Charity at the Core of Celebrity Golf Event
'I didn't even know what autism was. We had to look it up in the dictionary,' the ex-NFL quarterback said Thursday.
Now, Marino is teaming up with sponsors of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship and leaders of the nonprofit group Autism Speaks to help raise money for research into the developmental disorder during the annual golf tourney at Lake Tahoe July 15-17.
'We've successfully harnessed the collective power of the celebrity players and the Lake Tahoe casino community so that charities like Autism Speaks can use the tournament as a platform for fund-raising and publicity,' Jon Miller, senior vice president of NBC Sports, announced Thursday.
In addition to trying to raise $100,000, American Century has donated to Autism Speaks a portion of its commercial time during NBC's broadcast of the second and final rounds of the tournament next week at Edgewood Golf and Country Club in Stateline, Nev.
'We are committed to funding an acceleration of research into the cause of autism in hopes of finding a cure,' said Mark Killen, senior vice president of the investment company based in Kansas City, Mo.
'We sure hope to exceed $100,000 for autism research but just as important is to raise awareness,' he said.
The 16th annual $100,000 tournament at Edgewood Golf and Country Club draws a field of 80 sports hall of famers, actors and other celebrities to the shores of Lake Tahoe, including Michael Jordan, John Elway, Donald Trump, Ray Romano and Charles Barkley.
'The reason I play on the celebrity tour in general is they raise a lot of money for a lot of great causes,' Barkley said Thursday.
Autism is a complex developmental disorder best known for impairing a child's ability to communicate or interact with others.
'Autism truly is reaching epidemic proportions,' said Alison Singer, senior vice president of the New York City-based Autism Speaks.
Today, autism strikes one in 166 children, compared with 20 years ago when it was one in 10,000, she said. It's unclear how much of the apparent surge reflects better diagnosis and how much is a true rise.
'Every 20 minutes, another set of parents receives the devastating news that their child is autistic. As the mother of an autistic child, I know that was the very worst moment of my life,' Singer told reporters on a teleconference call.
'But I also know that this is a time for hope because more researchers are working on autism now than ever before,' she said.
Ten years ago, there only 12 researchers in the field of autism science but now there are more than 400, said Singer, whose group was created four months ago by NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright and his wife, Suzanne, whose grandson is autistic.
'The only thing slowing their critical work is money to fund their research,' Singer said. 'Thanks to the support from people like Dan Marino and Charles Barkley, we can raise the critical funds and also raise awareness.'
Marino's son Michael, now 17, was 2 years old when he was diagnosed with autism.
'I had the resources to help Michael at an early age. He is doing terrific right now,' said Marino, the former Miami Dolphin who will be inducted Aug. 7 into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
'We want to try to make it better for other people and other families so they are not in the same situation,' he said.
'Early intervention is a key component to treating any child with neurological disabilities and specifically dealing with autism.'
The Dan Marino Foundation in Miami has raised about $1 million a year since 1992 for developmental disabilities programs in Florida and elsewhere, including treatment of autism, he said.
'We have a facility that sees about 6,000 kids a month and it's been expanding,' Marino said.
'When I go over there and a mother or dad comes up to me and he says, `Hey, Dan, this facility has really helped and it's made a difference in our family's life and our son or daughter's life,' that's everything you dream of as far as being able to raise funds and make a difference,' he said.
Singer said there's a strong genetic component to autism and that some cases may be trigged by environmental factors.
'We are committed to supporting and funding research that investigates all theories about what causes autism. Right now there's no clear understanding, but we are looking to cast a wide net in terms of autism research.'
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change
Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.
David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.
“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.
Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.
“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”
Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.
The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.
Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.
Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:
1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.
2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.
While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”
PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes
The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:
The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.
We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.
Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open
JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.
The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.
Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.
''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''
Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 5: Dec. 12
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18