When Golf Brings a Family Closer

By George WhiteJuly 12, 2006, 4:00 pm
This is not a story about professional golfers, not a debate on whether Tiger Woods is the best player in the world, no argument on whether Michelle Wie is doing the right thing or the wrong thing, or whether Annika Sorenstam will eventually catch Kathy Whitworth.
 
This is not story about professional golf courses, or the professional instructors. Its a story about you or me, everyday people who do everyday things, but maybe in little special way.
 
Its a story about the Pease family ' brothers Jesse and Jason, their father Keith and mother Joelle, who live in the heartland of Sioux City, Iowa. And its a story about Special Olympics golf. Jesse, age 24, has an intellectual disability, and the entire family has rallied around him to see that he gets his week to experience golf in a tournament setting, competing against similar golfers from all across the country.
 
The Special Olympics golf tournament was held last week in Ames, Iowa, 141 athletes from 41 states competing. Jesse and 29-year-old Jason competed as a team in Level 3 - an 18-hole alternate shot format that teams a Special Olympics player with a non-Special Olympics player of similar ability. Oh ' Jesse and Jason finished second, behind only Jason Plante, age 16, and his father Robert Plante of Lafayette, Ind.
 
The question is, who enjoyed the experience more ' Jesse or big brother Jason? And the answer might have been, Jason.
 
This is the first time that Ive ever done something like this, said Jason, and for me it was a phenomenal experience. And I just tried to make every day all about him.
 
Weve gone out and weve practiced and weve prepared for this. But to come out and play on the course, and to see him play as well as he did ' I was speechless. And I was amazed at how well we played. We had two bad holes, but we still tied our personal best. It was phenomenal.
 
The pair scored better every day, shooting 90 the first day, trimming 10 strokes to get to 80 the second, and finishing with 79.
 
Father Keith, who happens to be on the Special Olympics board in Iowa, is overjoyed that his two sons enjoyed themselves so much.
 
When your children are out there playing and competing, and theyre playing as good as they know how to play. It would be one thing if you walked in and said, Hey they could have played better. But hey ' they played well. So that makes you proud, he said.
 
And there was another reason the experience resonated with Keith. Im also the coach, he said, so Im the one who taught him to play the game. It was nice to see that they listened and learned ' its not very many parents who get to see that happen all the time.
 
The men have been playing for about 10 years. The mom, Joelle, sat at home in the early stages while the men went to the course. But she decided, Well, why not? And then she took the big step ' she became a player, too.
 
Exactly! she said. I decided that if I was ever going to see my husband and my family between April and October, Id better learn how to play this game.
 
So, thats what I did. And I love it! We all get to experience being outdoors. And ' Im getting better.
 
And golf is the common bond that makes this a close-knit family. When they are playing at home, no one has a disability. No one notices that this family member or that family member might have a handicap. They are just four people, out for an afternoon stroll on the course.
 
Golf brings everybody together, explained Joelle. We have something to do where were out together and ' lets do it. You know, its fun, and we enjoy each other.
 
Its heartwarming to hear about such stories, about the PGA of America who sponsors the Special Olympics golf program, about the group Play Golf America. And its heartwarming to hear of people like the Pease family. Golf, they say, will be a major part of their family forever.
 
Oh, it better, said Jesse, the Special Olympian. It better. Absolutely. In fact, well get home and Im sure well play two or three times together next week.
 
Theres something truly special about this sport.
 
'Golf is what we have in common, said Jason. It is our connection and our chance to really interact. We like going to hockey games together, but that we can only do as spectators. Golf takes our relationship to a whole new level.'

'Golfing with Jason, says father Keith, has done so much for Jesse... involving him with peer groups, acceptance by friends, developing socialization skills, building his confidence and just creating such a strong bond among all of us.'
 

Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

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.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


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

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

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.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


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.