Heart To Heart
John Paul George was born in North Carolina with a condition called hypoplastic left heart. In laymans terms that means the left side of his heart is dysfunctional and the right side has to pump all the blood and do all the work.
Doctors recommended that his parents, Derek and Annette George of Juno Beach, Fl., abort the pregnancy because the likelihood was that their child would die soon after being born.
That was extremely difficult to hear, Derek George told GolfChannel.com late Thursday.
When they got finished crying, Annette George added, they decided to complete the pregnancy. I just said God has given this child nine months to live inside of me and if thats all there is, so be it, she said. It was just a matter of staying positive and letting that positiveness flow into John Paul.
Before this story proceeds any further, it needs to be pointed out that Erik Compton has survived two heart transplants and is playing with his third heart. Thursday in the first round of the Honda Classic where he is in the field on a sponsors exemption, Compton triple-bogeyed his second hole of the day but fought back to 1-under through seven holes (three shots off the lead) before darkness ended play for the day.
When Honda tournament officials found out about John Pauls condition earlier this week they arranged for him be the standard bearer for Comptons Friday threesome. Compton then met John Paul Wednesday afternoon for the first time and the two spoke for 15 minutes.
When John Paul got home Wednesday he felt as if he had won the lottery, said his father.
So Friday morning there will be local television cameras on hand to record Comptons second round and the biggest day of John Paul Georges life.
Well, actually the second-biggest day. On the day he was born doctors decided he was a good candidate for something called The Norwood Procedure. It saved his life. His parents hadnt even been aware that the procedure existed until after John Paul was delivered.
We waited eight years before deciding to have a child, Annette George said. He is our special gift.
John Paul George is undersized for his age. He is not able to participate in sports that require running. He is home-schooled. And there is no guarantee from doctors that he will live a long life. But, yes, his favorite sport is golf. He works with teaching pro Jeff Leishman at nearby Jupiter Dunes. And, says his dad, he plays to about a 10-handicap.
Were just trying to find a way to get him more distance.
Derek George has written a book about his sons story with the working title, The Miracle of John Paul. He has a publisher but no date for publication. According to Derek George, Jack Nicklaus is aware of John Paul Georges story and has spent time with him at his office.
I think its great that hes going to be out here, Compton said. Its great for this kid.
Man, an excited John Paul George told his father when he found out he was going to carry the standard for Erik Compton, Im really going to be inside the ropes.
Yes, he is.
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Bend it like Garcia? Sergio scores in player-caddie soccer match
Sergio Garcia has always been able to work his golf ball from left to right, but he's also - apparently - proficient at playing a draw with a soccer ball.
This year's Adalucia Valderrama Masters is suffering through some weather issues. But the highlight of the week - and, according to the Felipe Aguilar, "the year" - was always going to be the event's player-caddie soccer match, which you can see here:
Players Caddies— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 19, 2018
The biggest football derby in golf. pic.twitter.com/nplylmVJeE
The standout highlight? This bending, left-footed(!) strike from defending champion Sergio Garcia:
"Just a little bit of fun with the caddies and some of the players," Garcia nonchalantly says in the video. "Yeah, just a little bit of running and it was good fun."
Garcia, a diehard Real Madrid fan who kicked off El Clasico in his green jacket back in 2016, has previously appeared in professional matches for CF Borriol, a Tercera Division club in Spain.
"It's good fun and whenever I'm around I get to practice with them a little bit and play a little bit here and there. This season, I've played probably five games, so not a lot, but I enjoy it," Garcia told CNN back in 2013.
Dunlap, in 'excruciating pain,' shares early Dominion lead
RICHMOND, Va. – Scott Dunlap and Fran Quinn shot 5-under 67 on Friday to share the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.
Fighting a left wrist injury that will require surgery, Dunlap matched Quinn with a closing birdie on the par-5 18th on The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course.
''Maybe excruciating pain is the key to playing good golf because I'm not getting nervous on a shot, you're just trying to get through it,'' Dunlap said. ''The worst parts are gripping it and getting the club started ... that's when that bone hits that bone.''
The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 on Sunday will get spots next week in the Invesco QQQ Championship in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
The 55-year-old Dunlap entered the week 29th in the standings. Playing through the wrist injury, he's coming off ties for ninth and seventh in his last two starts.
''I think I finally taped it the right way,'' Dunlap said. ''Or maybe it's the pain meds kicking in. I don't know, one of the two.''
Quinn is 64th in the standings.
''I finished up strong last year, too, kind of secured my privileges for the following year making eagle on 18,'' Quinn said. ''I played solid all day. I had a lot of opportunities. A couple hiccups.''
Jay Haas was a stroke back with Kent Jones, Stephen Ames, Woody Austin and Tim Petrovic. The 64-year-old Haas won the last of his 18 senior titles in 2016.
Vijay Singh and Miguel Angel Jimenez, second in the standings, were at 69 with Joey Sindelar, Tom Gillis, Billy Mayfair, Lee Janzen, Glen Day and Gene Sauers.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer opened with a 70. The 61-year-old German star won the SAS Championship last week in North Carolina to take the points lead. He has two victories this year and 38 overall on the 50-and-over tour.
Defending Charles Schwab Cup champion Kevin Sutherland had a 71. He's 14th in the standings. No. 3 Jerry Kelly shot 72. No. 4 Scott McCarron, the 2016 tournament winner, had a 74.
Weather continues to plague Valderrama Masters
SOTOGRANDE, Spain -- Marc Warren helped his chances of retaining his European Tour card by moving into a tie for second place behind Englishman Ashley Chesters at the rain-hit Andalucia Valderrama Masters on Friday.
Bad weather interrupted play for a second straight day at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain before darkness caused the second round to be suspended until Saturday, with overnight Chesters still ahead at 5-under.
Weather delays on Thursday, including a threat of lightning, had kept 60 golfers from finishing their opening round. They included Scottish player Warren, who went out on Friday and finished his first round with a 2-under 69.
He then made three birdies to go with one bogey on the first nine holes of the second round before play was halted. He joined Frenchman Gregory Bourdy one shot behind Chesters.
''I'm hitting the ball as well as I have in a long time,'' Warren said. ''Hitting fairways and greens is the most important thing around here, so hopefully I wake up tomorrow with the same swing.''
Chesters and Bourdy were among several golfers unable to play a single hole in the second round on Friday.
Warren, a three-time European Tour winner, has struggled this season and needs a strong performance to keep his playing privileges for next year.
Currently ranked 144th, Warren needs to break into the top 116 to keep his card.
Watch: Is this the up-and-down of the year?
Play away from the pin? Just because there's a tree in your way? Not Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Watch him channel some Arnie (or, more appropriately, some Seve) with this shot in the Valderrama Masters: