The Divine 9 Open has been established to celebrate life, golf and a man who loved them both . . .

In the Fall of 1998, Morton Dittus, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. By Easter of the following year, six months after beginning treatments, he was in remission. His hair had grown back and we were talking about playing golf again. Unfortunately, two weeks later things unexpectedly took a turn for the worse and I never got the chance to really say my goodbyes.

If given the chance, I would have thanked my father for his greatest gift of all: teaching me to play golf when I was young and supporting my habit while I obtained an education. Through this wonderful game, my father instilled in me values that remain core to my personal ethos – respect, humility and integrity.

Always a talented athlete, Mort began playing golf in his mid-thirties and maintained a 20 handicap for the rest of his life. He had an uncanny ability to hit his 7 and 9 wood onto the green from almost anywhere. Since his Divine Nine wood brought him so much pleasure, I promised I would bury him with it. When the burial day came unexpectedly, I kept my promise and laid his trusty 9 wood next to him. We prayed that it would keep him safe and in good standing with the golf gods for all eternity.

In loving memory of my father and to help all the people who have been affected by blood cancer, we partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to host the 1st annual Divine 9 Open in 2004.  The goal of the founders was and continues to be raising money to support research and help families who cannot afford medical care. Our hope is that research will ultimately prevent other sons and daughters from losing a loved one too early, and certainly not before they are able to watch them shoot their own age.

Since inception, we have raised over $2.5 million together.

Jeff Dittus,
Founding Chair