Demsey Back on TOUR After Brain Tumor

By Associated PressDecember 3, 2007, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)WINTER GARDEN, Fla. -- After a 10-year absence and two operations to remove a brain tumor the size of a golf ball, Todd Demsey finally made it back to the PGA TOUR on Monday with perhaps the most significant round of his career.
 
Demsey, a former NCAA champion and amateur teammate of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, closed with an 8-under 64 in the sixth and final round of Q-school to earn one of 26 full-exempt cards next year in the big leagues.
 
Frank Lickliter, who opened with consecutive 62s, completed a wire-to-wire week at Orange County National and finished as the medalist at 29-under 403. He won by four shots over Brett Rumford of Australia.
 
But the day belonged to Demsey, 35, who played bogey-free on the Crooked Cat course and was carried along by an amazing calm.
 
'I was just playing without any fear today,' Demsey said. 'It feels good to be calm under the most stressful situations. I really was fine with whatever happened. I came here to get my card, but it's not life or death. I have things in perspective.'
 
Demsey's only other year on the PGA TOUR was in 1997, when he made the cut in only nine of 27 events as a rookie. Back injuries slowed his career on the Nationwide Tour, but the real jolt came in 2002 when he felt constant pressure in his left sinus. At the end of the year, doctors found a tumor behind his left sinus going into his brain.
 
It took two operations to remove the tumor, but Demsey got another scare earlier this year when he discovered the tumor has returned. Doctors believe it is benign, and he will have an MRI next week to decide whether to treat it with radiation.
 
'They don't think it's going to be too much recovery time, probably just a week or so,' Demsey said. 'Hopefully, I can get it done in the next week or two.'
 
He doesn't have a lot of time, and for that he was thrilled.
 
Demsey was at 19-under 413 and finished eighth at Q-school, which means he likely will start his year at the Sony Open in Honolulu, just five weeks away.
 
Full-exempt cards were awarded to the top 25 and ties, and Demsey was in a tie for 31st starting the final round. He birdied his first hole and kept right on going, and when his 30-foot birdie putt on the 14th found the bottom of the cup, he knew he was close. Then came his seventh birdie of the day, on the 16th, and Demsey knew he was a lock.
 
The cutoff for cards came at 14-under 418.
 
Unlike previous years, there weren't too many horror stories, although Greg Chalmers and Miguel Angel Carballo each bogeyed the 18th hole and missed a card by one shot. John Merrick and Bob Sowards each birdied the final hole to earn their cards.
 
Chalmers and Carballo were among 53 players who earned cards on the Nationwide Tour.
 
Among those who left Q-school with no status was Colt Knost, the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links Amateur champion. He turned down his automatic invitation to the Masters by turning pro, but was two shots shy of earning Nationwide status.
 
Casey Wittenberg, low amateur in the 2004 Masters, also missed Nationwide status by one shot.
 
Also failing to earn cards were former Ryder Cup players Chris Riley and Steve Pate, and Ted Purdy, who was 125th on PGA TOUR money list going into the final event of the year and missed the cut at Disney.
 
A couple of past champions on the PGA TOUR earned their cards by finishing in the top 25, including Duffy Waldorf, who closed with a 66, and Carlos Franco of Paraguay, who shot 70.
 
Not many felt quite as satisfied as Demsey, especially considering his long road back.
 
Demsey won the NCAA title at Arizona State in 1993, the year after Mickelson graduated. He was teammates with Woods at the World Amateur Team Championship in 1994, and played alongside Justin Leonard in the Walker Cup a year earlier.
 
He will join them again on the PGA TOUR, and he said he won't take a tour card for granted.
 
'When I got my card the first time when I was 24, I just thought it was easy,' Demsey said. 'I was pretty naive. Now I appreciate it more, and hopefully, I'll be better prepared.'
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA TOUR Q-School
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    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.