ASU golfer earns prestigious Jack Nicklaus Award

July 29, 2016

Recent Arizona State University graduate and member of the Sun Devil golf team Jon Rahm won the prestigious Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award, becoming the second ASU student to receive the honor.

The award, presented by Barbasol, recognizes top players at the Division I, II and III levels of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the National Junior College Athletic Association. Rahm is among only four other players from across the country to be recognized. ASU alumnus Phil Mickelson, who has won more than 40 events on the Professional Golfers' Association Tour, previously received the award three times from 1990 to 1992. ASU alumnus Jon Rahm ASU alumnus and former member of the Sun Devil golf team Jon Rahm at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open GOLD OUT. Download Full Image

In 2012, Rahm arrived in the United States from Barrika, Spain. Although he faced a language barrier and unfamiliar surroundings on campus, Rahm embraced the challenges and went on to become one of the team’s most successful players while pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree in communication.

To celebrate his achievement, Rahm traveled to Dublin, Ohio, and met Jack Nicklaus during the final round of the 2016 Memorial Tournament, an event honoring those who have contributed to the game of golf over the years, at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Jack Nicklaus, the now retired professional golfer who won 18 career major championships, created the award in 1988.

Rahm joined fellow recipients John Coultas (Florida Southern), Addison Lambeth (Huntingdon), Peter French (Johnson & Wales) and Kerry Sweeney (Eastern Florida State) to compete in the Barbasol Shootout, an 18-hole course at Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, on June 4.

Rahm picked up the winning prize in the Shootout: a coveted spot in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship on July 14-17. He will also qualify for the 2017 Memorial Tournament.

“To earn the exemption, regardless of division, offers a unique and life-changing opportunity to play in a PGA TOUR event,” said Tom Murray, president and CEO of Perio Inc., the parent company of Barbasol.

Rahm became the first Sun Devil to earn first-team All-American honors twice in a career since former ASU men’s golfer Alejandro Canizares in 2003 and 2006. All-American honors are awarded annually by the Golf Coaches Association of America for Division I, II and III. Since 1958, only three schools have more All-Americans than ASU. 

Sarah Edwards

Student writer, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Healing through poetry

ASU grad and poet returns home to help grieving Nepal heal from tragedy.
July 29, 2016

Last year's earthquake in Nepal calls ASU grad home to aid his still-grieving country

A year after a devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, the country still faces a lengthy path to recovery — both structurally and emotionally.

In an effort to assist in that process, Arizona State University graduate, poet and writer Samyak Shertok has returned home to Nepal to aid his family, friends and the Nepali people with one goal in mind: healing through poetry.

Shertok grew up in the small community of Phalam Sangu in the Sindhupalchok district, and when he first heard the news about his home country he wanted to help.

He grieved for his family through his poetry, including his published work “Aftershocks,” a poem he calls a “love letter to his county.”

Shertok said he felt a “great sense of visceral release” when he completed “Aftershocks” and wanted to find a way to heal his community the best he could.

In July 2015, he founded the “Healing Through Poetry: Nepal Earthquake Relief” project through Kickstarter. He sought to raise $5,000 in the effort to travel to his native land with the hope to heal, rebuild, document and transcend the pain from the historic tragedy. Within four months, and 57 backers, he raised $5,500.

In April 2016, Shertok left Tempe and traveled to Nepal to embark on his project. But soon after he was set to return home, Shertok said he felt a pang of doubt.

“At first I was skeptical, because it is poetry, right? But I believe creating art out of this tragedy can help the country heal in a way the conventional relief packages will not be able to do,” Shertok said.

Since arriving in Lalitpur, Nepal, Shertok has partnered with NexUs Culture center, a collaborative that believes in activism through art, and he has hosted workshops where he found himself warmly welcomed by the Nepali people. 

Shertok Speaking

Samyak Shertok guides a workshop in Nepal.

“I was surprised with how open and well receptive the people were with the workshops and the poetry, overall,” Shertok said. “Poetry can have practical impacts, even tangible.”

The sessions he hosted included meditative exercises with the goal of transforming the perception of the tragedy, and bring awareness to the duality of life — most prominently with what Shertok called the “Burning Hate and Love” exercise.

“On one side of the sheet is an unpleasant experience; on the other side a pleasant one. We burn both: Poetry has to rise above hatred, anger and any other negative emotions,” Shertok said. “Poetry can start from a dark space, but by the end, there has to be light. There has to be warmth.

And though he knows he is not healed from this tragedy — and may never be — he chooses to move forward to document, remember and transform his grieving into beauty. 

“Tragedy is a part of all of us. It's how we grow and endure from it that shapes us in life.” 

Top photo: Workshop participants engage in collaborative poetry.