SEATTLE -- Mariners radio play-by-play announcer Rick Rizzs doesn't get out on the golf course much anymore. In fact, he only gets a chance to play once every year.But he makes that one round worthwhile.Rizzs participated in the 32nd annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis golf tournament on Monday at Broadmoor
SEATTLE -- Mariners radio play-by-play announcer Rick Rizzs doesn't get out on the golf course much anymore. In fact, he only gets a chance to play once every year.
But he makes that one round worthwhile.
Rizzs participated in the 32nd annual Mariners Care Cystic Fibrosis golf tournament on Monday at Broadmoor Golf Club, along with several other members of the organization.
Rizzs, who has played every year since the event was introduced in 1986 by former Mariners pitcher Matt Young, says he's always amazed at the impact it makes and how far the event has come.
"People put their hearts and passion and soul into this because they know what it's all about," Rizzs said.
Since it was established 32 years ago, the tournament raised over $5.7 million prior to Monday's event in partnership with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"The foundation has been very fortunate in that the last few years we've helped develop a drug that today, almost 60 percent of our population is able to take and not have the effects of CF," Chad Moore, the national board member of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation said. "What this tournament does is lets people know what we're doing."
More than 30,000 people in the United States and 70,000 worldwide live with cystic fibrosis. Doctors diagnose about 1,000 new cases every year.
But there has been considerable progress in medication and treatment since Rizzs' first year playing the the tournament. In the tournament's inaugural year, the life expectancy of a person with CF was 14 years. Now it is up to 40 years.
Mariners reliever Steve Cishek, this year's tournament host and the co-host last year, lost a friend to CF when he was in the fifth grade. Being involved with the foundation and the tournament mean a lot to him.
"We're out here having fun playing golf, but the true reason we are out here is to take time out of our days, some of us to be away from our families, to come out and be able to support the foundation," Cishek said.
"Anytime we can come out and support a charity like this, we should jump at it," Cishek said. "We all love golf, so there's really no excuse not to come out and enjoy this wonderful day out in Washington and be able to do something great for some people that deserve it."
Cishek said he was extra thankful for his accompanying teammates, Taylor Motter and Marc Rzepczynski, for coming to the event on their first off-day after playing 20 consecutive games. Manager Scott Servais, chairman John Stanton and president Kevin Mather were also in attendance.
"The Mariners just played 20 days in a row, but they're out here today supporting this great event because they know what it means," Rizzs said. "These kids who have cystic fibrosis, they're going to get better, they're going to have a great quality of life and in the process, we're going to find a cure for it and eliminate this disease because we've come so far in the last 32 years, but it's not over yet. We still have a ways to go, but we're going to get there because of this great event. Everyone is going to have fun today, but the bottom line is we're going to find a cure for CF."
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle.