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
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.