Enloe family

With wife fighting cancer, SMU's Enloe faces new reality

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 7, 2018, 1:45 pm

SMU’s season resumes next week, and head coach Jason Enloe has more on his mind than qualifying scores and travel arrangements.

After each round at the Golf Club of Houston, he will drive to a downtown hotel to see his wife, Katie, who is staying 10 minutes from MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she is now being treated for acute myeloid leukemia.

Best-case scenario, Katie will be there for the next seven to nine months. The doctors aren’t saying much. They’re optimistic they can beat this aggressive form of cancer – the same type that former PGA Tour player Jarrod Lyle is battling, for the third time – but they’ve promised nothing, other than a long and difficult road ahead.

“Just a complete shock to our systems,” Enloe said by phone recently. “We didn’t even have time to process it. It was just like, 'Holy s---, is this even real? When are we going to wake up from this bad dream?'”

It has all unfolded so quickly. About a month ago, during a routine self-exam, Katie, 35, discovered a lump in her breast that was firmer and bigger than any she’d felt in the past. Specialists in Dallas couldn’t pinpoint the problem. The Enloes braced for a breast-cancer diagnosis, but more tests revealed the blood cancer. With an assist from Amy Mickelson, Katie was quickly admitted to MD Anderson, the nation’s top-ranked cancer hospital, where she’ll receive treatment through at least August.

“We’ve settled in for a long, arduous journey,” Enloe said.

Last week, Katie endured five rounds of chemotherapy (with two or three more cycles to go). They spent the rest of the week in the hotel, watching movies and going for walks, ordering room service and sorting out their complicated short-term plans. She is feeling strong, and she’s in good spirits, but the Day 14 marker is approaching. That’s when most patients feel the chemo’s wrath, when their hair falls out in clumps and sores develop in their mouths.

The next step – a bone-marrow transplant – is the most critical. They need to find the perfect match. Doctors say they really only get one shot.

“It’d be nice to have a percentage, to know if you’ve got a good chance or a bad chance,” Enloe said, “but they haven’t really given us that kind of prognosis. So we’re betting on the doctors and modern medicine.”

Jason and Katie met through mutual friends in 2007, when he was still trying to carve out a career on the then-Nationwide Tour, and they married two years later. Two nights after their wedding, they went on a double date with Katie’s sister, Kandi, and one of Enloe’s pro golf buddies, Hunter Mahan. Those two hit it off immediately and married the following year.

“We’re a tight family,” Mahan said, breaking down over the phone, “and you just never know in life. This is what family is for, to support each other.”

And now the Enloes need that support more than ever.

When the family first received the diagnosis, the Mahans offered to bring the Enloes’ two young children – Emma, 5, and Maddie, 2 – on the road for two weeks. After stops in San Diego and Phoenix, and visits to Sea World and the PGA Tour Academy, the kids flew to Houston late last week to see their mom for the first time. Their stay didn’t even last 24 hours, after Katie began to feel ill.

“That was the worst part,” Enloe said, “seeing her tell them goodbye.”

He knows he can shield his kids from the truth for only so long. For now, he told them that Mommy is sick, and that her doctors are four hours away in Houston, and that the medicine will make her better, and that she’s going to be there for a while. Emma is already starting to ask more difficult questions.


Katie, Emma and Maddie Enloe (courtesy: Enloe family)


“I don’t want them to be affected by this too much,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to look in the rearview mirror and say, ‘Mommy was sick for a little bit,’ and we don’t think much of it.”

At home in Dallas, Enloe is in his fourth year running the men’s program at SMU, with responsibilities to his players and their parents, his recruits and his bosses. Everyone is planning to support Katie’s battle this spring with "TOGETHER WE STAND" bracelets, with ribbons or patches on their shirts and hats. He hopes his players are inspired.

So far Enloe has skipped a few weekday practices but never qualifying rounds. Last weekend, he addressed the team for the first time, providing an update on his wife’s health and offering some perspective, about how they should never take the women in their life for granted. “That role, being a mom,” he said, “is way harder than being the CEO of any major company.”

Because of his hectic, 24/7 job, he had no choice but to hire a nanny to help out on weekdays and when the Mustangs are on the road. In Houston, Katie’s mom, Debbie, has moved in, and a close friend visits often, bringing food and helping with laundry. With hotel expenses piling up, they’re looking into renting a corporate apartment, something more comfortable with more space for their extended stay. The Mahans recently started a YouCaring page for the family, and since it went live, more than 270 donors have raised nearly $75,000. (You can help here.)

“It’s crazy to fathom, and until it happens to you, it feels very far away,” Mahan said. “We don’t know what’s around the next corner, but we’re trying to alleviate any unnecessary stress.”

Still, Enloe can’t help but feel overwhelmed. All of Katie’s responsibilities around the house are now his. Even a simple task like paying the bills was eye-opening. “I didn’t even know where the checkbook was,” he said. “It’s stuff I haven’t had to worry about in the longest time.” 

And taking solo care of his two kids … well, that was an adjustment, too. His first night alone with them, the youngest got sick and didn’t fall asleep until 10:30 p.m.; the oldest helped and was up even later. “It was a s---show,” Enloe said. But he knows that Katie is counting on him, and that he has to be the “lead dog,” and that this is their new normal for the next several months.

“I’ll probably fail miserably,” he said, “but it won’t be from a lack of trying.”

This week, he is settling into a new routine. On Mondays and Wednesdays, after practice, he shuttles the girls to ballet class. He’s going to be a dance dad for a while, and that’s fitting – his kids have taken after Katie and Kandi, who were cheerleaders during the glory years of the Permian High School football team, the group made famous in “Friday Night Lights”. Every so often he checks in with Katie through texts and calls, but the conversations aren’t long. She needs to rest, and to stay positive, and that’s hard when so many emotions are involved.

“I’m scared to death,” he said. “I’m more scared about this than anything I’ve gone through golf-wise or personally, just because I have kids. They’re counting on me, and they usually count on mom. I just don’t want to screw it up.”

At night, when SMU practice and dance class and dinner is over, when the girls are bathed and tucked into bed, his mind wanders in so many directions, into dark and scary places, but he tries not to linger there long. There’s too much to do. He’s taking it hour by hour, day by day, trusting the doctors and praying for good news, for his family of four to be together again soon.

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Watch: Highlights from Tiger's Friday 71 at Honda

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 23, 2018, 8:12 pm

Tiger Woods got caught in the Bear Trap on Friday, but bit back with a late birdie to sign for 1-over 71 on a difficult day at PGA National, where he sits four off the lead heading into the weekend at the Honda Classic.

Woods started at even par in Round 2 and began Friday with a bogey at the par-4 second, before getting that stroke back with a birdie at the par-4 fourth:



Following four consecutive pars, Woods birdied the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-under 34.



At 1 under for the tournament, Woods was tied for 10th place, three off the lead, when he began the back nine at PGA National. He remained there with this enthusiastic par save at the par-4 11th.

Tiger poured in three more pars at was just two off the 3-under pace when he rinsed his tee shot at the par-3 15th, leading to a double bogey. He dropped another shot and fell to 2 over when he three-putted 16.

But he wouldn't leave the Bear Trap at a total loss. At the diabolical par-3 17th, Woods wowed the jam-packed stands with a flagged 5-iron iron and a 12-foot putt for birdie, pulling him back to plus-1 for the week.

Woods would go on to par the closing hole, leaving him in a tie for 14th with two rounds to play.

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Defending champ Fowler misses cut at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:14 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The roles might be reversed this weekend for Rickie Fowler.

Last year, when he won at PGA National, Fowler was greeted behind the 18th green by Justin Thomas, one of his Jupiter neighbors. Thomas had missed the cut in his hometown event but drove back to the tournament to congratulate Fowler on his fourth PGA Tour title.

It’s Fowler who will be on the sidelines this weekend, after missing the Honda Classic cut following rounds of 71-76.  


Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos


“I haven’t been swinging it great the last month and a half,” he said afterward. “Obviously playing in the wind, it will pick you apart even more.”

After a tie for fourth at Kapalua, Fowler has missed two of his last three cuts. In between, at the Phoenix Open, he coughed up the 54-hole lead and tied for 11th.

Fowler said he’s been struggling with commitment and trust on the course.

“It’s close,” he said. “Just a little bit off, and the wind is going to make it look like you’re a terrible weekend golfer.”

Asked if he’d return the favor for Thomas, if he were to go and win, Fowler smiled and said: “Of course.”  

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.


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Cut Line: Woods still eyeing Ryder Cup dual role

By Rex HoggardFebruary 23, 2018, 6:57 pm

In this week’s edition, Jack Nicklaus makes the argument, again, for an equipment rollback, Tiger Woods gets halfway to his Ryder Cup goal and Paul Lawrie laments slow play ... in Europe.

Made Cut

Captain’s corner. Last week Tiger Woods coyly figured he could do both, play and be a vice captain for this year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team. On Tuesday, he made it halfway to his goal.

U.S. captain Jim Furyk named Woods and Steve Stricker vice captains for this year’s matches, joining Davis Love III on the team golf cart.

Whether Woods will be able to pull off the double-header is now largely up to him and how his most recent comeback from injury progresses, but one way or another Furyk wanted Tiger in his team room.

“What Tiger really has brought to the table for our vice captains is a great knowledge of X's and O's,” Furyk said. “He's done a really good job of pairing players together in foursomes and fourball. When you look at our team room and you look at a lot of the youth that we have in that team room now with the younger players, a lot of them became golf professionals, fell in love with the game of golf because they wanted to emulate Tiger Woods.”

Woods is currently 104th on the U.S. points list, but the qualification process is designed for volatility, with this year’s majors worth twice as many points. With Tiger’s improved play it’s not out of the question that he gets both, a golf cart and a golf bag, for this year’s matches.

#MSDStrong. Every week on Tour players, officials and fans come together to support a charity of some sort, but this week’s Honda Classic has a more personal impact for Nicholas Thompson.

Thompson graduated from nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and last week’s horrific shooting there inspired the former Tour member to work with tournament organizers and find a way to help the victims.

Officials handed out 1,600 maroon ribbons to volunteers to honor the victims; and Thompson and his wife, who is also a Stoneman Douglas graduate, donated another 500 with the letters “MSD” on them for players, wives and caddies.

Thompson also planned to donate 3,100 rubber bracelets in exchange for donations to help the victims and their families.

“I’m not much of a crier, but it was a very, very sad moment,” Thompson told PGATour.com. “To see on TV, the pictures of the school that I went through for four years and the area where it occurred was terrible.”

The Tour makes an impact on communities every week, but some tournaments are more emotional than others.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Golden moment. Jack Nicklaus has never been shy about expressing his thoughts on modern equipment and how far today’s professionals are hitting the golf ball, but this week the Golden Bear revealed just how involved he may be in what is increasingly looking like an equipment rollback of some sort.

During a recent dinner with USGA CEO Mike Davis, Nicklaus discussed the distance debate.

“Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

The USGA and R&A are scheduled to release their annual distance report before the end of the month, but after the average driving distance jumped nearly 3 yards last year on Tour – and nearly 7 yards on the Web.com Tour – many within the equipment industry are already bracing for what could be the most profound rollback in decades.

Stay tuned.

Geographically undesirable. Although this will likely be the final year the Tour’s Florida swing is undercut by the WGC-Mexico Championship, which will be played next week, the event’s impact on this year’s fields is clear.

The tee sheet for this week’s Honda Classic, which had become one of the circuit’s deepest stops thanks to an influx of Europeans gearing up for the Masters, includes just three players from the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, and none from top three. By comparison, only the Sony Open and CareerBuilder Challenge had fewer top players in 2018.

On Monday at a mandatory meeting, players were given a rough outline of the 2018-19 schedule, which features some dramatic changes including the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players shifting back to March, and numerous sources say the Mexico stop will move to the back end of the West Coast swing and be played after the Genesis Open.

That should help fields in the Sunshine State regain some luster, but it does nothing to change the fact that this year’s Florida swing is, well, flat.


Missed Cut

West Coast woes. Of all the highlights from this year’s West Coast swing, a run that included overtime victories for Patton Kizzire (Sony Open), Jon Rahm (CareerBuilder Challenge), Jason Day (Farmers Insurance Open) and Gary Woodland (Waste Management Phoenix Open), it will be what regularly didn’t happen that Cut Line remembers.

J.B. Holmes endured the wrath of social media for taking an eternity - it was actually 4 minutes, 10 seconds - to hit his second shot on the 72nd hole at Torrey Pines, but in fairness to Holmes he’s only a small part of a larger problem.

Without any weather delays, Rounds 1 and 2 were not completed on schedule last week in Los Angeles because of pace of play, and the Tour is even considering a reduction in field size at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open to avoid similar schedule issues.

But all this seems to miss the point. Smaller fields aren’t the answer; rules that recognize and penalize slow play are the only solution.

Tweet of the week: @PaulLawriegolf (Paul Lawrie) “Getting pretty fed up playing with guys who cheat the system by playing as slow as they want until referee comes then hit it on the run to make sure they don't get penalized. As soon as ref [is] gone it’s back to taking forever again. We need a better system.”

It turns out slow play isn’t a uniquely Tour/West Coast issue, as evidenced by the Scot’s tweet on Thursday from the Qatar Masters.