Aaron (Rodgers) is a good player. I’m sure it’s very competitive.”

This event — which has raised more than $625,000 over the years for cystic fibrosis efforts — is not the only one that McCarthy lends his name and time to. McCarthy, along with his wife, will host a golf invitational next week to benefit American Family Children’s Hospital.

“I think it’s very important to give back,” McCarthy said. “Any time you’re in a position that I hold with being the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, whatever level of achievement that you’re a part of, it is so important to give back to the community because, at the end of the day, it’s about making every place that you’ve touched a better place.

“I definitely feel that is the focus with this event and the ability also to clearly help children at every opportunity.”

McCarthy, who is entering his eighth season as Green Bay’s head coach, posed for pictures with every group that signed up for the tournament. Most of the golfers shook McCarthy’s hand and made brief small talk, but one woman made sure to get a bit closer for her photo-op with the coach.

Just as former Packers head coaches Lindy Infante, Mike Holmgren, Ray Rhodes and Mike Sherman had when hosting the tournament, McCarthy took it all in stride.

“I think any time you can be part of Green Bay Packers history, that statement in itself is definitely something that I always carry with me,” McCarthy said.

For McCarthy, it’s a 24-hour break from his hectic schedule, but he and his coaches will be back at Lambeau Field on Tuesday for the first day of the team’s mandatory minicamp.

“I know there’s a couple elements that I’ll adjust, but the schedule is pretty much the same (as the past two weeks’ offseason training activities),” McCarthy said. “What we’re trying to accomplish on the field is the same. We’ll continue our installation phase. It’s still about getting everybody on our 90-man roster exposed to everything they’re going to be asked to do when training camp starts.”

Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.