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Cancer Claims Past Women’s Committee Chairman Barbara Douglas

April 7, 2012

Winner of 2011 Ben Hogan Award was first minority to chair USGA Women’s Committee

By Rhonda Glenn, USGA
January 27, 2012

Barbara Douglas, the first minority chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee and the recipient of the 2011 Ben Hogan Award from the Golf Writers Association of America, succumbed to cancer at the age of 69. (Jeff Noble/USGA)

Douglas was diagnosed with stage-4 ovarian cancer in March 2009, just one month after she was appointed Women’s Committee chairman, a dream come true after her 16 years of service as a committee member. Despite the disabling effects of treatment, which included chemotherapy, Douglas displayed tremendous courage and endurance as a proactive chairman who seldom missed a USGA women’s championship.

Four days after her diagnosis, Douglas endured more than five hours of surgery, and when she awoke immediately asked her surgeon if she could attend U.S. Women’s Open Media Day.

Throughout her battle, she scheduled treatments to fit her schedule of Women’s Committee duties, often serving as a walking Rules official in a 36-hole championship final, then flying to Scottsdale to begin another round of chemotherapy.

Last year, the Golf Writers Association of America honored Douglas with the prestigious Ben Hogan Award, which has been awarded annually since 1954 to an individual who continues to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.

“When she wasn’t on the golf course, she was in the hospital,” said one GWAA member in nominating Douglas.

When the award was presented at the 2011 Masters, Douglas called it one of the highlights of her life.

When she spoke of her battle against the disease, Douglas said her lifelong positive outlook helped her in her fight. “Charles Swindoll, an American writer and clergyman, says, ‘Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it,’ ” Douglas told the audience. “…I would not let ‘the big C’ control my life.”

Over her two-year term as Women’s Committee chairman while suffering from cancer, Douglas worked at two U.S. Women’s Opens, two U.S. Women’s Amateurs, two U.S. Opens, the Curtis Cup Match and the World Amateur Team Championship. Getting up every day wasn’t easy, she said, but “my focus on the positives kept me going. It fueled my fire and gave me the wherewithal to get up and get going.”

As an African American growing up in a primarily white neighborhood, Douglas was accustomed to challenges. Blessed with strong, supportive parents, Douglas shrugged them off.

“I’ve endured a lot of discrimination, both from being a female and a minority,” Douglas said in a 2009 interview. “But it’s never the first thing that comes to my mind.”

As a beginning golfer, she went alone to New York-area public courses and asked to be paired with other golfers, utter strangers to her. Still a new golfer, she entered a USGA national championship, the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, and surprised herself by qualifying. While she never advanced to match play, she qualified several times. In addition, she was on a fast career track as an executive with IBM and was president of the National Minority Golf Foundation for five years.

In 1992, she was named to the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship Committee and in 1993 became the first minority member of the USGA Women’s Committee. While she was soft-spoken and quietly pleasant, Douglas was a staunch defender of the game. At one WAPL, where she was championship chairman, several spectators behind the ninth green told her that they believed a father who was caddieing for his daughter had intentionally broken a Rule.

Douglas grabbed her copy of The Rules of Golf, striding quickly to the 10th tee. “I think I’m going to stay with this group,” she said, and followed the player and her father for the rest of the round.

During her two-year term as Women’s Committee chairman, Douglas worked hard to further involve state and regional golf associations as grass-roots supporters of the game and focused on growing the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program. In 2011, she was inducted into the National Black Golf Hall of Fame. After her term as Women’s Committee chairman ended in February of 2011, Douglas devoted more time to her career as a realtor and was able to spend more time playing the game she loved. But the medical treatments that had kept her going throughout 2009 and 2010 failed to keep pace with the disease in 2011 and she was often confined by side-effects.

Douglas is survived by her closest friend, Bob Tomisak of Glendale, Ariz., and a host of devoted friends from around the nation.

 

Make it a baker’s dozen….aka big number 13

December 24, 2007

-The 13th major for Tiger Woods looked like so many others until he finished-

AP

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
TULSA, Okla. - Woody Austin and Ernie Els give it their best shot, but Tiger Woods claims his fourth PGA Championship and 13th major title on Sunday afternoon by two strokes at Southern Hills.

His father is no longer alive for Woods to walk into his arms. His mother no longer travels to any major but the Masters. He now shares his triumphs with a wife and baby daughter, and the biggest surprise Sunday at the PGA Championship was seeing them when he walked into the scoring trailer to sign for a 69 and a two-shot victory.

Naturally, 2-month-old Sam Alexis was decked out in red.

“It’s a feeling I’ve never had before,” Woods said after turning back a brief scare to win the final major of the year. “Having Sam there and having Elin there, it feels a lot more special. And it used to be my mom and dad. And now Elin, and now we have our own daughter. So it’s evolved, and this one feels so much more special than the other majors.”

On the golf course, it was the same old story.

With his five-shot lead trimmed to a single stroke, Woods kept his cool in temperatures that reached 102 degrees. He hit 7-iron to 10 feet on the 15th hole for a birdie that gave him some breathing room, and the bold drive on the 16th - Woods twirled the club in his hand when he saw it split the middle - was the sure sign this major was over.

Woody Austin (67) and Ernie Els (66) made spirited runs, but that wasn’t nearly enough. Read more

Els beats Cabrera 6 and 4 for seventh title at World Match Play Championship

December 24, 2007

AP Sports
VIRGINIA WATER, England

Ernie Els - Copyright Golf Graphics
Ernie Els - Copyright Golf Graphics
Ernie Els won his seventh World Match Play Championship title Sunday by beating Angel Cabrera 6 and 4 in the final at Wentworth.

Els took the lead on the first hole, with Cabrera taking a bogey, and the South African stayed in front throughout the day to claim his first victory of the year.

“It is absolutely a dream come true. I would never in my wildest dreams have thought I could win this seven times,” said Els, who also won in 1994-96 and 2002-04. “It truly feels unbelievable. The course is obviously my home course. It has been a great week.”

Els, ranked No. 5 in the world, earned $2.03 million for the win.
He led by three holes after the first 18, then extended his lead to four at the 20th. Cabrera, this year’s U.S. Open champion, won two of the next six to cut his deficit to two with nine to play.

But Els won the short 28th with a 15-foot birdie putt and then won three in a row from the 30th, sealing the win with a 10-footer at the 32nd.

After his win, Els took a private plane to Paris, where South Africa was to play Argentina on Sunday night in a semifinal of the Rugby World Cup.

“I hope the Pumas have more luck that I had,” said Cabrera, an Argentine.

Els, who lives on the Wentworth Estate southwest of London, redesigned the West Course at Wentworth in 2005 when he did not play because of a knee injury. Read more

Woods closes out the year with a 7-shot win

December 24, 2007

THOUSAND OAKS, California

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
The final putt of the year safely in the hole for par and another victory, Tiger Woods was quickly reminded what kind of year 2007 turned out to be.

First, he walked over to his 6-month-old daughter, dressed in a red fleece top, for a kiss on the cheek and a pat on the head. Then came the presentation on the 18th green at Sherwood Country Club, where Woods collected his eighth trophy of the year.

He became a father for the first time in June. He won his 13th career major in August at the PGA Championship. He swept all the major awards to further separate himself from the rest of golf. The final piece came Sunday at the Target World Challenge, a seven-shot victory and a $1.35 million check that goes to his Tiger Woods Learning Center.

“This year on the golf course, it’s been a great year,” Woods said. “Off the golf course, it’s been the greatest year I’ve ever had.”

There was no such suspense at Sherwood, at least not for long.

Jim Furyk cut a six-shot lead down to two at the turn and was poised to get even closer on the 10th hole. Woods holed a 12-foot birdie putt up the slope, and Furyk three-putted for bogey from 4 feet above the hole. It was a stunning two-shot swing, and Woods soon restored his margin and coasted to victory.

He closed with a 4-under 68 to tie the tournament record at 22-under 266, making him the first player to win consecutive titles at this year-end tournament for an elite, 16-man field. Read more

Garcia Will Likely Be Fined for Spit Incident

Spaniard Spat in Cup on 13th Green at WGC

April 7, 2007

Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia
AP
MIAMI - Spaniard Sergio Garcia is likely to be fined for a spitting incident at the WGC-CA Championship, although the PGA Tour is not prepared to disclose details.

The 27-year-old spat into the bottom of the cup on the 13th green during Saturday’s third round after three-putting for bogey on the par-three hole.

“As I normally don’t, I won’t comment on the specifics here,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem told NBC Sports television during Sunday’s final round at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa.

“But I will say that we try to avoid conduct that creates a distraction, a negative for the fans and a distraction for the media.

“Thankfully, on the whole on the PGA Tour, we don’t have too much of it. When we do, we have to move forward. I’m sure I will have a conversation about it with Sergio.”

Garcia, who went on to card a one-under-par 71 after missing a par putt from seven feet at the 13th, described the incident on Saturday as “no big deal.”

He added: “I just missed that putt and wasn’t too happy.”

Finchem applauded the Spaniard’s impact on the PGA Tour since he joined the circuit in 1999.

“He has been a terrific addition,” he said. “His record is blemish-free and I’m confident this is a one-off situation.”

Editor’s note: Sergio is a greatly talented and gifted player who has the potential of becoming one of golf’s all-time better players. His flashes of anger directed toward the gallery as was the case on Saturday when he drove his tee ball into the water on 18 will not served to hold him in good standing with the people who make the PGA Tour successful….the fans.

Tiger Wins Stroke Play at Tavistock Cup

April 7, 2007

Run of Seven Birdies Gives Woods Third Straight Win

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
AP Sports
ORLANDO, FL - Tiger Woods shot an 8-under 64 Tuesday to win the stroke play competition at the Tavistock Cup.

Woods won the individual title at the Ryder Cup-styled event for the third straight year thanks to a run of seven straight birdies in the middle of the round at Lake Nona Golf & Country Club . Woods pocketed $500,000 for his efforts, but wasn’t sure just how many birdies he made.

“I have no idea,” said Woods, who beat Justin Rose by two strokes. “I just know I got to 8, somehow.”

For the first time, Woods didn’t take home the team bonus.

Lake Nona, which was 0-2-1 over the first three years of the exclusive boutique event pitting the respective tour players at the two clubs, beat its crosstown rival 22-8 after taking a commanding 10-0 lead after the first day of matches Monday.

“I’m sure we’ll have a couple of cold ones after this is done,” Lake Nona captain Ernie Els said.

With the team title essentially cemented, the only real suspense on the second day was who would win the individual bonus.

Woods was sloppy early before starting his birdie run on No. 8, and blowing past Rose, who shot a 66. For Rose, it was nonetheless a victory of sorts since he hasn’t played in the past two weeks because of an ailing back.

“Everything’s good,” Rose said.

Graeme McDowell, Mark O?Meara and Retief Goosen tied for third with 67s. Woods, whose swing coach, Hank Haney, watched from the gallery, said he will begin his Masters tuneup almost immediately back at Isleworth.

“I’m just happy they I get to take a little break tomorrow, take some time off, then start to grind a little bit later in the week,” said Woods, who won the CA Championship on Sunday.

Ochoa Rallies to Win Safeway International

March 25, 2007

Lorena Ochoa - Photo by Golf Graphics
Lorena Ochoa - Photo by Golf Graphics
By ANDREW BAGNATO
AP Sports
SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. (March 25) - Viva Lorena!

The chant echoed through the foothills of the Superstition Mountains as Lorena Ochoa blew a four-stroke lead to Suzann Pettersen, then birdied four of the last five holes for a two-stroke victory in the Safeway International on Sunday.

Wearing a green shirt and white shorts to honor her homeland, the Mexican star shot a 4-under 68 to rally past Pettersen (66) for her 10th tour victory. After Ochoa holed a short birdie putt on 18, an impromptu fiesta broke out on the green with her family and members of the grounds crew.

Ochoa had visited with the workers on Tuesday and thanked them for their efforts, as she does at many tournaments.

“I told them to come and celebrate with me, because this trophy is for all of you,” Ochoa said. “It was very nice to see their reaction and to see them close. Hopefully they enjoyed the day as much as I did. I’m very proud to be Mexican.”

Ochoa, the tour’s reigning player of the year, earned $225,000 for her 10th LPGA Tour victory. She finished at 18 under. Read more

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