Teen Fulfilling a Dream Raising Awareness

By Associated PressApril 26, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Ginn OpenREUNION, Fla. -- After Kelly Jo Dowd was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in four years last May, she started setting aside days to spend with her 13-year-old daughter, Dakoda.
 
Sometimes they shop. Sometimes they get manicures and pedicures. Sometimes they just hang out and listen to music. Regardless of the mother/daughter day agenda, they try to create a lasting memory.
 
Theres a good chance the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open will provide an experience even more special for them.
 
Dakoda Dowd received a sponsors exemption to play in the event near Orlando, fulfilling her mothers dying wish to see her little girl compete against the worlds best. She will tee off Thursday in the opening round. (See Dakoda's Scorecard)
 
I dont even know how to explain it, Kelly Jo said Wednesday. This is a dream come true for me, and if youve ever had a dream come true for you, you know its very intense emotions that go along with it. I know that Ill break down. There will be tears of joy and tears of happiness.
 
Dakowda Dowd
Dakoda Dowd is paired with Kate Golden and Tracy Hanson in the first two rounds this week.
Dakoda has spent the last six months preparing for the event. She played the course several times and handled numerous interviews, all in hopes of making this a defining moment for her and her cancer-stricken mother.
 
Six months turned into like six days, said the bubbly teen with plenty of game. It went by really fast. Ill be nervous, but I cant wait.
 
The full-field event includes Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and just about everyone else in the top 50 on the money list.
 
But Dakoda has received more attention than any of them, and for good reason.
 
She started playing golf when she was 4, using cut-down clubs and taking tips from her father, Mike. But it didnt take long for her to start getting around courses better than him.
 
She took lessons, continued to improve and eventually won countless junior events. She started thinking about competing on the LPGA Tour, but she never thought it would happen this soon.
 
Her mother made it possible.
 
A former Hooters calendar girl who worked her way into the companys management team, Kelly Jo noticed a lump in her breast in 2001. At first, she didnt do anything about it. Ten months later, at age 36, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy, nearly two dozen lymph nodes removed and endured intense chemotherapy.
 
She thought she had it beat'until last May, when doctors found the cancer had returned and was much worse than before. It was in her hip bone, her liver and was nearing her spine.
 
Bobby Ginn, the CEO of Ginn Clubs and Resorts, heard about the familys fight and extended Dakoda an invitation to play in the inaugural event.
 
We had to decide: Are we going to shy away or stand up? said Mike Dowd, a school counselor in Palm Harbor. We decided that we wanted to stand up. We wanted to get the message out there. Its very important to be able to say to women, Do your shower exams, get your mammograms and love each other and persevere through this.
 
We cant kid anybody. This is an extremely difficult thing were dealing with as a family, but Ive got great women.
 
Dakoda has handled the attention well. She played a practice round Tuesday with Sorenstam and Paula Creamer and seemed unfazed by the cameras and reporters following her every move and all the interviews that came after.
 
The key for her is just to come out, enjoy it, absorb the atmosphere, Sorenstam said. Its a fantastic place to be. I told her, Enjoy this week. This is what this is all about. Its more about being part of the whole thing and just being able to fulfill a dream. Its pretty cool.
 
Dakoda has no misconceptions about her main goal this week. Its not competing for the title or making the cut or shooting a low score. This is about much more'just like those mother-daughter days.
 
Im not sure what Im going to shoot, she said. Its just a great experience. Im just looking forward to my mom being there and whatever happens, happens.
 
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.