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WGC: Fast, furious golf schedule leaves little time for practice, rest

NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — It only took one round of golf at the British Open for Tiger Woods to dash the hopes of fans hoping to see him this week at the FedEx-St. Jude World Golf Championships this week.

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By Lee Eric Smith

It only took one round of golf at the British Open for Tiger Woods to dash the hopes of fans hoping to see him this week at the FedEx-St. Jude World Golf Championships this week.

“It’s more frustrating than anything else because this is a major championship and I love playing in these events,” Woods said after finishing two rounds at 6-over 148 with no birdies on the par 5s for the week. “And unfortunately, I’ve only had a chance to win one of them and was able to do it. But the other three, I didn’t do very well.”

Given his considerable health issues – multiple back and knee surgeries, a 2017 bout with addiction to prescription painkillers – it might have been a pipe dream for fans to expect Woods to play two major events in consecutive weeks in any case.

“I just want some time off. Just to get away from it,” Woods said after bowing out at the British Open. “There’s been a lot of travel, a lot of time in the air, a lot of moving around, different hotels . . . I just want to go home.”

But even younger golfers are having to adjust to how fast the major golf tournaments are coming around. Woods’ won The Masters in April. The PGA Championship was in May. The U.S. Open was in June, and July brings two majors: The British Open last week and this week’s WGC at TPC Southwind here in Memphis.

“I think everyone’s been trying to figure out the schedule this year, for sure,” said Justin Rose said in his pre-WGC remarks. “For me now, it’s about – this is I would say my last chance to position myself before the Playoffs really get underway.”

“It seems yesterday we were playing in Augusta and all of a sudden the four majors are gone,” said Italian golfer Francesco Molinari, who is skipping the World Golf Championships event this week. “So I think it’s something that hopefully next year we will get more used to it. But this year it’s been a big change.”

Molinari wasn’t alone in his thinking.

“The schedule has been tough this year,” Tommy Fleetwood said. “If you’re not playing great, you actually don’t have time this year to develop your game because you don’t have that time to take periods off, really. You’re constantly playing and you always have to turn up and perform with the way that it goes.”

Rory McIlroy and Jason Day played miserably at the The British Open, failing to make the cut. But does the extra rest give them an advantage for the WGC?

“They’re more rested than I am or than others are, but I’m sure they also wish that they had played well and they felt better about their game,” said Justin Thomas. “For me, I feel like I’ve had success in the past of playing weeks in a row. That’s kind of why I’m hoping to let that momentum go for another about five weeks or so and see if we can keep it rolling.”

First timers, sort of

Many of the golfers have played in the FedEx-St. Jude Invitational. And many have also played the WGC Championship. But this is the first year that the WGC has been played in Memphis, so it will be a new experience for everyone.

“I’ve always wanted to play this golf course and I’ve always wanted to play this tournament,” Thomas said. “Just being the week before the U.S. Open, the timing didn’t make sense and it didn’t work out. So unfortunately we have to miss a lot of tournaments because of scheduling.”

Wolfe played 18 holes at TPC Southwind on Tuesday, and gained an appreciation for the challenges it will bring.

“This is the first time I saw the course and I can see why it’s a tough golf course,” Wolfe said. “It’s narrow fairways, greens are small and fast, and if this place firms up, I could definitely see it being one of the hardest on Tour. I’m really excited to see where my game holds up against these guys.”

Brooks Koepka is no stranger to TPC Southwind, having played 20 rounds on the course, including last year’s FedEx-St. Jude Invitational.

“I love this place. This place has always been good to me. I feel like I play it really well,” Koepka said. “I enjoy the golf course, I enjoy Memphis. It’s a fun place to come back year after year, so I’ve enjoyed it. This golf course, obviously with a little bit of rain, it’s a little bit softer than it has been in years past, but the golf course is in probably the best shape I’ve seen it the last four years.”

‘Cue before Tee?

You knew this was coming. Anytime a major event brings celebrities to Memphis, media has to ask them about barbecue. It may be mandatory. But the golfers took the questions in stride.

“I’m excited to go get some barbecue at some point,” Thomas said. “It’s similar to Alabama, we had some pretty good barbecue places in Tuscaloosa. I’ll try to check at least a barbecue spot or two out. I know it’s going to be an enjoyable week.”

Justin Rose said he’s looking forward to sampling the Bluff City’s food and culture.

“I’ve never been here before, so I just feel like there’s a really nice vibe out there,” Rose said. “I’m looking forward to experiencing all that Memphis has to offer. Sorry to kind of hedge the question, but yeah, give me a couple days.”

But no ‘cue for Koepka.

“I always bring a chef this week,” he said. “Barbecue isn’t really on my diet unfortunately. We stick to the house.”

Associated Press golf writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.

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This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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COMMENTARY: #ACCESS901 — ‘Alexa, homeschool my kids!’

THE NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — “I actually moved our son’s desk from his room into my workspace to help him understand, WE ARE STILL LEARNING AND WORKING. Our new norm is that we do these things TOGETHER. I have a bell … and even made a hall pass for him to do things like go to the rest room or get a drink of water. According to him, I am doing way too much!”

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(Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

By Joy Doss, The New Tri-State Defender

Shelter-in-place mandates have -- for now -- made homeschooling part of the norm and some parents and guardians are having to dig deep.

Shelter-in-place mandates have — for now — made homeschooling part of the norm and some parents and guardians are having to dig deep.

Millions of parents have been drop-kicked into a homeschooling situation. Like me, some already work from home. Others had to make a quick-step. Distressingly, some are furloughed and not working at all.

TSD #Access901 columnist Joy Doss. (Photo: Demarcus Bowser)

TSD #Access901 columnist Joy Doss. (Photo: Demarcus Bowser)

Regardless, it makes for fraught times as we try to figure out their stuff and our stuff at the same time. That task is piled atop pushing through cabin fever, slogging through a swamp of uncertainty and conflicting information and managing the anxiety of living in what feels like a bizarre dystopian novel.

To remain semi-sane, I meditate, exercise regularly, pray like crazy and selectively tune out the news.

All that to say, ALEXA, HOMESCHOOL MY KIDS!

Cause we ain’t ready! And we don’t know nothin’ bout this new math of theirs!


For me, it’s mostly a space invasion. My sixth-grader mostly is like a self-cleaning oven – very independent and wants no help. But she gone get this supervision. We review assignments daily. Her school was online within days, operating via Google Meet and Google Classroom,  which means her teachers are still doing the teaching and I am not responsible for creating a makeshift curriculum.

She has a designated space for her Google Meets (lighting is everything of course!) and still holes up in her dungeon/bedroom for homework. We are fortunate to have both a laptop for her and a tablet. Outside of Google Meets and assignment deadlines, she is on a loose schedule. My main rule is homework and classwork finished by 5 p.m.! I also keep her weekly tutor appointment, now via FaceTime.

I checked in with some mommy friends to see what’s up with them.

Cherhonda Mason-Ayers, a married mom with a fifth-grade student in Shelby County Schools, has been teaching for 17 years. She has a different approach:

“I actually moved our son’s desk from his room into my workspace to help him understand, WE ARE STILL LEARNING AND WORKING. Our new norm is that we do these things TOGETHER. I have a bell … and even made a hall pass for him to do things like go to the restroom or get a drink of water. According to him, I am doing way too much!”

She gauges good stopping points between their respective Zoom meetings, laughing at the thought of such.

Her son’s teachers provide assignments on Sunday evenings and use Zoom to have face-to-face meetings and answer questions about assignments.

Her advice for keeping it together? “PRAYER! Once we move beyond this pandemic, I hope people will realize how important human connection is!”


‘Psalms 91 is my bestie right about now’

The stay-at-home mandates have forced Ann Perry Wallace and her three children – ages 10, almost 16 and 17 – to slow their normally fast-paced family life down.

An actress, writer and program manager at Playback Memphis, Ann often works at home, so creating and converting separate corners for everyone was imperative. Coincidentally, they just moved into a larger home in midtown.

“I do make them get up, wash up, get on decent clothes and get their breakfast before starting so they can feel like they’re doing more than just playing around,” she said. “I have carved out a makeshift office in my bedroom. I get up, pray, meditate, shower, get dressed, get coffee and breakfast, make up the bed.”

The bed made signals the start of the workday.

Her husband, Darius, shares the kiddo responsibilities. The Wallace kids mostly manage without their parents, “attending” school through distance learning models. They prepare their own breakfast and lunch and have dinner as a family.

Periodically throughout the day, the Wallaces stop so Darius can lead the family in Tai Chi practice.

“This relaxes and energizes us,” Ann says.

Like Cherhonda, Ann relies on prayer. “I cannot control what happens so I have to pray. Psalms 91 is my bestie right about now.”

My friend Kelly Hodrick lives in Union, NJ, where she is mom to Carter, who is in pre-K, and third-grader Malcolm. At 8 a.m., she’s attempting to log into work, fix breakfast and open home school for the day.

She normally works from home once a week; having the kiddos adds a twist. The family is working to create a schedule close to what is normal for the kids, who take breaks throughout the day and must complete their assignments by 4:30 p.m.

“Third grade is fully up and running via Google Classroom. Assignments…posted daily…are a combination of both class ‘lessons,’ homework, as well as projects and quizzes. For Pre-K, the daycare has recently started daily 30-minute classes via Zoom for the kids to reconnect and share and also reinforce learning, including sight word development, reading, storytelling, show and tell, etc.”

Her older son’s school has provided helpful online resources that have been a part of the regular curriculum.

Her recommendations for sanity?

“Prayer, daily scriptures (Biblestudytools.com), DJ D-NICE Club Quarantine, Drizly liquor delivery, daily kee-keeing with my girls and my line sisters.”

Be encouraged all. And remember – We’re Memphis Strong!

(Resources: Free curriculum, www.alicefayeduncan.com; WKNO and Bounce for all ages school on TV; work exercises for all ages, www.IXL.com. If your child’s school doesn’t provide access, the monthly membership is about $20 per child ($4 for each additional child) for core classes.)

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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Mother-son nonprofit looking to drive home Easter’s spirit

THE NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — The five-year old co-powering this deed is Carl Grandberry V. He and his partner-mother Shauna Jones-Grandberry have arranged to be on the old K-Mart parking lot on Austin Peay at noon Saturday morning (April 10) for a socially-distanced, drive-thru give away of Easter baskets.

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Five-year-old Carl Grandberry V is at home with the Easter baskets set for special delivery. (Photo: Shauna Jones-Grandberry)

By Karanja A. Ajanaku, The New Tri-State Defender

Child’s Dream International’s 2nd annual “Easter Basket Giveaway” is going forward – far from initially planned – with the goal of giving away 100 Easter baskets to “less fortunate children in our community.”

The five-year old co-powering this deed is Carl Grandberry V. He and his partner-mother Shauna Jones-Grandberry have arranged to be on the old K-Mart parking lot on Austin Peay at noon Saturday morning (April 10) for a socially-distanced, drive-thru give away of Easter baskets.

Shauna Jones-Grandberry. (Screen capture)

Shauna Jones-Grandberry. (Screen capture)

Last year, the Child’s Dream nonprofit gave away 45 baskets on the campus of LeMoyne-Owen College. The 2020 growth plan targeted 100. The evening before distribution, baskets totaled 130 as donations still were being accepted. The growth plan hadn’t accounted for the level of generosity stirred during a pandemic.

Adjusting to mitigation measures in place to counter the spread of the coronavirus, Jones-Grandberry, Carl and Child’s Dream volunteers will dispense baskets and more via a drive-through operation. Some in need have called ahead. No reservations were required.

While the COVID-19 public health emergency has affected the giveaway in multiple ways, the idea’s roots are pre-pandemic and start with Carl, a Downtown Elementary School student.

“Well, this is something that he came up with on his own at age four,” Jones-Grandberry said. “Where it came from, I don’t know. It’s just something that he just up and said one day when he was outside playing.”

The “this” and “it” amounts to collecting toys and such “not for himself, but for less fortunate children in Memphis.” It has involved dipping into his allowance, money from family and friends and, increasingly, donations. From it has come events such as Christmas toy drives and the template Easter basket giveaway.

Jones-Grandberry manages the supply line, posting event solicitations online and strategically using donations to support the online workforce “like the young lady who was selling baskets. I didn’t go to your local Walmart or Kmart. They already have money. So what we did was supported the people who were trying to make extra money.”

Still, there is the coronavirus.

“People’s not even thinking about Easter and we’re still focused on it,” said Jones Grandberry. “We’re so focused on trying to make these children smile, knowing that they’re going to get an Easter basket.”

With resolve, she added, “I’m going to make a way. It’s going to happen…because this is something my son wants to do. … There’s people out there that are less fortunate and you have to be nice to them. Like I said, my son don’t like to see other kids sad. He wants them to have everything he has….(He’s) just learning how to share and give.”

Does he know about the virus?

“Yeah, he knows. Well, we talk about that every day,” she said. “We got all this different medicines and I’ve been to the grocery store. He’s sanitizing his hands more and washing his hands more and taking precautions on different things. He asks…and then he looks at the news. He’s five years old, acting like he’s 50.”

It’s not all business for five-year-old Carl. Shelter-in-place restrictions mean home is school. “We do (school) work every day. …It’s OK, because not only do we do papers ourselves that the teacher had sent home with him, he gets on ABCMouse(.com, a subscription-based digital education program) and i-Ready or something. I have to ask him. He knows more about it than I do. We just set aside time every day”

The physical activity Carl used to do in the gym, he now does at home, push-ups included.

“The only thing he’s doing differently than he did in school, in school they don’t watch TV. He gets to watch TV,” Jones-Grandberry said.

And, with Easter approaching, he’s gotten to amplify on his story to news media, including a telephone exchange with TSDMemphis.com.

Carl Grandberry V (Courtesy photo)

Carl Grandberry V (Courtesy photo)

TSD: Hey, Carl, how are you doing?

Carl: Good.

TSD: Do you know what a newspaper is?

Carl: Hello? I can’t hear you!

TSD: I said, do you know what a newspaper is?

Carl: Yes.

TSD: Well, I run a newspaper and I want to put your story in it. How about that?

Carl: OK.

 TSD: You’re OK with that?

Carl: Yes.

TSD: Now, I understand you’re going to be helping children again for Easter. Is that right?

Carl: Yes.

TSD: OK. Well, why are you doing it?

Carl: Because I want kids to be happy and excited.

TSD: Yeah! So now, are you washing your hands?

Carl: Yes.

TSD: Yes! A lot, right?

Carl: Yes.

Carl Grandberry V has a book set to come out later this month.

It’s called “The Smile Collector.”

For more information: visit https://bit.ly/3aThyXT, and A Child’s Dream International on Facebook. Click here to pre-order “The Smile Collector.”)

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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How COVID-19 is Disrupting My Wedding Planning

NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — On March 20, exactly eight months until our destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, my fiancé, Lorenzo Herman and I received a notification on our phones that the United States restricted nonessential travel to Mexico.

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Brianna A. Smith and Lorenzo Herman (fall 2019) (Photo: Ariel Cobbert)

By Brianna A. Smith, The New Tri-State Defender

My advice for navigating wedding planning during this unprecedented COVID-19 situation is to take a pause, don’t make any hasty decisions, and really think about what you value most for your wedding.

On March 20, exactly eight months until our destination wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, my fiancé, Lorenzo Herman and I received a notification on our phones that the United States restricted nonessential travel to Mexico.

I was shaken, stunned, flabbergasted.

COVID-19 is affecting our wedding a tad bit differently than the other couples I wrote about.

Luckily, in January I said ‘yes to the dress’ and we had our site visit to Mexico in February.

However, finding bridesmaids gowns and accessories have become a hassle because many retailers in the United States import dresses from China, where the outbreak is said to have started and where many factories have been forced to close.

As a result, bridal stores have been struggling to source garments since the pandemic picked up and the safer-at-home order means that bridal stores, such as David’s Bridal have been ordered to close.

For a bride, groom or wedding planner, the challenge is every day that passes is a day closer to the special day. So, for people to have to sit tight or even try to plan for a pivot in the face of so much uncertainty is especially tricky.

Our wedding venue has temporarily closed, causing communication to be delayed.

“The shutdown of the venue is not ideal, but I understand the measure,” said Herman. “It puts me more at ease knowing that it has been shut down and it gives them time to clean, disinfect and change anything that needs to be changed prior to our wedding day.”

As a result of the coronavirus some of ours friends have been laid off from their jobs and now lack the financial resources to afford to attend our wedding. Many have had to renege.

Herman said, “Because some of our guests have been financially impacted it makes accounting for them difficult, the longer there is a safer-at-home order and things remain closed the longer our guests may not have the funds to afford to be in attendance by November.”

The most important factor right now is taking care of ourselves, our well-being and not putting our loved ones at risk.

We are staying calm and keeping faith that our big day will still happen as planned. There are too many uncertainties right now, and everyone is learning how to handle the situation to the best of their abilities.

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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