Spieth (T-4) hoping for a little weekend chaos

first_imgAUGUSTA, Ga. – Compared to Thursday’s high-wire act, Jordan Spieth’s second round at his eighth Masters was as ho-hum as they come. There were five birdies, only one of which (No. 17) featured a make of more than 7 feet, and a single bogey at the old arch enemy 12th hole. He was putting for birdie on 14 of 18 greens and playing from the fairway on 11 of 14 holes. If Friday was Baskin-Robbins, Spieth’s 68 would have been a big scoop of vanilla. Most players would cherish that kind of tedium, but not Spieth. Spieth says he only wants boring rounds but that’s akin to a gambler who says he only wants safe bets. The 27-year-old relishes life in the margins and memories are rarely born from the mundane. Just look at the green jacket he won and those he’s lost. The final round of his 2015 triumph was a study in his extremes – six birdies, four bogeys over a fitful final round. The next year he birdied four consecutive holes before the turn to take the lead and then imploded with a bogey-bogey-triple bogey start to his second nine. 85th Masters Tournament: Full-field scores | Full coverage On Friday it was again the 12th hole that got him. After dumping his tee shot into the front bunker, he blasted to 6 feet from a bad lie and missed the par putt before tossing his golf ball into Rae’s Creek. “If any body of water is there, I’m going to throw it in the body of water and change to a new golf ball,” Spieth said. “I don’t want to look at that golf ball anymore, so it goes into the water and then I go to another ball.” Maybe it’s the emotion of the moment. Maybe it’s a heightened sense of accomplishment that comes with a round well-fought. Whatever it is, Spieth has always been more comfortable on the razor’s edge. Jordan Spieth just trying to build off ‘steady progress’ Even on the kind of cool and breezy Friday that reminds you of why they play this tournament in April and not, say, July or August, it was the hero stuff that he wanted to talk about. The make-it-up-as-you-go stuff like at the 13th hole after his drive sailed into the pines right of the fairway. “My 3-wood out of the trees on 13, I just kind of punch cut a 3-wood that was a really nice shot, set up a really great angle to make birdie, and if it comes out the wrong way I can make 6,” he said. “You look for moments that turn momentum; that was a good one for me.” Is that, turn momentum or ignite the imagination? It’s hard to say. Just to prove the point, Spieth was asked how he plays Augusta National differently now compared to his first tour he took around the old fruit nursery in 2014. “I think I actually play maybe even a little more aggressively now than I did then,” he shrugged. There was also a curious smirk when he was asked about the upcoming weekend and a forecast that promises to bring wind and rain and even more chaos. “I’m happy that the golf course has the opportunity to play more and more difficult over the weekend,” he said. “Personally, I’m looking forward to that kind of challenge, and I think that could be an advantage to me if I’m in control of the ball.” Had the pandemic not pushed last year’s Masters to the fall, Spieth probably wouldn’t have had the same edge. At this point last year, he was still searching for answers and something close to a repeatable swing. But all that has changed. Following months of trending in the right direction he won for the first time in more than three years on the PGA Tour last week in San Antonio and he arrived at Augusta National with a familiar swagger. He’s not all the way back, but in Spieth’s twisted formula that only makes things more entertaining. “I’m not in a place where I can say I’m standing up and just striping, but I’m in a place to where I’ve got it to where I can manage it and I can manage around this golf course,” he said. With the degree of difficulty only increasing over the weekend that puts Spieth right where he wants to be – on the edge.last_img read more

Scientists find new gene markers for cancer risk

first_imgNEW YORK  | A huge international effort involving more than 100 institutions and genetic tests on 200,000 people has uncovered dozens of signposts in DNA that can help reveal further a person’s risk for breast, ovarian or prostate cancer, scientists reported Wednesday.Vicki Gilbert sits on stone steps in Wiltshire, England in this undated photo made available by the family on Tuesday, March 26, 2013. In 2010, Gilbert was diagnosed with breast cancer and then found she carries the mutated BRCA1 gene which may make her pre-disposed to ovarian cancer. Gilbert decided to have ovaries removed to prevent the potential onset of further cancer, and her breast cancer is in remission. A huge international effort involving more than 100 institutions and genetic tests on 200,000 people has uncovered dozens of signposts in DNA that can help reveal further a person’s risk for breast, ovarian or prostate cancer, scientists reported Wednesday, March 27, 2013. It’s the latest mega-collaboration to learn more about the intricate mechanisms that lead to cancer. (AP Photo)It’s the latest mega-collaboration to learn more about the intricate mechanisms that lead to cancer. And while the headway seems significant in many ways, the potential payoff for ordinary people is mostly this: Someday there may be genetic tests that help identify women with the most to gain from mammograms, and men who could benefit most from PSA tests and prostate biopsies.And perhaps farther in the future these genetic clues might lead to new treatments.“This adds another piece to the puzzle,” said Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research U.K., the charity which funded much of the research.One analysis suggests that among men whose family history gives them roughly a 20 percent lifetime risk for prostate cancer, such genetic markers could identify those whose real risk is 60 percent.The markers also could make a difference for women with BRCA gene mutations, which puts them at high risk for breast cancer. Researchers may be able to separate those whose lifetime risk exceeds 80 percent from women whose risk is about 20 to 50 percent. One doctor said that might mean some women would choose to monitor for cancer rather than taking the drastic step of having healthy breasts removed.Scientists have found risk markers for the three diseases before, but the new trove doubles the known list, said one author, Douglas Easton of Cambridge University. The discoveries also reveal clues about the biological underpinnings of these cancers, which may pay off someday in better therapies, he said.Experts not connected with the work said it was encouraging but that more research is needed to see how useful it would be for guiding patient care. One suggested that using a gene test along with PSA testing and other factors might help determine which men have enough risk of a life-threatening prostate cancer that they should get a biopsy. Many prostate cancers found early are slow-growing and won’t be fatal, but there is no way to differentiate and many men have surgery they may not need.Easton said the prospects for a genetic test are greater for prostate and breast cancer than ovarian cancer.Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women worldwide, with more than 1 million new cases a year. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after lung cancer, with about 900,000 new cases every year. Ovarian cancer accounts for about 4 percent of all cancers diagnosed in women, causing about 225,000 cases worldwide.The new results were released in 13 reports in Nature Genetics, PLOS Genetics and other journals. They come from a collaboration involving more than 130 institutions in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. The research was mainly paid for by Cancer Research U.K., the European Union and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.Scientists used scans of DNA from more than 200,000 people to seek the markers, tiny variations in the 3 billion “letters” of the DNA code that are associated with disease risk.The scientists found 49 new risk markers for breast cancer plus a couple of others that modify breast cancer risk from rare mutated genes, 26 for prostate cancer and eight for ovarian cancer. Individually, each marker has only a slight impact on risk estimation, too small to be useful on its own, Easton said. They would be combined and added to previously known markers to help reveal a person’s risk, he said.A genetic test could be useful in identifying people who should get mammography or PSA testing, said Hilary Burton, director of the PHG Foundation, a genomics think-tank in Cambridge, England. A mathematical analysis done by her group found that under certain assumptions, a gene test using all known markers could reduce the number of mammograms and PSA tests by around 20 percent, with only a small cost in cancer cases missed.Among the new findings:— For breast cancer, researchers calculated that by using all known markers, including the new ones, they could identify 5 percent of the female population with twice the average risk of disease, and 1 percent with a three-fold risk. The average lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is about 12 percent in developed countries. It’s lower in the developing world where other diseases are a bigger problem.— For prostate cancer, using all the known markers could identify 1 percent of men with nearly five times the average risk, the researchers computed. In developed countries, a man’s average lifetime risk for the disease is about 14 to 16 percent, lower in developing nations.—Markers can also make a difference in estimates of breast cancer risk for women with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. Such women are rare, but their lifetime risk can run as high as 85 percent. Researchers said that with the new biomarkers, it might be possible to identify the small group of these women with a risk of 28 percent or less.For patients like Vicki Gilbert of England, who carries a variation of the BRCA1 gene, having such details about her cancer risk would have made decision-making easier.Gilbert, 50, found out about her genetic risk after being diagnosed with the disease in 2009. Though doctors said the gene wouldn’t change the kind of chemotherapy she got, they suggested removing her ovaries to avoid ovarian cancer, which is also made more likely by a mutated BRCA1.“They didn’t want to express a definite opinion on whether I should have my ovaries removed so I had to weigh up my options for myself,” said Gilbert, a veterinary receptionist in Wiltshire. “…I decided to have my ovaries removed because that takes away the fear it could happen. It certainly would have been nice to have more information to know that was the right choice.”Gilbert said knowing more about the genetic risks of cancer should be reassuring for most patients. “There are so many decisions made for you when you go through cancer treatment that being able to decide something yourself is very important,” she said.Dr. Charis Eng, chair of the Genomic Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, who didn’t participate in the new work, called the breast cancer research exciting but not ready for routine use.Most women who carry a BRCA gene choose intensive surveillance with both mammograms and MRI and some choose to have their breasts removed to prevent the disease, she said. Even the lower risk described by the new research is worrisomely high, and might not persuade a woman to avoid such precautions completely, Eng said.___AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng contributed to this report from London.last_img read more