May 2021

Show Stealer

first_imgPINEHURST, N.C. – With a few minutes to kill on the third tee box Thursday, Lucy Li found a shady patch of grass and took a seat. Pigtails popping out of her visor and a cool towel around her neck, she took a few bites from a fruit cup and chatted with people standing around her. Ten minutes later, she got up and went back to making history at the U.S. Women’s Open. At 11 years old, Li is the youngest ever to qualify for this event, and the second-youngest to ever tee it up. Entering the week, the questions piled up: Could she hit it far enough? Could she hold a ball on the turtleback greens of Pinehurst No. 2? Would she possess the patience and discipline to make it around an Open setup? Even after an 8-over 78, the answer to all of those questions was a resounding yes. Li double-bogeyed her first hole, the par-5 10th, but from there she displayed poise and talent that belied her age. “She’s way better than I was expecting,” said Catherine O’Donnell, who played with Li in the opening round and matched her score. “She looks 11, (but) she doesn’t talk 11, and she doesn’t hit the ball like she’s 11.” Throughout the round, Li chatted with O’Donnell, 24, and 23-year-old Jessica Wallace, who rounded out the group and shot 74. Topics ranged from Harry Potter – “I don’t think she’s quite old enough,” noted O’Donnell – to the NBA, when Li explained that she roots for the Miami Heat over her hometown Golden State Warriors. Between the sessions of small talk, Li impressed with her performance. She missed the opening fairway but found each of the next 13, and reached nine of 18 greens in regulation even though she was hitting a wood or hybrid club into half of them. Her score left her 11 shots off the lead, but also one shot ahead of LPGA winners Natalie Gulbis and Jessica Korda. “I’m happy with how I played,” Li said. “I mean, it’s 8 over, it’s not bad. But I was 7 over in three holes, so that’s 1 over in 15 holes. So, yeah, I just need to get rid of the big numbers.” The trouble holes were the 10th and 16th, where Li found greenside bunkers and made double bogeys. She again found the sand on the par-4 third after pulling her wedge approach, and after two pitches and three putts she left with a triple bogey. Despite such difficulties on the Donald Ross design, Li showed not even a hint of concern. “We just laughed,” Li’s caddie, Bryan Bush, said. “She goes, ‘Oh, I got Ross’d.’ And I told her, ‘Yes, you did.’” Li made the turn at 5 over, then birdied the first hole after hitting a 6-iron approach to 15 feet, offering a small fist pump when the putt found the hole. She bounced back after trouble at No. 3, making a par at the difficult fourth and then carding her second birdie of the day at No. 5 after her wedge spun to within 6 feet. That putt elicited two fist pumps. “That’s what I was so happy about in my round,” Li said, “because after I got doubles and triples, I was able to get it back.” As the round progressed, the crowds following Li’s group swelled. Girls who looked as if they could have been in a schoolroom with her instead were asking their parents where they could get her skirt – a patriotic red, white and blue number with stars throughout. One girl asked her for her autograph on the second tee, with Li hesitating before suggesting she find her after the round. It seemed more like a chat between two friends at recess than a fan-player interaction at a major championship. Reaction to Li’s shots was consistent: first a “Wow,” then a shake of the head, then a small chuckle in awe. A girl who barely stood over her bag was piping drive after drive, hitting her 5-wood as accurately as many players hit their 6-iron. Li said she felt no extra pressure as the gallery got bigger. “It was a lot of fun, yeah. I play better with crowds,” she said. “So yeah, it was good.” U.S. Women’s Open: Articles, videos and photos Among those in the gallery near the fourth green was Amy Alcott, who won this event in 1980 and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999. Alcott, like Li, is from California, and wanted to see the pre-teen play in person. “I know how excited she must be,” said Alcott, who played in her first U.S. Women’s Open at 15. “It’ll be an experience that she’ll remember for a lifetime.” The lessons Li will take from this week will be invaluable, and she reiterated both before the tournament and after Thursday’s round that score was immaterial. But under major championship pressure, she still authored some jaw-dropping shots. After her 5-wood ran through the green on the par-4 eighth, Li was left with a difficult pitch from below the putting surface. She used her 60-degree wedge to hit it within a few feet, an up-and-down that Bush, who has caddied at Pinehurst for the past four years, described as one of the best he’s ever seen on that hole. On the par-4 second, she hit the longest drive of her group after her tee shot landed on a firm section of fairway and bounded down a slope. Bush estimated that the drive went 265 yards. “She surprised me,” he said. “She told you guys in the press conference that on a tournament day it goes farther, and by God it does.” Li’s playing competitors were equally impressed with her performance. “I was expecting her not to be able to hit it as far, and I thought she would struggle because she couldn’t hit it as far,” O’Donnell said. “But, overall, she slings it really, really nicely.” “Just the way she handles herself on the golf course, she is mature beyond her years,” added Wallace. “Her first U.S. Open, she’s 11 years old, who knows what people were expecting out of her this week. I thought she played the course well.” Li addressed the media after her round with an ice-cream treat in hand, and as her well-earned dessert began to melt she was asked her preference between typical rough and the sandy areas at Pinehurst No. 2. After offering a mixed response, she paused. “You’ve got to like the golf course, man,” she said. It embodied the carefree attitude that Li embraces. She’s here this week to gain experience while making history, to win over fans with her innocent laugh, and to eat as much ice cream as she can. If she can play some good golf in between, so much the better. She may have shot a 78, but on the opening day of the U.S. Women’s Open that was enough to steal the show.last_img read more

Stricker playing hometown favorite

first_imgSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Whistling Straits doesn’t look like it belongs in Wisconsin. You drive through the front gate, and you think you’ve been transported to the rugged coast off the Forth of Clyde in Scotland or something. All those cornfields just outside the gate, all those pretty little farmhouses with their rustic red barns and silos, they seem so far away. But it sure sounds like Wisconsin around here. You hear that whenever Steve Stricker steps to a tee box. This is his home, his sweet motherland, and he’s the beloved favorite son this week. All the good folks from small towns like Ladysmith, Lodi, Peshtigo and Sturgeon Bay, places so much like where Stricker grew up in Edgerton, and from the larger cities like Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay, they’re rooting hard for Stricker around here. There’s a lot of love being poured on the Wisconsin boy already this week. When he reached the last hole in his practice round Wednesday, he was showered with howls of delight. Stricker’s an emotional man, he will give you that, and he is sure to be dealing with a lot of feelings when he steps to the first tee box at 1:20 p.m. ET on Thursday. His wife, Nicki, is back on his bag as caddie this week. It all promises to get even more emotional by week’s end, whether that’s in a dreamy finish hoisting a trophy, or a more heavy-hearted finish, missing a cut on Friday. It’s all heightened for Stricker knowing he could be playing his final major championship. Yes, his last major. He said he’s resigned to the possibility. “I probably won’t play another major,” Stricker said Wednesday in the shadow of the Whistling Straits clubhouse. “Well, maybe I’ll try to qualify for the U.S. Open when it’s at Erin Hills [in Wisconsin in 2017]. Hopefully, that will happen, but not too many majors do you get to play in your home state.” PGA Championship: Full-field tee times Stricker, 48, is a 12-time PGA Tour winner who would relish electrifying all these hometown fans with a run at winning his first major. Yes, he has fantasized about winning here. He shared that dream with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier this week. “Yeah, that would be pretty special,” Stricker said. “It’s run through my mind a few times how cool of a thing that would be. There’s a long ways to go, and I’m going to have to pull some tricks out of my hat to do that, but you never know. That’s why we play this game and sports in general. I feel like I can play well.” Stricker made his best run at winning a major in the PGA Championship. He took a share of the lead into the final round at Sahalee in 1998, ultimately finishing second to Vijay Singh, two shots back. He equaled the lowest round ever shot in a major, opening the PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club with a 63 four years ago. He has finished T-7 in two of the last three PGA Championships. That’s how he got into this week’s event. He qualified off his T-7 finish at Valhalla last year. Giant galleries are expected at Whistling Straits, and that means giant support for Stricker. While home games are usually an advantage in sports, that’s not necessarily the case in golf. There’s typically additional pressure on the hometown guy, who has more distractions to deal with than he does on the road. There are family and friends wanting more of his time. There is more media. There are more strangers wanting more attention, more autographs. GolfChannel.com asked Stricker if a home game is really an advantage in golf. “It can go either way,” Stricker said. “What I’ve experienced in the past, when we’ve played in the Greater Milwaukee Open, you get on a roll, and you can feed off that momentum. If you don’t, you kind of press too hard. David Hearn just went through it in Canada a couple weeks ago, trying to win up there. He said it’s great fun, but it’s tough. It’s the weight of everyone on your shoulders, and you want to play well for everybody else, and there are all the extra demands. Yeah, it can be tough, but it’s also fun.” Stricker regularly plays as a favorite at the John Deere Classic, where he has thrived in the role. He won that event three consecutive years (2009-11). As a Wisconsin guy who went to school at the University of Illinois, he’s a hometown guy on two levels in the Quad Cities event. One of his generation’s best putters, Stricker’s chances this week might just come down to his flat stick. Coming off back surgery last December, Stricker’s semi-retired status translated into even fewer events this year. He has made just eight starts this season, with a T-27 finish at Colonial his best finish. He has slid to No. 138 in the world rankings. His putting hasn’t been good. In fact, it’s never been worse. He’s 164th in strokes gained putting, his worst ranking in his career. It prompted him to take extreme measures this week. He has benched the Odyssey White Hot putter that he has used for almost 15 years for a new Scotty Cameron GoLo. “I’ve been putting horrible,” Stricker said. “I look down, and it’s something different now. See if that helps.” Stricker likes the rest of his game. If he drops a few putts early, he could put a real jolt into Whistling Straits. “I’m hitting it nicely,” Stricker said. “If I can continue to do that and gain a little confidence on the greens, I’ll be fine. It will be interesting to see tomorrow. I’m excited to play. I’m excited to get out there and test it out.” All those Wisconsin fans are excited to help him make that dream finish come true.last_img read more

L.A. king: DJ finally ascends to No. 1

first_imgLOS ANGELES – Greatness is never more than a phone call away for Dustin Johnson. His future father-in-law Wayne Gretzky, dubbed The Great One by a reporter when he was 10 years old, is the embodiment of transcendent talent combined with dedication and a dogged inability to accept anything less than victory. “Look at guys like Larry Bird and George Brett and John McEnroe – that’s what they did in their careers,” Gretzky once said. “They all wanted to be the guy under the microscope late in the game or late in the match. So you just take on that know-how that’s part of your responsibility, and you learn that’s what makes it exciting. That’s what makes it fun.” Johnson has never had an issue with fun and he certainly can relate to the natural ability that made Gretzky a Hall of Famer. At 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, Johnson is an athletic anomaly, at least in golf, a physical unicorn with the rare combination of power and precision. But being great, that was something else. He was good, very good, in fact, winning with impressive regularity beginning with his first year on the PGA Tour in 2008, but whatever that element is that separates the great players, those players who transcend sport, from the good ones was missing. But that started to change in the summer of 2014 when Johnson and his longtime trainer, Joey Diovisalvi, sat on the floor of Diovisalvi’s Jupiter, Fla., performance center and formulated a plan. “He said, ‘Joey D, I don’t care what it takes; I want to win majors and be No. 1 in the world.’ I’ll never forget it,” Diovisalvi said. “Like many athletes, you have talent, you become aware of it and you find that hard work will take you to a place where if you stay focused and balanced you can go so far.” Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos Johnson made a similar commitment to his swing coach Butch Harmon, who spent much of 2015 focusing on DJ’s wedge game in order to make the most of his much-heralded power advantage. “He works hard; everybody thinks he doesn’t work hard but he does,” Harmon said Sunday from Palm Beach (Fla.) International Airport. “He will let go when the work is done and enjoy himself, but he really works hard.” Harmon wasn’t watching the final round of the Genesis Open, where Johnson was romping his way to a five-stroke victory. He didn’t have to. Harmon has seen what happens when the 32-year-old plays like this. Johnson has always been a world-class player, an elite player, but his performance over 72 wet and wildly disjointed holes at Riviera Country Club felt transformative. His victory pushed him past Jason Day and to No. 1 in the world ranking for the first time and extended his streak of seasons with a victory to 10 in a row. Only two players won at least one event for 10-plus seasons immediately after turning pro since 1960 – Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. “He does want to be [great],” Harmon said. “We have talked about it since the season started. Being No. 1 is his goal, but he knows that winning is the only way to take care of that. He knows that all the hard work is paying off. When the season started I thought he’d be No. 1 very quickly.” His margin of victory at Riviera, where he’d finished runner-up twice, is a measure of how far ahead of the pack he can be, given the right conditions. After a once-in-a-decade storm threatened to wash away the field, not to mention Southern California, on Friday, Johnson began to assert himself with a second-round 66 and took a one-stroke advantage at the turn. But it was his play on a 36-hole marathon Sunday that met the standard of true greatness. Johnson opened his Sunday with the morning’s second-lowest round, a bogey-free 64 that included birdies on his final three holes, and began the final dash with a six-stroke lead. Because of Friday’s tempest officials didn’t re-pair for the final round, which meant his closest chaser, Wesley Bryan, teed off more than an hour before Johnson for the final round. It was probably for the best. Johnson made birdie at his first two holes of the final round, added another at the sixth and for a moment, after Bryan had bogeyed the 12th hole, he enjoyed a nine-stroke advantage. He would come back to earth, however slightly, but at that point the message was sent. “I think I’m a good player, but I don’t know, everybody has their own opinion,” said Johnson, who still didn’t seem entirely at ease with the summit where he now finds himself. “I believe in myself, I think I’m a great player. The best in the world, I mean until now I probably wouldn’t have said I was the best in the world, but now I can say it.” In fairness, if Johnson didn’t think in such grand terms early in his career he’d come by it honestly. As a senior at Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, S.C., he finished fourth individually in the state championship and enrolled to play college golf at Coastal Carolina, which is not exactly an NCAA powerhouse. But if it took Johnson some time to come to grips with his potential, those who crossed paths with him never wavered in their belief that the bomber was destined for greatness. “Honestly, I’m surprised it took so long for him to get to No. 1 in the world,” said Bryan, who competed against Johnson when they were juniors and is also a Dutch Fork High graduate. “He’s got all the talent that you could ever want in a golfer.” The yoke of greatness comes in vastly different cuts. Where Woods seemed born for the title, others have come by it reluctantly, uncomfortable with either the trappings of stardom or the unrelenting challenges of maintaining the required level of intensity. But make no mistake, Dustin Johnson – the reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year, major champion and now world No. 1 – is by any measure a great player.last_img read more

Trump protests expected at Senior PGA

first_imgSTERLING, Va. – This year’s venue for the Senior PGA Championship has made news for reasons that have nothing to do with the tournament or the champion it might produce. The world’s best 50-and-over golfers are competing for the first time at a course owned by a sitting president: Trump National Golf Club, on the Potomac River about 25 miles northwest of Washington. President Donald Trump has already visited the club four times since taking office. The course has been targeted by vandals and widely mocked for including a plaque commemorating a Civil War battle that never happened. Law enforcement officials on site are anticipating protests along the river, which is the only way to access the property without a ticket. ”I think that’s good, as long as it’s peaceful,” Paul Goydos said Wednesday after his practice round. ”They have the right to maybe yell from the river or something. I think that’s a healthy thing for our society. We need more people talking.” When it was announced as the venue in 2014, nobody had any idea that Trump, who was eager to host major championships as he worked to build his golf properties into a global brand, would be elected president two years later. This year’s Senior PGA was part of a package deal for Trump, who will also host the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey. The deal was considered a win-win for Trump and the PGA of America, former PGA president Ted Bishop said in a telephone interview, and he still feels the association with the president is good for the event. ”I don’t see where it would be a detraction or a distraction in any way, shape or form,” said Bishop, who led the PGA in 2014 when it struck the deal with Trump. ”I think that now the site selection has been enhanced even more by the fact that the facility is in some way under the ownership of the current, sitting president of the United States. I don’t see where that’s a bad thing, politics aside. Whether you agree with the man or not, I think it’s a good thing for golf.” Trump was known for his dramatic arrivals by helicopter at the World Golf Championships event at Doral in Miami after he bought and renovated that course. The PGA Tour ended up moving that event to Mexico when the title sponsor didn’t renew. Trump is traveling abroad, and the only day he could attend would be Sunday. Goydos said he doesn’t anticipate a presidential visit. ”I would hope he had better things to do,” Goydos said. Trump has plenty of support inside the ropes. Several players, including defending champion Rocco Mediate and Fred Funk, wear the Trump logo on their shirts. Mediate and Funk said they’ve occasionally mixed it up with hecklers since Trump took office. ”He’s the president of the United States. I think people need to get on his wagon and ride with him let him do what he’s doing and leave him alone,” John Daly said. ”I think he’s doing a hell of a job.” The Senior PGA is played every other year at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the corporate home of title sponsor KitchenAid. In the off years, the PGA of America has chosen venerable sites including Aronimink, Bellerive and Oak Hill. Trump National’s history is more checkered. Trump bought the former Lowes Island Club in 2009 and spent $25 million renovating it. He cut down more than 450 trees along the Potomac River to create scenic waterfront holes, a decision that led to protests from environmentalists. The course has been vandalized twice in recent months – once on election day and again in April. No arrests have been made in either case. In the April incident, vandals spray-painted ”RESIST” on a fairway, dug up grass and poured chemicals. Trump’s recent comments suggesting that Andrew Jackson could have stopped the Civil War brought fresh attention to a plaque that claims both sides suffered heavy casualties on that section of the Potomac, leading it to be called ”The River of Blood.” No major battles occurred anywhere near the site, according to historians. The PGA of America declined to make its current president or executive director available for interviews to discuss the event’s association with Trump. Jamie Carbone, a PGA spokeswoman, said the organization was eager to bring the championship to the Washington area for the first time.last_img read more

Johnson wins inaugural Senior LPGA Championship

first_imgFRENCH LICK, Ind. – Trish Johnson completed a wire-to-wire victory Wednesday in the Senior LPGA Championship, closing with a 1-over 73 to beat Michelle Redman by three strokes in the first-year event. Johnson finished at 4-under 212 on French Lick Resort’s Pete Dye Course and earned $90,000. The 51-year-old Englishwoman won the Legends Tour Championship last year at French Lick, beating Juli Inkster on the sixth hole of a playoff. “I’m often asked what my favorite course in the world is and I always say St. Andrews, but I think this place has taken over,” Johnson said. “It feels fantastic. This is the reason you play golf to try and win something like this. It is going to be a very, very fun evening.” Johnson opened with rounds of 67 and 72 to take a three-stroke lead over Redman into the final round. The eight-time European Solheim Cup player won three times on the LPGA Tour and 19 times on the Ladies European Tour. “I hit my driver so well all week,” Johnson said. “I was quite long, so I was hitting a lot of short irons in. Some of these greens are pretty wicked, so if you have short clubs in that is a major advantage.” Redman also shot 73. She played at Indiana University. Hall of Famer Laura Davies (68) tied for third at 1 over with Helen Alfredsson (69) and Wendy Doolan (71).last_img read more

Poulter triples late, still a threat to DJ

first_imgSOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – There was only one thing on Ian Poulter’s mind Friday as he sped toward the flash area behind the clubhouse at Shinnecock Hills. “Gonna hit a few 7-irons, Jimbo!” he called out to caddie James Walton, who was already lugging the bag toward the range. “Do you want your sweater,” Walton replied with a chuckle, “or are you hot enough?” Poulter was steaming, all right. After making three birdies in a four-hole stretch, he had pulled within one shot of Dustin Johnson’s lead on a surprisingly benign afternoon at the U.S. Open. Then he made triple bogey on the par-4 eighth hole, his 17th of the day, and couldn’t get up-and-down on No. 9 and dropped another shot. The faulty club both times: 7-iron. “It’s easy to dwell on the last couple of holes,” he said afterward, “but I’d prefer to look at how I played for 16 holes.” And for that stretch, he looked like he might actually be ready to win a major. As recently as two years ago he seemed destined to be known only for his histrionics in the Ryder Cup, a match-play ninja who couldn’t summon the same energy or sublime play in the events that define careers. That perception started to shift at the 2017 Players, where he finished second, and then continued with a solid start to last year’s Open, where he sat third after 36 holes and eventually tied for 14th. In two of his last four majors, Poulter has been in the best halfway position of his career. “I feel confident about my game, where my game is,” said Poulter, who captured the Houston Open in April for his first Tour victory since 2012. “I just need to make sure I don’t make any silly little mistakes.” Poulter has been a horrible U.S. Open performer historically, with only four top-25s in a dozen starts, and he had particularly poor memories of Shinnecock. It was here that he made his first career Open appearance, in 2004, when he shot 74-72 and was sent packing. “It’s not very enjoyable when you’ve worked for a few decades to try and make one and then you do and go home early,” he said. “It’s miserable.” Just as it was miserable to sit at home and watch the Open the past two years, either because he was injured or unable to qualify on his own. “That’s why I’ve got the attitude this week of a little bit carefree,” he said. “Just go out, play golf and try and enjoy it.” Fortunately for him, there’s been much to savor, from his stellar driving that has kept him out of the hay to his back-nine burst that scared Johnson’s lead. Even the weather has worked in Poulter’s favor. U.S. Open: Scores | Live blog | Full coverage As he whipped up his scrambled eggs and bacon Friday morning, he looked out the window and saw that it was downright miserable. Cold. Gusty. Spitting rain. But by the time he pegged it for his second round, it was sunny, 70 degrees and windless. “It’s a tough one to take when you are on the other side,” Poulter said. “But you know what? I wasn’t, and I’m going to enjoy this.” At least as long as he doesn’t reflect on his finish. One shot off the lead, and beginning to strut, Poulter got too aggressive with his 7-iron approach into 8 and tugged his shot into the bunker. Two holes earlier, he’d stood awkwardly outside of a greenside trap and played a nifty shot to save par. This time, he bladed his third shot 30 yards over the green, then flubbed his fourth into the fescue and couldn’t reach the green with his fifth. He walked off with a triple-bogey 7. “It’s easy to talk about it and dwell on it and chew it over,” he said. “When you’re out of position on this course and you’re trying not to make another mistake and another mistake, it just looks really stupid. I felt stupid knifing the first one. I felt even more stupid semi-chunking the next one, and I didn’t do much better on the next one either. So maybe it makes a few people happy out there that we kind of mess up just as good as everyone else. “I think the best outcome for me is to put it out of my mind and to look at the position I’m in for this weekend.” And that’s in a share of fourth, five shots back of Johnson, in one of the best halfway positions of his career. Never short on confidence, Poulter sounded like a man ready to at least give the world No. 1 something to think about over the weekend. “My game is good enough, I know that for a fact,” Poulter said. Now it’s time to prove it.last_img read more

PGA Tour not without fault in caddie-alignment controversy

first_imgEveryone can agree that this is a mess. Like an Adam Levine caught-in-the-headlights, halftime-show super-mess. Nothing about Rule 10.2b(4) works. Not Haotong Li’s penalty at last month’s Dubai Desert Classic, not Denny McCarthy’s penalty that turned out not to be a penalty last week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and not the shell game that’s now made the rounds as officials attempt to play a transparent blame game. In a Cliff’s Notes version of the new rule that was offered to would-be PGA Tour violators, the circuit explained, “When a player begins to take a stance for the stroke, the caddie must NOT deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball, for any reason.” For Li, whose caddie was spotted lining him up on the 18th hole in Dubai, it was a two-stroke penalty, dropping him from a tie for third to a tie for 12th. McCarthy – and later Justin Thomas – seemed to be headed to a similar penalty box for an equally innocent incident until a reprieve was issued from the Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., mountaintop. “It is clear that there is a great deal of confusion among players and caddies on the practical application of the new rule during competition, as well as questions surrounding the language of the rule itself and how it should be interpreted,” the Tour announced in a statement on Saturday. “As a result, with the full support of the USGA and the R&A, the rule will be interpreted whereby the two aforementioned situations as well as future similar situations will not result in a penalty.” Thomas called the potential penalty “ridiculous.” It was. The Tour’s decision to subvert the rule made sense, but before we grant the circuit “smartest person in the room” status, consider how rules, including this clunky caddie alignment rule, are created. Golf Central USGA, R&A clarify caddie-alignment rule BY Golf Channel Digital  — February 6, 2019 at 1:26 PM The R&A and USGA released two clarifications to controversial Rule 10.2b(4) – the caddie-alignment rule – which was thrust into the spotlight over the past two weeks. Early last month at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about this year’s slate of new rules – which includes players now putting with the flagstick in the hole and, at least initially, awkward knee-high drops – and his explanation painted an interesting picture. “We were invited into the process early by the USGA and the R&A, our team worked very closely with [the USGA’s senior managing director of governance] Thomas Pagel and the team at the USGA to go through the process to share some of the ideas of some of our players, to try and be as insightful and helpful as we could possibly be,” Monahan explained. “Simplifying the rules and identifying the rules that needed to be changed I think is a really positive first step, but the work isn’t done.” Monahan added that some of the new rules, “we’ll get right and there will be some that we’ll continue to tweak and assess.” Count caddie alignment squarely in the “tweak and assess” phase now. That’s exactly what the USGA and R&A did this week, announcing on Wednesday clarifications to the rules. But despite its swift and strongly-worded response to last week’s ridiculousness, it’s also worth pointing out the circuit’s culpability. Although the Tour has had a voice in the rule-making room for some time, the USGA and R&A agreed to give the circuit, as well as the PGA of America, more influence over potential changes when the organizations found themselves at odds during the anchoring debate a few years back. The Tour, which is represented on the rule-making front by senior vice president of competitions Tyler Dennis, may not have veto power over potential changes but it does have a prominent seat at the table. For the Tour to dig in against the new rule, or at the least the rule’s ambiguous language, just as public opinion against it was poised to reach a crescendo, seems opportunistic if not duplicitous. The circuit had a voice in the room throughout this entire process and the best minds from the USGA, R&A and, yes, PGA Tour hit a rope hook – or worse, they did speak out and were ignored which is an entirely different concern. Rory McIlroy certainly saw the potential for big problems with the alignment rule. Asked at Torrey Pines, which was a week before Li’s misstep and two weeks before McCarthy was rightfully granted a two-stroke mulligan, the Northern Irishman was asked about this year’s rule changes and described this exact situation. “Say I hit it in the trees and I’m looking to see if there’s a gap or there’s some sort of window and I’ve got a club in my hand and I set that club behind the ball thinking, yeah, I might be able to, and [my caddie] is standing behind me going, yeah, I think you can get it through,” McIlroy said. “I don’t step away from that ball and I step into it and hit it, he’s not lining me up, and he’s walked away, but if I don’t walk away from that ball and step back in, that’s a penalty.  There is a lot of gray.” Monahan was correct when he predicted there would likely need to be tweaks to some of the new rules, but he appeared to ignore the fact that just like the USGA and R&A, the Tour should also offer its own mea culpa for the most recent clumsy addition to the Rules of Golf.last_img read more

Sick of the Oxygen Theory of the Cambrian Explosion? Here’s the Cancer Theory

first_imgEvolution Sick of the Oxygen Theory of the Cambrian Explosion? Here’s the Cancer TheoryEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCFebruary 6, 2018, 1:32 AM Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour You thought you’d heard it all? All the desperate materialist theories seeking to explain the burst of biological novelty some 530 million years ago that Meyer writes about in Darwin’s Doubt? You were wrong. Along comes Lund University in Sweden with a “Novel hypothesis on why animals diversified on Earth.” Get ready for the cancer theory of the Cambrian explosion.Can tumors teach us about animal evolution on Earth? Researchers believe so and now present a novel hypothesis of why animal diversity increased dramatically on Earth about half a billion years ago. A biological innovation may have been key. [Emphasis added.]Not many of us who have seen friends suffer or die from cancer would sanctify tumors as “biological innovations” leading to anything good.The new hypothesis holds that the dramatic diversification of animals resulted from a revolution within the animals’ own biology, rather than in the surrounding chemistry on Earth’s surface.This will be a hard sell, but charitably, let’s give them their slot on the Cambrian Gong Show and try to understand their act. It’s good to see they toss out the oxygen theory, the runner-up for worst explanation. Agreed, “a causal relationship between the Cambrian explosion and increasing atmospheric oxygen lacks convincing evidence.” With itching ears we await their convincing evidence for the new hypothesis.The leader figure behind the cancer theory is geobiologist Emma Hammarlund. She got in touch with a tumor biologist, Sven Påhlman, to consider how cancer acts like a multicellular organism.“I wanted to learn what tumor scientists observe on a daily basis, in terms of tissue growth and how it relates to oxygen. Tumours are after all, and unfortunately, successful versions of multicellularity”, explains Emma Hammarlund.OK, so we have multicellularity. Tumors don’t seem to automatically grow eyes and articulated limbs, though. As far as we can tell, tumors only seem to be good at killing their hosts. What’s up with this new hypothesis?The team, including also tumor biologist Dr. Kristoffer von Stedingk at Lund University’s Paediatrics division, tackled the historic question of why animals developed so late and dramatically with novel clues from the field of tumour biology.Basically, they looked at stem cells to see how they respond to oxygen. Generally, low oxygen (hypoxia) is a threat to a cell, and stem cells are particularly sensitive to hypoxia (are you still following?). Stem cells, therefore, have various mechanisms to deal with fluctuating oxygen levels. Well lo and behold, tumor cells do, too!These systems involve a protein that can ‘fool’ cells [to] act as if the setting was hypoxic. This can also fool cells to get stem cell-like properties.Tumor cells, they say, are able to maintain their stem-cell-like traits in spite of low oxygen. This gives them the freedom to evolve, just like microbes found a way to use sunlight. (What?) You may have to read this news several times to see how they get from point A, an uncontrolled tumor cell, to point B, a trilobite.The new hypothesis that gives credit to a biological innovation to have triggered animal diversification is similar to how we think of biological innovations changing life in the past. Just the presence of free oxygen is the result of some microbes finding a way of using sunlight to get energy. This was also a biological event.Dr. Hammarlund is a little clearer about what she means in her article at The Conversation, “Cancer tumours could help unravel the mystery of the Cambrian explosion.”Could tumours help us explain the explosion of life of Earth? Scientists have typically explained the period of history when large animal species became much more diverse very quickly as the result of the planet’s rising oxygen levels. But my colleagues and I have developed a new idea that the change might have started within animals’ own biology, based on evidence from proteins found in tumours. It wasn’t until animals developed these proteins that they could take advantage of the oxygen and start diversifying.This new hypothesis appears partly motivated by the failure of the oxygen theory to account for the Cambrian explosion. Here’s how it goes. In short, proteins “developed” out of nowhere. By chance, they gave cells the opportunity to “take advantage” of oxygen. This set them free to diversify. And there you go: trilobites.Does she explain exactly how they diversified into animals with multi-system, hierarchical body plans with complex systems and behaviors? Not at all. Take a look at this newly discovered Cambrian bristle worm from Marble Canyon in Canada and see if it looks like the product of a tumor set free to diversify (Live Science).Maybe the original paper in Nature Ecology & Evolution can clarify things. The title is, “Refined control of cell stemness allowed animal evolution in the oxic realm.” The peer-reviewed explanation follows:Animal diversification on Earth has long been presumed to be associated with the increasing extent of oxic niches. Here, we challenge that view. We start with the fact that hypoxia (<1–3% O2) maintains cellular immaturity (stemness), whereas adult stem cells continuously — and paradoxically — regenerate animal tissue in oxygenated settings. Novel insights from tumour biology illuminate how cell stemness nevertheless can be achieved through the action of oxygen-sensing transcription factors in oxygenated, regenerating tissue. We suggest that these hypoxia-inducible transcription factors provided animals with unprecedented control over cell stemness that allowed them to cope with fluctuating oxygen concentrations. Thus, a refinement of the cellular hypoxia-response machinery enabled cell stemness at oxic conditions and, then, animals to evolve into the oxic realm. This view on the onset of animal diversification is consistent with geological evidence and provides a new perspective on the challenges and evolution of multicellular life.From this, you see that all they are really doing is “enabling” microbes to evolve into animals, no matter how much oxygen is present. The authors endow microbes with new transcription factors that don’t restrict the action of their stem-cell properties as oxygen levels rise. Microbes can now become “successful versions of multicellularity” like cancerous tumors, and thus evolve into the Cambrian animals. Are we missing something? Do the judges want to gong this show yet?In his recent book, Zombie Science, Jonathan Wells already gonged the cancer act when it played in a different venue. Evolutionists feel depressed at the lack of enthusiasm for Darwinism in medical science. A recent paper in PLOS ONE admits this:Evolutionary biology currently has a marginal place within medicine. There is even a significant tendency to avoid the ‘e-word’ in the biomedical literature when referring to antimicrobial resistance.In his chapter on antimicrobial existence as an icon of evolution (Chapter 8), Wells discusses the cancer hypothesis as another proposed example of “speciation” of sorts. This claim goes back to Julian Huxley in 1958, and continues today. Most recently, Joshua Swamidass used cancer not as an example of speciation, but of evolution by mutation and selection of the “fittest variants” (not fittest for the host, obviously). Swamidass and others try to view tumor cells as innovators. Wells looks into the examples provided by evolutionists and finds them lacking true novelty. They only rewire existing complex functions, but already have existing complex resources to draw on (p. 166). This is not innovation. It’s more like theft.Evolutionary theory, furthermore, does little to guide medical science into new treatment options for cancer patients. Its value is “questionable, at best,” Wells concludes (p. 167). It certainly fails as evidence for evolution.But some people argue that cancer is at least of value in providing evidence for evolutionary theory. Something doesn’t seem right here. According to evolutionary theory, the human body originated by mutation and selection, though the evidence shows that those processes cannot produce anything like a human body. Now we have evidence that mutation and selection can produce cancer, which destroys the human body. How does that support evolutionary theory? (pp. 167-168).Applying this reasoning to Hammarlund’s cancer hypothesis for the Cambrian explosion, one finds no evidence that tumors can innovate the body plans of Cambrian animals. Jonathan Wells’s last paragraph applies here as well:Darwinian evolution needs examples of biological processes that build new forms and functions. Cancer destroys these things. Saying cancer is evidence for biological evolution is like saying that I have a theory that explains the rise of modern civilization, and the evidence for my theory is the night of the living dead. (p. 168).So to the cancer theory for the Cambrian explosion, the most desperate yet, we hit the gong and await the next act.Photo credit: Emma Hammarlund and Sofie Mohlin, via Lund University. Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Tagsbristle wormCambrian ExplosionCanadacancer theoryDarwin's DoubtEmma HammarlundhypoxiaJonathan WellsJoshua SwamidassJulian HuxleyKristoffer von StedingkLund UniversityMarble Canyonoxygen theoryPLOS ONEStephen MeyerSwedenThe Gong ShowtrilobitestumorZombie Science,Trending “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis 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 Recommended 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. Sharelast_img read more

#10 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Jeffrey Epstein and the Silence of the Scientists

first_img Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Editor’s note: The staff of Evolution News wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We are counting down our top ten stories of 2019. If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment now to contribute to our work in bringing you news and analysis about evolution, intelligent design, and more every day of the year. There is no other voice, no other source of information, like ours. Thank you for your friendship and your support!The following article was originally published here on September 24, 2019.Literary scholars have an adage about the interpretation of texts. They point out that the really important things in a text are often what is not said, more so than what is said. To really understand a story, you have to read between the lines. What should be in the story, but was left out? What was the motive for the omissions? This often reveals deep purposes and themes that are obscured in the explicit words on the page. It’s analogous to Sherlock Holmes’s dog that didn’t bark. Silence is often the real meaning in a story. The scientific scandal involving pedophile Jeffery Epstein is horrifying, but it’s vital that we understand the real meaning of the collaboration between Epstein and the science elites. The most important meaning in that partnership between Epstein and leading Darwinists and computer scientists isn’t in the depravity of the man and his elite scientific friends. The most important meaning is in the silence in the scientific community in the midst of this atrocity. It is, I believe, a revelation about our scientific culture and particularly about the trust we should place in a “science consensus” that should shake us to our bones. It is what didn’t happen in the Epstein story, even more than what did happen, that reveals the most. What Didn’t HappenWhat didn’t happen is this: there was no dissent in the scientific profession about taking guidance and money from a convicted pedophile who was obviously trafficking children for sex. Not a word. At every stage of this repellant saga, from Epstein’s early forays into scientific patronage twenty years ago through his conviction for child prostitution in 2008 to his largesse as a patron of elite Darwinists and computer scientists at MIT, Harvard, the Santa Fe Institute, the transhumanist project Humanity Plus, and many others in the decade that followed, there was, from the scientific community, abject silence. Thousands of elite and pedestrian scientists benefitted from Epstein’s philanthropy and camaraderie. Thousands more knew of Epstein’s courtship rituals — with scientists and with children — and said absolutely nothing. What happened on the Lolita Express and Pedophile Island, while probably known to many of Epstein’s elite science pals, were known as well (at least in outline) to the thousands of ordinary scientists and administrators who cashed his checks and worked in his labs. Only Whispered QuestionsThere were whispered questions, undeniably. Obvious questions. There must have been daily whispers in labs and hallways and coffee rooms. ‘Why is Dr. So-and-So taking trips with this guy?” “What do you think is happening with all of those little girls?” “Where does the money come from?” The answers were in broad daylight. Epstein’s life was an open Internet page. Thousands of scientists and administrators — even those not directly involved with Epstein and the children he trafficked— asked these questions and knew the answers. No one said a word. Why?A Pariah for LifeSome years ago, at a scientific conference, I had a private chat with a colleague from another university. His research was in a rather obscure topic in biology, but he was a scientist of the first rank. He was a superb investigator, and quite senior and widely respected. He told me that he knew that I was involved in intelligent design, and he thanked me for what I was doing. He told me that he was a Christian. He said that a lot of scientists know that Darwinism is a charade, and he was thankful for scientists who were speaking out, but he couldn’t do so, although he desperately wanted to. He said his wife was sick, and that if he spoke out, he “would never get another grant.” A single public statement endorsing ID or critiquing Darwinism in any meaningful way would make him a pariah for the rest of his life. “My career would end the day I spoke out,” he told me. He said that his wife’s life depended on her current medical care, and he would be unable to afford her care if he lost his position. He said he felt terrible that he couldn’t speak out publicly, but he had a responsibility to his family and they would suffer if his career went into the abyss. Scientists, especially scientists in academia, are uniquely vulnerable to professional destruction if they stray from the herd. Their life hangs on peer-review. Just look at the vituperation — the ostracism, ridicule, and even hate — rained upon Mike Behe or Jonathan Wells or Guillermo Gonzalez or Bill Dembski or Richard Sternberg or any of the other courageous scientists who had the integrity to question the Darwinian “consensus.”As the Epstein scandal shows with striking clarity, dissent on matters of importance is forbidden in the scientific community. Scientists will engage in or tolerate all manner of lie and vice to protect their careers. They “go along to get along.” They join the consensus that Jeffrey Epstein is a wonderful patron and his money is untainted, just as they join the consensus that Darwinian evolution is a “fact.” Many — perhaps even most — do not do it because they believe it. They do it for professional survival. The profound revelation from the Epstein scandal is that the scientific community is silent in the face of obvious lies, criminality and moral atrocities. Scientists at MIT and Harvard and the coterie of institutions on whom Epstein rained largesse obviously knew enough about Epstein to know that association with him was immoral and his money probably came from child sex trafficking (they could know  with a mouse click that Epstein had no college degree and sketchy experience in finance — his primary enterprise seemed to be making little girls available to rich men), but they stuck with the consensus and said nothing. Their scientific careers came first. Kept in the ClubThere was a scientific consensus — held by thousands of scientists at all levels of the profession — that Jeffrey Epstein was a great patron. Any doubts — and there must have been agonizing doubts for twenty years — were kept in the club. There is also a scientific consensus that nothing makes sense except in light of Darwinian evolution. Held, as it turns out, by many of the same scientists who cashed Epstein’s checks. There was, and is, no dissent. This is the lesson from the Epstein scandal. Scientists are first and foremost devoted to their own professional survival, and they will toe any line to survive. The will lie, cheat, and steal for professional security. They will even tacitly endorse child rape and child sex trafficking — and personally profit from it — to avoid the professional abyss. Science is conducted under a code of omertà. Dissent is punished, mercilessly. As a measure of scientific (and moral) truth, scientific “consensus” is worthless.Photo: Little St. James Island, aka Pedophile Island, where Jeffrey Epstein showed his appreciation for science and scientists, by Navin75, via Flickr (cropped). Michael EgnorSenior Fellow, Center for Natural & Artificial IntelligenceMichael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.Follow MichaelProfile Share Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Recommended Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Culture & Ethics #10 of Our Top Stories of 2019: Jeffrey Epstein and the Silence of the ScientistsMichael EgnorDecember 23, 2019, 9:06 AM TagscrimeDarwinismGuillermo GonzalezHarvard UniversityHumanity Plusintelligent designJeffrey EpsteinJonathan WellsLolita ExpressMichael BeheMITomertàpatronagePedophile IslandRichard SternbergSanta Fe Institutescientistssex-traffickingSherlock HolmestranshumanismWilliam Dembski,Trending 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 Alllast_img read more

DNA as a Clue: How Intelligence Detects Information, and Creates It

first_imgRequesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man On a classic episode of ID the Future, attorney and engineer Eric Anderson continues his discussion hosted by science historian Mike Keas about what it means that there is information in DNA, and how this distinguishes it from most other physical objects. Download the podcast or listen to it here. 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 Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Andrerson, co-author of the new compact and accessible introduction to ID, Evolution and Intelligent Design in a Nutshell, talks about what intelligence really is and does — and why we know it’s involved in creating the unique information in DNA. Additionally, he recommends an answer we can give to those who “dig their heels in” and disagree on what information is about. Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Sharecenter_img Recommended “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Intelligent Design DNA as a Clue: How Intelligence Detects Information, and Creates ItEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCJuly 24, 2020, 6:03 PM Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share TagsDNAEric AndersonEvolution and Intelligent Design in a NutshellID the Futuureinformaitonintelligent designMichael Keasphysical objectspodcast,Trending 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 Alllast_img read more