Heart To Heart
John Paul George was born in North Carolina with a condition called hypoplastic left heart. In laymans terms that means the left side of his heart is dysfunctional and the right side has to pump all the blood and do all the work.
Doctors recommended that his parents, Derek and Annette George of Juno Beach, Fl., abort the pregnancy because the likelihood was that their child would die soon after being born.
That was extremely difficult to hear, Derek George told GolfChannel.com late Thursday.
When they got finished crying, Annette George added, they decided to complete the pregnancy. I just said God has given this child nine months to live inside of me and if thats all there is, so be it, she said. It was just a matter of staying positive and letting that positiveness flow into John Paul.
Before this story proceeds any further, it needs to be pointed out that Erik Compton has survived two heart transplants and is playing with his third heart. Thursday in the first round of the Honda Classic where he is in the field on a sponsors exemption, Compton triple-bogeyed his second hole of the day but fought back to 1-under through seven holes (three shots off the lead) before darkness ended play for the day.
When Honda tournament officials found out about John Pauls condition earlier this week they arranged for him be the standard bearer for Comptons Friday threesome. Compton then met John Paul Wednesday afternoon for the first time and the two spoke for 15 minutes.
When John Paul got home Wednesday he felt as if he had won the lottery, said his father.
So Friday morning there will be local television cameras on hand to record Comptons second round and the biggest day of John Paul Georges life.
Well, actually the second-biggest day. On the day he was born doctors decided he was a good candidate for something called The Norwood Procedure. It saved his life. His parents hadnt even been aware that the procedure existed until after John Paul was delivered.
We waited eight years before deciding to have a child, Annette George said. He is our special gift.
John Paul George is undersized for his age. He is not able to participate in sports that require running. He is home-schooled. And there is no guarantee from doctors that he will live a long life. But, yes, his favorite sport is golf. He works with teaching pro Jeff Leishman at nearby Jupiter Dunes. And, says his dad, he plays to about a 10-handicap.
Were just trying to find a way to get him more distance.
Derek George has written a book about his sons story with the working title, The Miracle of John Paul. He has a publisher but no date for publication. According to Derek George, Jack Nicklaus is aware of John Paul Georges story and has spent time with him at his office.
I think its great that hes going to be out here, Compton said. Its great for this kid.
Man, an excited John Paul George told his father when he found out he was going to carry the standard for Erik Compton, Im really going to be inside the ropes.
Yes, he is.
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Day (68) just one back at Australian Open
Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.
Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)
What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.
Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.
Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.
Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.
Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.
In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.
"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’
Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.
“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.
“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’
Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.
The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.