Isaiah Tesori is on a road trip and hes in demand.
Were getting a lot of requests from the wives, said Isaiahs father, Paul Tesori, who will take his usual spot as Webb Simpsons caddie as the PGA Tour makes its annual stop in Charlotte for this weeks Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club. They want to see the baby boy.
Isaiah is the infant son of Tesori and his wife, Michelle. Born in January with severe health issues, Isaiah battled back, recovered quickly and helped his parents discover a world of support and understanding they might not have known was there.
This is a dog-eat-dog and very individual sport, Tesori said. But its been great to see the camaraderie, the love and the closeness that we really have out here. Weve found out about that first-hand.
Isaiah was born Jan. 4 in Jacksonville, Fla. But within the first three minutes of his arrival, Isaiah developed several life-threatening complications, including a seizure, swelling and leaking in his brain and a heart-valve issue.
Isaiah was quickly transported to a neonatal intensive care unit at Jacksonvilles Wolfson Childrens Hospital, where his condition soon stabilized. He was out of danger and could go home.
For all that to go away to be erased was miraculous, Tesori said.
Doctors also told Paul and Michelle that Isaiah had Down syndrome.
Didnt matter, Paul Tesori said. We had a healthy baby. We threw a healthy-baby party. I dont want to sound desensitized to what Down syndrome can mean, but there are so many happy, joyous families with kids who have Down syndrome. We are one of them now. There will be some bumps in the road, but well be ready for whatever comes.
Support for Isaiah flowed in from around the golf world and beyond. In 2009, Paul and Michelle founded the Tesori Family Foundation, which provides grants and donations to community-based organizations for under-privileged kids. Donations to the foundation, which now includes a Team Isaiah section that financially aids Wolfson Childrens Hospital and, soon, the Special Olympics, have come from tournaments, sponsors, players and caddies.
The Christian rock band Tenth Avenue North holds an annual charity golf tournament in Cary each August that is co-hosted by the Tesori foundation and former Duke golfer and friend Kevin Streelman.
Everybody making donations in (Isaiahs) name, Tesori said. It doesnt end.
Then there was the emotional support they felt, particularly from Tesoris fellow caddies, including Ted Scott, and players such as Bubba Watson (and his wife, Angie), Streelman, Gary Woodland, Keegan Bradley, Jonathan Byrd and Brandt Snedeker.
The Charlotte tournament is Isaiahs third. Hes also been to the Valspar Championship near Tampa, Fla., and the Masters. At Augusta, he was decked out in a white caddies suit while Simpson played in the par-3 tournament the Wednesday before the Masters.
The flight to Charlotte was Isaiahs first.
Hes such a great traveler, but I feel like were cheating a little bit, Tesori said. When people saw us getting on the plane with this little baby, they probably, thought, Oh, this is going to be not good. But one personality trait of kids who have Down syndrome is they dont cry much. He slept the whole way.
Tesori said he doesnt expect Isaiah to make many more trips this season.
Hes a trouper, Tesori said. Well go to Augusta and Charlotte every year. Hes doing well, health-wise, and gets around with us just fine.
Simpson and Tesoris relationship is close personally and professionally. They had been working together for just one year when Simpson won the 2012 U.S. Open at San Franciscos Olympic Club.
So Simpson has keenly felt and observed what Paul and Michelle are going through.
Ive seen people get out of their comfort zones and be vulnerable and talk about that theyve been praying for Paul or theyve been thinking about Isaiah, said Simpson, who has two young children with his wife, Dowd. To see that and be part of that has been neat for me. Im just thankful that I got to walk through that with him.
Tesori and Simpson always look forward to the Wells Fargo tournament. Simpson now lives in Charlotte, which is Dowds hometown. As they do each year, Paul and Michelle and now Isaiah are staying with Dowds parents. A year ago, they learned Michelle was pregnant with Isaiah during the Wells Fargo tournament.
So this week holds a lot of meaning to us, Tesori said.
Isaiah will also turn 4 months old on Sunday, the same day of the Wells Fargo championship round.
Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14
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