The Brown Bombers Green Legacy

By Rich LernerNovember 12, 2007, 5:00 pm
Judgment isnt a perfect science. There is no magic formula a computer can use to perfectly calculate the outcome of a decision. ' Jan Jaro.
At first glance, the name Jan Jaro might strike you as a high tech business titan from Norway offering insight into success. Hes merely a 9th grader from Jacksonville and a member of The First Tee.
Fear is inevitable. But I learned not to let the fear of failure interfere with my pursuit of dreams and goals. ' Kristen Red Horse.
Kristen Red Horse calls to mind perhaps a famous Native American philosopher. Shes a senior at New York University and also a member of The First Tee.
Powerful and radiant, both spoke before an audience of more than 600 last week at The Leaders and Achievers gala dinner to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of The First Tee in Jacksonville, Fla. PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, the PGA of Americas Brian Whitcomb and Walter Driver of the U.S.G.A were among those spellbound.
Their organizations, along with Augusta National Golf Club, the LPGA and corporate entities like Shell Oil Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Coca-Cola, planted the financial seeds a decade ago with the hope of opening golfs doors to children who otherwise wouldnt have access.
Now its springtime for The First Tee, prettier than Central Park in May. Joe Louis Barrow, chief executive officer of The First Tee, beams like a grateful father. His own famous dad, were he here today, would undoubtedly be just as proud for he loved the game, too.
I spent my best time with him on the golf course because it was private, Louis Barrow recalled. No one could ask for his autograph; though, a restaurant was a different story.
Joe Louis, No. 1 on Ring Magazines list of the 100 greatest punchers of all time, won arguably the most important boxing match in history. Golf figured prominently in the outcome.
The son of an Alabama sharecropper and one of 11 children, Joe Louis was introduced to golf by Ed Sullivan, whod given an instructional book to Joes wife, Marva. When he finishes reading this Ill get him a set of clubs, the entertainer said.
Louis would become so fixated on the game that many people feel he lost to Max Schmelling in 1936 because he was more focused on golf than on preparing for the German heavyweight, who knocked out Louis in the 12th round at Yankee Stadium.
Said his trainer, Jack Blackburn, The muscles youre using on the golf course are not the muscles you need to beat Schmelling.
You can blame his loss to Schmelling on Ed Sullivan, jokes Louis Barrow, the son.
That, Louis Barrow feels, was his fathers most important fight because it taught him the importance of discipline. The 1938 rematch was the most famous.
With Nazi black boots marching across Europe, Louis-Schmelling II was framed as a clash of civilizations, a battle between good and evil, the free world versus Adolph Hitler. Over 76,000 packed Yankee Stadium. Millions more huddled around their radios.
Louis KOd Schmelling two minutes and four seconds into the first round. He became a national hero for blacks and whites, later a U.S. Army staff sergeant who fought 96 exhibitions for more than three million troops.
Sportswriter Jimmy Cannon said of Louis that hes a credit to his race'the human race.
Louis retired in 1949 after reigning as champ for 11 years. He fought 13 times in 1935 alone! The gloves off, Louis poured his energy into golf, carrying a four handicap and good enough to have once beaten a 16-year-old named Lee Elder for the UGA National Amateur Championship in 1951.
Louis reportedly lost big money on the golf course to hustlers like Smiley Quick. But he was also generous, helping black professionals like Bill Spiller, Teddy Rhodes, Howard Wheeler, Clyde Martin and Charlie Sifford make their way in a white mans sport.
Louis actually became the first African American to play in a PGA-sanctioned tournament at the 1952 San Diego Open, bringing his son into the sport along the way.
Id go visit dad in L.A. and wed play the Western Golf Course, where a number of blacks at the time played, Louis Barrow said. I remember playing with Althea Gibson and I couldnt believe how far she hit it.
Today, Louis Barrow oversees a First Tee program whose numbers impress like his fathers boxing records.
There are 257 facilities in 46 states and six countries. Ninety percent of the 257 facilities are on public ground.
The fact that a city council would provide land for golf speaks to their belief that were going to have a meaningful and lasting impact on the kids in their communities, explained Louis Barrow. That is a significant Tiger effect. Now these elected officials think golf is OK, because kids have interest and kids are interested because of Tiger.
Five-hundred thousand elementary students in 1,300 schools will have been introduced to golf through the National School Program by years end.
In Texas, for example, the Houston Golf Association/Shell Houston Open funded a program at Whispering Pines Elementary School. There are values they will learn in the program that will be with them for the rest of their lives, said Paul Parker, PE teacher at the school.
We have educators speaking to the value of golf added Louis Barrow.
By 2010, nearly 5,000 schools will reach more than two million kids. Thats in addition to the million-plus in the chapter facilities, meaning all told (equal) close to five million children, said Louis Barrow. There is a conscious effort to take golf to where kids are. Obviously when were in schools were reaching a lot of diverse kids and thats an exciting development in terms of golf becoming a sport for all kids.
The First Tee aims to teach youngsters the motion of the swing but more importantly expose them to the nine core values of the program. Its not a game improvement program, said Paul Giordano, who oversees some 2000 kids at Moshulu Park in the Bronx. Its a youth development program.
The nine core values are honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.
Not surprisingly, teachers want those core values in their homerooms, too.
Were positioning golf as more than a game, said Louis Barrow.
Studies at the University of Florida and the University of Virginia show that 76 percent of parents saw an increased level of confidence in their children as a result of their involvement in The First Tee. Fifty-two percent saw academic improvement.
Ninety percent of the kids in the Virginia study could specifically tell you where they were using what they had learned about respect in other aspects of their life, said Louis Barrow with obvious pride. That means they have a greater respect for their brothers and sisters, parents and teachers.
Were creating partnerships with individuals who previously had a very limited perspective as to what golf was. It was for men'elite, wealthy and white.
According to the PGA TOUR, the fastest growing fan base is African American and Hispanic American.
If we want to grow the game, cautions Louis Barrow, we have to increase the number of diverse players because traditional golfers as defined by white males and females are not a growing segment of the population. Its sheer demographics.
Twenty percent of First Tee participants are African American compared to six percent for all of golf. Eight percent are Hispanic Americans compared to five percent for the whole of golf. Fifty-four percent of First Tee participants are Caucasian. That number is 85 percent for all of golf. Thirty-three percent of First Tee participants are female versus 25 percent in the game at large.
Distinct among those, Kristen Red Horse went from aimless California teenager to full scholarship student at a prestigious American university. She recently spoke to members of Congress.
Last week she stood before a room full of people in Jacksonville and said in closing, Thank you for raising me and for caring about me as a person first and a golfer second.
Her timing and delivery were impeccable, like a perfect right hand from Joe Louis.
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    Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

    Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

    It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

    "Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

    Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

    But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

    As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

    The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.

    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.

    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.

    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.