Levy builds 4-shot lead at China Open

first_imgSHENZHEN, China – Alexander Levy of France shot a career-best 10-under 62 to open a four-shot lead after the second round of the China Open on Friday. Henrik Stenson tried to keep alive his chances of taking over the No. 1 world ranking with a 70 to sit at 3 under overall, 11 shots behind Levy. The Swede can nudge Tiger Woods out of the top spot with a win here. Levy, whose best finish on the European Tour was third place at last year’s BMW International Open, sunk a 20-foot eagle putt on the ninth hole to cap a front-nine 30. He then birdied four more times on the back nine to finish at 14-under 130, four shots clear of Spaniard Adrian Otaegui in second. ”I played unbelievably,” Levy said. ”I shot 63 at Kingsbarns during the Dunhill Links in Scotland last year, but this course is a lot tougher and I am only starting to realize how good that score is.” Ian Poulter, meanwhile, saw a promising round fall apart on a disastrous par-5 13th hole where he was assessed a two-stroke penalty for playing from the wrong spot after hitting into dense foliage and incorrectly measuring his own drop. He took a triple-bogey and ended up with a 74, still good enough to make the cut. The cut was at par, which U.S. PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner barely made after shooting a 71. The 15-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang, however, was sent home after a 76. He’s only made one cut on the U.S. PGA and European Tours after his sensational debut at the Masters last year, when he became the youngest player to complete 72 holes. Levy began his climb up the leaderboard in the Thursday twilight when most golfers were already in the clubhouse or long gone. Playing in one of the last groups, the Frenchman was tied for the lead but bogeyed the eighth hole in the faltering light before play was finally suspended. ”It was tough because it was dark and I made some bogey and I wasn’t happy in my bed last night,” he said. ”I just focused on finishing the first round well this morning and continuing this afternoon.” Levy was a newcomer to the tour – he gained his playing card only last year – but he’s been in these types of high-pressure situations before. He had a share of the lead with Ernie Els heading into the final round of the BMW International Open, but faltered with four bogeys in Sunday’s opening nine holes. He said he’s been inspired by the recent performance of his good friend and fellow Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson, who held off Tiger Woods, Stenson and Poulter to win his first European Tour title at the Turkish Airlines Open in November. ”What he has done over the past few months has been amazing and it has really had an effect on all the French players, so hopefully I can try to emulate that,” Levy said. If he stumbles, Stenson is close enough to make a move. The No. 3-ranked Swede is on the mend after coming down with the flu this week, which prevented him from practicing before Thursday’s opening round. He said he felt better that night but then woke up on Friday weak and tired again. Still, he believes he’s playing well enough to challenge the leaders this weekend. ”I made six birdies out there today and missed a few good opportunities to make more,” he said. ”But then I threw a silly double in there and a few bogeys as well so I need to cut that out.” Poulter was upset with himself, as well, after his mistake on the 13th. He measured two club-lengths for his first drop from the foliage, but that landed on a cart path, requiring a second drop. He measured two club-lengths again but should have just taken one. ”We make mistakes, I guess, and that was a fun one,” he said. ”Guess I need to get the rulesbook back out and start chewing it.” Dufner is happy just to be sticking around for the weekend after curling in a 15-footer for birdie on No. 6 and scrambling to make par on No. 9, his final hole. ”It’s been a struggle all year for me, so far, with scoring,” he said. ”Luckily I play a lot of the tougher events so you don’t have to shoot a lot of low scores, but guys are shooting pretty good scores out here.”last_img read more

Gal leads Meijer; Wie forced to withdraw

first_imgBELMONT, Mich. – Sandra Gal made six straight birdies on her back nine Thursday to take the first-round lead in the Meijer LPGA Classic, while Michelle Wie withdrew because of a wrist injury. Gal, the 29-year-old German who won her lone LPGA Tour title in 2011, birdied Nos. 3-8 and finished with a par on No. 9 for a 6-under 65 at Blythefield Country Club. ”I was in a zone, I was really relaxed,” Gal said. ”I was talking a lot to my caddie and to my playing partners, just kind of letting it happen instead of forcing it.” Wie was 5 over after nine holes when she pulled out. She fought injuries to both wrists in 2007. ”It just started hurting last week and kept getting worse,” Wie said in the parking lot outside the medical trailer. ”It got to the point where I really couldn’t hold a club today. I’m going to try and get an MRI right now and see what my next steps are. So we’ll see.” The U.S. Women’s Open winner in June for her second victory of the year, Wie said she hoped to be able to play next week in the LPGA Championship – the fourth major championship of the season. South Korea’s Inbee Park was a stroke behind Gal. Australia’s Katherine Kirk opened with a 67, and Azahara Munoz was another stroke back along with IIhee Lee, Katy Harris, Gerina Piller, Amy Young and Line Vedel. Second-ranked Lydia Ko, the 17-year-old star coming off a victory in the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio, matched Paula Creamer with a 69, and top-ranked Stacy Lewis shot 70. Gal played in the morning wave in the LPGA Tour’s first regular tournament in Michigan since the Oldsmobile Classic ended its nine-year run in East Lansing in 2000. Gal said her birdie run, which tied the best string on the tour this season, was a combination of hitting her iron shots inside 10 feet on each of the holes and then making solid putting strokes. ”You have to be on the right side of the hole to have chances at birdies and I was on the front nine,” she said. ”I like this old-style type course and the greens are perfect. There were no long putts, just solid ones after good iron shots and I hit a couple real close, like 3 or 4 feet. It was a little bit of everything.” Park has one victory this year after winning six times last season. ”Everything was working really well today, especially the iron shots,” she said. ”The greens are rolling really well, too. They’re rolling really true. I hit a lot of good putts so that’s giving me confidence going into the next three days.” Lewis, who has three wins and 13 top-10 finishes this year, said she played better than she scored. ”I’ve been working on a few things with my golf swing and was pretty happy actually with the way I hit it – just had a bunch of putts right over the edge,” Lewis said. ”Overall, pretty happy with it even though the score is not quite what I was looking for.” Ko had the same issue with putts just missing. ”The golf course is in great shape so the birdies are there to be made,” she said. ”I just didn’t make as many as I would have liked. I really like the way I’m playing, though.”last_img read more

Beating an Unbeatable Foe

first_imgSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – John Hilgers’ life in golf would be the envy of most who have ever taken up the game. Hilgers, 64, grew up in Austin, Texas, where his father was a founding member of Austin Country Club and his junior golf rivals included Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite. He’d often spend mornings on the first tee of ACC beside legendary instructor Harvey Penick. “By osmosis you’ve gotta be able to pick up something,” laughed Hilgers, who now lives west of Austin in Wimberley. “Somebody who grew up with Ben Crenshaw and Harvey Penick ought to be able to shoot in the 70s.” This week Hilgers, competing in the Hogan Flight (handicaps 8-11.9), played in his first Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championship. He shot 77-77-85-84–323, good for a tie for sixth place. He had hoped for a top-5 finish, but he was happy nevertheless, especially after making a birdie on his final hole. “I had the best week of my life,” he said. “The camaraderie, the relationships you get to build over a competitive sport. Where else can you do that?” Hilgers has had a busy golf campaign in 2014, competing in 25 events leading up to nationals, winning six times. Am Tour flight winners: Championship, Snead | Hogan, Sarazen | Jones, Palmer And did it all despite having terminal cancer. Multiple myeloma, according to the American Cancer Society, is “a cancer formed by malignant plasma cells,” mainly in bone marrow. The disease is incurable, but treatable. Median survival rates range from 62 months for Stage I to 29 months for Stage III.   Hilgers was diagnosed five years ago, after he became overheated on the golf course. Since then he has lost 90 pounds and three inches of height and has had five compound fractures in his back. His immune system is decimated. In spite of all that, he’s playing as much golf – competitive golf – as he can. Earlier this year, golf had grown painful and his game suffered. Fearing there was no way he could play well four days in a row, he canceled his Am Tour Nationals registration. Then, an unexpected turnaround: His doctors prescribed stronger painkillers – morphine, plus a patch of synthetic heroin he wears 24 hours a day. And just like that, Hilgers’ game took off. He won three Am Tour events in a row, including the two-day Dallas Tour Championship at The Tribute. Suddenly, the national championship was back in his mind. “I thought, I better try and enter and see what I can do,” Hilgers said. “I think I can win this thing.” To help defray his medical bills as well as tournament entry fees, his Wimberley-based fan club, “Team Little John” held a golf outing in July to raise $12,000. The event included an auction of two Masters pin flags signed by two-time winner Crenshaw. [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”805366″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”240″,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”480″}}]] Hilgers won the River Place Challenge in April, one of his six wins on the Golf Channel Am Tour this year.   Once a 200-pound, scholarship football player and a big hitter off the tee, Hilgers is now the little guy in the group. In order to reduce the stress on his back, he cut his swing in half. It means Hilgers is deadly accurate off the tee – any scramble team’s dream – even if he’s stuck hitting woods on most approach shots. He also gets around the course so fast it’s tough to keep up. “He’s very steady,” said Chris Phillips, from Houston, also a competitor in the Senior Hogan Flight. “He’s a great competitor. He very rarely leaves the fairway and is always around the greens.” After back-to-back 77s at Talking Stick’s North and South courses, Hilgers shot an 85 on the Talon course at Grayhawk, which left him tied for ninth and eight off the lead. He hadn’t played 18 holes three days in a row since he was diagnosed. “If I have to crawl through 18 to finish,” he said after his third round. “I’m going to finish this off.” That he did, closing with an 84 at Grayhawk’s Raptor course. Hilger’s persistence hasn’t been lost on one of the friends he met on the local Texas tour, a former high school athletic director in the Houston area, L.P. Jones. The two were paired together at a local event in Round Rock, and Jones was so blown away by Hilgers’ determination he wrote him a letter afterward. “The physical pain he’s had to deal with,” Jones said, “the loss of flexibility, muscle deterioration – it’s just amazing. He’s a heck of an athlete.” In addition to Hilgers’ strong play this year, his nationals highlights have been meeting David Feherty, and running into a lot of the folks he’s played with throughout the year in Texas. “I’ve met some of the highest quality people I’ve ever met,” Hilgers said of his year on the Texas Am Tour. “They almost spoil me out here, even though we’re competing against one another. I just love these guys.” [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”805381″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”240″,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”480″}}]] Hilgers and Michael Walker watch Kevin Smith putt out during Round 3 of the Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championship. Hilgers says he plans on playing golf until it’s not fun anymore, which, when you watch him in action, doesn’t seem like anytime soon. But he keeps a full schedule beyond the golf course already. He speaks with church groups about preparing for life with cancer, and spends as much time as he can with friends and family.  Also, he’s in the middle of starting up a new venison ministry, which prompts Hill Country ranchers to donate excess game meat to a processing plant in Kerrville to feed the homeless. It won’t just be his fellow golfers who are inspired by Hilgers’ indomitable spirit. “[Hilgers] energizes you,” said Phillips, a melanoma survivor himself. “It’s very clear talking to John over the last year or two, his tremendous energy, a lust for life. He’s using his time to the maximum.”last_img read more

Wet and wild Open on tap

first_imgST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Everybody’s talking about Friday. There are a million storylines leading into the Open Championship, ranging from Rory McIlroy’s soccer skills to Tiger Woods’ optimism to Dustin Johnson’s shot at redemption to Rickie Fowler’s momentum to the glorious history of the Old Course to what you would expect to be the biggest story: Jordan Spieth’s shot at golf history. But every story at the moment is being eclipsed by an oncoming storm that, if you believe some of the more passionate of the weather-watchers, could be biblical. Listen to the dueling Watson weather reports. “Are you ready for the gales?” Tom Watson asks. “The way I like to move it, heavy winds is pretty difficult,” Bubba Watson says. “Friday you’ll see a lot of scores in the 80s,” Tom Watson says. “I don’t really play good in the rain,” Bubba Watson says. “You’ll see this course takes its toll,” Tom Watson says. “Lucky for me we don’t play every course like this,” Bubba Watson says. This is the level of anxiousness, nervousness, excitement and panic people are having about the potential weather front coming in. At the moment – and it changes moment to moment – the forecast includes wind gusts of 25 mph late Thursday, “a spell of heavy rain” Friday morning and strengthening winds Friday afternoon that could gust up to 40 mph. Well, this is the Open Championship, and in the end, it’s all about the weather. “How frustrating,” one reporter asked Jordan Spieth, “is it for a golfer to have something out of your control when you’re trying to do something special?” Tee times: 144th Open Championship “I think it’s fun,” Spieth said, and he was smiling big. This is the wonder of Jordan Spieth. Nothing seems to faze him. Nothing seems to frustrate him. He is, of course, trying to do something that has not been done since Ben Hogan in 1953: Win the first three major championships of the year. He won the Masters wire to wire and then showed mettle by winning the U.S. Open on the chewed-up greens and roller-coaster mounds of Chambers Bay. Now, he’s here at the Home of Golf, looking at a raging weather forecast, and he’s thinking it will be fun. “We come over here because we want to embrace the opportunity of handling these conditions,” he says. “I understand that there’s a possibility for a lot of this tournament to be dependent on the draw the first few days, at least for a few strokes. … Going into it, you have to be as positive as can be. “Friday looks like it’s going to be brutal for everybody. Looks like rain and wind in the morning and then extreme winds in the afternoon. So I don’t really have a preference on which one I’d rather see.” He doesn’t get a choice. He will play Thursday morning and then again Friday afternoon, so he will likely be dealing with the high winds. Then again, he might be dealing with sideways rain. Then again, he might be dealing with bursts of sunshine and a quiet wind. In truth, he will likely be dealing with all three because that’s how it goes at St. Andrews, where locals like to say that you can get all four seasons in just 18 holes. Spieth’s quest for his third straight major championship – and his quest to keep alive the potential for a Grand Slam – has given this Open Championship a buzz, but there remains a lingering disappointment because the world’s No. 1 player, Rory McIlroy, is not here. This seemed the perfect place to unleash a rivalry between Spieth and McIlroy, who at the moment own all four of golf’s major championship trophies. Golf really hasn’t had a competitive rivalry in a long time. But McIlroy badly injured his ankle while playing soccer with friends in early July. Throughout the week, people have contemplated sadly how dominant he might have been on a wet and windy course where, as a 21-year-old, he shot an opening-round 63. Without McIlroy here, much of the non-Spieth attention has focused on Dustin Johnson, the bomber who three-putted the final hole at the U.S. Open and lost to Spieth. The two will be paired the first two days, which both say is a comfortable pairing even after the U.S. Open clash. Johnson’s immense talent has never been in question. He crushes his drives and has surprising touch for someone who hits the ball so far. He played in the 2010 Open at St. Andrews and played pretty well, working his way into the top 10 after the first three days and finished 14th. He says he is a much better player now than he was then. “I think you’ve got to enjoy links golf,” Johnson says of the Old Course. “You’ve got to be able to use your imagination around here. It definitely helps the more times you play it to know the bounces, where to land the ball, where you want to be at in the fairway … I think the conditions now, they’re really good.” Then, there’s Rickie Fowler, who is coming off victory at the Scottish Open and has moved up to No. 5 in the world. Fowler finished top 5 in all four major championships last year and he also played pretty well at the last British Open at St. Andrews five years ago. He senses this is a great opportunity for him because of his lifelong love of links golf. And finally, there’s Tiger Woods, a two-time Open champion at St. Andrews, who has not won a major championship in more than seven years. He comes off perhaps his best round in two years – a bogey-free round at The Greenbrier two weeks ago – and he says that he’s hitting the ball beautifully on the driving range. Woods rather famously tends to put a positive spin on everything he does – he says negativity is bad for his golf – but there are numerous people around St. Andrews who believe that this time the positive talk is for real and that the Woods revival begins this week. He’s healthy, he’s hungry and he’s playing on a golf course he knows as well as anybody in the world. “I think experience counts a lot with the varied wind conditions,” Woods says. “I think that’s where experience comes into play. You have to hit the ball well. You have to really lag putt well here. But if you haven’t seen the golf course in the various winds, bunkers that you don’t even see on the yardage book because you’re not playing it, with that wind all of a sudden they become apparent. … Over the years, this is my fifth Open here. And I’ve seen a lot of different winds.” In other words, Woods will not dread what’s coming Friday the way some of the other golfers might. Then again, Jordan Spieth does not seem to be dreading it either. He did not arrive until Monday, after he had won the John Deere Classic. He had not had the chance to come visit the golf course this year; the closest he had come was when he played St. Andrews in the golf simulator he has in his home. “I’m in no way saying that that’s what I did to prepare for this Open,” Spieth said. “It was fun and it certainly was [valuable], just because it’s so realistic. You can see kind of the start lines where you need to hit shots. But then you get out here, and it could change very much depending on the wind.” Then Spieth smiled again. Fun? You bet. “The course was a lot easier with 68 degrees and no breeze coming out of the air-conditioner in my room,” he said, breaking up the room. He does seem unflappable. When the wind comes, as it surely will come, we will find out of if he really is unflappable.last_img read more

Go for gold or lay up for bronze?

first_imgRIO DE JANEIRO – Pop quiz: Who finished third at the 2008 U.S. Open? How about the 2009 Open? Anybody? Unless you’re a golf historian or have too much free time, you likely have no idea who “showed” in ’08 at Torrey Pines when Tiger Woods won on a broken leg or in ’09 at Turnberry when Stewart Cink broke Tom Watson’s heart. The answer to both questions is Lee Westwood. This is by no means a slight against the perennial Grand Slam also-ran, but the Englishman won’t be asked to recount his Sunday at either tournament by his grandchildren. The hierarchy of history on this is rather clear, winners are remembered, and on rare occasions a hard-luck bridesmaid may rate a mention, but third place is normally an afterthought quickly lost to the fog of time. That’s not an indictment of those who fall short, just a competitive reality. But on Sunday in Rio those subtleties will give way to the Olympic dream. The winner of the men’s golf competition will stand atop the podium, accept his gold medal and probably get a little weepy when his national anthem begins to echo off the nearby hills; and he will also have company on that platform. For the first time in 112 years the runner-up and third-place finishers will leave Rio with something more to show for their efforts than a bloated bank account and a handful of World Golf Ranking points. For most players, not since Q-School has a score other than the week’s lowest held much interest, but Olympic golf brings new meaning to the concept of a golf trifecta. “There’s no protecting top 10, no protecting a top 5,” American Matt Kuchar said. “You’ve got to strive to be on the podium, strive to win the gold medal, and hope that if it’s not gold, it’s silver; and if it’s not silver, it’s bronze. After that it really doesn’t matter that much.” Olympic golf coverage: Articles, photos and videos How that may change a player’s perspective coming down the stretch will be the topic of much debate on Sunday, but already on Saturday those who would normally not be holding out much hope for a competitively productive week were eyeing the new reality from a different perspective. Consider Rickie Fowler who seemed to shoot his way out of the tournament with rounds of 75-71 to start the week, but an opening nine of 29 on Day 3 vaulted him up the leaderboard and the American finished the day tied for 14th place, nine strokes out of first but just a touchdown shy of a bronze medal. “I’m at least giving myself a chance now with the way it looks,” Fowler said. “If I go out and play well tomorrow, I could sneak up there. Normally you don’t get rewarded much for second and third, but here, you can walk away with some hardware. Getting the gold may be a little bit of a far stretch right now, but you never know.” If Fowler sounded a tad too optimistic for some considering his play this week, consider his current position in context. Daniel Summerhays began the final round of last month’s PGA Championship five strokes out of the lead, which given Jimmy Walker’s play may as well have been 50 strokes, but closed with a 66 and finished alone in third place. Perhaps even more enticing for those who were harboring thoughts of a medal-winning rally was Jim Furyk at the U.S. Open. The veteran started the last turn 10 strokes out of the lead, posted a best-of-the-day 66 on Sunday and tied for second place. Both Summerhays and Furyk went home with bigger paychecks than their Saturday fortunes suggested they would, but were otherwise footnotes to the larger narrative. A similar rally on Sunday in Rio would hardly be a surprise and would certainly qualify as historic. Earlier this week Bubba Watson joked he would, “lay up and go for the bronze,” at the 18th hole on Sunday if need be, but all one-liners aside there is always a chance a player will reach the Olympic Golf Course’s closing stretch – a scoring buffet which includes a drive-able par 4 (No. 15), short par 3 (No. 16) and a par 5 that’s reachable in two shots for most players in the field (No. 18) – with a choice to make, play bold and try to win gold or conservative to assure a bronze medal. Added to the equation is the possibility of a tie, which could force multiple playoffs, although recent history suggests there could be a clean sweep with 15 of 39 non-match play events this season on the PGA Tour finishing with solo first-, second- and third-place finishers. Lost in this medal dynamic, however, is each player’s competitive DNA. Professional golfers are conditioned to post the best possible score regardless of outcome, and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson was rather clear when asked if the prospect of playing for three different places would influence his game plan for Sunday. “I’ll still be going for first there, even though the consolation prizes might be a little better than what we’re used to,” said Stenson, who is alone in second place one stroke behind front-runner Justin Rose. Still, there will be worthy consolation prizes that could ease the sting of losing, or at the least make those who come up short part of the historical conversation. Just ask Westwood.last_img read more

N. Korda stays hot; Kupcho overcomes migraine

first_imgOCALA, Fla. – Nelly Korda didn’t miss a beat four days after her first LPGA Tour title on U.S. soil, outplaying her sister and the world’s No. 1 player for a 5-under 67 to share the lead at the Drive On Championship. Former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho managed a 67 despite playing most of the back nine with a migraine that blurs her vision. Austin Ernst also had a 67 at Golden Ocala. The third-ranked Korda was part of a featured group that played early before the cool morning yielded to warm sunshine. She played alongside her older sister, Jessica, who had a 69; and Jin Young Ko, the No. 1 player in women’s golf who had a 75. It’s a small sample size, but this has been the year of the Kordas. Jessica Korda won a playoff to start the LPGA season at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. Nelly Korda had a three-shot victory last week in the Gainbridge LPGA at Lake Nona. Full-field scores from the Drive On Championship at Golden Ocala “Nelly and I were talking about being in a fish bowl today,” Jessica Korda said. Since winning at Lake Nona – her fourth career victory and first domestic title – Nelly Korda did a little laundry, took it easy with nine-hole practice rounds at Golden Ocala, tightened up her swing and it was like nothing had changed. Among her five birdies, she chipped in from 50 feet from the rough below the 10th green and down a ridge. Jessica Korda had six birdies, but she had to rally after taking a double bogey on the par-3 11th hole that left her 2 over for the round. She closed with four birdies over the last seven holes. There is no sibling rivalry with these two, and no bragging rights, either. “I think it’s just fun for us,” Nelly Korda said. “We have a lot of fun out there.” It wasn’t as much fun for Ko after she opened with a birdie. She shot 40 on the back nine and wound up with her highest start on the LPGA Tour since a 77 at Hazeltine in the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Golden Ocala is renowned for having replica holes from famous courses, three of them from Augusta National and two from the Old Course at St. Andrews. Kupcho, along with her NCAA title at Wake Forest, captured the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019 with a back-nine charge. That day at the home of the Masters included her having to get through one of her migraines, in which her vision suffers. Kupcho plays through pain to share LPGA lead Thursday was not much different. “Honestly, about on 14 I was ready to get off the golf course,” Kupcho said. By then, she had already done enough right. Kupcho ran off four straight birdies, two short putts on the par 5s on the front nine sandwiched around a 10-footer on No. 6, and her final birdie was on the 13th. She said she had three migraines during the offseason and never knows when one is coming. This one started as she was over a shot early on the back nine. “Even right now, it’s really blurry,” Kupcho said. “I can’t really see anything over to the left. So, yeah, it’s definitely really hard. I pretty much just leaned a lot on my caddie and just trusted him and tried to do the best that I could.” Ernst got off to a rough start and was 2 over through four holes after back-to-back bogeys. She made seven birdies the rest of the way and shot 31 on the back nine. Jing Yan of China and Jaye Marie Green shot 68, and Lydia Ko was in the group at 69 with Jessica Korda. Second-ranked Sei Young Kim and No. 5 Danielle Kang shot 72. Lexi Thompson and Brooke Henderson opened with 74s.last_img read more

Toward Self-Scrutiny in Science

first_img Recommended Intelligent Design “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Evolution Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour An article at Phys.org recognizes a problem in science that we know a bit about. It shows up often in the evolution controversy: lack of self-scrutiny. In his article, “On unconscious bias in science,” Dr. Jaboury Ghazoul of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, describes issues in his own field, environmental science.He notes the tendency of science towards “‘shoehorning’ observations to fit the theory.” This, he states, is a weakness of the system and not due to fraudulent behavior. Then, he writes:None of this matters much in my field of plant ecology, beyond taxing the pride of the researchers concerned. It is more serious when derived conclusions have applied relevance, by influencing resource management or environmental policies. In applied fields of research, there is more pressure to deliver evidence, and more to be gained in doing so — which can increase the likelihood of unconscious bias. This might explain contrasting conclusions on, for example, toxicity of pesticides on bees from studies funded by corporations or environmental organisations.This brings us to value-laden sciences such as conservation. Conservation scientists have an agenda. Our science provides an evidence base for conservation action, set within the value that global biodiversity ought to be protected. Conservation science aims to justify this value by demonstrating the benefits of biodiversity to local and global communities. But how credible can these claims be if research serves a normative conservation agenda? We are not dispassionate observers. If we question the veracity of studies funded by agrichemical industries, then shouldn’t the objectivity of research by avowed conservationists be subject to similar scrutiny?Think about how this kind of reasoning relates to the intelligent design and evolution debate. If scientists come with the presupposition that there will be a naturalistic explanation for the origins of the universe and life, can they be “dispassionate observers”?Some scientists have decided to speak out against those presuppositions. Those who are willing to buck the trend are a small but growing minority. Take a look at this list of 950+ scientists who dissent from Darwinian evolution.One of them is James Tour of Rice University, who was ranked by Thomson Reuter as one of the top 10 chemists in the world, looking at citations per publication, in 2009. Tour has noted:Those who think scientists understand the issues of prebiotic chemistry are wholly misinformed. Nobody understands them. Maybe one day we will. But that day is far from today. It would be far more helpful (and hopeful) to expose students to the massive gaps in our understanding. They may find a firmer — and possibly a radically different — scientific theory. The basis upon which we as scientists are relying is so shaky that we must openly state the situation for what it is: it is a mystery.Let us hope that unassuming attitudes — like those of Ghazoul and Tour — will continue to impact science.Image: James Tour, via University of Waterloo/YouTube. Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos 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 Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Life Sciences Toward Self-Scrutiny in ScienceSarah ChaffeeFebruary 17, 2018, 1:32 AM Tagsbeesbiasconservationdebateenvironmentenvironmental scienceevolutionintelligent designJaboury GhazoulJames Tourorigin of lifepesticidesPhys.orgplant ecologyprebiotic chemistryResearchRice Universityscienceself-scrutinyshoehorningSwiss Federal Institute of TechnologyThomson ReutertoxicityZurich,Trending Sarah ChaffeeNow a teacher, Sarah Chaffee served as Program Officer in Education and Public Policy at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. She earned her B.A. in Government. During college she interned at Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler’s office and for Prison Fellowship Ministries. Before coming to Discovery, she worked for a private land trust with holdings in the Southwest. Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Sharelast_img read more

Bioethicists to the People: “Obey Us!”

first_imgJane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Medicine Bioethicists to the People: “Obey Us!”Wesley J. SmithJune 12, 2018, 1:55 PM Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Recommended TagsAlfie EvansauthoritarianismautonomybioethicsBioethics (journal)Charlie Garddoctorsfutile care theoryhypocrisykillingmedicineNazismpatientpatientstechnocracytreatmentUdo SchuklenkUnited Kingdomutilitarianism,Trendingcenter_img Wesley J. SmithChair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human ExceptionalismWesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.Follow WesleyProfileTwitterFacebook Share Culture & Ethics Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Well, this is rich. Udo Schuklenk, the co-editor-in-chief of the journal Bioethics, insists that people obey bioethicists and doctors when it comes to decisions about ending life-sustaining treatment even when the patient or family wants to fight on — an authoritarian bioethics meme known as “futile care.”Schuklenk is furious at the public backlash against the forced removal of life support from Alfie Evans in the U.K. — who had an undiagnosed degenerating brain condition — and the hospital and court’s barring his parents from taking Alfie to an Italian hospital willing to continue treatment. From “Bioethics Culture Wars — 2018 Edition: Alfie Evans”:There is invariably much talk about disrespect of the disabled, as if there is no difference between a disabled child living a life worth living and a child whose brain has been irreversibly catastrophically damaged. Add to that a liberal amount of second guessing and questioning of the clinical judgement made by clinicians involved first-hand in the care of the toddler by academics, activists and religious lobbyists with no clinical qualifications and no first-hand knowledge of the facts of the matter…A predictable consequence of the flurry of activism across the globe was that a sufficiently large number of activists was motivated to try to storm the hospital where the boy was cared for. Yes, they tried to storm the hospital! They even, for a brief period, managed to block an ambulance from entering the hospital. Without any sense of proportion, they call(ed) themselves Alfie’s Army. No, I ’m not kidding, army!Not terribly surprising: if you genuinely think that you are fighting a crime akin to the holocaust you will think about it in fairly militant terms. Agitation and propaganda have consequences.So does presuming the right and power to impose your value judgments upon patients by forcing them off wanted life support, particularly since the reason for pulling the plug is that the care is succeeding in keeping the patient alive. In other words, futile-care impositions actually declare the patient to be “futile,” not the treatment.A few emotional commentators in the Alfie Evans case made unfortunate comparisons to Nazism — never a good idea — and some protesters engaged in objectionable pushy tactics.But make no mistake: the actual aggressors in this “culture war” are Schuklenk and other bioethicists of his ilk when they arrogantly grant to themselves the final say about when a life is worth living and maintaining — and then insist that all bow and acquiesce. No!Now, let’s add Schuklenk’s blatant hypocrisy to the mix. On several occasions he has written that doctors should be forced to take human life in abortion, lethal-injection euthanasia, and assisted suicide if the patient demands it — and that their conscience or religious objections to killing are irrelevant. Either perform these deeds that are immoral from the doctors’ perspective, Schuklenk believes, procure a doctor who will, or get out of medicine!How do we square these two conflicting positions? Utilitarian bioethics increasingly isn’t about autonomy — once the movement’s most prominent advocacy thrust — but rather about justifying why certain patients should die.If “choice” achieves that outcome, great. Such decisions are sacrosanct. But if patients make the “wrong” decision from bioethics’ utilitarian perspectives and choose to fight on, well, autonomy has its limits.No one died and made bioethicists kings and queens. Their value judgments are not inherently superior to those of families and patients because bioethicists have a PhD in philosophy. It is not our duty to meekly obey.That so many people fought to save a profoundly disabled and sick boy named Alfie Evans — and Charlie Gard before him — is to be celebrated, not decried.Presumptuous bioethicists such as Udo Schuklenk corrode the people’s trust in the medical system, but ultimately, they will only have power if we cede it to them. Just say no to the technocracy.Photo source: PublicDomainPictures, via Pixabay.Cross-posted at The Corner. 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

GRIZ GRIT: The Science of Scheduling

first_imgNext year’s basketball schedule is about to be released and spots currently are being filled on future football schedules, which are penciled in years in advance. Excitement and speculation abounds about future opponents.If the University of Montana is going to take on a Football Bowl Subdivision football foe or a higher-level league opponent in basketball, a couple of things have to occur.The payday in football will need to be approximately the reported $650,000 UM received from Iowa in 2006, some $200,000 more than Oregon paid the previous season.And in basketball, while the loss of a home date is not anywhere near as significant as it is in football, the payoff has to be sufficient and the opponent at a level where the Grizzlies don’t feel they are just serving as cannon fodder.And that is not to imply that any team goes into a game not thinking they have to chance to compete.There is some conjecture that Tennessee is a possible 2011 football opponent, which well could be announced by the time you read this. And UCLA is a probable Griz hoop opponent in early December, although fabled Pauley Pavilion is undergoing some renovation and the game reportedly could be hosted elsewhere in Los Angeles.Money games have served as budget balancers for the football team in the last decade starting with Hawaii in 2001, but when Iowa paid the steep price to bring Montana to corn country to open the season, the bar was set.And a near sellout home game against any Division-II opponent, which incidentally is paid a paltry amount to be possible Griz cannon fodder, makes cross-country play-up matchups in UM’s case rare indeed.The other factor, of course, is conference movement, which makes scheduling home games, or home-and-home like with Appalachian State, even more challenging – but that’s for another day.Filling the home hoop schedule might even be more challenging than football because few D-I teams look forward to traveling to Missoula in November or December, even though the raucous atmosphere that made it so difficult to win at Dahlberg Arena rarely now exists.There’s been a lot of conjecture about declining basketball attendance, but I don’t think anyone really knows the answer. Some cite the proliferation of hoops on television. Others blame the consistent extension of the football season, with 17 years of playoff appearances extending play deep into December. Others criticize the type of play and the success of the team, something that just doesn’t hold water with a guy who has seen the majority of the games for more than two decades. Still others point out the lack of student interest, especially in the non-conference when inner-season sends most students out of town for an inordinate amount of time.That too is for another column.Fortunately, because of the financial commitment of Karl Tyler Chevrolet, the Grizzlies have been able to reestablish their pre-season tournament, which not only gives them a couple of home games but also lets home fans see different styles of play from around the country.Washington is more than happy to meet the Grizzlies somewhere in Seattle, even though Montana has enjoyed success against the Huskies in that venue and nearly upset an excellent UW team at Hec Edmundson Pavilion last year. But UW wants no part of a home-and-home situation and with their recent, even more moderate success, former Big Sky Conference member Gonzaga also isn’t inclined to travel to Missoula without a two- or three-game return guaranteed.Let’s face it, home-and-home matchups with traditional rivals like Idaho, Washington State, Oregon State and the like pique interest more readily than facing a plethora of California schools, no matter how good they are.Suffice it to say scheduling is by no means any easy proposition where in football Director of Athletics Jim O’Day is heavily involved. In hoops, the basketball staff spends a large amount of the spring trying to fill in the blanks with O’Day’s oversight.And it’s not going to get any easier, especially with the recent success of the major sports programs. I guess sometimes you just pay a price for success. Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Emaillast_img read more

Voting: Who, Where, When

first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. The mid-term election is on Tuesday, Nov. 2. If you haven’t voted already, here’s a break down of who is running, where you can register and cast your ballot, and when the polls open. Candidates:We’ve written about many of the state and local elections in the past couple of months, and now all of those stories are compiled here. Take a minute to peruse the list and find your legislator or any other race you’re interested in, such as the battle for Flathead County commissioner District 2, featuring Democrat incumbent Joe Brenneman and Republican challenger Pam Holmquist. While it’s important to focus on local elections, the Associated Press has a nice breakdown of the bigger legislative picture: Which political party will take control of the state Legislature?And here’s an even wider election scope, taking a look at how national races are shaping up in the 11th hour.Registering to Vote and Polling Places:Not registered to vote in Flathead County? Visit the county election department. “For late registration (anytime after the close of regular registration), you must appear in person at the Election Department up to and including election day, fill out a voter registration card, and vote a ballot that you receive from the election office staff.”Not sure where you should go to vote? Click on this link to the Secretary of State’s website for a quick and easy search.The county election department also has a list of polling places available on its website.Want to familiarize yourself with the ballot before hitting the booth? Click here for a sample ballot.Polling places open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. For commonly downloaded documents – such as a voter registration card or an absentee ballot application – click here.Election Results and Coverage:Our staff will be burning the midnight oil on election night to get you the results as they are made available. Check www.flatheadbeacon.com for updates throughout the night. Emaillast_img read more