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By Matt McCoy
Last month at the Memorial Tournament's "Legends Luncheon" Jack Nicklaus spoke with admiration about the play of 14-year old Guan Tianlang.
"He's a kid. It's just amazing to me," Nicklaus said when discussing Guan's 58th place finish at the Masters. At the time Nicklaus was asked if he would like to see the Asian Ametuer champion play at the Memorial. "I'd love to have him come here and play, but I'd rather see him finish up eighth grade too."
Well Nicklaus wish was granted...at least the first part. Guan has been granted a sponsor's exemption by the Memorial Tournament's Captain's Club. The teenage star from China will be part of the field of 120 that tees it up at the 38th Memorial one week from Thursday.
"It's a combination of a number of different things that the exemption committee looks at," Memorial Tournament Director Dan Sullivan told WTVN. "They hope with each allowance of an exemption they deliver a player who can come into the field and make a difference. Tianlang has obviously shown that he can compete."
Guan not only made the cut at the Masters, but also at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans. He missed the cut last weekend at the Byron Nelson.
"It's just amazing that he would be able to compete at this level and be somewhat consistant with it," Sullivan said. "He handles himself very well, he's a mature 14-year old. It's kind of a breath of fresh air within the game to see a young kid be able to play at the level he's playing."
To listen to Sullivan discuss Guan's Memorial exemption click HERE:
Can't Beet It
The Indians latest hero, catcher Yan Gomes, found some extra strength Monday when he launched two home runs, including the game winning three-run blast in a 10-8, 10 inning victory over Seattle.
So what gave Gomes the extra muscle to have such a big day? How about beet juice.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the unusual drink was part of Gomes pregame diet.
"I drank a bottle of beet juice," Gomes told reporters when asked what he'd eaten before the game. "I guess I'll keep drinking that."
Maybe the entire Indians team has been drinking beet juice lately. The Tribe was 8-13 after losing game one of a double-header to Kansas City on April 28. They're 18-4 since then and have gone from last place to first, leading Detroit by 2 1/2 games in the American League Central entering a two-game home series with the Tigers.
By Matt McCoy
A group photo by The Christian Post of the Step Forward for Orphans March
I'm back to work after a powerful and moving experience at the Step Forward for Orphans March in Washington D.C. on Friday...a trip I had no idea I would make, until April 29.
That was the night the documentary Stuck came through Columbus as part of its nationwide tour. The movie exposed the broken system of international adoption and the affect it's having on families trying to adopt and on orphaned children who are living their young lives in institutions, rather than in families.
As I've blogged recently, it's a subject that hit home for my wife and I because our family was formed through international adoption. Our two children were both born in Guatemala, a country that closed adoptions to other nations on January 1, 2008.
Unfortnately, hundreds of families, who were in the process of adopting at that time, have been wrapped up in the red tape of two buereacracies since then. One of the more moving experiences at the March for me came when a woman, who started the adoption process for her daughter in 2006, gave my 10-year old daughter a hug and said "you're the same age as my daughter." In 2006, her daughter was three...Seven years later, she's still waiting to come home. I'd say that's a broken system.
Fox News commentator Laura Ingrham speaks following the March
Following the March, Fox TV news commentator Laura Ingraham, who has a daughter who was born in Guatemala and a son from Russia, spoke with emotion about the need to fix the system. Ingraham wore purple because as she said, 'this isn't a red state or blue state issue.' Ingrahm promised that fixing the system and helping families bring their children home will be her highest priority.
Me, with March organizer & Both Ends Burning founder Craig Juntunen
A week ago, WTVN's Joel Riley had Craig Juntunen on as a guest. Craig is the founder of Both Ends Burning, a non-profit organization with the goal of finding a solution to the failing international adoption system. He is also the excutive producer of "Stuck." It was an honor to meet him in Washington and to hear his passion for the issue. As Craig said, the March was not an end...just a beginning.
There is not only a need to bring the children 'stuck' in the middle adoptions home, but also to improve the system going forward. The number of children being adopted internationally to the United States is down 60 percent in the last six years and those numbers are getting worse. Those children are not being adopted in their own countries so consequently, the number of kids growing up in orphanages and without families is increasing. We can do better.
My wife brought my daughter with her to meet with the staffs of Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to ask for their support of new "Children and Families First" legislation, designed to improve the international adoption system.
If you are interested in helping, you can sign this petition, urging our lawmakers to step up to the plate and show they care.
I've received serveral e-mails and social media messages of support. I thank you for that and for allowing me to share this issue with you.
A look at our path to Capitol Hill Friday
By Matt McCoy
A big thanks to Matt Douglass for filling in on WTVN Thursday and Friday while I travel with my family for the Step Forward For Orphans March in Washington DC on May 17. After seeing the documentary "Stuck" when it came through Columbus April 29, my wife and I felt compelled to go. As I blogged earlier, the film details the broken and decaying system of international adoption, a subject close to me because my daughter and son were born in Guatemala and were adopted in 2003 and 2005 respectively.
If I could capsulize who we're marching for, it's for children and families like the two featured in this news story from Austin Texas.
Unfortunately there are thousands of families across the country in similar situations. Additionally, with the rate of international adoptions sharply declining because of bureaucratic obstacles, millions of children worldwide are growing up in orphanages, rather than in families.
Since talking on the air with Joel Riley about my trip, I have received e-mails, phone calls and social media messages of support. I thank you for that. It means a lot. If you would like to help, please sign this petition and tell our lawmakers to step to the plate and help finish these 'stuck' adoptions and improve the international system going forward.
Thank you again for your support and I'll talk to you on Monday.
By Matt McCoy
Five time Memorial Tournament winner and defending champion Tiger Woods made it official Tuesday. He'll play at the 38th Memorial which tees off May 30.
"Not surprised (by the news) but really great to get that confirmation from the tour," Memorial Tournament excutive director Dan Sullivan said. "He's a five-time winner, he loves this golf course and the community really rallies around the fact that he plays such good golf here."
Woods comes in as the world's number one ranked player, with four tour victories already this year including the Tournament Players Championship last weekend.
"People keep on asking if he's back," Sullivan said. "I'd say he's back with a little bit of an attitude."
In addition to Woods committment, the Memorial announced that Luke Donald and Lee Westwood would also be part of this year's field. Players like Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson and Rory McIlroy have already committed.
Sullivan said he is still waiting to hear from Phil Mickelson but believes he too will be part of this year's event.
"We think over the next two weeks we'll receive a commitment from him," Sullivan said. "That would just round it out. We'll have the most prominent names in the game playing right here."
Sullivan is unsure whether Sergio Garcia will be among those names. Garcia did not shy away from his dislike of Woods during the TPC last weekend saying 'he's not the nicest guy on tour.' The Spaniard was in contention last weekend until dumping consecutive shots in the water on 17.
"Sergio hasn't played (The Memorial) the last three or four years," Sullivan said. "He has not declined but he hasn't committed either....It will be interesting if he does."
To listen to Sullivan talk about Tiger Woods and the upcoming Memorial click HERE:
Tiger the Obvious Favorite
Tiger Woods impressive start to 2013, coupled with his dominance at Muirfield will make him the heavy favorite for this year's tournament.
"He's the favorite this year in everything he plays in," 610 WTVN golf analyst Ray Hustek said. "He loves the golf course at Muirfield Villiage and has obviously had a lot of success with a lot of wins here. Tiger's a fan favorite and gets good T.V. ratings so (Woods commitment) is good for everybody."
If Woods is not the winner when the final putt drops June 3, who will be? Who are the likely candidates to shake Jack Nicklaus' hand this year?
"The typical winner of the Memorial Tournament is a guy who has a major championship kind of golf game," Hustek said. "You look at the way Zach Johnson is playing, Brandt Snedeker, Jim Furyk, the guys that are smart control players (have the best chance)...It's not necessarily the bombers."
To listen to Ray Hustek talk about Tiger Woods and the Memorial Field click HERE:
What's Up With Those Pants?
The NBA playoff postgame interviews have become fashion shows the last few years. It seems as though the stars of the league are into one-upping each other. Last year it was the glasses with no lenses...This year, it's the unique dress suits the players are wearing.
Miami's Dwyane Wade took it to a new level Monday night when he showed up in a suit that featured pants that were about 4 sizes too small. In my day, they were called flood pants---or--if worn by a woman, capri pants.
Apparently, I'm out of touch because D-Wade has a fashion designer who must think this is the new trend...or maybe he was paying homage to Mary Tyler Moore.