Bionic Man Glasson getting game back

By Associated PressMay 31, 2010, 4:56 am
Champions TourPARKER, Colo. – With every medical malady that hindered him, Bill Glasson overhauled his game to compensate.

All the tinkering has left Glasson with a swing that resembles nothing like the one he had on the PGA Tour, the powerful yet effortless stroke that enabled him to win seven times.

This is a kinder, gentler swing.

It has to be – his body can’t take anything else.

“Everything I do now is different,” said Glasson, who can barely turn his neck after recent surgery to fuse together three vertebrae.

Bill Glasson reads putt
Glasson has undergone 25 surgeries in his career. (Getty Images)
These days, he can’t explode down on the ball because of operations to fix a litany of torn ligaments in his elbow. His lower back also bothers him – the result of another fusion of two vertebrae – and his knees creak on a consistent basis.

“Held together by screws,” Glasson said, laughing. “Maybe some rivets.”

Despite 25 surgeries to fix a bevy of ailments, Glasson is back on the golf course – and playing well, too. He shot a 1-under-par 71 in the final round Sunday to finish tied for sixth at the Senior PGA Championship, four shots behind Tom Lehman, who won it on the first playoff hole over David Frost and Fred Couples.

The fact Glasson was able to get around the course at all was a medical marvel.

Over his career, he’s had operations on his tailbone, knees, elbows, back and sinuses. In late November, doctors worked on his neck and he couldn’t pick up a club for nearly three months.

With his game in a steady state of flux, Glasson, of Stillwater, Okla., arrived at the Colorado Golf Club with no expectations other than hoping to make it through all the rounds.

He did more than that, hanging around near the leaders for most of the weekend.

Never could he have envisioned this.

“When you’re laying flat on the couch staring at the ceiling for two years, you don’t think you’re going to do anything,” said Glasson, who turned 50 in April and has played in only one other Champions Tour event. “I’m much better than I was. The golf thing, we’ll see what happens with it. But my quality of life is a heck of a lot better.”

Glasson is among a gaggle of golfers who have overcome debilitating back injuries to receive a second chance on the senior circuit.

Jay Don Blake has battled a bad back for years, only for it to round back into shape. Same with Lu Chien-soon, who’s balky back was so bad he couldn’t even pick up a club for nearly eight years.

Then there’s Couples, whose back woes are well documented but still hits it a mile, especially in the thin air of Colorado.

“Golf is hard on backs,” said Blake, who entered the final day with a share of the lead, but shot 76 to wind up tied for eighth. “It’s a lot of wear and tear if you hit a lot of balls.”

Glasson couldn’t agree more, as years of torque and turning took their toll.

“For golfers, it’s not IF you’re going to have back trouble, it’s WHEN you’re going to have back trouble,” said Glasson, who awoke at 3 a.m. Sunday with severe back spasms that almost kept him from playing the final round.

His performance at the Senior PGA gives him renewed hope, a revamped outlook on his career.

“I always felt like if I felt decent I could play,” said Glasson, who tied for fourth at the U.S. Open in 1995. “But I hit the bottom the last few years, just couldn’t get out of bed. This is awesome, hitting a ball again. It’s something I can’t take for granted.”
After finishing up his round Sunday, Ben Crenshaw raved about the beauty of the course, the condition it was in and the way it played.

Expect him to say anything less? This is his course.

“It’s in beautiful condition. The greens were just marvelous,” said Crenshaw, who finished 8 over on the course he co-designed with Bill Coore. “I really heard some nice comments from some of the players.”

Tom Watson praised Crenshaw’s design all week, even when the winds were howling and playing conditions were extremely difficult. Watson shot 4 under on the final day to wind up the tournament at 1-over-par.

“It’s a wonderful test of golf,” Watson said. “It requires every club in your bag and it’s a lot of fun to play.”

Crenshaw navigated the course with a critical eye, the architect in him looking for possible design flaws. Outside of possibly making the green on the short, par-4 eighth hole a little bigger, Crenshaw couldn’t think of any mulligans he’d like to take.

“I’m really proud of it,” Crenshaw said.
Try as he might, Michael Allen couldn’t get his putter going in his attempt to defend his Senior PGA crown. He finished tied for 11th place at 1 under.

Allen’s putting troubles have become a burgeoning trend he’d like to end.

“I just putted so horribly this year,” Allen said. “I couldn’t make any birdies. If you can’t make them from 6 feet you really got no chance out here. And that’s kind of the story of this week.”
There were 23 eagles made during the week of competition. Couples led the way with three, including two down the stretch Sunday. … The hardest hole of the tournament was the par-4 fifth, which played 491 yards Sunday. The hole surrendered just 22 birdies all week and had a stroke average of 4.49. … Lindy Miller was the low PGA club professional, finishing at 4 over. He’s a teaching pro at Shady Oaks Country Club in Westworth Village, Texas. … The 2011 Senior PGA will be played at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.

Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)