Recari shows strength in battling eating disorder

By Randall MellApril 2, 2013, 2:37 pm

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Beatriz Recari never participated in the running of the bulls while growing up in Pamplona, Spain.

She knows what it’s like, though, to fear a dangerous threat bearing down on her.

She escaped the potential ravaging effects of an eating disorder that briefly threatened her promising golf career.

When Recari won the Kia Classic last weekend, her triumph resonated beyond her inner circle. It was another triumph of hope for the new cause she’s representing. Her victory is an inspiration for young girls who struggle with anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorders.

Just a little more than a week before winning her second LPGA title, Recari, 25, was introduced as an ambassador for The Alliance of Eating Disorders Awareness. Recari heads into the Kraft Nabisco Championship this week with momentum and a larger purpose.

“If I can help just one person, it will be huge,” Recari said. “I think the importance of my experience is that I’m healthy now, everything is fine, I have a good mindset, I’ve learned a lot, and I just really want to give back and share what I’ve learned.”

At the 2007 Finnair Masters on the Ladies European Tour, Recari’s health failed. She got caught up in something larger than herself. She became so weak going without eating that she struggled to walk the golf course. She was down to 100 pounds and losing her hair.

“I physically could not finish 18 holes,” Recari said. “I called my dad, and I said, `I need help, I can’t do this. I have such high goals for myself as a golfer, and I’m going against them. I need help.’ So my dad and a friend of his who is a doctor came to that tournament.”

Recari, her LET privileges secure for the following year, left the tour to address her issues and recover.

“You are in denial,” Recari said. “It’s your goal to stay on that path and keep getting thinner and thinner ... Part of this is depending on people telling you that you look great. It’s all about being skinny and being beautiful. You have to quit depending on what other people say.”

Recari’s recent victory elevates her profile and her platform. She heads to Kraft Nabisco looking to make some history in trying to become the first Spaniard to win a women’s major championship. She’s becoming an outstanding driver of the ball, a skill she believes suits her game for Mission Hills’ Dinah Shore Course.

Recari tied for 26th at last year’s Kraft Nabisco, which equals her best finish in the 12 major championships she has played.

“I was pretty happy with my performance in the majors last year,” Recari said. “I was leading after the first round of the LPGA Championship; I was bogey free in the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open and was just a shot or two off the lead.

“Last week’s win was definitely a confidence booster. I’m looking forward to Kraft because I think it fits my game with it being really important there to drive the ball straight.”

As she makes her way on tour, Recari is beginning to hear from women who face the health issues she once faced. She first went public with her struggles when she designated The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness as her charity recipient for winnings at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup two years ago.

“For us, at the Alliance, it means so very much to have a pro athlete come out and be willing to use her experience to help others,” said Johanna Kandel, founder and executive director of the Alliance. “So often, when it comes to eating disorders, there is still a lot of shame surrounding it. So, although many athletes have struggled, they are very hesitant to share. By her not only sharing her experience, but telling people it’s OK to talk about it and that there is help and there is hope and people do recover, it’s so significant, coming from her.”

According to the Alliance, eating disorders affect 25 million Americans alone with women making up 75 percent.

“There is tremendous courage in Beatriz stepping forward, sharing her story and supporting our cause.” Kandel said. “Eating disorders have the highest lethality rate of all psychological disorders. By coming forward, she is already getting feedback from people who are struggling, who have reached out to her.”

Kandel is a former professional dancer who founded The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness after recovering from a 10-year battle with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. She has been recovered for 13 years.

“The biggest impact Beatriz will have is giving people hope and spreading the message that there is help and people do recover,” Kandel said.

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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”