CHICAGO (CBS) — St. Charles Country Club was playing host to some of the top sports celebrities in the world – including the most decorated Olympian of all time and one of the game’s top golfers – for the Golf. Give. Gala. on Monday.

The celebrity golf outing started at 10:45 a.m. A total of 123 golfers were teeing off to raise money for charity, but all eyes were on Olympic champion Michael Phelps and PGA No. 3 golfer Jason Day.

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Both said the best ball scramble is a fun way to call attention to charitable causes. For Phelps, it’s keeping kids active, mostly in swimming; for Day, it’s helping families in need in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, through his Brighter Days Foundation.

“We benefit the Stowe Mission Center, which helps families in need,” Day said. “If they need to pay a bill, they’ll help. If they need furniture, they’ll help. If they need food, they’ll help. There’s a food pantry there. There’s a dental clinic there. There’s a pregnancy clinic there.”

Phelps was playing with his 1-year-old son, Boomer.

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“We’re able to help so many people that are in need, and for me that’s what I want to do every day; and especially me, with kids, now being a new dad,” Phelps said. “Being able to help them live the best life that they possibly can is a goal and a dream.”

He might be arguably the best swimmer in the world, but Phelps was surprised at how difficult it was to golf with the pros.

“It’s crazy that it’s that hard to play this game, to hit a stationary white ball,” he said. “It logically shouldn’t be that hard, but somehow we make it so much harder, which is brutal, and that’s what makes it so fun.”

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The charity golf event runs until Monday afternoon. Other athletes and celebrities taking part include Northwestern Wildcats basketball coach Chris Collins, Michigan Wolverines football coach Jim Harbaugh, 101.9 The Mix host Eric Ferguson, former Bulls star Toni Kukoc and Bears tight end Zach Miller.