Saturday, June 23, 2018
News Roundup

Golfers overcoming limb loss tee up at Southern Amputee Golf Championship

NEW PORT RICHEY — Mike Carver calls himself a "lucky one," which seems odd when you see that he is missing his right arm and leg. He has only two fingers on his remaining hand, and they had to be surgically separated. He has only four toes on his left foot.

Lucky?

"I was all messed up," he said, "but I never knew anything different. I was born this way. I didn't have to endure trauma like most of these folks."

Nearby, a few dozen men and women with artificial limbs gathered Friday morning on the practice tee at the Seven Springs Golf and Country Club. Carver's buddy Jim McElhiney heard him telling his story and quickly dispatched any notion that this was anything but a happy event.

"They put that other toe on his hand," joked McElhiney, who lost his left leg 50 years ago when it got tangled in a ship's anchor. "I mean, look at that thing!"

Carver, 55, designs water and sewer systems with a civil engineering firm in Holcomb, Miss. He also can grip a driver with those mangled fingers and, in a motion similar to a tennis backhand, launch a golf ball 230 yards down the fairway. He shot 74 on Wednesday, 2 over par.

Carver is among 50 golfers from 18 states competing today and Sunday in the 57th Southern Amputee Golf Championship. They gathered Friday to instruct amputees just getting started in the game and for a scramble with Seven Springs members.

Mike Hudson, the tournament organizer, said the accomplishments of these golfers gives confidence to others suffering loss of limb. The National Amputee Golf Association, which has five regions and more than 2,500 members, receives support from the Professional Golfers Association and offers scholarships. Hudson said he hopes to direct some aid toward the family of Ireland Nugent, the 2-year-old Palm Harbor girl whose lower legs were cut off in a lawn mower accident.

Like Carver, many of the golfers teeing off today have incredible stories. Dave Bowling, 60, went to bed at his home in Owenton, Ky., on June 9, 2008, with a nagging itch above the toes on his right foot. By the time he woke up, a red ulcer the size of a quarter had formed. Bowling went to a hospital emergency room.

Eleven operations and four months later, surgeons removed his leg below the knee.

"Brown recluse spider,'' Bowling said. He dwindled from 270 to 150 pounds before recovering.

"Don't feel sorry for me," he said. "It's just one of life's challenges. I'm blessed to be alive, and I still play golf six days a week."

McElhiney, 70, competed in the shot put and discus at three Paralympics, the last in Barcelona in 1992. He won three world championships. Now living in Spring Hill, Tenn., he has worked 49 years making prosthetics for Hanger Clinics.

Vince Moran, 63, lost his left leg in combat as a Marine in 1970. He had been in Vietnam only 28 days when his platoon was ambushed near An Hoa. He tripped a wire that exploded a mortar. "I looked over and saw my foot," he recalled. He spent 10 months in the hospital for numerous injuries but later earned a degree from Middle Tennessee State University. He's been married for 41 years and raised three kids. He worked 16 years for the sheriff's office in Nashville, the last nine as finance director.

He spoke for so many of his fellow golfers Friday morning: "I never could have imagined that one day I could walk, much less play golf. You just don't give up.''

 
Comments
Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

ST. PETERSBURG — With all that's been said, tweeted, ranted and written on these pages and elsewhere about the Rays' odd, unorthodox, weird and some days downright wacky pitching plan, this might be the craziest thing yet:It's working.Like, rea...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

There are many unanswered questions and discrepancies about the story of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and the March 2016 Uber ride in Arizona that has led to his upcoming three-game suspension for violating the NFL's conduct policy.The Bucs won't ...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

A t his introductory news conference after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Bucs in 2015, Jameis Winston said to judge him on his actions moving forward."Actions speak so much louder than words, or what they may have read or what they may have hear...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Besides the continual evolution of their intriguing pitching plan, the primary topics of conversation for the Rays over the next several weeks will be trades and prospects. And not mutually exclusively.Some sooner than others, the Rays are going to c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Mitchell High player Nathan Smith taken in NHL draft by Jets

Former Mitchell High player Nathan Smith taken in NHL draft by Jets

It's rare to see an NHL draft pick with Tampa Bay ties, but the Jets used a third-round pick Saturday on center Nathan Smith, 19, who played for Mitchell High School in Trinity and most recently for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL.Smith was ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Report: Lightning to talk to John Tavares during free-agent courting period

Report: Lightning to talk to John Tavares during free-agent courting period

Despite limited salary-cap room, the Lightning is among at least five teams expected to talk with Islanders All-Star center John Tavares, who can be a free agent July 1, when the courting period begins Sunday, ESPN reported.Tavares also is expected t...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Strangers are coming together to honor two killed in Bayshore crash

TAMPA — John Reisinger has seen miracles since his niece and 21-month-old grand-niece were killed while trying to cross Bayshore Boulevard 30 days ago. Some, he says, are too painful to talk about. Others he’s still trying to make sense of, such as h...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: New confidence carries over for Willy Adames

Rays journal: New confidence carries over for Willy Adames

ST. PETERSBURG — The key to SS Willy Adames rapping two of the biggest hits in the Rays' 4-0 win Saturday actually took place the night before.An RBI single that snapped an 0-for-12 and a second hit two winnings later in Friday's game restored ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Another small, quick forward headlines Lightning’s draft picks

Another small, quick forward headlines Lightning’s draft picks

Even without a first-round pick, the Lightning wrapped up its draft with seven picks Saturday, starting with Gabriel Fortier, an undersized 18-year-old forward from Quebec in the second round."They were guys that we really wanted," Lightning director...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Yankees game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Yankees game

INF Daniel Robertson has only played two games after a short DL stint, but it seems like he has already made a half dozen great plays. Willy Adames and Jake Bauers get the attention, but Robertson has the skills to steal the show any night.It is obvi...
Updated: 2 hours ago