Although much attention is paid to the world class golfers participating in this week's AT&T National Golf Tournament, the day before the pros teed off, the focus was on another group in attendance. Tournament host Tiger Woods paid tribute to the military's wounded warriors on Wednesday, something he has made a point of doing every year since launching the event more than five years ago, Stars and Stripes reports.

Family ties to the military
Honoring America's servicemembers is an issue close to the heart of the world's No. 1-ranked golfer. Woods' father, who passed away in 2006, served in the Army's Special Forces and fought in the Vietnam War. So it should come as no surprise that Woods makes recognizing the sacrifice made by troops a priority. In opening remarks on Wednesday, he touched on how important it is for him to thank those who serve in the military.

"For me to have a golf tournament in the D.C. area, it's only right to be able to honor the great men and women who serve our great country and do what they do," he told the gathered crowd, according to the news source. "It's a thankless act, and they put their lives on the line every time they go down range … We really do owe our freedom to all their hard work and sacrifices … in leaving their families for months at a time. They come back with debilitating injuries and sometimes they don't come back at all."

Vets hit the course
The pre-tournament ceremonies offered some of the veterans in attendance more than just the chance to watch. In fact, some got the chance to play nine holes alongside some of the biggest names in the sport, according to NBC Washington. Among those who got the chance to hit the links was U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Tim Lang. The 28-year-old servicemember has had to have nearly 50 surgeries due to injuries he suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near him. 

Despite losing his right leg from the knee down, Lang has turned into an avid golfer. In fact, the Salute Military Golf Association reached out to him and he has since used the sport to overcome the mental and physical wounds of war, according NBC.