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.
 
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  • Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

    By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

    At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

    Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

    In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


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    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

    Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

    Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

    ''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    ''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

    Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

    ''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

    ''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

    Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

    Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

    ''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

    Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

    Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

    ''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

    The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

    ''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

    The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

    ''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

    Joel Dahmen had a 64.


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    ''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

    ''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

    ''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

    ''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

    Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

    ''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

    Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

    Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

    Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

    Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

    Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

    “At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told GolfChannel.com. “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

    Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.


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    With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

    “I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

    Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

    Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

    “As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

    Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

    Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

    By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

    Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

    Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

    Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.


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    Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

    There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

    “I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

    Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

    The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.