Story 10 Perseverance

By Mercer BaggsDecember 10, 2008, 5:00 pm
Top 10 StoriesWhen you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
 
Id love to take credit for such inspiration, but I cant plagiarize a president. Especially not one who had polio and presided from a wheel chair. Just doesnt seem right.
 
Instead I credit Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That is how he defined perseverance. Perseverance, I say, is opening a door only to find the next one closed. Open that one and the next one is closed. But instead of wasting away, discouraged in the dark, you keep opening until you finally see the light.
 
D.J. Gregory
D.J. Gregory walked a PGA Tour course each week of the season, despite Cerebral Palsy. (Getty Images)
Perseverance can be found in Trevor Immelman, he who overcame a parasite in his stomach and tumor on his diaphragm to win this years Masters Tournament.
 
It can be found in Ji-Yai Shin, who won the Womens British Open five years after her mother was killed and her brother and sister were seriously injured in a car accident.
 
Its there in Dudley Hart, a father of now 7-year-old triplets who returned home in 2007 to take care of his family while his wife, Suzanne, had two-thirds of one lung removed due to a non-smoking tumor (As a father of 6-month-old twins, and with a healthy wife to help out, I shudder at this scenario).
 
Hart was granted a Major Medical Extension this season, giving him 15 starts to earn nearly $486,000 to keep his card. The 40-year-old did that before April and finished the season 29th on the money list with a career-best $2,218,817.
 
Thats perseverance, that which is also personified in the strength of Seve Ballesteros and Todd Demsey (brain cancer for both), and in the fortitude of Stacy Lewis (scoliosis) and Nicole Jeray (narcolepsy).
 
Its the salient theme of Erik Comptons well chronicled story, the one about a man living life and playing golf on his third heart. Its the same in the far more inconspicuous tale of Taylor Anderson, a 21-year-old who learned to play golf ' and love it ' one-armed after being born paralyzed on the right side of his body.
 
Its evident in Tony Johnstone. Multiple Sclerosis wracked his central nervous system, causing him to re-learn the parts of his game that led to six European Tour wins. That kind of thing happens to you and youre lucky to be a decent club player.
 
Johnstone, rather, overhauled his swing and putting stroke, and won an event on the European Seniors Tour.
 
This will show people not to give up hope, the Zimbabwean said. Thats my goal really: to show MS sufferers it' not the end of the road.
 
Bryce Molders road has taken him to all sorts of places, most of which he probably never hoped to visit. Thats what happens when you spend the better part of your professional career on the Nationwide Tour.
 
Molder was a four-time, first-team All-America selection at Georgia Tech, one of only four men to ever claim such a distinction. That, however, meant little when he waived his amateur status.
 
Molder will now compete in just his second full season on the PGA Tour, having earned his 2009 card by finishing 23rd on the Nationwide Tour money list.
 
His story isnt unlike many others ' until you consider that Molder was born without a left pectoral muscle, which makes that side of his chest concave, and with Poland Syndrome, a defect that made his left hand much smaller than his right.
 
Molder turns 30 in January. Johnstone is 52. Conor Oliver is 13. Anyone, at any age, can exhibit perseverance.
 
Oliver was 11 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Two years later he was the Oregon Junior Amateur champion in his age group.
 
If perseverance had a face in 2008, it belonged to D.J. Gregory. Actually, it was more evident not in his face, but in his gait.
 
Gregory was born with Cerebral Palsy. Doctors told his family hed never walk. At the age of 30, with only one assisting cane, he traversed 3,184 holes on the PGA Tour ' nearly 1,000 miles.
 
He walked every hole on every course, every week on Tour in 2008. Each move a laborious, disjointed effort; his body resembling someone turning a Rubiks Cube every which way just to make each step work.
 
He fell 29 times. Got back up 29 times, too.
 
I just want people to know that if they have a dream, Gregory says, they need to chase it and never take no for an answer.
 
That is the true definition of perseverance.
 
Related Links:
  • Top 10 Stories of the Year archive
  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''