Enloe family

With wife fighting cancer, SMU's Enloe faces new reality

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 7, 2018, 1:45 pm

SMU’s season resumes next week, and head coach Jason Enloe has more on his mind than qualifying scores and travel arrangements.

After each round at the Golf Club of Houston, he will drive to a downtown hotel to see his wife, Katie, who is staying 10 minutes from MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she is now being treated for acute myeloid leukemia.

Best-case scenario, Katie will be there for the next seven to nine months. The doctors aren’t saying much. They’re optimistic they can beat this aggressive form of cancer – the same type that former PGA Tour player Jarrod Lyle is battling, for the third time – but they’ve promised nothing, other than a long and difficult road ahead.

“Just a complete shock to our systems,” Enloe said by phone recently. “We didn’t even have time to process it. It was just like, 'Holy s---, is this even real? When are we going to wake up from this bad dream?'”

It has all unfolded so quickly. About a month ago, during a routine self-exam, Katie, 35, discovered a lump in her breast that was firmer and bigger than any she’d felt in the past. Specialists in Dallas couldn’t pinpoint the problem. The Enloes braced for a breast-cancer diagnosis, but more tests revealed the blood cancer. With an assist from Amy Mickelson, Katie was quickly admitted to MD Anderson, the nation’s top-ranked cancer hospital, where she’ll receive treatment through at least August.

“We’ve settled in for a long, arduous journey,” Enloe said.

Last week, Katie endured five rounds of chemotherapy (with two or three more cycles to go). They spent the rest of the week in the hotel, watching movies and going for walks, ordering room service and sorting out their complicated short-term plans. She is feeling strong, and she’s in good spirits, but the Day 14 marker is approaching. That’s when most patients feel the chemo’s wrath, when their hair falls out in clumps and sores develop in their mouths.

The next step – a bone-marrow transplant – is the most critical. They need to find the perfect match. Doctors say they really only get one shot.

“It’d be nice to have a percentage, to know if you’ve got a good chance or a bad chance,” Enloe said, “but they haven’t really given us that kind of prognosis. So we’re betting on the doctors and modern medicine.”

Jason and Katie met through mutual friends in 2007, when he was still trying to carve out a career on the then-Nationwide Tour, and they married two years later. Two nights after their wedding, they went on a double date with Katie’s sister, Kandi, and one of Enloe’s pro golf buddies, Hunter Mahan. Those two hit it off immediately and married the following year.

“We’re a tight family,” Mahan said, breaking down over the phone, “and you just never know in life. This is what family is for, to support each other.”

And now the Enloes need that support more than ever.

When the family first received the diagnosis, the Mahans offered to bring the Enloes’ two young children – Emma, 5, and Maddie, 2 – on the road for two weeks. After stops in San Diego and Phoenix, and visits to Sea World and the PGA Tour Academy, the kids flew to Houston late last week to see their mom for the first time. Their stay didn’t even last 24 hours, after Katie began to feel ill.

“That was the worst part,” Enloe said, “seeing her tell them goodbye.”

He knows he can shield his kids from the truth for only so long. For now, he told them that Mommy is sick, and that her doctors are four hours away in Houston, and that the medicine will make her better, and that she’s going to be there for a while. Emma is already starting to ask more difficult questions.


Katie, Emma and Maddie Enloe (courtesy: Enloe family)


“I don’t want them to be affected by this too much,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to look in the rearview mirror and say, ‘Mommy was sick for a little bit,’ and we don’t think much of it.”

At home in Dallas, Enloe is in his fourth year running the men’s program at SMU, with responsibilities to his players and their parents, his recruits and his bosses. Everyone is planning to support Katie’s battle this spring with "TOGETHER WE STAND" bracelets, with ribbons or patches on their shirts and hats. He hopes his players are inspired.

So far Enloe has skipped a few weekday practices but never qualifying rounds. Last weekend, he addressed the team for the first time, providing an update on his wife’s health and offering some perspective, about how they should never take the women in their life for granted. “That role, being a mom,” he said, “is way harder than being the CEO of any major company.”

Because of his hectic, 24/7 job, he had no choice but to hire a nanny to help out on weekdays and when the Mustangs are on the road. In Houston, Katie’s mom, Debbie, has moved in, and a close friend visits often, bringing food and helping with laundry. With hotel expenses piling up, they’re looking into renting a corporate apartment, something more comfortable with more space for their extended stay. The Mahans recently started a YouCaring page for the family, and since it went live, more than 270 donors have raised nearly $75,000. (You can help here.)

“It’s crazy to fathom, and until it happens to you, it feels very far away,” Mahan said. “We don’t know what’s around the next corner, but we’re trying to alleviate any unnecessary stress.”

Still, Enloe can’t help but feel overwhelmed. All of Katie’s responsibilities around the house are now his. Even a simple task like paying the bills was eye-opening. “I didn’t even know where the checkbook was,” he said. “It’s stuff I haven’t had to worry about in the longest time.” 

And taking solo care of his two kids … well, that was an adjustment, too. His first night alone with them, the youngest got sick and didn’t fall asleep until 10:30 p.m.; the oldest helped and was up even later. “It was a s---show,” Enloe said. But he knows that Katie is counting on him, and that he has to be the “lead dog,” and that this is their new normal for the next several months.

“I’ll probably fail miserably,” he said, “but it won’t be from a lack of trying.”

This week, he is settling into a new routine. On Mondays and Wednesdays, after practice, he shuttles the girls to ballet class. He’s going to be a dance dad for a while, and that’s fitting – his kids have taken after Katie and Kandi, who were cheerleaders during the glory years of the Permian High School football team, the group made famous in “Friday Night Lights”. Every so often he checks in with Katie through texts and calls, but the conversations aren’t long. She needs to rest, and to stay positive, and that’s hard when so many emotions are involved.

“I’m scared to death,” he said. “I’m more scared about this than anything I’ve gone through golf-wise or personally, just because I have kids. They’re counting on me, and they usually count on mom. I just don’t want to screw it up.”

At night, when SMU practice and dance class and dinner is over, when the girls are bathed and tucked into bed, his mind wanders in so many directions, into dark and scary places, but he tries not to linger there long. There’s too much to do. He’s taking it hour by hour, day by day, trusting the doctors and praying for good news, for his family of four to be together again soon.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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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.”