Alvaro Quiros steals the show at Hazeltine

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' The wind blew toward the tee box, and Hazeltines imposing 11th hole was 606 yards away from Alvaro Quiros while the rock-star group playing in front of him finished on the green.
 
Quiros got his ball there with only two whacks.
 
Hey, Tiger! Heads up!
 
The tournaments top-flight trio ' Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and 2002 champion Rich Beem ' stole the show in Thursdays first round of the PGA Championship by shooting a combined 10-under par. Woods and Harrington were in the clubhouse in first and second place at 5- and 4-under.
 
While Woods, Harrington and Beem set up their putts on that par-5 11th hole, Quiross second shot suddenly appeared and rolled up on the front edge of the green.
 
Its just absolutely phenomenal, Woods said later, adding: You know how big a hit that is?
 
Quiros, a still-raw 26-year-old from Spain who can hit as long as anyone on tour but missed the cut in the first three majors this year, apologized to the group for the potential scare at the next tee.
 
I said, Nothing to apologize for. Thats a hell of a shot, Woods said. Thats just stupid long.
 
Seven years ago, Beem got an eagle on the 11th hole as he held off Woods in the final round at Hazeltine National Golf Club, this long-ago-converted cornfield now set up as the longest course in the history of major championships ' officially 7,674 yards.
 
Beem himself couldnt help but be impressed.
 
We were all like, Holy Put a couple of asterisks in there. Just unbelievable, Beem said. I cant believe how far he hit those two shots. I killed a driver and killed a 3-wood, and I had 86 yards to the hole.
 
Said Harrington: We were all greatly amused by the fact that there was a player out there who can actually hit a ball like that.
 
Quiros, who started his first PGA Championship ranked 39th in the world, finished Thursday at 3-under with a 69. He had six birdies, but three bogeys, and was in a four-way tie for third place.
 
With choppy English and a wide smile, Quiros patiently answered dozens of questions about his driving ability from reporters intrigued by the brawn he showed on that challenging 11th hole.
 
I should be proud, but at the same time not, Quiros said, noting his inability to finish some of his putts.
 
With a 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame and long arms, he has the body type to be a big hitter. Fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia, a good friend of his, remarked about how easy Quiros makes his swing look.
 
If he hits it somehow straight, as far as he hits it, he can really play the game of golf, Garcia said. Its all about trying to put the ball in play, and with his potential and strength the course ' even a long course like this ' becomes quite a bit shorter.
 
Quiros, who finished 15th last week at the World Golf Championship in Ohio, has three career victories on the European tour.
 
If somebody in these tournaments can hit it always straight, they could be next Tiger Woods or the next Nicklaus, Quiros said. I think its something that everybody works on.
 
Including the strength part.
 
All the players work in the gym. In my case, Im starting now. So maybe I can hit it farther in a few months, said Quiros, whose 2007 season was marred by an injury to his left wrist.
 
Still unfamiliar to the masses, Quiros ' playing with Fred Couples and Lee Westwood ' didnt draw much of a reaction from the galleries. When his putt for par on the 18th hole drifted wide left, barely a murmur was heard ' unlike the loud groans when Woods or Beem would miss one of theirs.
 
Quiros has a future as a star if, like Garcia said, he can figure out how to hit that ball straight. His bio in the tournament guide describes him as a fan of James Bond films. Hes got Bond-like good looks, too, and the flair of a southern European.
 
He talks over every shot, every putt, said Couples, who had never before played with Quiros. Its like the one guy said, Hes Lee Trevino on steroids.
 
Then, of course, theres that strength off the tee.
 
Quiros reached the 642-yard 15th hole with a driver and a 5-wood during Wednesdays practice round. He clearly has some confidence heading into the second round and, assumedly, the weekend.
 
The only thing that matters is my game. Im not going to fight against Tiger. Im not going to fight against Harrington, against nobody of those guys, Quiros said. I just fight against myself and the golf course.
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    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."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    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.

    “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.  

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    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    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.


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    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.


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