Dakoda Mom Continue the Battle with Cancer

By Associated PressApril 14, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Ginn OpenREUNION, Fla. -- Two months ago, Dakoda Dowd thought the end was here.
 
Her mother was bedridden for weeks, unable to move, unable to take care of herself. Kelly Jo Dowd's hair was gone, her spirit was waning and Dakoda feared the worst, that cancer was finally going to take her mother.
 
'Yes, cancer is winning,' Dakoda said. 'But my mom is still fighting.'
 
A year ago, the Dowd family was the feel-good story of the Ginn Open. Dakoda, then 13, got in on a sponsor's exemption and wound up flirting with the cut, while her mother -- who'd been told that she might only have a couple months to live -- got what she called her final wish, seeing her girl play with the LPGA's best.
 
It has been a difficult 12 months, but 42-year-old Kelly Jo Dowd is still here. She has gotten some of her energy back and, after months on an experimental oral chemotherapy drug, is now taking only steroids and pain medication.
 
'I'm fighting for my life and my family,' she said Saturday from the family's home in Palm Harbor. 'I'm living to be positive and getting the word out about the importance of mammograms and the importance of fighting. I've told people my story. It'd be hypocritical to not fight.'
 
And Dakoda says she's grateful for every second they have left.
 
'Most families never get to do something this amazing,' Dakoda said. 'I still can't believe my mom and I got a chance to do it.'
 
Dakoda was back at the Ginn Open on Saturday, this time as a fan. A year after shooting rounds of 74 and 82 at Reunion, Dakoda arrived with her father, Mike Dowd, and a young friend, invited back by tournament officials to take another look at the LPGA world.
 
'It's pretty weird,' Dakoda said. 'I can't believe it's been a year.'
 
The Dowds went public with their story last year to raise awareness about cancer and how women should be vigilant in getting checked. Something Kelly Jo Dowd freely acknowledges she didn't do.
 
Dakoda, a soon-to-be-high-schooler, has barely changed in the past 12 months. She's a couple inches taller, has tweaked her swing and putting stroke, but that's about it. She's still bubbly, teases her father when he uses big words, and continues to talk incessantly about her love for shopping, boys and other obsessions that most teenagers share.
 
Deep down, though, the girl has a somber side, one that only comes out when talking about her mother.
 
'It feels like I'm going through a haunted house every single day,' Dakoda said. 'And I don't know what's going to happen next, who's going to jump out and scare me.'
 
Kelly Jo Dowd was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, and it has continued popping up all over her body since. She's battled liver and bone cancer in recent years, and underwent her latest scan Friday to see if -- or where -- the disease has spread.
 
Around Christmas, the family learned the cancer had made its way to her brain.
 
Dakoda began fearing the worst. But her mom once again found a way to pull through.
 
'It'll never break us,' Dakoda said.
 
'We fight hard, we love hard,' Mike Dowd said. 'We go through it. We have to. We all keep each other real. And so many people have loved our family during this process.'
 
Indeed, Dakoda's support group is massive.
 
She claims to have six sets of grandparents -- one on her mom's side, one on her dad's side, and the rest are people who became such close friends with the Dowds that they're now considered family. One of her coaches always takes her to lunch after practices, another recently took her to Georgia for a putting lesson, and her cell phone is loaded with numbers of friends.
 
'Dakoda is a survivor in the truest sense of the word,' Mike Dowd said. 'She's surrounded herself with people who love her and are going to be there for her. She loves her mom, she's crazy about her, but she's going to be OK, too.'
 
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    Aiken, Waring tied at Nordea; Olesen three back

    By Associated PressAugust 18, 2018, 5:45 pm

    MOLNDAL, Sweden – Paul Waring of England and Thomas Aiken of South Africa share the lead, three shots clear of their rivals, after the third round of the Nordea Masters on the European Tour on Saturday.

    Waring was tied for first place with Scott Jamieson after the second round and shot a 1-under 69.

    While Jamieson (75) slipped down the leaderboard, Aiken caught up Waring after shooting 67 - despite three straight bogeys from No. 15. He bounced back by making birdie at the last.

    Thorbjorn Olesen (67) and Marc Warren (66) are tied for third.

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    Koepka: 'Surreal' Woods waited to say congrats at PGA

    By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:47 pm

    Brooks Koepka was moved by the respect shown when Tiger Woods waited for a half hour at scoring last Sunday to congratulate Koepka for his PGA Championship victory at Bellerive.

    While Koepka stands as an example of the new athletes Woods has attracted to the game, he laughs hearing people compare his body to an NFL player’s.

    Those were among the observations Koepka shared Friday on "The Dan Patrick Show."

    “That was surreal,” Koepka said of Woods waiting to congratulate him. “To hang around on 18, I wasn’t expecting it. It was probably the coolest gesture he could have done.”

    Koepka credits Woods for drawing him to the game.

    “He’s the reason I am playing,” Koepka said.

    Koepka said playing with Woods in contention was a noisy experience that went beyond the roars Woods created making birdies in front of him.

    “Even when he makes contact, you know what shot he’s hitting,” Koepka said. “That’s how loud people are.

    “When they are putting [his score] up on the leaderboard, you hear it three holes away.”

    About those NFL player comparisons, Koepka said his parents wouldn’t let him play football when he was growing up.

    “I wasn’t big enough,” he said.

    Koepka said he marveled meeting former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

    “To be compared to them, it makes me laugh,” Koepka said. “I’m about the size of a cornerback, maybe a free safety.”

    Koepka said he’s just over 6 feet tall and weighs 208 pounds.

    “I saw Brian Urlacher give an interview,” Koepka said. “It was kind of funny. He said he was impressed at how big I wasn’t ... If I stand next to Justin Thomas, I’m going to look big. Golf doesn’t really have many big guys.”

    Koepka told Patrick he is impressed at the athletes just now coming into golf.

    “I see the young guys coming out of college,” Koepka said. “They are bombing it past me. They hit it so far, they are leaving me in the dust. It’s hard to think of, because I’ve been one of the longest hitters on tour.”

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    McIlroy skipping first FedExCup playoff event

    By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 3:19 pm

    Rory McIlroy committed to playing the FedExCup Playoffs opener at The Northern Trust, the PGA Tour announced after The Open Championship last month.

    But McIlroy left the PGA Championship last week saying he might need to skip the opener to regroup, and that’s just what he is doing.

    McIlroy wasn’t on The Northern Trust field list published Friday on the PGA Tour’s website.

    “I need to assess where I'm at,” McIlroy said leaving Bellerive last week. “I think the best thing for me to do right now is just sort of take a couple days off, reflect on what I need to do going forward.

    “The best thing might be to take that first FedExCup week off and work on my game and come back, hopefully, in a better place for Boston.”

    McIlroy also skipped the FedExCup opener in 2015, choosing to make his start in the playoffs at Boston that year. It appears he will do the same this year.

    “Historically, the first FedEx playoff event hasn't been my best event of the four,” McIlroy said. “I've played well in Boston. I've played pretty well in the other two.”

    McIlroy left Bellerive saying he would do some work on his game and see if he felt ready for the playoffs opener as part of a run of big events leading into the Ryder Cup.

    “There's a lot of room for improvement,” McIlroy said. “My swing really hasn't been where I want it to be. It was pretty good at the start of the year. I had a couple of months to work on it, but it's just sort of regressed as the season went on and you start to play tournaments, you start to fall back into some of the habits that you don't want to fall back into."

    McIlroy has won once over the last two seasons – at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last March – but he has given himself other chances this year with some frustrating finishes. Overall, he has five finishes of third or better in 2018. He got himself in the final pairing with Patrick Reed at the Masters but stumbled to a T-5 finish. He tied for second at The Open last month.

    “Inconsistency with the swing has been the big area,” McIlroy said. “If you look at my statistics, especially with approach play on my irons, and even my driving, even though it's been OK, there's been a two-way miss, with sort of everything throughout the bag, and that obviously isn't a good thing. So that's something I need to work on.”

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    Watch: Wagner saves season with walk-off eagle dunk

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 18, 2018, 2:45 am

    Johnson Wagner kept his FedExCup Playoff hopes alive on Friday at the Wyndham Championship ... and he did it in dramatic fashion.

    Needing a birdie on his final hole of the day to make the cut on the number, Johnson used a 9-iron from 153 yards out to dunk his approach for eagle to get inside the cut line.

    Johnson's eagle at the last gave him a 66 for the day and earned him two more rounds to try and get inside the FedExCup top 125 for next week's start of the postseason, The Northern Trust.