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Golf notebook: Lexi Thompson skydives with Navy Seals

By
Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
Lexi Thompson skydived with a Navy Seal to the first hole before the start of the Kingsmill event, a dream come true she said. Photo courtesy Lexi Thompson/Twitter
Lexi Thompson skydived with a Navy Seal to the first hole before the start of the Kingsmill event, a "dream come true" she said. Photo courtesy Lexi Thompson/Twitter

LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson parachuted with a Navy SEAL at her back from 10,000 feet onto the first tee of the River Course at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., for the start of the Kingsmill Championship pro-am.

Thompson's Lexi Legacy Challenge charity raises funds and awareness for families of United States Navy SEALs who have been killed or wounded in action.

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"A dream come true is all I can say," said the 22-year-old Thompson, who would up winning the Kingsmill event for her eighth victory on the LPGA Tour. "Not only did I get to skydive, but I got to jump with Navy SEALs, who are the most elite members of our military.

"We all get to compete each week on the LPGA Tour because of the sacrifices of the SEALs and their families, so giving back is the least I can do."

It was the first parachute jump by Thompson, who was accompanied on the dive by three other Navy SEALs and a skydiver from Thompson's sponsor, Red Bull, who videotaped the plunge.

Thompson wears pink clothing on Saturdays during tournament play to show her support of the fight against breast cancer, and she announced after the parachute jump that she would wear blue camouflage on Sundays to reflect her support of the SEAL Legacy Foundation.

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Stanford's Casey Danielson wins Dinah Shore Trophy

Casey Danielson of Stanford University was selected as the recipient of the 2017 Dinah Shore Trophy, which is administered by the LPGA Foundation.

In addition to performance on the course, the player chosen annually to receive the award is judged on academic excellence, leadership qualities and contributing to society through charitable endeavors.

"I'm so honored to receive this award," Danielson said. "Coach (Anne Walker) was talking about Dinah Shore and what an incredible woman she was, and then she said I won the award. I was so surprised and my teammates were so excited for me.

"I have a passion for academics, golf and community service, bringing people together. I love the things that I do."

Danielson, a four-time high school state champion in Wisconsin, is a four-year member of the Stanford women's golf team, which won the 2014 Pacific-12 Conference Championship and the 2015 NCAA Championship in addition to finishing second in the NCAAs last year.

An All-Pac 12 selection this season, Danielson recorded eight top-10 finishes and helped the Cardinal reach the NCAA Women's Championship at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.

Danielson will graduate next month with a degree in public policy, growth and development. She attained a 3.5 grade-point average.

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"This is a great honor for our program," Walker said in a statement. "Casey has been an outstanding scholar-athlete and community member during her four years at Stanford. She will be a terrific ambassador of this award for many years to come.

"Dinah Shore was an ambitious, driven and highly successful female. We are fortunate she had a passion for the game of golf and gave back so much at a crucial time in the development of the LPGA. For Casey to receive this award honoring Dinah Shore is a thrill for her personally and our program."

As a Stanford golf camp counselor, Danielson helped coordinate camp activities, provide golf instruction and introduce important life skills to kids ages 5-15. She is also a founder of "Birdies for a Cause" in Wisconsin, raising money for local and national non-profit organizations by connecting community pledges with golfer performance.

Last year, Danielson generated nearly $3,000 in donations for the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

As part of the Dinah Shore Trophy Award, a $10,000 grant will be awarded to the Stanford women's golf program.

Former winners of the award include: Jackie Chulya of Columbia (2016), Katie Kirk of East Carolina (2015), Emily Tubert of Arkansas (2014), Caroline Powers of Michigan State (2013), Amy Anderson of North Dakota State (2012), Pia Halbig of California (2011), Katie Detlefsen of Central Florida (2010), Amanda Blumenherst of Duke (2008, 2009), Stacy Lewis of Arkansas (2007) and Erica Battle of South Carolina (2006).

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No new injury to Rory McIlroy's ribs

Rory McIlroy underwent an MRI exam that revealed that he had not sustained a new injury to his ribs.

However, McIlroy withdrew from the BMW PGA Championship, flagship event of the European Tour, this week at Wentworth outside London. He won the title in 2014.

"Having had a reaction to my earlier rib injury, I have been advised to take a conservative approach to my recovery which unfortunately means I have to withdraw from the BMW PGA Championship," McIlroy said.

An MRI revealed no new injury to Rory McIlroy's ribs. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
"It's a disappointing decision to have to make, but I have to ensure I make a full recovery. I will now continue the process of preparing my game for the U.S. Open (next month) and the rest of the season."

McIlroy, who is No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, missed seven weeks earlier this year because of a stress fracture in his ribs he sustained while finishing second in the BMW South African Open in January

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"No new injury, rather a low-grade response to the rib joint I injured earlier this year," McIlroy of the MRI results.

McIlroy felt discomfort as he prepared for the Players Championship two weeks ago after taking several weeks off following the Masters last month, during which time he was married to American Erica Stoll at Ashford Castle in Ireland.

Playing through the pain, which he said was not as acute as it was earlier in the year, McIlroy failed to post a score better than 1-under-par 71 on his way to a tie for 35th in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Yardage set for U.S. Open

Mike Davis, executive director of the United States Golf Association, confirmed that Erin Hills in Hartford, Wis., will measure 7,693 yards on the scorecard for the 117th U.S. Open from June 15-18.

Davis also noted that the actual yardage will vary on a daily basis.

"We won't play that yardage on any one of the four days, I'm quite certain," Davis said. "It may be slightly more than that, it may be slightly less than that. But we really don't figure out exactly what we're going to do until really the day before or even the day of, once we know what the wind conditions and the firmness is going to be."

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Erin Hills can play as long as long as 7,800 yards from the Black tees. From those tees, each of the four par-5 holes on the course measures at least 607 yards, including the 663-yard 18th hole.

Davis also said the fairways at Erin Hills will feature more bounce than a traditional U.S. Open venue, and as a result, the landing areas will be at least 50 percent wider than the fairways players encounter at venues such as Winged Foot or Oakmont.

"You're going to see balls hit and move, and because of that and because of the wind out here, the fairways are most certainly wider than most U.S. Opens," Davis said. "But we think that works architecturally and that's really the way the three architects designed it to be, and we're excited."

This will be the first time the U.S. Open will be played on a course with a par of 72 since Tom Kite won at Pebble Beach in 1982.

Players winner Si Woo Kim withdrew from Byron Nelson with back trouble

Si Woo Kim of South Korea withdrew from the AT&T Byron Nelson last week because of a back injury a few days after the biggest victory of his career in the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.

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Kim, who was seen flexing and rubbing his back a few times during the Players, released this statement: "On Saturday night at the Players, my back began to flare up. On Sunday, when I arrived (at the course), I received treatment from a physio on the putting green that helped me get through the round.

"I feel it is the best time for me to take precautionary measures to ensure I can play and compete fully healthy for the rest of the season."

The 21-year-old Kim, whose only other PGA Tour victory came in the 2016 Wyndham Championship, became the youngest winner in Players Championship history.

One day after earning $1.89 Million for his Players victory, Kim was photographed while flying coach to Atlanta.

Singh, PGA Tour headed to trial

It appears that a lengthy legal battle between Vijay Singh and the PGA Tour might be headed to trial.

According to multiple reports, Judge Eileen Bransten of the New York Supreme Court ruled on several motions from Singh's lawsuit, which was filed in May 2013.

Bransten partially denied a request for summary judgment on Singh's claim that the PGA Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when it suspended Singh for admitted use of deer-antler spray before consulting the World Anti-Doping Agency, the reports said.

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"It is up to a jury to determine whether (the Tour's) decision to not consult WADA and/or ignore WADA studies and findings issued prior to (Singh's) suspension concerning deer-antler spray constitute an 'appropriate' investigation," Bransten wrote, according to GolfChannel.com.

During a January 2013 interview with Sports Illustrated, Singh admitted to using the spray, which contains the banned substance IGF-1. He was suspended for the admission but did not undergo a drug test.

After the suspension was announced, PGA Tour officials consulted with WADA and discovered that a failed drug test was mandatory in order for it to be considered a violation.

"We are looking forward to proceeding to trial and holding the PGA (Tour) responsible for its unprofessional administration of its own disciplinary policies, imposed on the golfers unilaterally and inequitably," Peter Ginsberg, Singh's attorney, wrote in an email to the Golf.com.

"The (Tour) failed to consult with international experts in Vijay's case, as it was obligated to do, even failed to keep up with those experts' publicly stated positions on matters crucial to this case, and then the (Tour's) leaders issued false and harmful comments in an effort to rationalize the (Tour's) actions."

According to GolfChannel.com, Bransten dismissed Singh's claim that he was treated differently than other players who had also admitted to taking deer-antler spray.

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A PGA Tour spokesman declined to comment.

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