Warren wins third Euro title at Made in Denmark

first_imgAALBORG, Denmark – Scotland’s Marc Warren held off Bradley Dredge to win Made in Denmark by two shots Sunday, shooting a 3-under 68 in the last round to secure his third European Tour title. Warren and Dredge were tied atop the leaderboard overnight but Warren surged ahead of the Welshman with three birdies on his first eight holes to open up a four-shot lead. Warren made two more birdies coming home and could afford his second bogey on the day on the 18th hole for a 9-under 275 total. It was Warren’s first title since winning the 2007 Johnnie Walker Championship, after several recent near misses. ”It feels incredible,” Warren said. ”Today I kept telling myself I was swinging the club really well and I was confident in what I was doing.” Dredge finished with a 70 after mixing six birdies with five bogeys, ending with a 7-under 277 total. Warren and Dredge were well clear of the rest, with England’s Phillip Archer (69) finishing third with an overall 4-under 280. More than 80,000 fans watched during the four days at Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort, at times braving gusty winds and rain. ”The crowds have been amazing,” Warren said. ”Coming down those last four holes, the crowds were so big.” On Sunday, play was delayed about 90 minutes by rain but Warren took advantage of the slightly lighter winds at the first European Tour event in Denmark since 2003. Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn was tied for fourth on 3-under 281 alongside Englishmen Oliver Fisher and Eddie Pepperell. All three shot 69 on Sunday.last_img read more

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Arnie: Palmer medical center changes, saves lives

first_imgDaniel Whitney is better known by his gregarious professional persona, Larry the Cable Guy. But when something is wrong with your newborn, and doctors offer neither solace nor solution, you’re just Daniel, the worried dad. “The problem was, different doctors told us different things,” Whitney said. “He’s going to need surgery; he’s not going to need surgery. We’ll put him in a harness; he’ll be fine in six months.” Whitney’s son, Wyatt, was born with hip dysplasia in 2006. Daniel asked questions: What’s the best care? What are the long-term effects? How can you help my boy? He got no definitive answers. But there was one promising directive: Go to Arnold Palmer. The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies are in Orlando, Fla. The Whitney family has a home just north, in Sanford. If you’ve got nothing else, it’s good to have a name you can trust. Golf Central Arnie: A collection of Palmer stories BY Golf Channel Digital  — September 10, 2014 at 6:00 AM From the ‘Arnie’ documentary, a series of stories looking at the legendary life of Arnold Palmer, both on and off the golf course. For all the words used in conjunction with Arnold Palmer, none hold truer than “integrity.” The man isn’t just a very famous and very successful golfer; he’s a faithful brand. In the mid-1980s, Palmer was 20 years removed from his final major victory, a decade distanced from his last PGA Tour win. He was in his mid-50s and looking for a charity to support. It’s funny the way things turn out. Palmer just wanted a philanthropic association, one in which he could lend financial and intangible support. He ended up creating a secondary legacy that he considers his primary achievement.  “I don’t talk too much about my major accomplishments,” Palmer said. “I like to think that the things I’ve done off the course are how many will remember me.” When Palmer and his late wife Winnie first visited the children’s hospital in Orlando in 1984, it was just a six-bed unit. Six beds. It was the best they could do. Then Arnold Palmer got involved. “He saw how crowded we were, but he saw the future. He saw the potential for success and he said, ‘We will do better,’ And we did do better because a few years later we were moving to the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital,” said Dr. Gregor Alexander, a neonatologist. “Without his commitment, without his passion, without the belief that he had in all of us – I’m talking about all the physicians, all the nurses, all the staff – we could not have accomplished what we have done in building two hospitals.” Today, the children’s hospital is a 158-bed, 362,000-square-foot facility. The adjacent Winnie Palmer hospital, connected to the children’s center by an overhead walkway, houses 225 beds over 400,000 square feet. The medical center is the largest facility dedicated to children and women in the United States.  When Arnold Palmer attaches himself to a project, be it saving lives or quenching thirst, he doesn’t half-ass a thing. He doesn’t lease his name; you get him. You get the man, his ideals, his ethic, his pride, his commitment. “I told them from the start: we’re going to do this the right way,” Palmer said. A story goes that Palmer’s longtime friend and manager Mark McCormack was once a little short with a server. Palmer pulled him aside and said, according to tour peer Dow Finsterwald, “’If you’re going to represent me I would like you to do it in a very pleasant and friendly manner.’ I think Mark got the message.” Point being: The name Arnold Palmer, and everything associated with it, be it great works or small gestures, has substance. That name lent peace to Daniel Whitney. You might not know it by his redneck character but Whitney loves golf. You tell a golf fan Arnold Palmer can help him, he’s gonna go seek such help. Whitney went to the hospital and met with Dr. Chad Price, an orthopedic surgeon. “He had a confident talk,” Whitney said. “He knew what he was talking about and we could tell we were in the right place. He said he didn’t think we had to have surgery, that we could cure him without it and, by gosh, he did it.” Wyatt is 8 now, healthy as can be, and his name bears a wing in the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, to which the Whitney family, through their Git-R-Done Foundation, has given $5 million. “If it weren’t for Arnold Palmer, there’d be no Arnold Palmer Hospital; if there was no Arnold Palmer Hospital, I wouldn’t have found Chad Price; and if I wouldn’t have found Chad Price, who knows what would’ve happened with my boy,” Whitney said. Annika Sorenstam shares his sentiment. She gave birth to her second child at 27 weeks at Winnie Palmer. “Will got off to a tough start in his life, but thanks to the care and thanks to the love and thanks to what they provide at Winnie Palmer Hospital he’s now a (3-year-old), full-of-life boy,” she said. “It’s just a miracle and we thank them pretty much every day for what they’ve done for giving us the hope that he would survive.” PGA Tour player Brian Davis and his wife, Julie, had two children born at Winnie Palmer. Their son, Henry, was born with kidney problems. Their daughter, Madeline, suffered two collapsed lungs. Both are in good health now but Brian often wondered, while they were being treated, if his family was receiving special service because he was a professional golfer. That quickly subsided. “I spent a lot of time in this hospital, seeing how they dealt with everybody coming into the hospital, other families, other children. We got to meet a lot of parents in the waiting rooms, the extra places for the kids to play and stuff like that and I was amazed how good the care is for everyone across the board,” Davis said. “I think it’s just such an achievement for Mr. Palmer.” “Every single patient – every single baby, every single child, every single mother has been taken care of like they would be the only patient that we’re caring for,” Dr. Alexander said. “They are being cared for like they are a part of our family. It’s not just a job; it’s a mission. No matter how busy we are and how many patients we have, we’ll always give each baby, each child and each mother a specific treatment that they need with a lot of caring and compassion.”  Brandon Brown was a track star who broke his ankle so severely that doctors in Michigan wanted to amputate his leg. Shannon Smowton was near death after contracting E. Coli at a petting farm in Florida. Trinity Simmons was born prematurely, at 2 pounds, in a foreign country. Kids of different ages in different circumstances, all in need of the same thing: a medical miracle. Arnold Palmer, for all the jokes about Jesus and a 1-iron, is not a savior. But he helped establish the foundation and lay down the principles for two entities that come as close to producing divine acts as we can comprehend. What is a miracle, but an extraordinary event that is believed – or feared – to be impossible? The healing of an ailing child, to which every parent will attest, is a miraculous occasion. Palmer has borne witness. He visits the hospital. He meets the families. This is personal for him. It could have been superficial. He could have sold his name and donated proceeds from his PGA Tour event: I’ll make some money, you make some money – we both win. But this was never about financial numbers. For Palmer, it was about this: “The Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies is great and last year we had 13,000 kids born in that hospital and it gets more substantial every year. We are directly responsible for heart transplants, liver transplants, we do everything in the medical field for children and women, and it has been very successful. We’ll continue to grow it as time goes on, but we’re very pleased with what happening there.” Wednesday, Sept. 10 marks the 25th anniversary of the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. It’s also Palmer’s 85th birthday. The two are intrinsically tied. “If you really get to know Arnold Palmer the man, he is a person that cares about other people and the needs of other people,” said John Bozard, the president of the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation. “Years ago, a family named their child Arnold Palmer. One of our nurses said, ‘I guess you want him to grow up and be a golfer.’ The mom said, ‘No, we want him to grow up and be just as kind and as generous as Arnold Palmer himself.’”last_img read more

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Formula 1

first_imgNAPLES, Fla. – No, Stacy Lewis doesn’t have a CPU or motherboard in her head, but her peers all know she is practically a human calculator. She graduated with an accounting and finance degree from the University of Arkansas, and she loves running numbers in her head. Even Lewis, though, is unsure exactly how all the complex point scenarios set up for her Sunday bid to win the inaugural Race to the CME Globe and the $1 million jackpot that goes with it. She knows this, though. If she wins the CME Group Tour Championship, she’s guaranteed she will also win the Globe. And that’s a $1.5 million payday, the richest in the history of women’s golf. “I’ve been thinking about all these awards and the Race to the Globe, that kind of stuff, for three or four weeks now,” Lewis said. “Unfortunately, that’s not going to go away overnight. I’ve just got to go hit some greens tomorrow. That’s all I’m going to try to do.” CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, videos and photos With a 2-under-par 70 in wind and rain Saturday at the CME Group Tour Championship, Lewis assured she is the player to beat Sunday in the battle for the $1 million jackpot that goes to the winner of the season-long competition for the Globe. With Lewis, Michelle Wie and Lydia Ko taking turns atop the projected points standings on Saturday, Lewis ultimately walked away in the best position to win the jackpot. Lewis, though, had to take a peek at an LPGA spreadsheet in the back of the media room to figure out who is best positioned to challenge her. “I don’t know exactly how it all works, but I can tell you there are people on the leaderboard I’m definitely cheering for over others,” Lewis said. “I’m not going to wish any bad on anybody else, but there are definitely some people I’m cheering for. I’ve just got to take care of business tomorrow, more than anything.” Julieta Granada continued her strong play in the Tour Championship as she seeks to claim a wire-to-wire victory. She shot a 70 Saturday, moving to 9-under 207, good for a one-shot lead on Morgan Pressel (70) and Carlota Ciganda (71), a two-shot lead on Sandra Gal (70) and a three-shot lead on Lydia Ko (68) and So Yeon Ryu (70). Michelle Wie (72) is four behind with Angela Stanford (67), who shot the round of the day. Lewis is six shots back. In a multi-layered battle for big prizes this week, Lewis is in terrific position to become the first American since Betsy King in 1993 to sweep the Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy for low scoring average and the official money title in the same season.  Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park is the only player who could prevent that sweep, and she struggled to a 73 Saturday, falling five shots behind Lewis. Park sits tied for 38th on the Tour Championship leaderboard. Basically, Park must finish at least T-8 to have a chance to win Rolex Player of the Year, must beat Lewis by 15 shots to win the Vare Trophy and must win the Tour Championship to take the official money title. Though Lewis didn’t win a major championship this year, she could put an exclamation mark on a dominant season by walking away with all the big prizes Sunday, including that $1.5 million payday. The battle for the $1 million Globe appears to be down to Lewis, Ko, Ryu and Wie. With all the complex scenarios, winning the Tour Championship is the common focus. With wind and rain making for tough conditions, the difficulty of the golf course helped keep players honed in on making good swings and scores. “I’m just going to go out there tomorrow like I did today and not think about the big money that comes at the end of tomorrow,” Ko said. “Everybody is playing pretty good in this condition. All I can do is really try my best out there, because I know it’s going to be tough again tomorrow.” Ko and Wie both wrestled away the projected top spot in points from Lewis before giving it back. At one point, Ko and Lewis were tied for the projected points lead. Wie led by herself before getting in an awkward spot in a bunker at the 11th hole and making double bogey. “Overall, it was a tough day out there, and I still am not too far away, which I am really glad about,” Wie said. “There is a lot on the line, but you kind of just have to play golf.”last_img read more

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Past, Present and Future

first_imgFor the American sideline, picking an assistant Ryder Cup captain has been akin to piecing together a seating chart for a wedding. Your Uncle Sal may be a cherished member of the family, but do you really want to spend two hours trying to make small talk with the guy? So while there’s never been a shortage of available players with the institutional moxie to make a real difference as an assistant, more times than not the coveted cart keys went to friends. The kind of guys you’d want to spend a few days with in a team room. That’s not to say the recent crop of assistants weren’t deserving, accomplished players in their own right, but were they right for the job? Were they right for the team? In 2012, for example, Davis Love III named Fred Couples, Jeff Sluman, Scott Verplank and Mike Hulbert his assistants. Honda Classic: Articles, videos and photos Freddie is, well, Freddie, always the coolest guy in the room who just happens to be a three-time winning Presidents Cup captain; Verplank is one of the few Americans with at least two starts in the biennial matches with a winning record (4-1-0). But consider Sluman: a former PGA champion, good guy, but he’s never played on a Ryder Cup team. Ditto for Hulbert. In 2010, Corey Pavin went with Tom Lehman, Love and Paul Goydos – who, again, is one of the most interesting people who ever played the game at the highest level, but he’s also never played a match for Team USA. This disconnect was atop the Ryder Cup task force’s “to do” list when they went to work in December. As part of America’s extreme makeover, teams will now feature four assistants: two former captains – like Lehman, who was named Love’s assistant for the 2016 matches on Tuesday – and two former Ryder Cup players who will be groomed for a future captaincy. “I would expect Davis to be an assistant captain in 2018 because he is going to have invaluable information from this year’s cup that he has to pass on and share,” said task force member Phil Mickelson. “That’s going to be a requirement.” In practical terms, the next logical move for the six-member Ryder Cup committee, a scaled-down version of the task force that will be calling the shots going forward, would be to name Paul Azinger Love’s second “past captain” assistant. Azinger told GolfChannel.com last week that he withdrew his name from consideration to captain next year’s team “for many reasons, personal and business,” but he did not rule out a turn as an assistant in 2016. “I’m not going there at this point,” he said via text message. The more interesting selections, at least with an eye toward the future, would be Love’s two “player” assistants, the captains-in-waiting. Couples, who was an early front-runner for the ’16 job but faded quickly according to various sources, could be an interesting choice. Love and Couples are long-time friends and a spot on the sidelines at Hazeltine National next year could indicate Freddie’s chances of ever captaining a team are still alive. The other options would likely depend on player performance. Stricker, Jim Furyk, Mickelson and David Toms would all fit the formula and would be popular choices as captains-in-waiting but are likely more interested in playing next year. As a measure of the commitment the task force members have to the new system, Lefty was asked if he’d embrace a role as one of Love’s “plus ones” if he failed to make the team. “Undoubtedly, I would love to do that,” he said. Of all the changes the PGA of America unveiled Tuesday in South Florida, this legacy program may be the most sweeping and have the most long-term impact. While the task force gave players the voice they’d been wanting, the captain’s apprenticeship program creates the continuity that has been missing from the matches for the last decade. It’s worth noting, in light of Tuesday’s overhaul, that Tom Watson had his own version of a legacy formula. Old Tom went old school with his assistants last year, tabbing Raymond Floyd, Andy North and Steve Stricker, a savvy past captain in Floyd and a likely future captain in Stricker. It’s interesting that Watson will be remembered in some circles as the face of the new Ryder Cup system for all the wrong reasons after last year’s Contentious Cup. Without Watson the PGA of America likely never turns to a task force for answers. It’s just as telling that a central part of the new deal will be a legacy for captains past, present and future. Maybe Watson wasn’t as bad as advertised.last_img read more

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Holman maintains lead through two rounds in Malaysia

first_imgKUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Australia’s Nathan Holman shot a 6-under 65 on Friday to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Maybank Championship Malaysia at the Royal Selangor Golf Club. Holman, who had an opening round of 64, had seven birdies to reach 13 under at the halfway mark. Richard Bland of England also shot 65 on Friday to stay within two shots of the lead. England’s Danny Willett was among a group of players trailing Holman by five shots. ”I am enjoying the lead,” Holman said. ”It is why we play the game, to get ourselves in front and with a chance of winning big tournaments. I’d like to be even further ahead if I could.” Bland, whose only title came at the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2001, attributed a change in driver to his strong showing. ”It has added 15 yards to my drives,” he said. ”When you got a shorter club in your hand, you can be a bit more aggressive. I am pleased with my round, to get two rounds without dropping a shot takes some doing. Nathan’s playing well, so I’m going to have to keep making birdies just to keep up.” The inaugural tournament, co-sanctioned by the Asian and European Tour and offering $3 million in prize money, was also highlighted by Casey O’Toole’s 193-yard hole-in-one on the 12th. ”I didn’t see it go in, but when I heard the yells I realized what had happened,” he said. ”It’s my first in competition. I’ve had four or five in practice, so this is the first that really counts.” Martin Kaymer, whose 73 left him at 2 over, was among those who missed the cut.last_img read more

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Luiten shoots 63 to win second KLM Open

first_imgSPIJK, Netherlands – Joost Luiten of the Netherlands shot a final round 63 Sunday to finish at 19 under and win the KLM Open for the second time in his career. It was the fifth European Tour victory for Luiten, who also won the 2013 KLM Open. Luiten made 10 birdies and two bogeys on the final day at The Dutch course, which hosted the tournament for the first time. He finished three clear of Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, who shot 6-under to finish second on 16 under. Third-round leader Scott Hend of Australia could not match Luiten’s blistering pace and sank to a 2-over 73 that featured two double bogeys to finish tied for fourth.last_img

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Kang shines in the spotlight

first_imgWEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Drum majors don’t high-step into college football stadiums with more bravado. As bold entrances in golf go, Danielle Kang’s is hard to top. The first tee at the Solheim Cup is famous for twisting the insides of the sturdiest champions. The tension is supposed to be something short of paralyzing, the pressure suffocating. Yeah, right. Kang strutted through the tunnel to the first tee Friday as if some marching band was right behind her. She came to have fun, and, wow, did she ever. Kang owned her moment, her first time stepping onto this stage as a Solheim Cup rookie, and then she went on to own the Europeans. Kang strutted, fist-pumped and high-fived her way through morning foursomes and afternoon fourballs, going 2-0 to help the United States take a commanding 5½-to-2½ lead on Day 1 at Des Moines Golf and Country Club. It equals the largest Day 1 lead in the history of these matches. “I did not feel overwhelmed at all,” Kang said. “I love it. Seriously, I really love it.” Kang teamed with Lizette Salas to defeat Carlota Ciganda and Caroline Masson, 1 up, in foursomes. Kang buried an 8-foot putt for par at the last to secure the victory. Kang partnered with Michelle Wie in fourballs to defeat Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Madelene Sagstrom, 3 and 1. Solheim Cup: Match-by-match scoring Solheim Cup: Articles, photos and videos Kang made one big putt after another in the afternoon to help the Americans win all four fourball matches, giving the United States its first sweep of a session in the history of the Solheim Cup. Salas wasn’t surprised at how Kang took to the atmosphere. “Danielle will agree with me on this, but she loves to be the center of attention,” Salas said. “She brings a fiery attitude to the Solheim Cup, which is great. She’s just meant for this. She loves it.” Indeed. “Like Michelle Wie says, I’m a princess,” Kang said. “I like the attention. I love the vibe. I want that crowd. That’s what we play for. I don’t think it’s just me. It’s what we all play for. It’s just magical, basically. I absolutely love it.” What a day, what a summer for Kang. The two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champ endured six frustrating years before breaking through to win her first LPGA title, and she did it in a big way. She made it a major this summer. She won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June. And now this. Kang’s entrance Friday set the tone for her big day. She was fearless from the start. At the first tee, with the patriotic celebrations and boisterous chanting engulfing her, Kang fed off it. Playing in the second match off, Kang didn’t defer to Salas in the alternate-shot format. Kang hit the first tee shot. “We talked about who would play the odd holes and who would play the even holes, and it just set up for Lizette to play the even holes,” Kang said. “But if anything, I wanted to hit the first shot.” Before Kang did so, however, she sauntered around the tee box with a hand to her ear, beckoning the crowd to make more noise. U.S. captain Juli Inkster watched in mild amusement. “I was like, `OK, here we go,’” Inkster said. “I was a little nervous with her pumping up the crowd, but that’s her.” Lining up behind her teed ball, Kang stepped off and waved her arms again, beckoning one more time for noise. And then she striped her first drive down the middle. “I don’t think I planned any of it,” Kang said. “I like the roars. I like the noise.” Kang said earlier in the week that she wanted the Iowa crowds so loud that she couldn’t hear her own caddie. “I wasn’t kidding when I said I want it to be so loud that I can’t hear people,” Kang said. “I just feed off of the high energy. I’m a very upbeat person. So the mellow golf doesn’t really fit me very well.” Kang and Salas made their morning victory dramatic. They were 2 up before they three-putted the 17th hole. Inkster said that only added to Kang’s fun. “That’s where Danielle said to Lizette, `This only means more TV air time for us,’” Inkster said. It set up Kang to bury that winning putt from 8 feet at the last. “Danielle was amazing,” Inkster said. “Every time she had a 4- or 5-footer, she put it right in the heart. She told me she was going to play well. It’s better when you back it up.”last_img
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Woods made right call keeping Reed in U.S. fold

first_imgTiger Woods could have sent a very different message Thursday while announcing his captain’s picks for the Presidents Cup. With Tony Finau, Gary Woodland and Woods himself all seemingly locks for the American team, Captain Woods could have rounded out the squad with the eminently likable Rickie Fowler. He could have opted for a match-play specialist like Kevin Kisner. He could have taken a flier on Kevin Na, gifted a pick to longtime rival Phil Mickelson or even thrown a lifeline to Jordan Spieth. Instead, Woods made his first winning move as captain. He put aside past differences and did what was best for U.S. teams present and future. He selected Patrick Reed. There was ample reason to go that direction, of course. Having worked his way out of a prolonged slump, Reed won a playoff event and has played consistently well around the globe, racking up 12 top-25s in his past 13 worldwide starts. In announcing the pick, Woods focused more on Reed’s passion, raving that his charge is “as fiery as they come.” That he “bleeds red, white and blue.” And that he’s a “great team guy, because when he goes out on the golf course, he’s going to give you absolutely everything he has.” Tiger: It’s time to start working on strategy, pairings Tiger: It’s time to start working on strategy, pairingsBut with all of that talent comes the baggage, and what would have seemed like a formality a few years ago was complicated by Reed’s controversial comments at the 2018 Ryder Cup that put him squarely in the doghouse.  Reed’s now-infamous interview with the New York Times may have immediately recalled Phil Mickelson’s awkward post-match news conference in 2014, but there were a few key differences. Mickelson’s disparaging remarks were aimed not at his teammates but rather a dysfunctional U.S. system, which started at the top levels of the PGA of America and trickled down to the captaincy. A respected, veteran presence like Mickelson could take the heat, knowing that he had the support of the team room. The ensuing blowback led to the formation of a task force, the Ryder Cup committee, and now a long-term plan built on cohesion and continuity. Reed, meanwhile, simply went rogue, blaming Spieth for not wanting to play with him, criticizing 2018 captain Jim Furyk for benching him and even insinuating that Woods had apologized for playing so poorly in their two matches together. Reed said the Europeans played without egos better than the Americans … and then, an hour after the matches, appeared selfish while deflecting blame for his 1-3 performance. Tiger: Turning down Fowler was the toughest call to make Predictably, those remarks didn’t sit well with U.S. team members, but a huge sports fan like Woods knows how important it is for teams to put aside their petty differences for a greater good. How teammates don’t necessarily have to like each other, but they can coexist while striving for a common goal. Great leaders recognize that, mend the relationships and then develop a plan for the future.  And so, with one pick, Woods squashed that him-against-them storyline. He brought Reed back into the fold with open arms. He signaled to the rest of the group that it’s time to move on, that Reed may have made a mistake, yes, but he’s still an important part of Team USA for the next decade. That he still gives the Americans the best chance to win. The entire U.S. roster, from the assistants to the other 10 players who grew up idolizing Woods, will undoubtedly follow the captain’s lead. Only a living legend like Woods can wield that power. “The guys are really looking forward to embracing him and being a part of this,” he said. And Woods made that possible by welcoming back the Americans’ most polarizing star. That’s the mark of a great leader.last_img read more

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Florida mini-tour continues with extreme safety

first_imgAfter spending days meticulously planning how to run a golf tournament during a global pandemic, Christian Bartolacci nearly saw his thorough efforts upended by Mother Nature. Bartolacci is the executive director of the West Florida Golf Tour, a barebones developmental circuit that normally wouldn’t garner much attention. But that dynamic changes when tours around the world shut down in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and you’re one of the few circuits in the country still operating. With millions of Americans under orders to shelter in place and practice social distancing, the WFGT conducted an 18-hole event called the “Ritz Carlton Series 4” Monday in Bradenton, Florida. Bartolacci had taken significant measures to ensure the safety of his players as coronavirus cases in Florida and around the country continue to spiral. He felt good about his preparations – until he arrived at a course blanketed in a thick layer of fog. “We had an hour fog delay, which threw a little wrench into stuff,” Bartolacci told GolfChannel.com. “My whole goal was to get guys away from each other, so that hour delay didn’t help.” A 38-year-old PGA professional, Bartolacci has been at the helm of WFGT operations since its launch in February 2010. In the years since, they’ve hosted events that included a number of past and future PGA Tour and LPGA winners: Daniel Chopra is a regular, while Lee Janzen, Emiliano Grillo and Ted Potter, Jr., have all made appearances. So, too, has Brittany Lincicome, and earlier this month another Solheim Cupper, Sandra Gal, teed it up in an event while trying to rehab from an injury. Even U.S. Open winner Gary Woodland cashed a $75 check in his lone WFGT start, shooting a 73 in the 2010 Prudential Palms Championship. He went on to win his first PGA Tour event 11 months later. The WFGT operates year-round, with both summer and winter schedules boasting one-day and multi-round events. It often courts players with Korn Ferry Tour, Mackenzie Tour or PGA Tour Latinoamerica status who need a place to stay sharp in between starts. “The best analogy to explain it is, I’m a gym membership where at the end of each month, instead of paying you can actually get some money back,” Bartolacci explained. “But we’re here for reps. That’s all we’re here for. We’re trying to get you to the next level so you can play for money when it really matters.” Christian Bartolacci/WFGT So while the sports world cratered this month as coronavirus concerns mounted, Bartolacci considered his options. Operating margins aren’t exactly robust in the mini-tour industry, but he started by canceling all of his upcoming multi-day events – including a 75-player major with increased entry fees. He kept alive the possibility of holding a series of weekly one-day events if the circumstances were right. But with each passing day, more businesses temporarily shuttered and more government officials advised citizens to stay at home. Many golf courses across the country slowed or suspended operations. So the notion of holding a tournament of any sort in the middle of unprecedented circumstances was difficult to decide. “I don’t know if it was the right thing to do. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wrestle with it,” Bartolacci said. “At the end of the day, it was a tough one for me, but I decided to do it knowing not everyone would be on board.” Indeed, not everyone was on board. Bartolacci admitted that he has received criticism on social media from across the country for his decision to maintain operations, one that likely would have gone unnoticed if other larger circuits were still competing. “Unfortunately, you’re under a microscope now,” he said. “I guess guys are focused on it a little bit more when they’re in Maine or whatever, haven’t left their house in eight days and they’re looking at us playing golf and saying we’re being irresponsible.” The question Bartolacci sought to answer is the same one staring at tournament directors on mini-tours around the country: Is there a safe way to play competitive golf right now? The required infrastructure for most larger circuits means the answer is no. There are too many people involved, too many touch points to conduct a large-scale event with full confidence in health and safety measures. But Bartolacci operates on a shoestring budget and with the manpower to match; his event required one person to greet players, one starter on the first tee and one person in scoring. And he filled two of those three roles himself. In devising a one-day event unlike any other, he unveiled a wide array of new rules and procedures in response to coronavirus concerns. First, he limited the field, offering only 50 spots instead of the usual 75-80 this time of year. He ensured the host club, Ritz-Carlton Members Club, would be closed so there would be no other foot traffic. He played the event in twosomes instead of threesomes, giving each player his own cart, which was sanitized the night before by resort staff. All scorecards and pin sheets were pre-deposited into each cart rather than picked up by players at registration. Entry fees were pre-paid, avoiding any physical handling of cash or credit cards, and Bartolacci greeted each player with Lysol disinfectant wipes upon arrival “for peace of mind.” Practice bays on the driving range were spread farther apart to align with social distancing requirements, and it was players-only on property – no caddies or spectators allowed. Once on the course, players were supplied a towel they could use for handling the flagstick. Bunker rakes were removed, and a local rule was added to afford players a free drop as ground under repair if their ball came to rest in an area of a bunker that was not raked. At no point did players make physical contact with each other, even in scoring. After the round, playing partners sat in chairs 6 feet apart at a spartan scoring table with a bottle of hand sanitizer on it. Rather than exchange scorecards, all scores were relayed verbally to Bartolacci and input into a computer. Christian Bartolacci/WFGT “It was awesome. It was probably one of the safest, cleanest places you’ll ever be,” said Jimmy Stanger, who tied for third after shooting 68. “Literally never went within 6 feet of anyone, other than maybe around the hole when we made our putts. Just felt a very healthy way to do it. It was a good day to get outside and fortunately still have a job.” Even among a mini-tour audience with an insatiable appetite for competition, coronavirus has become an issue. Bartolacci revealed that he received multiple late withdrawals, including one from a player who lives with his grandmother and didn’t want to risk possibly infecting her with a disease that disproportionately impacts the elderly. Another player recently had dinner with a family member who subsequently tested positive and, while asymptomatic himself, the player didn’t want to unwittingly put his fellow competitors at risk. But despite a handful of defections, Bartolacci’s event still delivered a stronger than usual field given that so many touring pros have so few playing options at the moment. He shared that the roster included a handful of players with Korn Ferry Tour status for 2020, one of whom told Bartolacci that he recently inquired about getting a job stocking shelves at night for Lowe’s in order to help make ends meet. Among that Korn Ferry group is Stanger, a 25-year-old who is fully exempt this season and has already made $14,451 in six starts. While his background in finance and lack of dependents will help him weather the current storm more easily than some of his peers, he’s not immune to the math of mini-tour life. After dropping $260 on the one-day entry fee he got back a check for $445, barely scraping a profit even though only two players beat him. But that financial reality didn’t damper his overall experience. “It was super fun, and at the same time we got to go out and compete against a lot of good golfers for money,” Stanger said. “I hope they have as many of these as possible, because it was probably healthier than being in my apartment building all day.” Granted, the WFGT isn’t the only game in town right now. Across the state in Palatka, the 63rd Azalea Amateur concluded Sunday. The 54-hole event featured a field of more than 100 players, and an official at Palatka Golf Club confirmed to GolfChannel.com that some social distancing measures were taken, including the removal of bunker rakes and on-course coolers. Scorecards were dropped into a basket after play and removed by staff members wearing gloves. But unlike the WFGT event, spectators were allowed on the course after the final group teed off and there were instances where groups, played in threesomes, included two players in a single cart. There’s also mini-tour golf elsewhere in Florida this week, as the Minor League Golf Tour began a 36-hole event Monday in Palm City. That 46-man field includes Chase Koepka and is currently paced by former University of Texas product Gavin Hall, who opened with 62. The Cactus Tour, an all-female circuit that last week held an event won by LPGA major champ Anna Nordqvist, is expected to begin a 54-hole tournament in Arizona on Wednesday. The MLGT event boasts a purse of more than $13,000, which is nearly twice the $6,800 that WFGT players split Monday in Bradenton. Bartolacci’s event ended with a clear champion, as 25-year-old Jordan Miller shot an 8-under 64 to win by three shots. Miller is a circuit regular, having already played in six WFGT events this year. After anteing up his entry fee, he pocketed $2,020 – an extra Andrew Jackson was slipped in since the $500 skins side pot was split when no skins were won. Where things go from here remains to be seen. Bartolacci has tabled all of his multi-day events for the rest of the season, and he holds out hope that he can continue holding 18-hole Monday events through the end of April under the right conditions. But he also realizes that a shelter order from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could effectively shut him down at any moment. Through it all, he’s keeping the larger situation in mind. Bartolacci pledged to donate half of his net proceeds from Monday’s event to a local charity assisting other small businesses impacted by the recent economic shutdown. And while he hopes to have another $2,000 check to offer to a winner next week, he’ll sleep well with the belief that he took all possible precautions to ensure a safe experience under unimaginable circumstances. “I will not run an event unless I can run it the way I did today,” he said. “Because I feel that’s the only responsible way to do it.”last_img read more

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“Macroevolution” and Its Discontents

first_img A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Tagsevolutionintelligent designnaturescience,Trending Recommended “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. Share Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Evolution “Macroevolution” and Its DiscontentsEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCMarch 2, 2017, 1:35 AM Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share The term “macroevolution” has problems. Why? Among other things, because it’s a term that means different things to different people. Case in point: an email correspondent points out a random usage on a BioLogos Forum thread, “Is evolution continuing? Is God still creating?” It’s a comment from a Forum participant, Socratic.Fanatic, about rabbits:Northern and southern populations of a common species of North American rabbit is quickly becoming TWO distinct species and populations which can no longer cross-reproduce. It is a great example of macroevolution directly observable right in front of our eyes.Without wishing to jump down Fanatic’s throat, we took a moment to Google that one and could not find anything that resembles it — nothing about speciation in a North American rabbits. It’s possible we didn’t look hard enough. In any case, the phrase “quickly becoming” suggests the populations have achieved reproductive isolation, which implies they aren’t truly distinct species.We asked for a reference, and no doubt Fanatic will supply one in good time. It’s possible that he’s thinking of two squirrel populations on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon, which are almost identical.In any event, let’s review two different classes of definitions of “macroevolution” found in a couple of college biology textbooks that we just grabbed off the shelf. They give two different definitions of the word.(1) One, represented by Douglas Futuyma textbook Evolutionary Biology (1998),defines “macroevolution” in terms of the taxonomic hierarchy: “the origin and diversification of higher taxa.”And what are “higher taxa”? Higher taxa are generally considered any taxa above “species.” That would include genera and above. That point will become important in just a moment.(2) Others, represented by Campbell’s Biology (1999), define “macroevolution” in terms of the origin of biological novelty: “Evolutionary change on a grand scale, encompassing the origin of novel designs, evolutionary trends, adaptive radiation, and mass extinction.”Regarding Definition (1), Michael Behe takes a similar approach in The Edge of Evolution where he says evolution at the species level is feasible.He allows that evolution at the genera, family, or order level could be possible. But as he argues in the book, evolution at the class level or above is “beyond the edge of evolution.” So if macroevolution includes evolution at the genera, family, or order level, Behe concludes that what some consider “macroevolution” might be possible.As for Definition (2), the theory of intelligent design has no problems with macroevolution when defined as “mass extinction.” However, many ID proponents are skeptical that material mechanisms can produce novel traits. So here it might be fair to say ID poses its biggest challenge to “macroevolution.”But the formation of a new species isn’t necessarily a big deal for ID. In fact, pending clarification on the rabbit issue, we’re skeptical that this rabbit example entails the evolution of any kind of biological novelty. At best it’s probably just two species that are partially reproductively separated.In short, what’s at stake are somewhat semantic questions about how we define “macroevolution.” The key point is that we know there are limits to what Darwinian evolution can accomplish. We see these limits in experiments on features that require multiple mutations before giving any advantage. Darwinian evolution gets stuck.For example, Douglas Axe has found that in prokaryotes the limit is more than six mutations to get an advantage. Behe suggests that in multicellular organisms, any feature that requires more than two mutations to give an advantage is beyond the limit of what unguided evolution can do.Anything below these limits is microevolution. Anything above it cannot happen by Darwinian mechanisms, mathematically speaking. Perhaps one could say that is “macroevolution.”Photo: Desert cottontail rabbit, by Park Ranger [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons. Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesislast_img read more

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