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Tom Lehman reveals 1995 cancer battle

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Sam Weinman of Golf Digest took a phone call from Tom Lehman in which the 1996 Champion Golfer of the Year revealed something shocking.

The year prior to hoisting the Claret Jug, a year in which Lehman played 18 events on the PGA Tour and won at Colonial, he was battling colon cancer. Indeed, Colonial was Lehman’s second start after a month-long layoff following surgery to remove cancerous polyps.

All of this was heretofore unbeknownst to pretty much everyone.

“It really didn’t seem to me it was worth discussing,” the five-time PGA Tour winner told Weinman. “I never had to deal with Stage 4 cancer or go through chemo or any of those awful things,” Lehman said. “Mine was early Stage 1 cancer, so why should I make a big deal out of it?”

Certainly, there are those for whom the disease’s ravages are far greater, yes, but still, to say nothing? That speaks to an incredible strength of character: a hard-nosed avoidance of any appearance of looking for sympathy or excuse making, as well as plenty of perspective as to where he disease fit in the pantheon of wretched afflictions.

So, why is Lehman saying something now? Out of a desire to help others, it turns out.

This week’s PGA Tour Champions event is the Cologuard Classic this week. Cologuard is an at-home colon cancer screening product. It was developed by the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. David Ahlquist, Lehman’s doctor during his cancer treatment.

Beyond this: Lehman knows his story is significant for a much broader swath of the male population than we’d usually label as “at risk of colon cancer.” Lehman was only 36 in the spring on 1995 when he was diagnosed, and it was mostly coincidence that revealed the disease.

Leading up to the 1995, Masters, Lehman was dealing with a full plate of the aches and pain that afflict anyone who makes thousands of golf swings year after year. Usually pill avoidant, Lehman popped Advil three days in a row, which led to internal bleeding.

All of this led ultimately to Lehman landing at the Mayo clinic and the malignant polyp discovery. So, again, Lehman’s story is relevant well beyond the gray-haired set. .

“For me the scary part is when you think about the percentages. When they catch the cancer in an early stage, like I had it, the survival rate is 98 percent. When it gets beyond the colon, it goes down to something like 2 percent. What if I didn’t take that Advil that led to the bleeding? At the time I was 36, and I never would have gone to get a colonoscopy. It would have just grown and grown and grown.”

Indeed. Physicals. Annual trips to the dentist. Prostate exams. Colonoscopies. These are all torturous, thoroughly unpleasant things. Yet they are all massively better than finding out you’re terminally ill with something that was treatable if caught sooner.

We don’t want to lose a GolfWRX Member to something that could have been prevented, so listen to Tom Lehman and don’t skimp on the regimen of screenings.

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  1. Brett Weir

    Mar 2, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I’m so glad Lehman revealed this to us. I thought colon cancer would happen to people in their 40’s and 50s. Boy was I mistaken.

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19th Hole

GolfWRX Classifieds Spotlight (06/05/20) – Scotty Cameron, TaylorMade Tour, GC Quad

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member jadedennill – Scotty Cameron CX-01

What a great price for a limited edition putter. This Scotty Cameron CX-01 is only 1 of 500 and offers a very unique look in a higher MOI blade design.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Scotty CSX-01

Member nc2lane – Foresight GC Quad

This ad feels like the classic episode of “The Simpsons,” where the family travels to a quiet east coast beach town and Lisa reinvents herself for the summer. To reinvent her look she takes her mom shopping for clothes and while off-camera you here “Mom come quick BRING MONEY!”

Well, you better bring the money, because state-of-the-art launch monitors don’t come cheap, but you certainly get what you pay for with the GC Quad from Foresight.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: GC Quad Launch Monitor

Member TheGriftKings – Unicorn 2015 8.5 M2 Driver

This is still one of the best and most sought after TaylorMade tour issue drivers of all time. This head is in amazing shape—basically new and at 8.5 degrees of loft, it’s even rarer.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TaylorMade M2 Driver

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds 

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19th Hole

Check out Tiger Woods’ incredible handicap index history from his entire career

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Ever wondered what Tiger Woods’ handicap index has been throughout his career? Well, one statistician, Lou Stagner of Decade Golf, did some serious number crunching and the results are fascinating. 

From 1996 right through to today, Stagner used course rating and slope for each course in his research and calculated a differential for each round to find out what Tiger’s index would have been each year of his pro career.

You can see the impressive results in the graph below.

@loustagner

The results show that Woods was at his very best handicap wise in 2008 when he bossed a +9.4 index, his average index was +6.7 throughout his career, his current index is 6.5, and as Stagner noted, he was +7 or better for 35% of his handicap revisions.

It’s also worth noting that the results are not adjusted to tournament conditions. Not bad, eh?

 

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19th Hole

Henrik Stenson: Fan-less Ryder Cup is better than nothing

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@pgatour

On Thursday, ‘Henrik Stenson Almost An Hour’ podcast presented by Callaway Golf aired for the first time, with the Swede sharing his thoughts on his playing schedule going forward, the tour’s return as well as a potential spectator-less Ryder Cup.

On the new bi-weekly podcast, Stenson described the potential of a Ryder Cup with no fans as being “very blunt”, but did stress that even a spectator-less Ryder Cup is better than no Ryder Cup at all.

“For the atmosphere and for the feeling, for us as players that would be, very blunt, it would be something that you can’t really imagine at this point.

Then looking at the bigger picture, if that’s the only way that the Ryder Cup can go ahead, and if it’s not an option to play it next year with crowds, with fans, then I would prefer to play a Ryder Cup than to not play a Ryder Cup.”

Stenson revealed he wouldn’t be returning to the U.S. until mid-July, and he’s expecting the first couple of week’s back to be “messy” as the players and officials adjust to the new conditions.

“I’ll sit out a few weeks and see how everything gets going. I think it might be a little bit more messy the first couple of weeks as well before everyone finds their bearings with testing and everything.

So I’ll watch it from the couch the first couple of weeks and most likely then with the current restrictions I will travel over in mid-July to Lake Nona. I’ll have a couple of weeks of practice and then I’ll tee it up at the WGC FedEx tournament in Memphis.”

Once the 44-year-old does get Stateside again, you can expect to see him often as he plans to play “every week up until Christmas.”

“And once I get over and start playing, I can pretty much play every week up until Christmas. Because (there’s) going to be lots of golf tournaments, and it’s not going to be a shortage. So I’m just kind of tweaking my return a little bit and will probably play a bit more in the fall.”

‘Henrik Stenson Almost An Hour’ podcast presented by Callaway Golf will air every other Thursday here.

 

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