Grillo shoots 9-under 62 for two-shot lead at Africa Open

first_imgEAST LONDON, South Africa – Emiliano Grillo surged into a two-shot lead at the Africa Open with a 9-under 62 on Saturday, putting the Argentine in position for a first European Tour title. In a tournament of low scoring at East London Golf Club, Grillo went lowest in the third round with nine birdies and no bogeys to move to 20 under overall, two strokes ahead of Englishman Oliver Fisher heading to the last round. Fisher moved to 18 under with a 66 and was in contention following an up and down start when he made two birdies and an eagle in his last four holes. Richard Bland of England, Thomas Aiken of South Africa and John Hahn of the United States – the overnight leader – were two behind Fisher and four off the lead on 16 under par.last_img

Garrigus clings to one-shot lead at Valspar Championship

first_imgPALM HARBOR, Fla. – Robert Garrigus missed two short putts on the back nine and had to settle for a 1-under 70 and a one-shot lead Saturday in the Valspar Championship. Garrigus, who needs a win to get into the Masters next month, opened with back-to-back birdies on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook and stretched his lead to four shots with a nifty flop shot off the pine straw to set up a birdie on the par-5 fifth. He still had a four-shot lead when he missed a 4-foot par putt on the 12th hole, but his lead was down to a single shot when he missed a 3-foot par putt on the final hole. Kevin Na chipped in for birdie on the 15th and shot a 68. Garrigus was at 8-under 205. ”I had fun,” Garrigus said. ”I’m in a good position. If I play a good round tomorrow, if I shoot under par, they’re going to have to come get me.” The final group was put on the clock on the back nine, and Na received a bad time on the 13th tee. Na was so deliberate that the final group at times was two holes behind along the back nine, though they finished in just under four hours. Valspar Championship leaderboard Valspar Championship: Articles, videos and photos Garrigus paid the price, too. He was given a bad time for the first time in his career, shocking because he is among the fastest players on Tour. In this case, he had a tough lie in the rough on the 14th hole and walked up to the green to gauge his options. That led to the bad time, and Garrigus said he didn’t bother looking at his next shot as long as he normally would have. It was a long putt that ran some 15 feet by the hole, but he made that for par. ”Best putt of the week,” he said. Garrigus and Na will be in the final group again Sunday, with plenty of company right behind them on the leaderboard. Na was defensive about the pace, and his reputation. ”I know how to play,” he said. ”I don’t know what people have said, but I don’t think I should be criticized.” Asked how much he has improved since his slow play was on display at The Players Championship in 2012, when he couldn’t take a swing or sometimes purposely swung over the ball so he could start over, Na said, ”A ton.” ”It’s not fair to me,” he said. ”I already have that stamp on me.” John Senden matched the low score of the tournament with a 64 in perfect, sunny weather. He moved up 32 spots to third, and goes into the final round only two shots behind. Justin Rose hit a wild tee shot on the 18th and made bogey, though his 69 left the No. 7 player in the world in reasonable shape. He was three behind. Retief Goosen made the cut on the number, and then played bogey-free for a 64. He was finished with his round some two hours before the final group even teed off. When the day ended, Goosen was four shots behind in a tie for fifth, along with Charley Hoffman (67) and Scott Langley (69). Luke Donald had a 67, and those two bogeys by Garrigus gave the former world No. 1 some hope. ”I’ve played here enough times, and seeing the scores over the last couple days, I knew a good round would shoot me up the board,” said Donald, who won at Innisbrook in 2012. ”So just try to play my own game and post something low-ish to get me back into contention.” Pat Perez wasn’t as fortunate. He opened with a birdie, but then pulled his tee shot into the vegetation left of the third fairway. A penalty drop would have left the ball just in front of a palmetto bush, so he went back to the tee and made double bogey. He made another double bogey on the back nine with a tee shot into the water on No. 12 and fell out of tournament with a 77. Na is notorious for fidgeting over his tee shots, and even with the Perez penalty on No. 3, the final group fell far behind and stayed that way. ”They took off,” Garrigus said. ”When Pat is playing bad, he takes four seconds to hit a shot.” Seven players were separated by four shots –the size of the lead Garrigus had with seven holes remaining in the third round – and only one of them (Rose) already has a tee time booked for Augusta National next month. Goosen has plenty at stake even if he doesn’t go from the cut line to a win. He has three more tournaments after this to make about $104,000 to retain his card from a major medical extension because of his back surgery. DIVOTS: The 54-hole cut was at 5-over-par, and 76 players advanced to Sunday. Among those who missed was Luke Guthrie, who started the third round at 2-under and shot an 80. Ricky Barnes shot 42 on the back nine for a 77 to miss by one shot. … Mark Calcavecchia made a tough up-and-down for par on the last hole that at the time was good enough to make the cut on the number. ”Yay. I think,” said his wife, Brenda, who caddies for him.last_img read more

Time’s Up

first_img“The final group is finally on the back nine in the Valero Texas Open …” Those were the words of NBC announcer Dan Hicks, some three hours after the threesome of Steven Bowditch, Matt Kuchar and Andrew Loupe all diligently pulled the proper club, checked the wind, took a few practice swings and smacked the first tee shots of their final round into the air. They were preceded by the telecast showing a graphic which explained potential slow play penalties, based on the fact that two of those three had already received warnings for a bad time and a few other groups were also on the clock. The good news? Things got noticeably quicker from there. Not quick enough, though. Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos Sunday afternoon appeared ripe for the first one-stroke penalty for slow play on the PGA Tour in nearly two decades. (Those issued last year to Guan Tianlang at the Masters and Hideki Matsuyama at the Open Championship came from other governing bodies.) After all, there’s a difference between slow and stagnant. This one was so halting that it felt like the entire leaderboard was on the clock; it was so deliberate that it took the final group about 5:32 to finish the round; it was so plodding that reaction to the pace overwhelmingly overshadowed Bowditch’s first career victory. Consider it a perfect storm without the rain. The TPC San Antonio track was set up tough with a scoring average well over par, it featured a one- to two-club wind, they were playing in threesomes and the resort course is never an easy walk. But that’s not to make any excuses. There were also some interminably slow players on the leaderboard. How slow? Johnny Miller said of Loupe, “If everyone on Tour played like him, I would stop commentating.” At one point, with Loupe assessing a putt on the 15th green, Bowditch appeared to be napping nearby. Or maybe he was just doing an impersonation of so many viewers on their living-room couches. That’s because competitors and rules officials weren’t the only ones checking their watches. Discussions on social media, which during final rounds usually range from attempting to pick the winner to sharing thoughts on specific shots, were dominated by rancor and revulsion toward the pace. More than a few observers insisted they’d rather watch no golf than slow golf. Therein lies a major problem for the game in general and the PGA Tour more specifically. If viewers dislike slow play but continue to tune in, there likely won’t be much change; if they start clicking to other pursuits, though, that’s where officials might have to – to steal a phrase – stop being polite and start getting real. If there were any positives to come from Sunday’s pace of play, it’s that we can hope it becomes the tipping point toward proactive change. That might be wishful thinking – and I’m on record as writing that I’d rather watch professionals play better than faster – but sometimes you have to squint to see the silver lining. Right now, slow play is the uninvited houseguest who won’t leave. But in its defense, nobody has tried to kick it out, either. I’ve long believed that people shouldn’t bemoan a problem without offering a solution, but I don’t have one here. I know – the easy answer is for the PGA Tour to start issuing penalty strokes, which is actually part of its official rules, despite the fact that no penalty has been assessed since 1995. That’s also the popular answer based on both public opinion and the membership as a whole. Hit ’em where it hurts, the idea states, and players will collectively speed up. Monetary fines haven’t helped alleviate the issue, so the answer must come in the form of discipline on the scorecard. What I find ironic, though, is watching the last two weeks of the NCAA basketball tournament and so often hearing cries about officials determining results. Which leads to the problem with assessing penalties for slow play: There can’t be selective enforcement. You can’t assess a penalty to a notoriously slow player on Thursday morning, but fail to give one on the final hole Sunday afternoon to the leader who gets a second bad time while under the gun. Let’s say for example (and it’s hardly a perfect one, because he wasn’t much of an offender) that Bowditch took a little too long over one of his putts on the final hole and it was his second bad time of the day. The feel-good story of his first career victory would have instead led to a playoff. It would be like a ticky-tack blocking foul whistled in the first minute of a hoops game similarly being called on the final play to decide the outcome. We don’t like it when officiating determines results in other sports. Those asking for it in golf might want to be careful what they wish for, because it could open a Pandora’s Box as to how tournaments are officiated. Sunday afternoon may not have been the slowest round in PGA Tour history, but it sure seemed like it. Once again, the pace-of-play issue reared its ugly head. And once again, we’re left wondering when – or if – we’ll ever see the repercussions of such negligence.last_img read more

Dream On

first_imgKOORALBYN, Australia – Off a winding country road deep within the Queensland hinterlands is the Kooralbyn International School, a weathered and slightly dated sports specific institution with a sneaky good resume. This isn’t where Adam Scott learned to play golf. Nor did he dig his competitive fire or resolve from the dusty hillside. But Kooralbyn was where the Australian first put to paper the loftiest of expectations that would take nearly two decades to reach. Scrawled in black and white in his no nonsense singular simplicity is everything one needs to know about Scott – “I would like to be a world-class player,” Scott wrote in December 1996. Coming from your normal, off-the-shelf 16-year-old, such a boastful benchmark could be dismissed as youthful indifference or perhaps false bravado, but from the moment Phil Scott, Adam’s father, put a club in his son’s hands there was never a question of talent. “Every kid says I want to be the world’s No. 1 or I want to win a major, so you take it with a grain of salt. You would have never imagined it would get to where it is now,” said Peter Claughton, the head golf coach at Kooralbyn when Scott attended the remote school. Leave it to Scott to take the long view, even as a teenager. For the Record: Phil Scott – Adam’s Masters win (click for more clips) The dashing champion who became the first Australian to slip his arms into the Masters’ green jacket last spring hasn’t changed much in his years since he attended Kooralbyn, soft-spoken, insightful and honest with clarity of thought that still transcends his years. In broad terms, “a world-class player” went well beyond winning major championships – although bringing the coveted green jacket home certainly leaves little room for debate – or being ranked No. 1 in the world, a goal that is now mathematically within his grasp with Tiger Woods on the extended DL. No, for Scott achieving “world-class” status required the delicate convergence of his prodigious talent with a healthy dose of mental toughness. The latter would take years to hone and would test every ounce of his resolve, while the former came as naturally as a 300-yard drive. When Phil Scott, a club professional who tried his hand as a touring professional in his early years, moved the family from Adelaide in South Australia to Queensland the moment dovetailed with his son’s growing interest in the game. Phil Scott had been hired to be the general manager at Twin Waters Golf Club just north of Brisbane and young Adam’s passion and play blossomed with the relocation. Even at such an early age, Scott had few peers recalled John Jennings, a member at Twin Waters who vividly remembered his first encounter with the skinny kid with the sonic swing. “I turned up at the tee at the appointed time which was noon and there were two elderly ladies, probably in their early 60s, and a little boy and it was his 12th birthday. That little boy was Adam Scott,” said Jennings, who remembered Scott shooting 84 (12 over) and dropping his handicap to 12 that day. For Scott, however, high noon still loomed well down the road. Scott’s time at Kooralbyn – where years later Jason Day would also hone his world-class game – was short, but from an early age there were whispers. Scott, along with fellow phenom Aaron Baddeley, were the proverbial pointy end of the spear in Australia’s golf awakening and inevitably the conversation would always turn to Augusta National, the site of so much collective angst. For a proud sporting nation, Augusta National was cursed grounds and Greg Norman, a three-time bridesmaid at the Masters, was their hero whose heart had been broken and the pain shared by an entire country. “I’m working with Aaron and know how good of shape he was in, and he and Adam are at a junior event and Aaron calls and says, ‘I won my age division but finished second overall,’” said Dale Lynch, the golf coach at the Victorian Institute of Sport at the time. “Aaron shot 6 under so I ask what (Scott) shot and he said 16 under. My first introduction to Adam was this kid shooting these scores and beating a kid I’m working with that was really good. It was scary.” Before Scott could end Australia’s long Masters winter, however, he would have to endure his share of heartbreak. There was a brief stop at UNLV before turning pro in 2000 and enjoying almost immediate success, with victories on the European Tour (2001) and PGA Tour (2003) in his rookie year on both circuits. Scott would add five more Tour titles before his 30th birthday but something was missing. Prior to 2011, he had just four top-10 finishes in 39 major starts, and only one (a tie for ninth at the 2002 Masters) where it most mattered. “There wasn’t a lot of great experience there for me. There was a lot of average golf and when you’re playing average in a major they really show you how average you’re playing,” Scott said. “There were a couple of really bad scores and some embarrassing moments.” But if greatness is born from adversity then Scott entered the final leg of his climb to world-class status in 2009, when he posted just a single finish inside the top 10 and concluded the season outside the top 100 in Tour earnings for the first time in his career. Two summers later, on a warm and sunny English afternoon, the final piece of the puzzle fell into place for the would-be major champion as putt after putt refused to drop. Four strokes clear with four holes to play at the 2012 Open Championship, Scott limped home with four closing bogeys and lost by a stroke. Most athletes struggle to pinpoint the instance when the winning epiphany arrives, but for Scott it was the precise moment when Ernie Els hoisted the claret jug over his head on Royal Lytham’s 18th green. “We’ll all be able to look back and think that (the 2012 Open) made him,” Phil Scott said. “It made him realize that he woke up the next morning and there was still oxygen and he still saw the ceiling and you might as well get on with it.” Less than a year later Scott would play his last six holes at Augusta National in 3 under to tie Angel Cabrera and clinch his slice of Australian history with a 12-footer for birdie at the second extra hole. At the time, the normally subdued Scott allowed himself a rare moment of retrospection. “It’s amazing that it’s my destiny to be the first Aussie to win, just incredible,” he smiled. Of course it would be Adam Scott, their Scotty, to end the Aussie duck, a cricket analogy that summed up 79 years of frustration at Augusta National. Born from wild expectations, forged through adversity and delivered at the perfect moment to end one of sports’ most confounding droughts. “I don’t think it’ll get any better than that moment,” said Phil Scott, who was waiting for his son behind the 10th green following the playoff on that gloomy Masters Sunday. “He could win 10 green jackets and whatever championships, to me that will always be the moment.” It was the moment Scott finally lived up to the potential of being the world-class player the 16-year-old envisioned nearly two decades ago at Kooralbyn.last_img read more

Park, Jang lead Henderson, Feng in Taiwan

first_imgTAIPEI, Taiwan – Hee Young Park and Ha Na Jang fought through gusty wind and early rain Friday to share the second-round lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship. The South Korean players each shot their second straight 3-under 69 at Miramar. They also each had only one bogey, Jang on the par-4 15th when she got a chip only halfway to the hole and missed a 20-footer, and Park on the par-4 16th when she drove into a bunker and came up well short of the green in two. ”This week is more like just be patient is very important, because weather is so bad and the golf condition so bad, too,” the 24-year-old Jang said. ”That’s why I’m just hitting fairway, the green. Very important this week. Yep, this weather, this score.” Canada’s Brooke Henderson (71) was a stroke back along with China’s Shanshan Feng (69), South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu (68) and South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace (70). Defending champion Lydia Ko was tied for 18th at 1 under after a 73. The top-ranked New Zealander won by nine strokes last year, and has four LPGA Tour victories this year. Full-field scores from the LPGA Taiwan Championship Park prepared for the conditions heading into the Asian Swing. ”I expect a lot of rain, so I had practice,” the 29-year-old Park said, ”It’s about just one week, but I had a lot of practice with the trajectory. Different kind of shot from the range, which is a lot of help this week also. So, that’s why I hit it a lot close today even with the wind and the rain.” Ryu also came prepared. ”I’ve been working on having a low ball shape” Ryu said. ”I’ve been practicing like low ball and high ball, so I had no problem to control the low one. Luckily, all shots worked pretty well, so I didn’t have any like major miss shots. … Only one bogey with this weather is pretty positive.” Park and Jang each have two LPGA victories. Jang won early this season Florida and Singapore, and Park won events in 2011 and 2013. Park played the first seven holes in 4 under in the worst conditions of the round. She set up birdies with irons to 4 feet on No. 1, a foot on No. 4, and 4 feet on No. 6, ran in an 18-footer on No. 7, and saved par on No. 8 with a 20-foot putt. ”Always difficult with wind,” Park said. ”I have to play every single shot really careful and more think about. Makes more tired. So hard to focusing end of the hole. That’s why I tried to.” Jang also played well in the bad early conditions, hitting to 3 feet on the par-3 third and making another birdie on the par-5 sixth. She made an 18-footer on 10, and chipped to a foot on the par-5 12th. ”Just say, ‘Trust yourself. You great player. Just be patient. Middle of the green is fine. Two-putt is pretty good. Par score is pretty good,'” Jang said. The 19-year-old Henderson has two victories this year, winning the major KPMG Women’s PGA in June. She plans to play all six week on the Asian Swing, a journey that started in China with a fourth-place tie, and will take her to South Korea, back to China, and then to Malaysia and Japan. Japan’s Sakura Yokomine , the first-round leader after a 67, had a 75 to drop into a tie for 10th at 2 under. American Paula Creamer, a stroke back entering the day, also was 2 under after a 75. Home favorite Yani Tseng was tied for 65th at 8 over, following an opening 79 with a 73. She won the inaugural event in 2011 at Sunrise, and took the last of her 15 LPGA titles in March 2012. U.S. Women’s Open champion Brittany Lang was another shot back after rounds of 75 and 78.last_img read more

Monday Scramble: Sawgrass show

first_imgSi Woo Kim makes Players history, Ian Poulter locks up his card (again!), the 12th hole flames out, the stars struggle and more in this week’s edition of the Monday Scramble:  For better or worse, there is no tournament as unpredictable as The Players. Kim hadn’t done anything of note this season – in fact, after dealing with back and wrist injuries, he had more withdrawals (four) than top-25s (two). And yet he looked like a completely different player for four days on a course that can punish even decent shots. No one goes to TPC Sawgrass to find their game, and yet Kim, statistically one of the worst ball-strikers this season, finished the week ranked second. Golf is funny sometimes. Just 21 years old, Kim is used to being a part of the “one of the youngest to …” discussion. It’ll be fascinating to see where this burgeoning star goes from here.  1. Kim was the youngest player to earn a Tour card, in 2012, when he was just 17. At 20, he closed with 63 and lost in a playoff at Barbasol. A few weeks later, he blew away the field in Greensboro. Not only is he the youngest winner of The Players – by two years – but he is the fourth-youngest player in the past 25 years to win twice on Tour, behind some bold-faced names, Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth.  Some elite company, for sure. 2. An instant classic, it was not, but Kim’s short game Sunday was what many will take away from his Players victory. He hit only eight (!) greens in the final round and still shot a bogey-free 69. Think about that. He was a perfect 10-for-10 scrambling, rolled in all 15 of his attempts inside 10 feet and needed just 23 putts on the day.  3. A victory at The Players won’t exempt Kim from fulfilling his mandatory military service in South Korea. Kim receives a five-year exemption for winning at TPC Sawgrass, and he has until age 30 to complete the two-year obligation that has paused the career of Sang-Moon Bae (who is expected to return next season). “Regardless of me winning this tournament, I really have to go to the military service, and I’ve already decided that I’m going to go, too,” Kim said. “So I’m ready for that.”  4. Poulter completed an incredible story Sunday with a tie for second Sunday at The Players. Incredible because of his position just a few weeks ago – he’d lost his card and was in danger of being sent back to the minors or Europe. Instead, thanks to Brian Gay, he kept his card after the Tour recalibrated the points for players on major medicals. Then, at TPC Sawgrass, he ranked third or better in strokes gained-tee to green and around the green, went 39 consecutive holes without a bogey in difficult conditions, and earned a paycheck worth $924,000 – enough to keep his card for next season. 5. In contention for the biggest title of his career, Poulter said that he felt “very comfortable” as he played the nerve-wracking finishing stretch at Sawgrass, but he played cautiously given his position. Down two and with his ball sitting in the right rough on 16, he had only 238 yards to the flag. He chose to lay up and, at least statistically, hit the worst wedge shot of the day (by 21 feet), to 40 feet. Par. On 17, still trailing by two, he hit it 40 feet left. Par. And on 18, still trailing by two, in need of a birdie, he shanked his approach shot off a tent and into a palmetto bush, leading to a miraculous bogey and a boatload of badly-needed FedEx and world-ranking points. 6. Steve Elkington rarely looks smart on social media, but he tweeted this Sunday:  No doubt… never thought bout trying to win https://t.co/7euubgVaby— Steve Elkington (@elkpga) May 14, 2017 Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered an even more pointed critique, saying on “Live From”: “He clearly did not play to win, and he didn’t!” Were they right? Afterward, Poulter said it was an “extremely good week” and he was “really pleased.” And he should have been – again, it locked up his card for next season. But after all that he has been through, after the most trying 18 months of his career, it’s reasonable to wonder whether he was just trying to protect his place on the leaderboard, rather than making a run for the title. Because we can’t help but think back to how Patrick Cantlay handled the disappointment of losing the Valspar Championship in March. Cantlay, like Poulter, was competing on a major medical, was coming off a rough patch (injuring his back and losing his best friend/caddie), was trying to earn as much money and as many points as he could, was trying to lock up his card. But in the aftermath of a second-place finish, he didn’t view it like that at all. He was trying to win, period. Even as a 25-year-old just starting his career, and with so much at stake, he dismissed any sense that there was solace in finishing second and securing his card. In fact, he was peeved. “It didn’t really feel like a burden to begin with,” he said. “I’m not too worried about that. It didn’t really feel like much consolation at the moment. I didn’t finish the deal.” In other words, it was a stark contrast to how Poulter sounded in his post-round presser.  What Cantlay said was what we want to hear from the great players: We want them to compete for titles, not for points or money or status. 7. As much as the Tour tried to promote a “new-look” TPC Sawgrass, the only notable changes were the drastic makeover of the par-4 12th hole and the redone greens. It’s clear the greens are still a year or two away from being as receptive as Tour players see on a weekly basis, but the early returns on the 12th are already in: Good idea. Poor execution.  The Tour wanted to see a 50-50 split, but only 29 percent of players (131 of 439) went for the green throughout the week – and even that number was boosted by a third-round setup with an easy hole location. Even then, just 62 percent of players went for the green. Only 19 percent of players were successful in holding the green and putting for eagle. It ranked as the fourth-easiest hole of the week, playing to a 3.83 average. No doubt, it was a more interesting hole than in previous years. But there is work to be done: 1.) The layup area needs to be more challenging, forcing players to go for it; 2.) The left side of the green is basically unusable because the slope is so severe that any shot spinning in that direction would roll into the water, and 3.) The area between the right bunker and the front edge of the green is too penal and can put good tee shots in bad spots. Until those issues are resolved – and you can bet Camp Ponte Vedra received plenty of player feedback – the hole will continue to be underwhelming. Get those bulldozers ready. 8. Rory McIlroy, who has already missed six weeks this year because of a rib injury, is set for another MRI today after feeling discomfort in his upper back. It might be just a minor inconvenience, a slight tear in a muscle – after all, he was able to complete 72 holes, finishing in a tie for 35th. But it continues what has been a bizarre year for McIlroy. After Dustin Johnson’s emergence, this was supposed to be the year that McIlroy reasserted himself as golf’s alpha male. Instead, he was an afterthought in the Masters, he changed his clubs and his ball, and he is now, once again, dealing with an injury. McIlroy is entering one of his busiest stretches of the season. More time on the sidelines would be a massive bummer.  9. DJ had a career-best finish at The Players – and it still was a disappointing result. For the first time in nine appearances, Johnson finally got a top-15 finish, thanks to a closing 68 that matched his lowest round there. It was just the third time in his past 14 starts that Johnson finished outside the top 10.   10. Even with the deepest field in golf, it seems the star of the show is always Pete Dye’s diabolical Stadium Course, which tricks and confuses and confounds the year’s best once a year. Early in the week, players will discuss how they’ve (1) come to appreciate the genius behind the design, or how they (2) enjoy how you have to “think” your way around the course. But by the weekend, by the time the double bogeys rack up and the balls bounce over the green and into impossible spots, the warm, fuzzy feelings disappear. Here’s Pat Perez on Saturday afternoon, speaking for the rest of the field … if the rest of the field was speaking honestly: “I think like everybody else: It’s tough to get through. The course is hard. It doesn’t fit my eye on almost any shot, like everybody else. That’s how it was designed. So you know who loves it? Maybe the winner of Sunday. That’s about it. It was designed to penalize you and cause trouble, and that’s what it does and it makes it uneasy for you. There’s not a shot out there that I’m comfortable hitting.” 11. Another example of why The Players doesn’t play favorites and is the most wide-open big tournament: Of the top 25 players in the world, only four (Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Alex Noren and Rafa Cabrera Bello) finished inside the top 10. If it felt like this ’board was lacking the necessary star power, it’s because it was. The USGA already puts a cap on which amateurs can try and qualify for the U.S. Open, stating that those who don’t play for pay must have a handicap index of 1.4 or lower. But maybe the blue blazers should pay closer attention to the “professionals.” Last week, Clifton McDonald shot a 127 in a local qualifier in Alabama, a lowlight that was only brought to our attention thanks to Lee McCoy.  We attempted to find out more about McDonald – who he is, why he attempted to qualify, why he’s so unfathomably awful – but he declined an interview request, via the USGA. Since McDonald, a professional from Meridan, Miss., did not shoot a score within eight of the USGA Course Rating, his future entries may be declined if he does not provide proper documentation showing that he won’t embarrass himself once again. The USGA only offered this: “The USGA’s goal is to provide a fair competition and not exclude a player from making the attempt.” Well, sorry, but there’s nothing fair about playing with or behind a guy who needs 127 shots to play an 18-hole qualifier.  This week’s award winners …  Zinger of the Week: Phil Mickelson. When asked whether the USGA needs to get the upcoming U.S. Open right, from a credibility standpoint: “I don’t know if doing one thing right is going to fix that.”  Pour Some Out For …: J.B. Holmes. The 54-hole co-leader shot a final-round 84, dropping all the way to a tie for 41st. An all-time ejection.  Sunday (Blood) Red: Big final-round numbers. Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose – they all shot 78 or worse on the last day.  More Troubles: Danny Willett. The 2016 Masters champion hasn’t done anything of note since that fateful Sunday a year ago, and things have only gotten worse lately. In the past month alone, his caddie fired him and now an achy back has sent him (perhaps fortuitously) to the sidelines.  Not good to have to withdraw but swinging very poorly is putting a lot of unwanted strain on the back.. body and mind need a rest!!— Danny Willett (@Danny_Willett) May 12, 2017 Re-Upped: FedEx Cup. Good news, as the Tour’s playoff system will continue through at least 2027, though it could look drastically different in a few years, with a new spot on the schedule and one fewer postseason event.  How Not to Celebrate an Albatross: Rafa Cabrera Bello. After recording the first 2 on the par-5 16th, the Spaniard flung his iron into the air … and into the pond. Doh! ALBATROSS!Just perfect. #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/bgyFEl6pzI— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 14, 2017 Life Comes at You Fast: Jon Rahm. Through two days, he looked like the man to beat at TPC Sawgrass. Then, on Saturday, he shot the worst round of his young career, a third-round 82 that led him to miss the secondary cut. Speaking of which … Seriously?: 54-hole Players cut. The Tour usually resorts to a “secondary” cut when more than 78 players make the weekend. But at the Tour’s flagship event, at the event FOR the players, with so much money and so many points at stake, it just seemed wrong to send 11 players home early. It’s the third time in the last 10 years that this has been used, but it still doesn’t make it right.  Crisis Management 101: Billy Horschel. After getting shredded on social media for whipping his 5-wood into his bag in a kind of are-you-kidding-me? celebration following a chip-in, Horschel took to Twitter to explain his actions. No matter what you think about the club toss, this was a smart move – and a good use of social media.  Clearing the air. Take it or leave it. #truth pic.twitter.com/ulLJHAo6qX— Billy Horschel (@BillyHo_Golf) May 13, 2017 Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Jordan Spieth. Striking the ball as well as 2015, and at a course that he actually enjoys because of the strategy involved, Spieth railed against a poor rake job in Round 1, shot a second-round 75 and missed the cut for the third year in a row. Sigh.last_img read more

New outlook has Bubba back on top

first_imgAUSTIN, Texas – In 1958, the Georgia Bulldogs rolled into the Texas state capital with Fran Tarkenton at the helm. Sixty years later, another Bulldog fared much better than the football Hall of Famer. Tarkenton lost that season-opener, 13-8, which wasn’t a far cry from the beating Bubba Watson put on fellow Dawg Kevin Kisner in the finals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Watson thumped his fellow alum, 7 and 6, at Austin Country Club. It was the most lopsided rout since the Match Play went to 18-hole championship matches in 2011, and made for some bitter-sweet viewing for Chris Haack, who coached both Watson and Kisner at Georgia. “Someone asked me who I was going to be rooting for and I said, ‘Georgia,’” Haack laughed. But if Watson and Kisner both share an affinity for Athens, Ga., that’s where the similarities end. Kisner is intense on the course and exceedingly grounded away from competition, while Watson is prone to bouts of mental lapses during rounds and let’s say, quirky behavior when he’s not carving drives into the great beyond. Where Kisner seems to be made in a lab to play match play (Note to U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk, following victories for Kisner this week over match play “ninja” Ian Poulter and Alex Noren you may want to have him fitted for a team uniform now), Watson’s relationship with the format is something of a mixed bag. The same qualities that have now lifted the left-hander to his 11th PGA Tour title, often worked against him in college. “That was probably his weakness, he had a go-for-broke mentality and instead of playing smart he’d stay aggressive and make a ‘7’ on a hole and keep from making the line-up,” Haack recalled. “Kisner never missed qualifying for a tournament, ever. Bubba did. He had to learn to be more conservative and gear back and he’s done a good job of that.” WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos In seven previous trips to the Match Play, Watson made it to the weekend just twice, including his semifinal loss in 2011, and his fortunes didn’t seem to be improving when he halved his Day 3 pool play match with Julian Suri. “Match play is not my favorite,” Watson said. But he rebounded with a hard-fought 2-and-1 victory over Brian Harman in the Round of 16 and cruised to the final from there by defeating Justin Thomas, 3 and 2, who was the highest-seeded player to make the weekend. Maybe that’s why this victory seemed so special to Watson. Five days, seven matches and 109 holes is a long time not to get distracted, particularly for Bubba. For all the distractions that accompany the Tour’s most demanding test, all the potential pitfalls that are inherent to match play, all the reasons to figure that this might not be his week, Watson did what doesn’t always come naturally to him – he maintained his mental focus. “His mind has just been great this year,” said Ted Scott, Watson’s caddie of 12 years. “Sometimes when you fall from the top, and he had some health issues and stuff, when you come back you’re like, OK, this isn’t the most important thing in my life. The hardest part is the world tries to label these guys as a golf score. The game of golf isn’t difficult for Bubba, it’s the extra stuff, the distractions can be difficult. For him, focus is just about not getting distracted.” He wasn’t perfect at Austin Country Club, admitting that throughout the course of the week he only lost focus about four or five times, most notably on the par-4 13th hole in his semifinal match against Thomas. “In my head, in my imagination, I kept seeing a slice driver catching the slopes and then just trickling on the green or right next to the green,” Watson explained. “So every day, even though that number is not even scary when it comes to me hitting a driver, in my head, I just panicked and I wasn’t committed.” But those concerns were few, and he proved extremely adept at playing his opponent and not allowing his aggressive tendencies to dictate an unwise and unneeded game plan. That was evident in the week’s final match when Kisner played his first four holes in 3 over par and made the turn 6 down. During that span, Watson was a conservative 1 under par. “When you get a lead in match play the one thing you never want to do is give your opponent any sort of momentum. You want them to have to earn it,” Scott said. “He didn’t give many holes away for the week.” If all this doesn’t exactly sound like the Bubba we’ve become familiar with over the years, it’s not too much of a stretch to declare that there has been an evolution. Some of this newfound perspective was born from 2017, when he hit rock bottom professionally. He failed to win last season, failed to advance past the second round of the playoffs and told the world that he was going to step away from the game for a few months. It didn’t take nearly that long for him to rediscover the spark that made him a two-time Masters champion. “Last year was the lowest point, I would have to say one of my lowest points in my life,” Watson said. “It just mentally, being an athlete is not easy.” From those depths, Watson has now won twice on Tour in a little over a month and defied conventional wisdom with a victory at the Match Play, which is widely considered the game’s most mentally challenging marathon. Sixty years ago, Tarkenton’s squad came up short in Austin. Watson’s performance, by any measure, was so much better.last_img read more

Rory looking for that carefree inner-child

first_imgCARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eleven years later, Rory McIlroy cringes at the photo: the yellow sweater with the deep V-neck, the chubby cheeks and the messy mop that curled under his cap. “You live and you learn,” he said Wednesday, offering a wry smile. The last time McIlroy played at a Carnoustie Open, in 2007, he earned the Silver Medal as the low amateur. He tied for 42nd, but the final result had mattered little. Grateful just to have a spot in the field, courtesy of his European Amateur title, he bounced along the fairways, soaking up every moment, and lingered behind the 18th green as one of his local heroes, Padraig Harrington, battled one of his favorite players, Sergio Garcia. Waiting for the trophy presentation, he passed the time playing with Padraig’s young son, Paddy. On Wednesday, McIlroy spotted Paddy, now 15, walking around Carnoustie with his three-time-major-winning father. “He’s massive now – he towers over me,” he said. “It’s so funny thinking back on that day.” But it’s also instructive. If there’s a lesson to be learned from ’07, it’s how carefree McIlroy approached and played that week. He was reminded again of that untroubled attitude while playing a practice round here with 23-year-old Jon Rahm, who stepped onto each tee, unsheathed his driver and bombed away with little regard for the wind or the bounce or the fescue. McIlroy smiled, because he remembers a time, not too long ago, that he’d attack a course with similar reckless abandon. Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship “I just think, as you get older, you get a little more cautious in life,” said McIlroy, 29. “I think it’s only natural. There’s something nice about being young and being oblivious to some stuff. The more I can get into that mindset, the better I’ll play golf.” And so on the eve of this Open, as he approaches the four-year anniversary of his last major title, McIlroy finds himself searching for a way to channel that happy-go-lucky 18-year-old who was about to take the world by storm, to tap into the easygoing excellence that once defined his dominance. It’s been a year since he first hinted at what he’s been missing. Last year’s Open at Royal Birkdale was the final event of his long run with caddie J.P. Fitzgerald. The chief reason for the split, he said, had nothing to do with some of the questionable on-course decisions, but rather a desire to take ownership of him game, to be freed up alongside one of his best friends, Harry Diamond. That partnership has produced only one victory so far, and over the past few months, McIlroy has at times looked unsettled between the ropes. It’s difficult to compute, how someone with seemingly so much – a résumé with four majors, a robust bank account, a beautiful wife – can also appear disinterested and unmotivated. “I think sometimes I need to get back to that attitude where I play carefree and just happy to be here,” he said. “A golf tournament is where I feel the most comfortable. It’s where I feel like I can 100 percent be myself and express myself. Sometimes the pressure that’s put on the top guys to perform at such a level every week, it starts to weigh on you a little bit. The more I can be like that kid, the better.” It’s a decidedly different landscape from when the erstwhile Boy Wonder last won a major, in summer 2014. Jordan Spieth had won just a single Tour event, not three majors. Dustin Johnson wasn’t world No. 1 but merely a tantalizing tease, a long-hitting, fast-living physical freak who was just beginning a six-month break to address “personal challenges.” Two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka hadn’t even started playing in the States.   McIlroy’s greatest asset, both then and now, was his driving – he put on clinics at Congressional and Kiawah, Hoylake and Valhalla. He was a mainstay at or near the top of the strokes gained: tee to green rankings, but over the past few years, because of better technology, fitness and coaching, the gap between him and the rest of the field has shrunk. “I think at this stage players have caught up,” Harrington said. “There’s many players who drive the ball comparable and have certainly eaten into that advantage. Rory is well on pace to get into double digits with majors, but it has got harder. There’s no doubt there’s more players out there who are capable of having a big week and a big game for a major. It makes it tough.” It’s not as though McIlroy hasn’t had opportunities to add to his major haul; they’ve just been less frequent and against stronger competition. In the 13 majors since he last won, he’s either finished in the top 10 or missed the cut in 11 of them. This year, he played in the final group at the Masters, and was on the verge of completing the career Grand Slam, before a soul-crushing 74 on the last day. His U.S. Open bid was over after nine holes, after an opening 80 and a missed cut during which he declined to speak to reporters after both frustrating rounds. “I’m trying,” he said Wednesday. “I’m trying my best every time I tee it up, and it just hasn’t happened.” A year after saying that majors are the only events that will define the rest of his career, he recently shrugged off the doom and gloom surrounding his Grand Slam drought: “It doesn’t keep me up at night, thinking, If I never won another major, I can’t live with myself.” Eleven years ago, McIlroy never would have troubled himself with such trivial questions about his legacy. But perhaps a return to Carnoustie, to where his major career started, is just what he needs to unlock his greatness once again.last_img read more

Thomas leads McIlroy, Poulter by 3 at Firestone

first_imgAKRON, Ohio – Justin Thomas pulled away from a crowd with five birdies in the middle of his round for a 3-under 67 and a three-shot lead going into the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational as he goes after his third victory this season on the PGA Tour. No one could keep pace with Thomas, least of all Tiger Woods. Starting the third round Saturday five shots behind, Woods didn’t make a birdie until a 12-foot putt on the 12th hole, and he didn’t make another. He wound up with a 73, leaving him 11 shots back and ending his streak of 10 straight rounds at par or better dating to the U.S. Open. ”It was very similar to the first day,” Woods said. ”Wasn’t very sharp that first day, but I made everything. So today was about the same, and I didn’t make anything.” That wasn’t a problem for Thomas, whose six birdies included a chip-in from 30 feet behind the green on the par-3 12th. He was at 14-under 196, three shots clear of Rory McIlroy (67) and Ian Poulter (70). Thomas fell behind early with two bogeys in three holes, and a 10-foot par save in between from behind the fourth green kept him from falling further behind. Poulter set the pace early and had a three-shot lead at one point until he dropped his shot from the bunker on the par-3 seventh, and then had a mixed bag of birdies and bogeys that kept him from getting closer to the lead. Full-field scores from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Articles, photos and videos McIlroy played bogey-free and will find a familiar face waiting for him on the first tee Sunday. McIlroy and Thomas live in South Florida, practice at The Bear’s Club that Jack Nicklaus built and spent several days practicing last week. ”We’ve played a lot,” Thomas said, ”but never in this situation.” Jason Day, who threw away a chance to win the Bridgestone Invitational two years ago, had a 69 and was four shots behind. Marc Leishman, who played alongside Woods, shot 67 and joined Kyle Stanley (70) five shots behind. The course started to get a little firmer. Poulter had a 62 on Thursday. Tommy Fleetwood shot 63 on Friday. The best anyone could do in the third round was a 65 by Rickie Fowler, which only got him within six shots. Thomas figured that out quickly. He made an unusual birdie on the par-5 second by hitting his tee shot in the first cut of the third fairway. Blocked by threes, he opted for a 5-wood that started out toward the third tee and sliced over the trees to the rough, pin-high about 15 feet away from an up-and-down. After a bogey from the trees at No. 3, Thomas went at a back pin on the tough fourth hole and the ball bounded over the green in thick rough. He chopped at his chip and did well to run it 10 feet by the hole, making it for par. He bogeyed the next from a bunker, and fell three shots behind, but that par save on No. 4 helped by not dropping a shot, and by understanding how the course was playing. Thomas said he told his caddie Jimmy Johnson, ”We can’t see pin, hit pin.” Fleetwood went so far long on the fourth hole that it went 30 yards over the green. He chipped 50 feet by the hole and three-putted for a double bogey, the start of what turned out to be a sloppy day and a 74 that dropped him seven shots behind. McIlroy’s only victory this year was at Bay Hill. He was runner-up three times, most recently at the British Open. ”I played well enough to win a few times this year and I only got over the line once,” McIlroy said. ”Tomorrow is a great opportunity to try and win again. I’ll need a good round. I’m still a few behind. But yeah, I’m getting a little sick of the second places.” Poulter already has won at the Houston Open in what has been a big turnaround for the Englishman, who is on the cusp of qualifying for the Ryder Cup. He made a pair of medium-length birdie putts to offset bogeys from the bunkers, but fell out of a chance to be in the last group when he missed a 6-foot par putt on the 17th. Doug Ferguson is a national golf writer for The Associated Press.last_img read more

Nathan Lents Is Back; Still Wrong About Sinuses

first_imgJane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Medicine Nathan Lents Is Back; Still Wrong About Sinuses Casey LuskinSeptember 13, 2018, 2:33 PM Tags”poor design”accessory ostiaallergensanatomyantibodiesbacteriabathtubsciliacommon colddrainageenzymesethmoid cellsEvolution Newsfrontal sinusgravityHuman Errorsintelligent designJoshua Swamidassmaxillary sinusMichael EgnormucusNathan Lentsostiaparanasal sinusespathologiesPeaceful SciencephysiologyplumbersSidney Yankauersinkssinusitissphenoid sinusWall Street JournalWikipedia,Trending Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Recommended Intelligent Design Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share 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 Allcenter_img “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos As long experience teaches, critics of intelligent design tend to divide neatly into two categories. There are those who primarily want to attack motives, make false accusations of deception and dishonesty, and engage in creative name-calling. On the other hand, there are serious and thoughtful critics. Sometimes the latter are misled about ID by the former.This distinction may help explain what happened recently when biologist and ID-critic Nathan Lents was given an open forum to sound off on Discovery Institute. This occurred at the website Peaceful Science, hosted by another critic of ID, biologist and MD Joshua Swamidass. The interaction with Lents is of interest because it provides an opportunity to look again, in some detail, at a fascinating illustration of design in action.A Nose for Bad ArgumentsEarlier this year writers for Evolution News posted responses to Dr. Lents, who teaches at John Jay College and wrote a recent book, Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes. He argues that our bodies demonstrate “poor design” or “suboptimal design” which is best explained by evolution. Lents wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal summarizing his case.He argues in his book that the fact that the openings to the maxillary sinuses (called “ostia”) are situated near the top of the sinuses would prevent gravity drainage of mucus. This, he thinks, is bad design. He asks, “What kind of plumber would put a drainpipe anywhere but at the bottom of a chamber?” Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor, who knows a thing or two about the anatomy of the head, replied to Lents, here and here. Egnor explained that the design of the maxillary sinuses makes sense for several reasons, as follows.Though excess mucus is annoying when you catch a cold, mucus is a normal and necessary bodily fluid that is secreted by mucus membranes. Its multiple important purposes include preventing tissues from drying out, trapping harmful foreign bodies such as bacteria or allergens, and serving as a locality for antibodies and other enzymes that are “designed to kill or neutralize these harmful materials.” Egnor points out that if the maxillary sinus drained from the bottom, it might quickly lose its vital mucus. This would cause problems: “From design considerations, it can be inferred that a drainage ostium in the floor of the sinus would drain at too high a rate, drying out the sinus mucosa and predisposing to plugging of the ostium by thick debris.” Cilia move mucus upwards, against the flow of gravity, towards the ostia in the maxillary sinus. In fact, as Egnor observes, our paranasal sinuses “don’t drain primarily by ‘gravity,’ as Lents naïvely asserts,” meaning that the fact that the opening in the maxillary sinus is at the top is immaterial to how it normally drains.Another observation Egnor made is that even from a gravity-drainage perspective, there could be rational reasons for putting the drainage opening at the top of the sinus. Plumbers frequently put drains at the tops of chambers. A possible purpose for situating the ostia at the top of the maxillary sinuses is so they can serve as “overflow openings,” much like the drains located at the tops of sinks or bathtubs.Lastly, Egnor observed that the maxillary sinuses can have other methods of drainage that don’t depend on gravity, called “accessory ostia,” located further down towards the bottoms of the sinus. A Relevant PaperOn that last point, Egnor cited a paper, “The Drainage System of the Paranasal Sinuses: A Review with Possible Implications for Balloon Catheter Dilation,” which he quoted. The paper states, “Accessory ostia are not only common for the maxillary sinus but also for the entire paranasal sinus system.” After reviewing the design of the paranasal sinuses, Egnor concluded:For most of humanity’s seven billion people, paranasal sinuses drain flawlessly for the better part of a century without any tinkering at all. “Poor” design? If sinks and toilets drained as well as sinuses, plumbers would be mostly out of work.On his own blog, Lents replied to Egnor by arguing that the paper Egnor cited is about the paranasal sinuses, not the maxillary sinus:First of all, if you carefully read both what he wrote, and especially the paragraph that he provides as his source, you will notice that most of it is discussing accessory drainage in the paranasal and frontal sinuses, not the maxillary sinuses. The paranasal and frontal sinuses surround your nose and are in your forehead, respectively. Nothing I write in my book or articles make reference to those sinuses. My “poor design” argument is about the maxillary sinuses only.Now, at Joshua Swamidass’s discussion forum, Lents claims again that Egnor was wrong to cite this “completely off-topic paper” because it isn’t about the maxillary sinuses:You will notice that the article is all about the paranasal sinuses not the maxillary sinuses. Totally different structures!Lents uses Swamidass’s forum to rant at us, saying that we’re “dishonest” and claiming Dr. Egnor was just trying to take advantage of ignorant readers. In Lents’s words, “They made an obvious error, got caught, and then just pretend it didn’t happen.”No, there was no error to correct. On the contrary, it’s Lents’s description of nasal anatomy that is wrong, at an elementary level. The maxillary sinus and the paranasal sinuses are not “totally different structures.” The maxillary sinus is one of the paranasal sinuses! The paper Egnor cited was discussing the maxillary sinus as well as the other paranasal sinuses.Lents similarly writes on his blog, “The paranasal and frontal sinuses surround your nose and are in your forehead, respectively. Nothing I write in my book or articles make reference to those sinuses.” Again, that’s not true because, to repeat, the maxillary sinus, which Lents indeed writes about in his book, is one of the paranasal sinuses, meaning that Lents does write about the paranasal sinuses. He is wrong in his terminology.What the Article SaysInterestingly, Lents doesn’t quote from the article itself. Here’s some of what it says:“Intersinus connections and accessory ostia of the maxillary sinus are well known to rhinologic surgeons but are less known for the remaining paranasal sinuses.”“Accessory ostia are not only common for the maxillary sinus but also  for the entire paranasal sinus system.”“Expansion of the mucous membranes helps to form the paranasal sinuses: the maxillary sinus, the ethmoid cells, and the frontal and sphenoid sinuses, respectively.”Some of that is technical language. What’s clear is that the paper that Egnor cited frequently discusses the maxillary sinus, and the maxillary sinus is one of the four paranasal sinuses. When it states that “Accessory ostia are not only common for the maxillary sinus but also for the entire paranasal sinus system,” it is not, as Lents says, “completely off-topic” but rather directly on-topic. It is indicating that accessory ostia are “common for the maxillary sinus.” Wikipedia concurs:Paranasal sinuses are a group of four paired air-filled spaces that surround the nasal cavity. The maxillary sinuses are located under the eyes; the frontal sinuses are above the eyes; the ethmoidal sinuses are between the eyes and the sphenoidal sinuses are behind the eyes. The sinuses are named for the facial bones in which they are located. […]Humans possess four paired paranasal sinuses, divided into subgroups that are named according to the bones within which the sinuses lie:The maxillary sinuses, the largest of the paranasal sinuses, are under the eyes, in the maxillary bones (open in the back of the semilunar hiatus of the nose). They are innervated by the trigeminal nerve.A picture on Wikipedia’s “Paranasal sinuses” page shows the four different paranasal sinus cavities — one of which is the maxillary sinus:Image credit: OpenStax College [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.This is basic physiology, and Lents gets it wrong when he claims that the maxillary sinus is not a paranasal sinus.In his blog reply Lents goes on to argue that the accessory ostia in the maxillary sinus don’t resolve the issue since not all people have them. (Lents claims only up to 30 percent do although the literature states they exist in up to 43 percent of people.) These accessory ostia are not fully understood, and researchers have debated the matter. Studies have asked whether they are congenital (i.e., present naturally at birth) or whether they arise during a person’s lifetime due to sinusitis or other pathologies. One paper notes they may be a “defect” due to a “pathological situation” that ultimately causes “chronic inflammation.” In other words, the design that Lents demands must exist does in fact exist in a significant number of people — but Lents’s version of a good design may actually not work very well. To see why this is the case, you need to understand why a basic premise of his arguments — that our sinuses drain primarily due to gravity flow — is mistaken.Egnor Was Right AgainLents’s main argument is that most of our sinuses use gravity drainage, but since the ostium (opening) of the maxillary sinus is found at the top of the sinus, this represents “poor design.”Egnor noted that the paranasal sinuses “don’t drain primarily by ‘gravity,’ as Lents naïvely asserts.” Again, Egnor is right and Lents was wrong. While gravity drainage is used, to some extent, by all of our paranasal sinuses, it is not the preferred drainage mechanism of any of our paranasal sinuses, and the mechanism of drainage of the maxillary sinus is no different from any of the other paranasal sinuses. Isn’t this counterintuitive? Not if you think about it. As explained by the famous ear-nose-throat surgeon Sidney Yankauer in a paper, “The drainage mechanism of the normal accessory sinuses,” the openings of the paranasal sinuses are all located in different orientations. That way, “there is no single position of the head which is favorable to drainage from all the sinuses.” He further notes that even when the head is in a favorable position for gravity drainage of a particular sinus, gravity drainage would “at best, be only slow and intermittent.” That is because sinus drainage tubes are small and narrow, and the mucus thick and viscous. Thus, “if the liquid is thick and viscid … like the nasal secretions, its escape will be very slow; in fact, if the opening is very small, there may be no escape of liquid at all.” Moreover, he observes that when a liquid is present in small quantities, as is the case with mucus, “the adhesion of the liquid will overcome its gravity” and it may not flow downward. Yankauer observes that our sinuses normally have no trouble draining themselves:The fact that the sinuses are thus capable of draining themselves when they are in a normal, healthy condition will hardly be disputed; but that they are also capable of emptying themselves through their natural orifices when they have become diseased may not be so self-evident. Yet it is within our experience that acute inflammations of all the accessory sinuses have a natural tendency to get well without operative interference, the end of the disease being marked by a discharge of secretion into the nose, lasting for days or weeks, during which lime drainage through the natural orifices goes on without interruption; so that even when the mucous membrane is diseased and the quality of the secretion altered, drainage through the natural orifices is possible, and in a large percentage of the cases is sufficient.How do we reconcile these observations — that there is no single position of our head that is conducive to gravity drainage of the sinuses and that gravity drip of our viscous mucus through the narrow sinus passages would be very slow, and perhaps even prohibited by liquid adhesion, yet our sinuses normally seem to have no trouble draining? This is because, as he observes, gravity is not the primary mechanism of drainage of our sinuses:Considering these facts, and bearing in mind that the secretion of the healthy sinuses is a mucous fluid, and that of the diseased sinuses a still more viscid one, it is evident that gravitation, as such, plays a very small part in the drainage of the normal accessory sinuses.This is exactly correct. For example, consider our frontal sinus (see the image above for its location). Lents claims in his book that the frontal sinus (directly above the narrow between the eyes) “can drain downward.” This is true, but his implication is that frontal sinus drainage is primarily due to gravity. That is inaccurate.The frontal sinus does ultimately drain downward, but not primarily due to gravity. It drains only after cilia sweep the mucus in a circuit which first goes upward, and then comes back around down the other side of the sinus in a circle, thus draining downward. This is seen in the frontal sinuses depicted in the diagram below:In the diagram, roughly redrawn from slide 35 of this lecture, and a diagram at this medical anatomy library, you see that the drainage ostium is at the bottom (near point A), right where Lents says it should be. But with mucus starting at point A in the frontal sinus, the mucus does not always drain directly downwards. Instead, on one side of the ostium, mucus travels along a circuit (shown by the turquoise arrows), first upwards (against the force of gravity) along the interior of the sinus, around the top, and then finally draining along the bottom of the sinus and then out.A Circuitous Route — For a PurposeWhy would mucus in the frontal sinus take this circuitous route? The answer is simple, from a design perspective: Mucus has an important purpose and, as the Yankauer observes, gravity drainage is not an efficient mechanism even when the drainage port is located at the bottom. With only gravity at work the frontal sinus would dry out and mucus would fail to cover the entire sinus and do its job of sweeping away bacteria and other harmful foreign bodies. The roundabout route ensures that mucus is swept across the entire sinus, keeping it moist and allowing it to do its job.The key point is that the main mechanism of sinus drainage — even when there’s a drainage port at the bottom as in the frontal sinuses — is the cilia, not gravity. Yankauer writes:the explanation of the manner in which these cavities are drained, must be sought in a study of the character of the mucous membrane over which this drainage takes place, and of the physical properties of the secretion. With the exception of the olfactory tract proper, the mucous membrane of the nose and its accessory cavities is covered with ciliated epithelium. The cilia are in a state of constant motion, which has been compared to the lashing of a whip. Each cilium moves through an arc of from 20 to 30 degrees, at the rate of about 12 times per second, the forward movement being about twice as rapid as the return movement. All the cilia of a single cell move in the same direction at the same time, but the cilia of all the cells do not move simultaneously, but the motion is carried over the mucous membrane in a wavelike manner. … The power exerted by the combined action of the cilia is said to be very considerable. Consider this passage from a much more recent article, “Paranasal Sinus Anatomy and Function”: Since many of the sinuses develop in an outward and inferiorly fashion, the ciliated mucosa often moves material against gravity to the sinus’ exit. This means that mucus produced just adjacent to a sinus ostia, if it is on the afferent side, will travel around the entire sinus cavity, often against gravity, before exiting the ostia. This is one reason that creation of accessory ostia at sites outside the physiologic ostium will not significantly improve sinus drainage. In fact, this sometimes results in mucus draining from the natural ostia reentering the sinus via the newly created opening and cycling through the sinus again.What Did We Just Read? First, “mucus produced just adjacent to a sinus ostia, if it is on the afferent side, will travel around the entire sinus cavity, often against gravity, before exiting the ostia.” This shows that gravity drainage is not necessarily the preferred mechanism of sinus drainage even when the drainage hole is on the bottom and mucus is produced right next to the hole.When a sinus has the “good design” that Lents claims it should have, it actually drains more like the sinus that he claims has a “poor design,” moving mucus upward via cilia against the force of gravity.Second, we see that, because gravity drainage is not the preferred mechanism of drainage, creating new holes in the sinuses where you think gravity would help improve the drainage might not be a good idea. That would interfere with the natural circuits of mucus flow as driven by the cilia. This is consistent with the aforementioned observations of problems associated with accessory ostia in the maxillary sinus. When the design that Lents demands exists is actually implemented, it doesn’t work very well. Lents in his book acknowledges that cilia move mucus around. But the question for him is this: If it’s so important to have drainage ports at the bottom of a sinus, then why is it in the frontal sinus that much mucus that starts off right next to the drainage port at the bottom is swept upwards away from the drainage ostium by the cilia and around the entire sinus before it flows out of the ostium, completing a full circuit? The answer is that gravity drainage is not very important to sinus drainage. The premise behind Lents’s argument for poor design of the maxillary sinus is false.There’s another reason that ciliary movement is preferred: People don’t spend all their time standing upright, so gravity isn’t always tugging on our mucus in the same direction. In fact, we spend about a third of our lives sleeping, putting our head in positions that would not work well for spreading mucus around the sinuses if gravity were the main force. Thankfully, it isn’t, and we have cilia wisely designed to move the mucus where it needs to go.That’s not to say gravity drainage plays no role. There may be another good reason for the presence of the ostia at the top of the maxillary sinuses — one that Nathan Lents writes about, but that he misidentifies as a design flaw. Lents writes:The poor location of the drainpipes in the maxillary sinuses also helps to explain why some people with colds and sinus infections can briefly find relief by lying down. (p. 11)Maybe that’s another key to understanding the design of the maxillary sinus and the location of its ostium: its opening at the top is designed to give relief when a person is sleeping, so that he can sleep. Asking the Right QuestionsThis is all an admittedly lengthy way of saying that Lents has identified no design flaw.Does that mean all the questions raised by nasal physiology are answered? Hardly. But Egnor’s ID perspective led him to ask important questions about the design of the sinuses:Lents ironically makes a point that design scientists have been making all along: consideration of design principles leads us to a much deeper understanding of biology. Is the maxillary ostium an overflow drain? Why does drainage normally move uphill by ciliary action, rather than downhill by gravity? Why is there only one ostium in the maxillary sinus, rather than many? To what extent does the drainage of mucous depend on flux of the water component of the colloid back through the mucosa, rather than through the ostium? These are all good questions, and they are the kind of questions that lead scientists to a deeper understanding of physiology. They are, of course, design questions. These are exactly the right questions, and investigating them from a design perspective has helped us to understand why ciliary motion rather than gravity is the preferred mechanism for moving mucus around the sinuses. Photo credit (top): StewartENT, via Pixabay. Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Casey LuskinAssociate Director, Center for Science and CultureCasey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.Follow CaseyProfileWebsite Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Sharelast_img read more