Leukemia Survivor Has Memorable Week

By Associated PressApril 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
Stanford International Pro-AmAVENTURA, Fla. -- Beth Bader missed the cut at this weeks Stanford International Pro-Am, meaning she should have been long gone by Saturday morning.
 
Instead, she was on the course at 7:40 a.m., beginning another 18 holes' and, as her teary eyes showed, for a very good reason.
 
Baders partner in the Pro-Am was Aaron Theobald, a 23-year-old bartender from Bloomington, Ill. whom shed never met before this weeks play began.
 
They were a perfect pairing. Hes a leukemia survivor. She raises money for cancer research, after losing her mother to the disease in 2004. Earlier this year, Bader organized the first Susan L. Bader Golf Classic, raising $50,000.
 
So for Bader, there couldnt have been a better reason to play Saturday, even though she wasnt making a cent.
 
Hearing Aarons story, how hes battled what hes battled at such a young age, it obviously touched me and it still touches me, Bader said, crying softly as she spoke minutes after Theobald tapped in for birdie on their final hole. It was a pleasure playing with him. Today was about Aaron and we came through. It was a great day.
 
A really great day, as it turned out.
 
The Bader-Theobald team shot 64 Saturday in the best-ball handicap format, finishing the tournament 25 under.
 
He played spectacular, Bader said.
 
He has a spectacular story as well.
 
Theobald was a 16-year-old high school baseball player when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells and the most common form of leukemia found in children. More than 5,000 people are diagnosed annually with ALL, which can worsen quickly if not treated properly.
 
He spent eight weeks at St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., underwent many rounds of chemotherapy and endured several spinal taps. He was too weak for school at times, and his right hip has already been replaced twice.
 
A few days ago, the surgeon who replaced his hip gave him a call, saying they needed to talk. Theobald instantly got scared, wondering if a bad spot had popped up on an X-ray or if another surgery was awaiting him.
 
When they called me back, I asked them what was going on, Theobald said. And they told me, You know, its nothing serious. We just had an opening for the Pro-Am down in Miami and wanted to see if you wanted to play.
 
Now thats the kind of call anyone wouldnt mind getting from a doctor.
 
Theobald happily accepted, even though the trip to Turnberry Isle meant abandoning plans to visit his aunt, uncle and grandparents in Houston this weekend.
 
They understood, said Theobald, who carries a 10 handicap.
 
On their final hole Saturday, Theobald pushed a 3-wood off to the right, but wound up in a perfect spot'175 yards from the pin, in the right place to attack the par-5.
 
He was debating whether to go for the green in two. Bader told him, This is your time.
 
His 6-iron landed 4 feet from the cup, and the two-putt birdie left them both thrilled.
 
It was my job to kind of keep him cool and relaxed, Bader said. He did a great job.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

    The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:

    Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)

    What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.

    Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.

    Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.

    Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.

    Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.

    Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

    He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

    Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

    Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

    Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

    Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

    "I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

    The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

    Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

    "I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

    McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

    By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

    When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

    Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

    Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

    While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

    Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.