Draper Too Good to Give Up

By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2007, 5:00 pm
Touch the paper. Touch it once, touch it twice, touch it three times.
It moved.
Must touch again. Three more times. No movement but the pressure of the touch wasnt right.
Must touch again. Three more times. Nine more times. Twenty-seven more times.
These are the actions of someone suffering with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These are the actions of a teenage Scott Draper.
Scott Draper
Scott Draper has transitioned from professional tennis player to professional golfer. (Getty Images)
At the age of 18, Draper was a Wimbledon junior doubles champion. He was young, he was decorated, he was very highly regarded in and out of his native Australia.
Sometimes, Draper says, expectations, when youre not ready to deal with it, (are) harder than anything.
Excessive expectations can bring about stress. Stress can trigger Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Id touch things, whether it was a bit of paper, anything in the room, Draper describes. Once Id cleaned something or found some sort of symmetry in it, Id touch it three times. If it moved or I wasnt happy with the pressure, Id touch it again, in multiples of three ' three times, and then three times three. And then Id do 27, all this weird stuff.
Draper was a kid obsessed, compelled and scared ' scared of regurgitating, scared that God was going to make him vomit if he didnt establish perfect order.
Draper was also tired ' emotionally, physically. Hed stay awake at night repeatedly touching doorknobs, always in multiples of three; making and re-making his bed; organizing perceived chaos; flipping the light switch off and on.
And Lord forbid he bump into something in the dark on his way to bed after finally getting it all just right.
'I'd have to re-start the process all over again,' he says.
This kind of behavior, labeled 'sinister' by Draper, lasted for nearly nine months. And then, as quickly as it took over his life, the ordeal was over. One night, while lying on his floor, watching TV, he just decided, Enough of this (expletive)! This has got to stop.
Went cold turkey, he says, and never did it again.
Obsessions and compulsions dont just vanish into the dead of night simply because you want them to; but Draper found a way, with willpower instead of medication, to control it. That, in and of itself, makes Scotts story one of success.
But this is just one significant chapter of many in a life well worn over 33 years.
To this day, Draper obsesses; though, now he does so over golf. Golf is a fixation, a passion, and a career.
Born in Brisbane and a resident of Gold Coast, Scott traveled this year with his second wife, Jessica, and their now 6-month-old son Jayden to the United States, trying to Monday qualify in Nationwide Tour events.
He made it into two tournaments, missing the cut on both occasions. He then gave PGA TOUR Q-school a shot and failed to get out of the first round.
Despite all his athletic talent ' and theres a whole heap of it ' things have never come easy for Draper, at least off the hard court. Perhaps because life has given him such a hard time.
After corralling OCD, Scott met Kellie Grieg at a tennis tournament later that same year, 1993. They developed a relationship, became a team, and formed a single identity. They went everywhere together, traveling the world as Scott pursued a professional tennis career.
'The moment I saw her,' Scott says, 'I couldn't take my eyes off her.'
They got married in early 1998. Eighteen months later, she passed away.
Kellie suffered from cystic fibrosis, which meant her body produced an excessive amount of mucous which clogged her organs. She required constant care, routine physical therapy, and regular trips to the hospital.
Ironically, as Kellies condition worsened, Scotts play progressed. He won a prestigious event at Queens Club for his first and only ATP Tour title. In May 1999 he rose to a career-high 42nd in the world ranking. Two months thereafter, unable to get a lung transplant, Kellies body gave out.
Scott had been playing for Kellie. She inspired him to play well. He hoped that his play would inspire her to carry on. He did everything he could to keep from losing, just so he could go home and give Kellie some good news.
For a year-and-a-half they were married. For the next year-and-a-half he would grieve.
After Kel passed away I hit the brick wall, Draper says. This started to get on top of me.
Scott started drinking. He gained nearly 20 pounds, not at all ideal for a professional athlete who needed to be quick of foot. Emotionally, he was an even bigger mess.
Id have panic attacks,' he says. 'I was having an identity crisis. I was depressed.
This time Scott couldnt just make up his mind that he needed to change his way of life. As evidenced by his ability to beat back OCD, Scott's mental strength was one of his greatest assets. But, this time, his singular focus was to his detriment. All he could think about was his lost life with Kellie.
He needed help. He needed a diversion. And he found it in a strange place.
The one savior at the time, aside from the love and support of my friends and family, he says, was golf.
Scott didnt take his first golf lesson until the age of 25. By then he was already an accomplished professional tennis player, a survivor of OCD, and a depressed widower.
I found great peace in getting out on the links ' five hours with friends and just focusing on that little white ball, he says.
When Scott was forced to miss the entire 2004 tennis season due to a knee injury, part of his rehabilitation was golf. That year, he won the Keperra Country Golf Club championship. That December, he earned his PGA TOUR of Australasia card via the qualifying tournament.
Of course, he was still a professional tennis player as well, so it wasnt long before the two sports clashed.
That collision came in January 2005, when Scott, in his typical Type A personality, decided to compete in the Australian Open (a tennis major) and the Victorian Open (an event on the Australasian Tour) the same week.
The golf tournament -- his professional debut, nonetheless -- was on the second week of the tennis major. Having only practiced tennis for eight days leading up to the first Grand Slam event of the year, Draper figured he'd never make it to the second half of the fortnight and his schedule would be open. He was sort of right. He lost in the first round in singles, but when Samantha Stosur needed a mixed double partner, Scott stepped in. And they kept on winning.
The Friday of Week 2, he woke up at 4:30 a.m. to play golf in the morning and tennis in the afternoon. He missed the cut on the course, shooting 79, but raced over to Melbourne Park in time to advance to the finals. The very next day, he and Stosur captured a Grand Slam title.
'I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew sometimes,' Scott says. 'But yet I loved that experience.'
Draper played his final professional tennis event in June at Wimbledon, losing in the first round.
It was time to focus solely on golf well, almost.
In January 2007, former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, a tennis star equally talented and tempestuous, asked Draper to be his coach. Draper agreed and led Hewitt to a third-round showing at the Australian Open.
The result was empty, and so was the feeling Draper had inside. He didnt want to coach; he wanted to play ' not tennis, but golf. And so he stepped aside.
And right into the winners circle.
Two weeks after bidding adieu to Hewitt, Draper won the New South Wales PGA Championship on the Von Nida Tour (the Australasian Tours version of the Nationwide Tour). Trailing by four entering the final round, Scott shot 7-under 65 to win by one for his first professional golf title.
The thing that pleased me most was that coming down the stretch, I actually felt more calm than I normally do on a golf course,' he says. 'That gives me a lot of confidence going into the future.'
Too Good. Thats the name of Drapers autobiography, which was published this year. The phrase comes from a common tennis term used when someone hits an un-returnable shot.
It's also the phrase Draper uses to describe the way he approaches life in the aftermath of Kellie's death.
'I realized that what I was doing was not getting me anywhere,' Scott says. 'The way that Kel went about living her life, I'd be disrespecting her memory if I didn't pick up the pieces and just start attacking life the way that she did. And, for me, the answer was 'Too Good.''
Scott's latest obstacle involves status. Draper can play in Australia, but he wants to play in America ' against the best. He doesnt expect ' nor does he want ' to be handed anything. He knows that he will have to earn his way onto the PGA TOUR via Q-school or the Nationwide Tour. And, after an early exit in the Qualifying Tournament, hell have to work hard just to play on a semi-regular basis on the secondary U.S. circuit.
'Tennis is something that always came easy to me; I was a natural,' he says. 'Some of the things that worked for me in tennis haven't worked for me in golf. It's really been trial and error.'
Says his wife Jessica: 'Scott is a totally different person at home than he is when he competes. I saw him throw his racket and I couldn't believe that was Scott. That intensity really worked for him in tennis, but (controlling it) is something he has to work on with golf.'
'This is my third year as a pro,' Scott adds. 'I feel like my learning curve has been going through the roof. I'd say I'm getting closer and closer every day to where I need to be. But it's still a work in progress.'
Its back to Monday qualifying for Scott Draper, which isnt ideal, but doesnt seem all that bad when you stack it up against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the death of your spouse or depression.
Or against all three at once.
Too good should be used to describe Scott Drapers resolve.
My goal is to be on the PGA TOUR, he says. These Monday qualifiers are a necessary evil ' got to do it to continue the journey. And Im willing to do it.
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Putting prepared Park's path back to No. 1

By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 12:13 am

Inbee Park brings more than her unshakably tranquil demeanor back to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week.

She brings more than her Olympic gold medal and seven major championships to the Mediheal Championship on the outskirts of San Francisco.

She brings a jarring combination of gentleness and ruthlessness back to the top of the rankings.

Park may look as if she could play the role of Mother Teresa on some goodwill tour, but that isn’t what her opponents see when she’s wielding her Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball mallet.

She’s like Mother Teresa with Lizzy Borden’s axe.

When Park gets on one of her rolls with the putter, she scares the hell out of the rest of the tour.

At her best, Park is the most intimidating player in women’s golf today.

“Inbee makes more 20- and 30-footers on a regular basis than anyone I know,” seven-time major championship winner Karrie Webb said.

All those long putts Park can hole give her an aura more formidable than any power player in the women’s game.

“A good putter is more intimidating than someone who knocks it out there 280 yards,” Webb said “Even if Inbee misses a green, you know she can hole a putt from anywhere. It puts more pressure on your putter knowing you’re playing with someone who is probably going to make them all.”

Park, by the way, said Webb and Ai Miyazato were huge influences on her putting. She studied them when she was coming up on tour.

Webb, though, believes there’s something internal separating Park. It isn’t just Park’s ability to hole putts that makes her so intimidating. It’s the way she carries herself on the greens.

“She never gets ruffled,” Webb said. “She says she gets nervous, but you never see a change in her. If you’re going toe to toe with her, that’s what is intimidating. Even if you’re rolling in putts on top of her, it doesn’t seem to bother her. She’s definitely a player you have to try not to pay attention to when you’re paired with her, because you can get caught up in that.”

Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship

Park has led the LPGA in putts per greens in regulation five of the last 10 years.

Brad Beecher has been on Park’s bag for more than a decade, back before she won her first major, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open. He has witnessed the effect Park can have on players when she starts rolling in one long putt after another.

“You have those times when she’ll hole a couple long putts early, and you just know, it’s going to be one of those days,” Beecher said. “Players look at me like, `Does she ever miss?’ or `How am I going to beat this?’ You see players in awe of it sometimes.”

Park, 29, won in her second start of 2018, after taking seven months off with a back injury. In six starts this year, she has a victory, two ties for second-place and a tie for third. She ended Shanshan Feng’s 23-week run at No. 1 with a tie for second at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open last weekend.

What ought to disturb fellow tour pros is that Park believes her ball striking has been carrying her this year. She’s still waiting for her putter to heat up. She is frustrated with her flat stick, even though she ranks second in putts per greens in regulation this season.

“Inbee Park is one of the best putters ever,” said LPGA Hall of Famer Sandra Haynie, a 42-time LPGA winner. “She’s dangerous on the greens.”

Haynie said she would rank Park with Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright and Nancy Lopez as the best putters she ever saw.

Hall of Famer Joanne Carner says Park is the best putter she has seen since Lopez.

“I thought Nancy was a great putter,” Carner said. “Inbee is even better.”

Park uses a left-hand low grip, with a mostly shoulder move and quiet hands.

Lopez used a conventional grip, interlocking, with her right index finger down the shaft. She had a more handsy stroke than Park.

Like Lopez, Park prefers a mallet-style putter, and she doesn’t switch putters much. She is currently playing with an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter. She won the gold medal with it two years ago. She used an Oddysey White Ice Sabertooth winged mallet when she won three majors in a row in 2013.

Lopez hit the LPGA as a rookie in 1978 with a Ray Cook M1 mallet putter and used it for 20 years. It’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame today.

“I watch Inbee, and I think, `Wow, that’s how I used to putt,’” Lopez said. “You can see she’s not mechanical at all. So many players today are mechanical. They forget if you just look at the hole and stroke it, you’re going to make more putts.”

Notably, Park has never had a putting coach, not really. Her husband and swing coach, Gi Hyeob Nam, will look at her stroke when she asks for help.

“When I’m putting, I’m concentrating on the read and mostly my speed,” Park said. “I don’t think mechanically about my stroke at all, unless I think there’s something wrong with it, and then I’ll have my husband take a look. But, really, I rely on my feel. I don’t think about my stroke when I’m out there playing.”

Hall of Famer Judy Rankin says Park’s remarkably consistent speed is a key to her putting.

“Inbee is definitely a feel putter, and her speed is so consistent, all the time,” Rankin said. “You have to assume she’s a great green reader.”

Beecher says Park’s ability to read greens is a gift. She doesn’t rely on him for that. She reads greens herself.

“I think what impresses me most is Inbee has a natural stroke,” Beecher said. “There’s nothing too technical. It’s more straight through and straight back, but I think the key element of the stroke is that she keeps the putter so close to the ground, all the time, on the takeaway and the follow-through. It helps with the roll and with consistency.”

Park said that’s one of her fundamentals.

“I keep it low, almost like I’m hitting the ground,” Park said. “When I don’t do that, I miss more putts.”

Beecher believes the real reason Park putts so well is that the putter brought her into the game. It’s how she got started, with her father, Gun Gyu Park, putting the club in her hands as a child. She loved putting on her own.

“That’s how she fell in love with the game,” Beecher said. “Getting started that way, it’s played a huge role in her career.”

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Teams announced for NCAA DI women's regionals

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 25, 2018, 10:50 pm

Seventy-two teams and an additional 24 individuals were announced Wednesday as being selected to compete in the NCAA Division I women's regionals, May 7-9.

Each of the four regional sites will consist of 18 teams and an extra six individual players, whose teams were not selected. The low six teams and low three individuals will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 18-23, hosted by Oklahoma State at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

The four regional sites include Don Veller Seminole Golf Course & Club in Tallahassee, Fla., hosted by Florida State; UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas; University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis., hosted by the University of Wisconsin; TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., hosted by Stanford University.

Arkansas, Duke, UCLA and Alabama are the top seeds in their respective regionals. Arizona State, the third seed in the Madison regional, is the women's defending champion. Here's a look at the regional breakdown, along with teams and players:

Austin Regional Madison Regional San Francisco Regional Tallahassee Regional
Arkansas Duke UCLA Alabama
Texas USC Stanford Furman
Michigan State Arizona State South Carolina Arizona
Florida Northwestern Kent State Washington
Auburn Illinois Oklahoma State Wake Forest
Oklahoma Purdue North Carolina Vanderbilt
Houston Iowa State Colorado Florida State
Miami (Fla.) Virginia Louisville Clemson
Baylor Wisconsin N.C. State Georgia
Texas A&M Campbell Mississippi Tennessee
BYU Ohio State Cal UNLV
East Carolina Notre Dame San Diego State Kennesaw State
Texas Tech Old Dominion Pepperdine Denver
Virginia Tech Oregon State Oregon Coastal Carolina
UTSA Idaho Long Beach State Missouri
Georgetown Murray State Grand Canyon Charleston
Houston Baptist North Dakota State Princeton Richmond
Missouri State IUPUI Farleigh Dickinson Albany
Brigitte Dunne (SMU) Connie Jaffrey (Kansas State) Alivia Brown (Washington State) Hee Ying Loy (E. Tennessee State)
Xiaolin Tian (Maryland) Pinyada Kuvanun (Toledo) Samantha Hutchinson (Cal-Davis) Claudia De Antonio (LSU)
Greta Bruner (TCU) Pun Chanachai (New Mexico State) Ingrid Gutierrez (New Mexico) Fernanda Lira (Central Arkansas)
Katrina Prendergast (Colorado State) Elsa Moberly (Eastern Kentucky) Abegail Arevalo (San Jose State) Emma Svensson (Central Arkansas)
Ellen Secor (Colorado State) Erin Harper (Indiana) Darian Zachek (New Mexico) Valentina Giraldo (Jacksonville State)
Faith Summers (SMU) Cara Basso (Penn State) Christine Danielsson (Cal-Davis) Kaeli Jones (UCF)
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Leach on grizzlies, walk-up music and hating golf

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 25, 2018, 10:47 pm

He's one of college football's deepest thinkers, and he has no time to waste on a golf course.

Washington State head football coach Mike Leach created headlines last week when he shared his view that golf is "boring" and should be reserved for those who, unlike him, need practice swearing. The author and coach joined host Will Gray on the latest episode of the Golf Channel podcast to expand on those views - and veer into some unexpected territory.

Leach shared how his father and brother both got bitten by the golf bug as he grew up, but he steered clear in part because the sport boasts an overly thick rule book:

"First of all, the other thing I don't like is it's pretentious. There's a lot of rules. Don't do it this way, don't do it that way. You walked between my ball and the hole. This guy has to go first, then you go after he does. I mean, all these rules, I just don't understand."

Leach also shared his perspective about what fuels the vibrant fashion choices seen on many courses:

"You can tell there's a subtle, internal rebellion going on with golf, and where that subtle, internal rebellion manifests itself is they really liven up the clothes. I mean, they're beaten down by all the little subtle rules, so they really liven up the clothes. Maybe have knickers, maybe they'll have a floppy hat or something like that."

Leach on the advice he would sometimes offer when friends explained their rationale for hitting the links: 

"They say, 'Well I don't go there to golf or go to take it seriously. When I go golf, I just like to have some beers.' And I'm thinking, 'You know there's bars for that? There's bars for that, and at those bars they have, often times, attractive women and music going on?'"

Leach is heading into his seventh season at Washington State, and he also described a unique hazard that can sometimes pop up at the on-campus course in Pullman, Wash.:

"In the spring the grizzlies come out, and the grizzly preserve is right across the street from the golf course. So they’ll be out, you’ll see them running around on the hills inside the preserve there. But there is this visual where, all of a sudden you drive up this hill on your golf cart, and you’re at the tee box and you’re getting ready to hit, and on the hill just opposite of you it’s covered with grizzly bears. And as you’re getting ready to hit your ball, it occurs to you that the grizzly bears are going to beat you to your ball."

Other topics in the wide-ranging discussion included Leach's proposal for a 64-team playoff in NCAA Division I football, his chance encounter with Tiger Woods before a game between the Cougars and Woods' Stanford Cardinal, his preferred walk-up music and plans for "full contact golf."

Listen to the entire podcast below:

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Post-Masters blitz 'exhausting' but Reed ready for return

By Ryan LavnerApril 25, 2018, 8:24 pm

AVONDALE, La. – After briefly suffering from First-Time Major Winner Fatigue, Patrick Reed is eager to get back inside the ropes this week at the Zurich Classic.

The media blitz is an eye-opening experience for every new major champ. Reed had been told to expect not to get any sleep for about a week after his win, and sure enough he jetted off to New York City for some sightseeing, photo shoots, baseball games, late-night talk shows, phone calls and basketball games, sitting courtside in the green jacket at Madison Square Garden next to comedian Chris Rock, personality Michael Strahan and rapper 2 Chainz. Then he returned home to Houston, where the members at Carlton Woods hosted a reception in his honor.

With Reed’s head still spinning, his wife, Justine, spent the better part of the past two weeks responding to each of the 880 emails she received from fans and well-wishers.

“It’s been a lot more exhausting than I thought it’d be,” he said Wednesday at TPC Louisiana, where he’ll make his first start since the Masters.

It’s a good problem to have, of course.

Reed was already planning a family vacation to the Bahamas the week after Augusta, so the media tour just took its place. As many directions as he was pulled, as little sleep as he got, Reed said, “We still had a blast with it.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

There are few places better to ease into his new world than at the Zurich, where he’ll partner with Patrick Cantlay for the second year in a row.

Reed wants to play well, not only for himself but also his teammate. After all, it could be an important week for Cantlay, who is on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk’s radar after a victory last fall. That didn’t earn him any Ryder Cup points, however – he sits 38th in the standings – so performing well here in fourballs and foursomes could go a long way toward impressing the captain.

“There’s maybe a little extra if we play well,” Cantlay said, “but I’m just trying to play well every week.” 

Reed got back to work on his game last Tuesday. He said that he’s prepared, ready to play and looking forward to building off his breakthrough major.

“A lot of guys have told me to just be careful with your time,” he said. “There will be a lot of things you didn’t have to do or didn’t have in the past that are going to come up.

“But first things first, you’ve got to go out and grind and play some good golf and focus on golf, because the time you stay and not focus on golf will be the time you go backward. That’s nothing any of us want. We all want to improve and get better.”