Gregorys Inspirational Streak Still Alive

By Associated PressMarch 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
MIAMI -- The most meaningful streak in golf did not end at Doral.
 
D.J. Gregory is going to another PGA TOUR event this week in New Orleans. He will watch another player and tell another story. He will walk every hole of every round at the Zurich Classic, just as he has done the previous 12 tournaments, and will do the next 24 tournaments until his amazing journey ends at the Tour Championship.
 
Gregory carries a handicap of 36, the highest possible.
 
He also carries a cane.
 
Gregory, 30, has cerebral palsy, which he refers to more as an inconvenience than an ailment. He was given little hope of ever walking across the living room, much less up the 18th fairway at Riviera.
 
I can do everything anyone else can do, he said. Just a little slower.
 
To prove his point, and to inspire others with a physical handicap, Gregory wants to walk every hole on the PGA TOUR this year. He picks one player to follow at every tournament and writes a blog for the PGA TOUR that is more about players than his own struggles. Gregory already has walked more that 250 miles, from the mountainous terrain of Kapalua to the high desert of Arizona.
 
Its pretty incredible, said Heath Slocum, whom Gregory followed for 72 holes over five days at Doral.
 
Gregory was born 10 weeks premature. When oxygen was pumped into his collapsed lungs, the pressure caused blood vessels to burst in his legs, and they grew so curved that his feet pointed out at a 90-degree angle.
 
Anyone could see this child was different because of his legs.
 
His father knew he was different because of his heart.
 
He had to drag himself around the house on his arms, Don Gregory said from their home in Savannah, Ga. Anywhere he wanted to get to, he would go. He wouldnt stop and cry, and he wouldnt ask for help.
 
Doctors wanted to put him in a wheelchair, but his father thought that would crush the boys spirit. What followed was a series of operations in which his legs were cut and twisted so his feet would point in the right direction.
 
Gregory did nothing in a hurry. He started out on a walker with four wheels, then two wheels. He graduated to two canes, and now uses a single cane to steady himself. Each step brings a mixture of labor and joy. Its almost as if he wills himself forward, his legs stiff, upper body rocking from side to side.
 
I dont really walk, he said. I like to call it a wobble. As youve probably noticed, I dont walk in straight lines. I just cant do it.
 
But he hasnt missed a shot.
 
Gregory not only has logged his miles on the golf course, but how often he falls'13 times through Doral. He was flat on his face on the curb at Pebble Beach, drawing gasps from spectators who took pity on him until Gregory got up, dusted himself off, and kept wobbling along with a smile on his face.
 
I laugh at myself every time, he said. The worst was at the Bob Hope. I tripped over some TV cables twice in 30 seconds.
 
His father joins him at most tournaments, although Gregory has no shortage of friends to fill in. He still brags about having eight women as roommates at Springfield (Mass.) College'four of them on the basketball team. He was the teams administrative assistant.
 
How he even got to college is another amazing chapter on determination.
 
His father graduated from Springfield and is on the board of trustees. He was going through the mail at dinner one night when he came across an envelope from the college addressed to Don Gregory.
 
My son goes by D.J., the father said. It was an application for admission, and I said, Why would they send this to me?
 
D.J. took the letter and filled out the application. Six years later, he had bachelors and masters degrees in sports management.
 
Gregory was 12 when his father took him to the 1990 Greater Greensboro Open, where Steve Elkington won for the first time on the PGA TOUR. Gregory was trying to fill his hat with autographs when CBS Sports analyst Ken Venturi came by in a cart, signed his cap and invited him to join Jim Nantz in the tower.
 
I just took a liking to him, Venturi said.
 
The relationships formed that afternoon went a long way.
 
Gregory began going to a half-dozen tour events each year, which led him to dream of walking every hole of every tournament. He drew up a business plan and e-mailed it to Nantz, who made sure it got to PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem. The tour signed off on the idea and invited Gregory to two straight playoff events last year as a trial run, wanting to make sure he had the stamina.
 
Gregory hopes to write a book next year about places he went and people he met. All these players have a great story to tell, Gregory said, overlooking the fact that he does, too. He now works with United Cerebral Palsy to help raise awareness.
 
The reaction is more than I ever would have guessed, he said.
 
Slocum finished last among 77 players at the CA Championship, so there wasnt much of a gallery. Gregory had a good view, and so did Slocum. He couldnt help but notice the number of fans who approached Gregory to shake his hand, and he heard one woman tell Gregory about her son coping with cerebral palsy.
 
He makes a bad day a lot easier to swallow, Slocum said. Its pretty inspiring.
 
Because of the rain delays, Slocum finished in the last group on the ninth hole of the Blue Monster. That meant Gregorys week ended about the same time Tiger Woods walked off the 18th green with a par, ending a winning streak that had captivated golf for six months.
 
By years end, Gregorys streak might prove far more impressive.
 
Related Links:
  • Video: D.J. Gregory Interview
  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.