Bill Haas wins Hope Classic for 1st PGA victory

By Associated PressJanuary 26, 2010, 9:23 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP)—Bill Haas ’ hands were frigid and shaking when hestepped up to his second shot on the 90th hole, knowing he probably needed abirdie to win his first PGA Tour title at the Bob Hope Classic after 140fruitless starts.

A $900,000 check and a Masters exemption were riding on this tense finish toa marathon tournament Monday. Haas even figured his famous father might bewatching somewhere in the gallery, although he wasn’t sure.

It was all a recipe for panic, but Haas cooked up something remarkableinstead.

Bill Haas celebrates his birdi…
AP - Jan 25, 7:07 pm EST

“It was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Haas said. “I’ve been nervousover 3-footers to finish fifth, but it was different knowing that if I executedthis shot, it could mean the difference (between) winning or finishing fifth.”

So he warmed his hands, steadied his will and nailed an aggressive approachshot on the 18th after his two co-leaders failed to do it. He then two-putted toa one-stroke victory, putting his name in Hope Classic lore alongside his fatherand finally doing what’s been expected from the talented son of Jay Haas sinceshortly after he picked up a golf club.

Haas hugged his father after hitting a perilous 1-footer to finish onestroke ahead of Matt Kuchar , Tim Clark and Bubba Watson with an 8-under 64, buthe did the toughest work with his 3-iron moments earlier. Determined not to comeup short on the green or the scoreboard, Haas expertly dropped a 3-iron behindthe pin, setting him up for 30-under 330 finish and the chance to scratch hisname off the list of good players with no wins.

After six days and five rounds over four courses, the 27-year-old formercan’t-miss prospect finally had a PGA title and an achievement befitting hispedigree.

“Patience isn’t one of my key virtues,” Bill Haas said. “It’s somethingI’m still trying to learn. This week, we were forced to be patient. Who knows?Maybe the rainout was good for me. It obviously was. It worked out for thebest.”

Nobody was more impressed than Jay Haas, who benefited from the rain thatwashed out Thursday’s second round at the Hope Classic and pushed the finale toMonday. The 1988 Hope Classic winner was able to make it back to the mainlandfrom his Champions Tour event in Hawaii in time to see his son in competitionfor the first time in about two years.

“To win the same tournament I won is special, and then for me to get to seeit—that’s really special,” said Jay Haas, who texted his son on Sunday nightwith a simple message: “Hit when you’re ready, and never before.”

But Bill Haas didn’t charge in front until the final hole after abackstretch battle with four players—three seeking their first Tour victories.He was the last of three co-leaders to play the par-5 18th, but Kuchar and SouthAfrica’s Clark both missed birdie putts at the Arnold Palmer Private course,with Kuchar lamenting his inexact approach shot before Clark laid up.

Haas made sure he had no regrets.

“I’d been wanting to win from the first tournament I played, but it’s aprocess, and there’s a lot to it,” said Haas, a touted rookie in 2006. “It’sspecial, but I don’t know if it’s a monkey off my back. I know how hard it wasto win, and I’m grateful.”

Fourth-round co-leader Watson also birdied the 18th after barely missing achip for eagle, grabbing a share of second place.

Haas missed the cut at last week’s Sony Open, but credited his steady playin Palm Springs to a tip he received from teaching pro Bill Harmon whilepracticing with his father in nearby Indian Wells last Monday.

“It’s definitely neat that down the road, 22 years from now, we can look atboth our names on the list here,” Bill Haas said. “I’m not trying to comparemyself to him. He’s almost unreachable.”

They’re the eighth father-son combination to win on the PGA Tour, but BillHaas spent most of the day trailing Kuchar, who came from three shots back androcketed up the tight leaderboard.

Kuchar had eight birdies in his first 11 holes, but just one in the lastseven. Although his 63 was the best final round, he wished for a better secondshot on the 18th. His hybrid approach landed well back on the fringe, eventuallyleading to a missed 13-foot birdie putt.

“It’s a hole where you’re counting on making a 4,” Kuchar said. “I putmyself in a difficult situation … but shooting 63 is fantastic. I wasn’t sureif I had that much in me today. It was a great round of golf.”

Rookie Alex Prugh , who shared the lead with Watson entering the final round,started slowly but closed with three straight birdies to finish fifth at 28under in his third career PGA Tour event. Mike Weir , the 2003 champion,threatened before dropping back with a double bogey on the 13th, eventuallyfinishing sixth at 26 under.

Kuchar went ahead with six birdies on the front nine at the Palmer course,surging past Watson and Prugh early in the round. Haas stayed close to Kuchar’sblistering pace with five birdies on the first eight holes, and Clark caught upon the 15th hole with a 6 1/2 -foot birdie putt.

Kuchar’s fast start didn’t shake Clark, who has never won on the PGA Tour.He has a runner-up finish for the sixth straight year, including his 2006 finishat the Masters.

“I made a bunch of birdies, (and) you would think that I putted my eyeballsout, but I missed a lot of short ones,” Clark said.

“There’s always going to be an exciting day with so many guys bunched inthere, and I started to make some birdies on the back nine to get back intoit,” Clark added. “When you know you have to make birdies, it makes things alittle bit easier.”

DIVOTS: Vaughn Taylor , who lost a six-hole playoff at Turning Stone toKuchar last October in the PGA Tour’s most recent Monday finish, shot afinal-round 67 to finish in the five-way tie for 10th. … Shane Bertsch , wholed with an opening-round 62, ended up tied for 71st after a 69-77-71-72 finish.… Al and Brent Geiberger were the last father-son duo to win on the tour.

Getty Images

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.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

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.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

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.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.