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George W. Bush Presidential Center's Warrior Open: 'Heroes on the Golf Course'

May 27, 2017

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"Staff Sgt. Nick Bradley joined the Air Force in 2001. He did two tours in Iraq and a fateful one in Afghanistan providing security for generals in Kabul. On Aug. 3, 2008, his team was moving in a small convoy when a Taliban antitank mine exploded under his Land Cruiser’s gearshift.

"The blast broke every bone in his face, right arm, hand, hip, knee, shin and foot. Knitting him back together took 16 surgeries and left Nick with six screws in his face, 51 in his arm and 11 in his hand. The doctors told him he wouldn’t walk for a year or even sit up without assistance.

“'I didn’t like that answer,' he says. 'It cut me deep.' He taped a picture of his daughter next to his bed. Two days later, he was sitting up. While exploring the ward in a wheelchair, he discovered a putting green. Against doctor’s orders, he was soon standing and hitting balls one-handed. Two months after arriving at Walter Reed, Nick walked out of the hospital.

"On Tuesday he celebrated this year’s Warrior Open by fixing dinner for his wife and daughter, Khaila, who will turn 11 next month, a few days after her baby sister is due. Nick credits his family and golf for his recovery. While he brags that he 'played great' this year, the highlight was having his daughter meet the former president, who he says 'inspires me every day to get better in life.'”

The former president to which he alludes is George W. Bush, whose annual Warrior Open was played earlier this week in Dallas. "The tournament, sponsored by the George W. Bush Presidential Center since 2011, celebrates wounded veterans’ recovery and their continuing service to America," Karl Rove writes in this story, headlined, "Heroes on the Golf Course," in the Wall Street Journal. Rove documents the stories of three veterans, who along with "hundreds of others who have participated in the Warrior Open in the past, [and] are part of the Bush Institute’s Warrior Wellness Alliance. The group helps connect soldiers with effective, reliable care and attacks the stigma that accompanies war’s invisible wounds.

Golden age for English golf?

"With a touch of uneasiness, Matthew Fitzpatrick approached Jordan Spieth in the locker room at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont to ask the then-reigning champion to sign a flag for charity. In perhaps the clearest sign of how success in the majors is expected for Fitzpatrick, Spieth gladly accepted the flag, and said, 'Let me tell you something, I’ll be asking you to sign a few for me in the future, don’t you worry about that.'

"As Fitzpatrick, who at 22 is ranked No. 41 in the Official World Golf Ranking, prepares for the European Tour’s PGA Championship — the kickoff of the new Rolex Series, an eight-tournament stretch where each tournament has at least a $7 million purse — he is the latest young prospect to come out of England in what appears to be the dawn of a golden age for English golf. The championship will be played at Wentworth Club, in Virginia Water, England, where it has been staged for decades.

"Nearly a quarter of the 112 exempt players on the European Tour this season are English, as were half of last year’s 12-man European Ryder Cup squad," Adam Schupak writes in this story in the New York Times.