Golfs Little Secret Give to Get
What is it? Well, a donation certainly helps. A BIG donation. And the more you donate, the more it seems that you get back in return.
Thorpe is playing this weekend in search of his third victory in a row at the Brunos Memorial in Birmingham, Ala. And some weird things have happened recently. The weirdest of all, some might say, was Thorpe giving such a big gift to his church just outside Orlando.
'On Easter Sunday, Thorpe began, I made a commitment to my church to donate $250,000 toward a building fund for the youth ministry. Seems like since I made that commitment, God has just blessed me with some big checks. Ive played three weeks, and Ive pocketed pretty close to $625-700,000.
Ill tell you what, people say that doesnt have anything to do with it. I dont know ' that could have a lot to do with it.
At the time, he had played six tournaments on the Champions Tour. And he didnt have a single finish inside the top 10. He had just played so-so, a tie for 22 in one event, a T25 in another, finally a T49 in his last, the Toshiba Senior Classic March 20.
But he took a month off, and made the financial commitment while at church on Easter. In three starts since then, he has finished fifth and won $123,000, before breaking out to the two back-to-back victories ' one worth $247,500, the other $225,000.
Id never been deeply involved with church, said Thorpe. But my wife started going, and I started going when I was in town. The church started a building fund. My agent and business partner, Mike Lewis, looked at me and said, Look here, why dont you and I start the campaign off, lets donate half a million dollars over the next three years? I said, Lets do it.
What happened was, the next three weeks I pocketed a lot of money. I said to Mike, Ill tell you what Im going to do ' I just made a check for $247,500 (for the win at the FedEx Kinkos). Im going to add another $2,500 to that and thatll make it $250,000. Thatll kind of get the campaign rolling. I think since Ive done that, the building campaign has raised about $1 million.
Thorpe, 56, has made a reputation on the Champions Tour as a big-league horse racing aficionado and a perennial casino patron. But maybe those days are behind him.
Athletes today, we make enough money where we can give a hundred or two (thousand) and make things a lot better. If someone else does the same thing in their community, before long youve made a real positive impact.
I personally feel that since I have devoted my life, tried to turn my life around, Ive become a much more positive person, Ive become much more involved with my community and church and tried to do things to help others. I think when I was a young guy, I really didnt know these things.
Maybe this is the way he wants to be remembered now, as a soft-hearted fella who donated his entire winning purse to the church, instead of the guy who couldnt pass up the chance to play a few dollars at a casino.
This is the way I want to go out, said Thorpe. I feel Ive gone to enough race tracks, hit enough casinos, bet enough on the horses, chasing dogs around the corners. Now is the time in life, Im reaching the age where Im kind of getting to the twilight side of my life. You step back and you view your life and you think, God, did I really do that? What did I do good back there?
And when you cant think of nothing that you did that was good, maybe its time to make a move.
Thorpe goes back to his childhood home of Roxborough, N.C., every now and then, and hes bothered a little by what he sees. The biggest building in town is ' the jailhouse. And that makes him sad.
To me, thats a bad image, man. I dont want to see that.
Thorpe has been in this position twice before, having won two tournaments in a row and going for a third. His best finish was a tie for third in 2000. Bringing this thought to reality (of winning three in a row) is very, very difficult, he cautioned. These guys are not going to just LET you win.
But this is HIS time, when the days get hot and humid. And to boot, now he thinks he has the secret ' give something back.
Basically what I did three years ago was to donate 10 percent of everything I made to my ministry. I havent missed it, it hasnt hurt me one bit.
And when it comes time to walk away (from the game), Ill gladly walk away. But I want to help young people, to let them know that drugs and drinking and that sort of thing is the wrong thing to do in your life.
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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play
ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.
Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.
As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.
Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.
This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.
The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.
Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders
PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.
Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.
Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.