Day After Martin Ruling Golf Goes On
And a day after The Ruling, life is going on for Casey Martin and for the PGA Tour. Casey is enduring a seemingly endless round of media interviews, including appearances via satellite on NBCs Today and CNNs Larry King Live. And the PGA Tour is running one of its marquee events, the Memorial Tournament, whose host is the Tours greatest-ever player and whose defending champion is his successor.
As often happens with big controversies, the aftermath may not be as bad as the losers imagine. The class of people who a) can play golf well enough to reach the PGA Tour, and b) have a disability that it would be reasonable to accommodate, is probably very small.
Still, the PGA Tour faces an administrative nightmare. It has spent probably millions defending Martins suit, and for various reasons, some of them good. Those who say in the clear light of hindsight that the Tour should have accommodated Casey from the start miss the significance of the Tours position as a sports league. All the other leagues were watching; the Tour could not afford a less than vigorous defense, or its legitimacy would have been called into question. (Such a criticism would have been misplaced, but in this day and age, an accusation is all thats necessary to convince some people.)
The Supreme Courts 7-2 decision in favor of Martin essentially pushes a judicial function on the Tour. The Courts order does not require it expressly, and as we have said, the need for it may never arise again ' but the Tour will now have to develop some sort of procedure for reviewing and granting accommodations for golfers with disabilities.
Think how big a responsibility that is. There are legal and medical definitions of disability. So now you have to find doctors and lawyers for your review board. Once you determine the existence of a disability (as opposed to, say, a temporary condition arising from a disease, syndrome, or disorder), the Americans With Disabilities Act requires that the accommodation be necessary, reasonable and not fundamentally alter the nature of the game, all within the meaning of the statute and cases decided under it.
Will the game change so that it is unrecognizable? We all know it probably wont, and by all, I mean those who agree with the Supreme Court and those who dont.
If there is a lesson to take away from this, perhaps it is that golf does not live in some sort of vacuum or bubble. These days, nothing does. Every day the law careens toward its intersections with life, at times with seemingly little regard for what is coming down the road. Fairness sometimes requires such indifference. The desire to make ones own rules, however compelling it might be, is no shield against the immutable rules of a civilized society.
Aside from preserving some measure of tradition at hallowed grounds such as St. Andrews, it couldnt hurt golf to shed whatever armor it wears and become more a part of the life of the nation, of the world. If that means a league has to set up a review operation to balance its competitive requirements against the law of the land, so be it.
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18