Players will fly to memorial for tour player Chris Smith's wife

Milwaukee, Wis.—At least a dozen PGA Tour players won’t be on site Tuesday at the U.S. Bank Championship here at Brown Deer. They’ll be boarding a plane to attend a memorial service in Peru, Ind., for the wife of tour player Chris Smith, who was killed last month in a car accident.A dozen players have signed up for the flight so far, plus two spouses, and more are expected. Among those attending will be Brett Quigley, who qualified for this week’s British Open at Turnberry by virtue of his second-place finish Sunday at the John Deere Classic. Because of the memorial service, Quigley opted to take a pass on going to Scotland and play instead at Brown Deer. Quigley told the Associated Press, “My heart’s not into playing the British.”Beth Smith was a passenger in a car with her two children, Abigale and Cameron, when it collided head-on with a bus carrying the London Silverbacks, a Canadian semi-pro football team, near Fort Wayne, Ind.  Police said Abigale was at the wheel of the Smiths’ sport-utility vehicle when it crossed the I-69 median and collided with the bus.  The memorial service had been delayed while the Smith children recover from injuries.    The plane for the day-trip flight belongs to Sentient, the official private jet provider of the PGA Tour, and the cost of the flight is being underwritten by U.S. Bank Championship officials, although each passenger is being asked to pay $500 to defray expenses.The flight will leave early Tuesday morning from Milwaukee and arrive in Peru for the service, followed by a reception at a golf course owned by the Smith family. The flight will return to Milwaukee later that evening.During last week's John Deere Classic, a flight carried a number of tour players to a visitation service for the father of tour player Jonathan Byrd, who lost a long battle with brain cancer.

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by Kevin Cunningham