Dowd Family Look Forward to a Break from Spotlight

By Associated PressApril 29, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Ginn OpenREUNION, Fla. -- The congratulatory phone calls and e-mails never stopped, and eventually Dakoda Dowd succumbed to all the interest.
'I had to go to bed sometime,' the 13-year-old golf prodigy said Saturday morning.
She and her family head home Sunday, a 90-minute drive from the spotlight back to something approaching normalcy. After two days of intense attention at the Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open, Dakoda and her terminally ill mom are looking forward to resuming some semblance of a regular life.
Kelly Jo Dowd has bone and liver cancer that doctors say may kill her within months. She was stricken with breast cancer four years ago, learned of more cancer last year, and resumed chemotherapy largely because she wanted to see her girl play one LPGA event. Ginn officials, upon hearing that wish, extended an invitation.
'I'm a little sad, because this is the end of one dream,' said Kelly Jo, whose next chemo appointment is Thursday. 'And then I get happy because I know there's going to be another dream to look forward to. Mother's Day is coming, you know.'
A reprise of the scene at the Ginn this week isn't in the family's plans, however.
Dakoda plans to withdraw Monday from a qualifier for the U.S. Women's Open, and the family has no interest in accepting any more invitations to play in LPGA events for at least three years. Instead, they'll continue entering Dakoda in top junior tournaments and select U.S. Golf Association championships.
'I guess I'm a little relieved,' Dakoda said. 'The past six months have been all about get-ready-for-the-LPGA-event. Don't go roller skating, don't do this, don't do that, don't try to break anything. It's nice to have a little bit of a break now.'
Dakoda and her parents are staying through the weekend, her father saying they wanted to 'pay our respects to all these great ladies out here.'
Dakoda's next scheduled event is the Future Collegians World Tour national championship in late May at Palm Beach Gardens. She'll play in about five or six events this summer, including an attempt to qualify for the U.S. Women's Amateur championship.
'We're not going to play her a lot,' said Mike Dowd, Dakoda's father. 'We're just going to keep doing what we're doing and keep going the way we're going.'
And if another LPGA event makes the same offer Ginn organizers did?
'The answer is 100 percent, absolutely, no,' Mike Dowd said. 'We're so respectful that the Ginn people and the LPGA Tour made this possible for our family. Dakoda feels the same way. This was a one-time gift, all because of mom. I want Dakoda to earn her way into the next one, and that's what she wants, too.'
Dakoda - one of the country's top-ranked junior players - shot a 2-over 74 Thursday and finished with a 10-over 82 Friday to miss the cut at the Ginn by eight shots. Several pro players made a point to seek Dakoda out at some point during the opening two days, to wish her well or offer an encouraging word.
'Everyone was so, so, so nice to us,' Dakoda said. 'So many people were all just supporting me and looking out for me. I appreciate it.'
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.