McGann Optimistic But Diabetes a Constant Reminder

By George WhiteSeptember 3, 2002, 4:00 pm
Patty Sheehan announced her Solheim Cup picks the other day. Michelle McGann wasnt among them.
No surprise there. Shes 78th on the LPGA money list. Only 12 Americans are selected, and the list doesnt reach down nearly as far as 78th. It looks more and more like the Solheim of 96, when McGann played a key role in winning the Cup in Wales, will have no more chapters.
That was the year the Americans trailed Europe, 9-7, going into Sundays singles. But in the third singles match, McGann defeated Europes top player, Laura Davies, 3 and 2. Davies had blown through the Yanks by a combined 16-hole difference and was playing before a hugely enthusiastic home crowd as a bonus. But McGanns 3-wood on the par-3 16th rolled to within four feet of the flag and ended the match with an explanation point. America went on to win 10 of 12 points in the singles matches and came home with a 17-11 victory.
That was supposed to be the 26-year-olds first in a long series of important victories, not the last. But by the time the 98 matches rolled around, a 28-year-old McGann had slipped to 45th on the money list and was not chosen. McGann was 30 in 2000 and finished down in the 31st spot ' not nearly good enough for a selection. And this year, as a 32-year-old, she checks in at No. 78. Thats far too low for Solheim consideration.
McGann, you see, has diabetes. She knew it when she turned professional at the age of 19, electing to forego a college career because she knew she had better play professionally while she could. She had a wonderful career from 92 until 97, never finishing below 18th.
But since then, McGann has had numerous health problems. Shes well set financially with $3.2 million in tour earnings alone and probably at least that much in endorsements. But its tough to be only 32 and, apparently, have your best years behind you.
Michelle McGannMichelle had a 67 in a tournament a couple of weeks ago and talked excitedly about how this might be the start of something big again. She had a new putter and it had really helped.
But Friday, it was back to the on-again, off-again golf game as she signed for a 72, then Saturday it was the same old grind with a score of 75. Sunday she showed a little spark of the old form with a 69, but it was another tournament outside the top 20, another day of hoping and praying that she could cope with the frustrations of diabetes.
You start having self-doubt, as in any profession, she said. Ive fought diabetes, everyday - its a fight. Its not a disease you have control over. You have a 500 blood sugar one day and you have to deal with it.
Yesterday it was very hot and there are a few hills out there, and I didnt even realize my blood sugar was getting high and I ate all day. But today I only had a peanut butter sandwich. Its difficult with adrenaline, too. You can let it beat you up or you can get out and fight it.
Shes fought it a long time now. The invention of the insulin pump was a blessing. McGann started using it three or four years ago, and it has helped her keep playing.
It is a pump in my stomach that gives me a constant flow of insulin 24 hours a day, she explained. It helps me be able to keep my blood sugar level. I count the carbohydrates in food and look at what I eat, and instead of taking shots, it is always with me. This insulin is fast acting.
Ive talked to doctors and its a fine line. Adrenaline sometimes shoots it up, but it doesnt affect it all the time. Being dehydrated is a huge factor. When I have high blood sugar, I have headaches, but with the pump my blood sugar stays level.
Still, the diabetes is there, an omnipresent reminder that golf for her could end at any time. Every day is a battle, with McGann struggling to stay positive.
I try to be, said Michelle, but its very frustrating. I had a lot of good goals set for this year, and I felt great starting the year with my health. There is an occasional day when I want to throw the insulin pump and never have diabetes again. I really hope I see the cure someday and dont have to worry about it anymore.
But the insulin pump is wonderful, and its so much easier to manage your own shots. The heat affects me more, especially when I get dehydrated. I think that feeling good with my health all year keep has kept me positive. If my blood sugar is low then high, its hard to adjust.

McGann is fighting two fights. The first, with her fellow LPGA pros, is a struggle to make a living. The other one, far more serious, is with the diabetes. She might be slowly losing the first, but she is winning the second. And really, that is all that matters.
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Paisley (61) leads Tour Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 11:56 pm

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Chris Paisley birdied four of the last five holes for a 10-under 61 and the first-round lead Thursday in the season-ending Tour Championship.

The South African Open winner in January for his first European Tour title, Paisley played the back nine first at Atlantic Beach Country Club, holing a bunker shot for an eagle on the par-5 18th. On the front nine, he birdied the par-3 fifth and finished with three straight birdies.

''I think just all around was really good,'' Paisley said. ''I hit it well off the tee, which gave me a lot of kind of short irons into the greens and opportunities. I hit a lot of really good iron shots close, and then a few other bonus kind of things happened where I holed the bunker shot on 18 and holed a long putt on No. 8.''

The 32-year-old Englishman missed the cuts in the first three Tour Finals events after getting into the series as a non-member PGA Tour with enough money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup. The final card went for $40,625 last year, with Paisley needs to finish in a two-way tie for fourth or better to mathematically have a chance to secure one of the 25 PGA Tour at stake.

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''The nice thing was I won early in the year in Europe,'' said Paisley, a former University of Tennessee player. ''I've got the first two Final series events locked up, I think I'm in those. I'm not guaranteed to be in Dubai yet. But I just thought we have a house over here, my wife's American, my goal is to try to get on the PGA Tour, so it was a perfect opportunity to try and do it.''

Cameron Tringale and Canadian Ben Silverman were two strokes back at 63. Tringale is tied for 83rd in the PGA Tour card race with $2,660, and Silverman is tied for 85th at $2,600.

''I hit a lot of good shots and made some good putts,'' Silverman said. ''Actually, it could have been lower, but I'm not complaining. Missed a couple putts inside 6x feet, but I'm not complaining at all, it was a great round.''

Lucas Glover was at 64 with Ben Crane, Nicholas Lindheim, Matt Every, Trevor Cone, Denny McCarthy, Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez. Carlos Ortiz and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned PGA Tour cards as top-25 finishers on the Tour regular-season money list, and McCarthy has made $75,793 in the first three Finals events to also wrap up a card. In the race for the 25 cards, Lindholm is 19th with $35,836, Every 30th with $25,733, Glover 40th with $17,212, and Cone 59th with $8,162

The series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and Paisley and other non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.

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McIlroy likely to join PGA Tour PAC next year

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:28 pm

ATLANTA – The upside of the PGA Tour’s sweeping changes to next year’s playoff finale, along with a host of other significant changes to the schedule, seems to be more engagement in circuit policy by top players.

Jordan Spieth served on the player advisory council this season and will begin his three-year term as one of four player directors on the policy board next year, and Justin Thomas also was on this year’s PAC.

Those meetings might become even more high profile next year.

Projected FedExCup standings

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

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“I'm not on the PAC. I'm probably going to join the PAC next year. Nice to sort of know what's going on and give your input and whatever,” Rory McIlroy said following his round on Thursday at the Tour Championship.

McIlroy said he spoke with Tour commissioner Jay Monahan about the transition to a strokes-based format for the Tour Championship starting next year. Given his take on Thursday to the media it must have been an interesting conversation.

“I like it for the FedExCup. I don't necessarily think it should be an official Tour win. I don't know how the World Ranking points are going to work,” said McIlroy, who is tied for fifth after a first-round 67 at East Lake. “There's a lot of stuff that still needs to be figured out. But in terms of deciding the FedExCup, I think it's good.”

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Thomas (67) happy to feel no pain in wrist

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:03 pm

ATLANTA – When Justin Thomas arrived at East Lake he didn’t have very high expectations.

After injuring his right wrist during the final round of the BMW Championship he spent last week in south Florida getting therapy after being diagnosed with a case of tendinitis and little else.

He said he didn’t hit a full shot last week and didn’t expect much out of his game at the finale, but was pleasantly surprised with his play following an opening 67 that left him tied for fifth place and two strokes off the lead. But most of all he was pleased that he didn’t feel any pain in his wrist.

Projected FedExCup standings

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“I thought that I may not be playing very well because of my preparation being able to hit as few balls as I have, but no, in terms of pain, it's not an issue,” he said.

Thomas explained that he tested the wrist earlier this week to be sure he was pain-free and conceded he considered not playing the Tour Championship in order to be as healthy as possible for next week’s Ryder Cup.

“If it would have hurt at all, I wouldn't have played,” said Thomas, who will be a rookie on this year’s U.S. team. “No. 1 most important part is my future and my career. I don't want to do anything that's going to put me out for a while. But to me, second most important is Ryder Cup. I would rather not play this week and play the Ryder Cup and be fresh and make sure I'm going to get as many points for the team as possible.”

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Fowler 'pain free' and tied for Tour Championship lead

By Rex HoggardSeptember 20, 2018, 11:01 pm

ATLANTA – The most important member of Team USA at next week’s Ryder Cup may be the team trainer.

Justin Thomas began the season finale nursing a case of tendonitis in his right wrist and Rickie Fowler skipped the first two playoff events after being slowed by a right oblique injury.

Neither player seemed impacted by the injuries on Thursday at the Tour Championship, with Thomas tied for fifth at 3 under and Fowler tied for the lead with Tiger Woods at 5 under par.

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“I needed the 2 1/2 weeks or so of just sitting around really not doing a whole lot,” said Fowler, who tied for eighth last week at the BMW Championship. “It was definitely the right call. If I would have played through the first or second playoff events, there was really no benefit, especially looking at the ultimate goal being ready for the Ryder Cup and to have a chance to be here at East Lake.”

Being rested and pain-free is a vast improvement over how he felt at the PGA Championship last month, when he underwent therapy before and after each round and had to wear tape just to play.

“It's nice to be back swinging pain-free because I wouldn't have wanted to deal with how it felt during PGA week for a continued amount of time,” said Fowler, who finished his day with a bogey-free closing nine to secure a spot in Friday’s final group with Woods.