Life Goes On for Julians Part 1

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 26, 2004, 5:00 pm
Editor's note: This is the first part of a two-part story (Read Part 2) on Jeff and Kim Julian and the life they lead as they continue to battle amytrophic lateral sclerosis. A one-hour special telling the lives of Julian and fellow ALS sufferer Bruce Edwards, entitled Courage on the Fairways, will air Tuesday on TGC at 8:00 p.m. ET
 
Matthew Hegarty lights a cigarette. He flicks the ashes outside the cracked window of his rental car while the man in the passenger seat holds a one-way conversation.
 
Matthews not being rude to his new acquaintance ' under normal circumstances he would out-chat the chatter. But now hes starting to get a little nervous.
 
A little levity is given when he sees the signs acknowledging the baffling fact that Branson, Mo. is home to Jakov Smirnoff.
 
Hegarty, however, is not there to see the 1980s Russian comedic icon. Hes made the four-hour trip from Kansas City to Branson under more serious circumstances.
 
Hegarty is a producer for the Golf Channel and he and his cameraman are headed to the home of Jeff Julian. Hegarty is working on a 1-hour special entitled 'Courage on the Fairways,' which tells the stories of Julian and Bruce Edwards, and the disease that has stricken them both ' amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
 
Hegarty and his cameraman finally reach their destination. They park alongside the curb outstanding a modest ranch-style home.
 
They exit the vehicle and walk up the driveway. Matthew swings open a wrought--iron gate just as a woman opens the brown, wooden door it shields.
 
The woman is dark-haired, athletic and classically attractive. She has beautifully tired blue eyes.
 
Matthew and cameraman greet Kim Julian and her parents as they enter. They then make an immediate left turn and step inside an entertainment-room-turned-office.
 
There, in a wheelchair, facing a closed armoire sits Jeff Julian.
 
Matt, welcomes a computerized voice that Jeff now uses as his own.
 
At first look you might feel sad or sympathetic, shocked even. Here a handsome 42-year-old man who stood 6-foot-2 and weighed nearly 200 pounds, a man who was a professional athlete, sits in a wheelchair that seems to swallow his frail body. He has no use of his right arm and can only use his left hand to steer his electric legs. His right leg is immobile, leaving the left as his only fully-functioning limb.
 
He sports a red Boston Red Sox hat not to cover his graying hair, but to extend pride in his most favorite of teams. He has a neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper goatee. His jaw trembles uncontrollably. A ventilator pipes oxygen directly into his trachea. His thinness creases his jeans.
 
But if you look past the physical deficiencies, youll see the real Jeff Julian. Not the outer shell, but the man trapped inside.
 
Its in his eyes.
 
Theres a lot of life left in those eyes, if his body would just allow it.
 
The interview is conducted in this makeshift office. The room is filled with caddie bibs procured from many of the PGA Tour events in which Jeff competed when he was a member in 2001' he also played the tour in 1996. There are trophies, including the Ben Hogan Award, recognizing his courage in his fight for survival, he received from the Golf Writers Association of America last year that rests on an air-hockey table.
 
And there is a large Curt Schilling-signed Red Sox jersey which reads: Thanks for being a friend and inspiration! God Bless.
 
Schilling, since his days with the Philadelphia Phillies, is a long-time supporter of finding a cure for ALS. It is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrigs disease, named after the famous baseball player ' Schillings hero ' whose life it took in 1941.
 
Hes always a phone call away if we ever need anything, Kim says of the flame-throwing pitcher, who, much to the delight of Jeff, was signed by Boston in the off-season.
 
And thats the way it is with most of the people who have crossed paths with the Julians.
 
Many have offered their support both emotionally and financially. There have been charity golf tournaments to raise money for the Jeff Julian ALS Foundation. Tom Watson, who has employed Edwards as his caddie for 30 years, conducted a 45-minute clinic at this years event.
 
Watson has made substantial monetary contributions to ALS research. Tom Lehman and Ernie Els have sent very generous checks to Julians foundation. The PGA Tour recently donated $50,000. Marsha Edwards, Bruces wife, has become one of Kims best friends and closest confidants.
 
The money is very important. Despite having a great insurance plan, the costs ' just monetarily speaking ' of taking care of an at-home ALS patient are enormous.
 
Kim doesnt work so that she can stay full time with Jeff. Her father, who along with her mother lives in Branson, came out of retirement to help create some income.
 
Kims son from a previous marriage, Tyler, who is 11, lives with her and Jeff, while Jeffs son from a previous marriage - 13-year-old Keegan - lives with his mother in Vermont, Jeffs home state. Keegan visits as often as he can.
 
I think the boys have dealt quite well with it, says Kim. Their grades are good and thats where we look ' and theyre not getting into trouble. They are both very supportive of Jeff and are ready to help him with anything.
 
We couldnt do this alone, without family and friends, and the tour, she adds. Unless youre living with this its really difficult to understand how hard it is to fight.
 
The two of them have been fighting since Jeff was first diagnosed in the fall of 2001.
 
Doctors told Jeff he had Bulbar ALS, a more severe form of the disease. It affects the corticobulbar area of the brainstem, which controls the muscles of the mouth and tongue. Normally, the disease works its deconstructive way to this area. It started there with Jeff.
 
Julian, a winner of the 1997 Dominion Open on the then Nike Tour, played seven events on the 2002 PGA Tour after being diagnosed. He used those sponsors exemptions to add some normalcy to his life as well as to raise awareness for the disease.
 
His last event was the 2002 Greater Hartford Open.
 
I would say playing on after the diagnosis is my greatest contribution (to golf), though it wasnt meant to be that, Julian says through his computer.
 
In February 2003, ALS took full control of Jeffs body.
 
I would say the progression was very slow at first, but at the beginning of February, it started to progress very quickly, Kim said.
 
All of a sudden it went into his right hand and then we knew it was going into his limbs. We kind of hoped it would just stay where it was, and he would just lose his speech, but wishful thinking, I guess.
 
Kim doesnt yet need a tube to feed Jeff. She uses a specialized blender to puree his food for him, so that he can eat at the table with the rest of his family.
 
That thing will puree rocks, she joked.
 
Jeff still has his sense of humor as well.
 
Its difficult to deliver the punch line, his computer voices as he cracks a smile. Its not easy to be funny in a monotone, mechanical voice, but I like to try anyway.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs at mbaggs@golfchannel.com
 
Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes - Courage on the Fairways
  • Driving 4 Life Website
  • ALS Therapy Development Foundation
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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.