Bobby Gates got lucky. His family’s home, about 30 miles north of downtown Houston, sits 300 yards above a bayou, leaving them undamaged by Hurricane Harvey, but with a unique vantage point of its destruction.
Coming off a few years of injuries, Gates bounced between the PGA and Web.com tours this season, which left him ineligible for either this week. So rather than competing like so many of his fellow Houston-area professionals, he’s been at home, witnessing the storm firsthand and doing anything he can in the aftermath.
Earlier this week, he’d heard about some family friends, including an 85-year-old grandmother, who were stranded in their home. He alerted the authorities, who rescued them, then he and his family put them up for the night. On Tuesday, he helped gut a house, cutting out drywall and ripping out cabinets. On Wednesday, he checked in on other friends who have flood damage.
“It’s just heartbreaking to see so many people whose lives are ruined from it,” Gates said. “It’ll be months or years until the city’s infrastructure comes back and we’re back to some kind of normalcy.”
Unlike Gates, Chris Stroud is playing this week. As one of the top-100 on the PGA Tour’s points list, he’s here at the Dell Technologies Championship, playing in the second FedEx Cup playoff event.
His heart and thoughts, though, are decidedly back home.
A resident of Spring, Texas, just north of Houston’s downtown, his house has become a refuge for those who need shelter in the wake of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.
“We had 20 people come to my house, including kids,” Stroud said during a Wednesday news conference. “They have been there since last Friday. They made a ton of food. I have a generator. That’s really the main reason why they came to the house — just because we were set up for this type of thing. Not thinking we would ever use it like this, but obviously it came in handy.”
During that news conference, Stroud announced that he’s pledged $10,000 and 10 percent of this week’s winnings to the relief efforts. That number was matched by the Barracuda Championship, which he won earlier this month. The PGA Tour has donated $250,000. Dell, this week’s title sponsor that is based in Texas, doubled that total.