Charity at the Core of Celebrity Golf Event
'I didn't even know what autism was. We had to look it up in the dictionary,' the ex-NFL quarterback said Thursday.
Now, Marino is teaming up with sponsors of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship and leaders of the nonprofit group Autism Speaks to help raise money for research into the developmental disorder during the annual golf tourney at Lake Tahoe July 15-17.
'We've successfully harnessed the collective power of the celebrity players and the Lake Tahoe casino community so that charities like Autism Speaks can use the tournament as a platform for fund-raising and publicity,' Jon Miller, senior vice president of NBC Sports, announced Thursday.
In addition to trying to raise $100,000, American Century has donated to Autism Speaks a portion of its commercial time during NBC's broadcast of the second and final rounds of the tournament next week at Edgewood Golf and Country Club in Stateline, Nev.
'We are committed to funding an acceleration of research into the cause of autism in hopes of finding a cure,' said Mark Killen, senior vice president of the investment company based in Kansas City, Mo.
'We sure hope to exceed $100,000 for autism research but just as important is to raise awareness,' he said.
The 16th annual $100,000 tournament at Edgewood Golf and Country Club draws a field of 80 sports hall of famers, actors and other celebrities to the shores of Lake Tahoe, including Michael Jordan, John Elway, Donald Trump, Ray Romano and Charles Barkley.
'The reason I play on the celebrity tour in general is they raise a lot of money for a lot of great causes,' Barkley said Thursday.
Autism is a complex developmental disorder best known for impairing a child's ability to communicate or interact with others.
'Autism truly is reaching epidemic proportions,' said Alison Singer, senior vice president of the New York City-based Autism Speaks.
Today, autism strikes one in 166 children, compared with 20 years ago when it was one in 10,000, she said. It's unclear how much of the apparent surge reflects better diagnosis and how much is a true rise.
'Every 20 minutes, another set of parents receives the devastating news that their child is autistic. As the mother of an autistic child, I know that was the very worst moment of my life,' Singer told reporters on a teleconference call.
'But I also know that this is a time for hope because more researchers are working on autism now than ever before,' she said.
Ten years ago, there only 12 researchers in the field of autism science but now there are more than 400, said Singer, whose group was created four months ago by NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright and his wife, Suzanne, whose grandson is autistic.
'The only thing slowing their critical work is money to fund their research,' Singer said. 'Thanks to the support from people like Dan Marino and Charles Barkley, we can raise the critical funds and also raise awareness.'
Marino's son Michael, now 17, was 2 years old when he was diagnosed with autism.
'I had the resources to help Michael at an early age. He is doing terrific right now,' said Marino, the former Miami Dolphin who will be inducted Aug. 7 into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
'We want to try to make it better for other people and other families so they are not in the same situation,' he said.
'Early intervention is a key component to treating any child with neurological disabilities and specifically dealing with autism.'
The Dan Marino Foundation in Miami has raised about $1 million a year since 1992 for developmental disabilities programs in Florida and elsewhere, including treatment of autism, he said.
'We have a facility that sees about 6,000 kids a month and it's been expanding,' Marino said.
'When I go over there and a mother or dad comes up to me and he says, `Hey, Dan, this facility has really helped and it's made a difference in our family's life and our son or daughter's life,' that's everything you dream of as far as being able to raise funds and make a difference,' he said.
Singer said there's a strong genetic component to autism and that some cases may be trigged by environmental factors.
'We are committed to supporting and funding research that investigates all theories about what causes autism. Right now there's no clear understanding, but we are looking to cast a wide net in terms of autism research.'
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Molinari holds off McIlroy to win BMW PGA
VIRGINIA WATER, England - Rory McIlroy left his victory charge too late at Wentworth as Francesco Molinari delivered a clinic in front-running to win the BMW PGA Championship by two shots with a 4-under 68 on Sunday.
McIlroy, who led by three shots at halfway, entered the final round tied for the lead with Molinari on 13 under par but a Sunday shootout at the European Tour's flagship event never really materialized.
Instead, as McIlroy toiled to a 70 that was propped up by birdies on the par fives at Nos. 17 and 18, Molinari went bogey-free for a second straight day to claim the fifth victory of his career and the biggest since a World Golf Championship in Shanghai in 2010.
The Italian only dropped two shots all week and finished on 17-under 271, with McIlroy alone in second place. Alex Noren (67) and Lucas Bjerregaard (65) were tied for third place a stroke further back.
Molinari moved into the automatic qualifying places for the Ryder Cup, which he hasn't played since 2012 when Europe beat the United States in the so-called ''Miracle at Medinah.''
He'd previously had five top-10 finishes in the last six years at Wentworth, including being runner-up to Noren last year.
Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open
IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.
Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.
Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.
Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.
Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.
Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way
Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.
Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.
And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.
Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.
Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.
Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.
Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.
“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.
Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.
A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.
It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.
There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.
Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.
The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.
Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.
“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”
Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why
In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.
Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.
With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.
"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.
So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.
"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.