Baird puts missing children in spotlight


WHEN Briny Baird hit a three-under-par 67 to move into contention in the third round of the US PGA Championship on Saturday, it put the spotlight on the unheralded American and the unknown Nathalia Munoz. 

Baird, still hunting his first PGA Tour win, does not particularly care if people spot him but would be pleased if someone recognised the picture of Nathalia taped to the side of his golf bag. 

Each tournament Baird, 31, attaches the picture of a missing child from the local area to his bag and this week it is 10-year-old Nathalia. 

“It (the pictures) have been on there since Hilton Head, that is 15, 18 events or so,” Baird told reporters after finishing on one-over-par 211, five strokes behind joint leaders Shaun Micheel and Chad Campbell. 

“They did find the girl that was on that bag (at Hilton Head). It was completely unrelated to the golf bag but they did find the girl. 

“It was encouraging to know that someone I carried for a week was found, even though it was completely unrelated to the golf bag.” 

Baird, who became a father for the first time five months ago, was approached by one of his sponsors earlier this season with the idea. 

In addition, the CanonKids Program receives US$100 for every birdie Baird cards this season, a total that is already up close to US$32,000. 

“It was obviously really easy for me to answer,” said Baird. “I think anyone with a heartbeat would have said 'yes' to an idea like that.” 

Mistakes on the golf course no longer seem as important when he looks over and sees a picture of a missing child. 

Baird, though, had few mistakes to deal with in a solid third round that yielded birdies on five, nine, 14 and 16, dropping his only shot of the day on 17. 

“Sometimes you feel like we get so wrapped up in our little world of golf and so wrapped up in our round,” said Baird.  

“When things are going bad you feel like your world is just crumbling around you. 

“Suddenly you look over and you're like, 'holy cow, this little girl is missing'. 

“There's a mom and a dad that don't have their daughter or son. It definitely puts things in perspective. 

“But sometimes it works the other way as well, I look over and it's kind of sad.” – Reuters 

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