Julian Lives On

By Rich LernerJuly 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
I called Scott Peters shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, my heart and eyes swept away from TNTs marathon coverage of The Open Championship. Peters lifelong best friend, Jeff Julian, died this morning. ALS had ravaged his once tall and fit frame, but his crazy and wonderful spirit was still striding the fairways of the kind of obscure New England track he and his pal had played hundreds of times.
 
Its gray and overcast at The New Hampshire State Amateur Championship at Laconia C.C. in the Lakes Region.
 
Jeff and I are on our way to the first tee, Peters tells me. We won our second round match this morning. Win this afternoon and we play the quarters tomorrow.
 
Its not best ball, just a best friend hanging on. Peters is carrying a button with Jeffs smiling face on it.
 
We had them made up when Jeff played The U.S. Open at Shinnecock in 95, he recounts. We called ourselves Julians Hooligans. Its one of our greatest memories. Jeff holed out for eagle at 14 with a 6-iron in the second round.
 
Peters and Julian met as kids playing little league baseball in New Hampshire. Peters grew up in Hanover. Across the river in Norwich, Vt, Jeff spent summers on the family farm.
 
You couldnt help but gravitate towards him, Peters remembers.
 
The Julian roots run deep through New England. Jeffs grandfather Doggie coached Bob Cousy and Holy Cross to the NCAA Championship in 1947. Jeffs own father played for Doggie later at Dartmouth and captained the Big Green to an Ivy title in 1964. In a way, Jeff was the sixth man on the Julian family team. The lone boy, he had five sisters.
 
Peters and Julian bounced towards golf in their teens, swapping club titles at Hanover C.C. Scotts brother Mike and Steve Lyon, now the superintendent at the club, rounded out a merry band that partied with as much gusto as it played.
 
When I think of Jeff, Scott says, I think of all the things he loved. It was simple. He loved being with friends and he loved playing golf.
 
Jeff got good enough to go pro, the twisting roads through small New England tournaments, often with his rowdy sisters in tow, taking him where no one from Vermont had ever gone, to The PGA Tour.
 
Scott, scratch on the course and in business, would eventually own three Golf and Ski Shops in New England. He sponsored Jeff in the early days.
 
Jeff won on the Nationwide Tour in 1997. He labored through a second stint on the big circuit in 2001 before being diagnosed in October of that same year.
 
Minutes from his tee time, Peters remembers the moment.
 
The day he got diagnosed, we made plans to go play the TPC at Sawgrass. Me, Jeff, my brother Mike and Steve Lyon. We played golf during the day and drank beer at night. It was an incredibly special weekend. His voice cracks.
 
That was the last time the four of us played together.
 
The decision was made Wednesday night to take Jeff off the respirator.
 
I had three years to prepare for this, explains Scott. You would have thought that would have made me more comfortable, but its still not enough time. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
 
The guy had passion. He had a love of life, a love for everything he did. Whether he was cooking out or sledding down a hill, he lived. He lived. He had a magnetic smile and personality.
 
Suddenly, that third round match with destiny snaps Peters back to the moment. Hes holding that button, holding it in his hands as he tries to hold his emotions in check.
 
Im carrying it with me. I touch it on every single shot.
 
Email your thoughts to Rich Lerner
 
Related Links:
  • More on Jeff Julian's Story
  • 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.