Former President Ford Always a Golfer at Heart

By Associated PressDecember 27, 2006, 5:00 pm
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- His deliberate manner of speaking, some highly publicized mishaps and a recurring Chevy Chase bit in the early days of Saturday Night Live helped advance the notion that Gerald R. Ford was a bit of a klutz.
 
In fact, Ford was one of the nations fittest and most athletic presidents.
 
Gerald Ford and Mike Wier
Former President Gerald Ford presents Mike Weir with the 2003 Bob Hope Chrylser Classic trophy.
Ford, who died at 93 on Tuesday, played center on the University of Michigan football team, where he was a three-year letter winner. His teams enjoyed consecutive undefeated, national championship seasons in 1932 and 1933. He was the Wolverines most valuable player in 1934 and, on Jan. 1, 1935, he played in a college All-Star game known today as the East West Shrine Game.
 
Michigan later retired Fords No. 48 jersey.
 
During a 1934 game against the University of Chicago, Ford became the only future U.S. president to tackle a future Heisman Trophy winner when he brought down halfback Jay Berwanger, who won the first Heisman the following year.
 
When I tackled Jay in the second quarter, I ended up with a bloody cut and I still have the scar to prove it, Ford said after Berwangers death in June 2002.
 
He also was the captain of his football team at Grand Rapids South High School and was an all-state center in 1930, his senior prep season.
 
Former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, who died in November, told The Associated Press during an interview in August that whenever Ford visited Ann Arbor in his later years, he would call on the team and join the players for dinner at their training table.
 
At practice he would say, Bo, do you mind if I get in the huddle? said Schembechler, who coached the Wolverines from 1969-89. There was one rough-looking Secret Service guy that always was looking over President Fords shoulder.
 
Once when the president was leaning into the huddle, the Secret Service guy was standing between the ball and the huddle, and our quarterback said, What should I do? And I said, Run over him.
 
After graduating from Michigan, Ford turned down offers from the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers to play in the NFL, said Don Holloway, curator of Fords presidential museum in Grand Rapids.
 
Instead, Ford went to Yale to become an assistant football and boxing coach, with the hope that it would help him get accepted into Yale Law School. His coaching duties delayed his acceptance until spring 1938.
 
In April 1942, Ford joined the U.S. Naval Reserve as an ensign and he soon became a physical-fitness instructor at a preflight school in Chapel Hill, N.C. A year later, when he began service aboard the aircraft carrier USS Monterey, his first assignment was as athletic director and gunnery division officer.
 
He was in good physical condition when he became president at age 61. While living in the White House, he swam every day, skied regularly and played golf and tennis better than most other presidents, historians say.
 
But on a number of occasions, Ford, while golfing, hit into the galleries that lined the fairways to watch him. News cameras captured at least one spectator being hit in the head by an errant Ford shot.
 
Bob Hope, a golfing friend of Ford, once quipped: Its not hard to find Jerry Ford on a golf course'you just follow the wounded.
 
Journalists also reported when Ford tumbled while skiing, when he slipped and fell on some metal steps while getting off Air Force One in the rain in Austria and when he bumped his head on an airplane doorway.
 
Ford developed a thick skin during his 25 years in the U.S. House of Representatives but he never cared for the jokes about his clumsiness, Holloway said.
 
Im sure it had to be somewhat frustrating but he had the ability that every successful politician has, and thats the ability to laugh at himself and to laugh with others about himself, he said.
 
John Robert Greene, a Ford biographer and professor of history and government at Cazenovia (N.Y.) College in Cazenovia, said Ford got the erroneous image because he was the first president whose every public move was scrutinized by a post-Watergate press.
 
In Fords memoir, A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford, he bitterly recounted how a brief stumble recorded by a television camera turned into a national story.
 
There was no doubt in my mind that I was the most athletic president to occupy the White House in years ... (but) from that moment on, every time I stumbled or bumped my head or fell in the snow, reporters zeroed in on that to the exclusion of almost everything else. ... (This) helped create the public perception of me as a stumbler. And that wasnt funny.
 
Ford was a little more game about the Saturday Night Live jokes in 1986 when he spoke at a symposium on humor and the presidency: On occasion I winced. But on the other hand, Betty and I used to watch Saturday Night Live and enjoyed it. Presidents are sitting ducks, and you might as well sit back and enjoy it.
 
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”