Brad Benjamin upsets Nick Taylor for Publinx title

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2009, 4:00 pm
USGANORMAN, Okla. ' Sixth-seeded Brad Benjamin topped top-seeded Nick Taylor, 7 and 6, in the 30-hole finale of the U.S. Amateur Public Links golf championship on Saturday at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
 
The U.S. Amateur Publinx champion is traditionally invited to play in the following years Masters, provided he retains his amateur status. Benjamin plans to play in Augusta.
 
This is still surreal, Benjamin said. The thought (of playing in the Masters) crossed my mind around the eighth hole or so.
 
Benjamin, who swings left-handed but is a right-handed putter, was 5 up after the first 19 holes, and medalist Taylor never got closer. The Publinx medalist has not won the match play portion since 2000.
 
You never know in match play, said Benjamin, who broke down in tears while speaking to reporters. I was telling my caddie that, even when I was 7 up with nine to play. Until its over, its never over.
 
A 2009 University of Memphis graduate from Rockford, Ill., Benjamin finished ninth in this years Conference USA tournament. On Saturday, he became the second lefty to win the Publinx, following Ralph Howe III in 1988.
 
Taylor, the low amateur (tied for 36th) in this years U.S. Open, had breezed to the final round. The University of Washington golfer from Winnipeg, Manitoba, had won his five other matches in 14, 12, 13, 17 and 16 holes.
 
Obviously, hes twice the player I am, at least on the resume, if not more than that, Benjamin said of Taylor. But eventually youve got to build one (a resume), so I might as well start today.
 
Going into Saturday, Taylor had lost only seven of the 72 holes he had played in the tournament. Against Benjamin, he lost 10 of 30 holes played and won only three.
 
Brad played unbelievable, Taylor said. He pretty much did to me what I did to other guys coming in. I didnt play great, but I didnt really give it to him. He played better. It was tough to gain ground when he was playing so well.
 
While Taylor cruised into the final round, Benjamin advanced with five tough wins, in 17, 19, 17, 15 and 18 holes. He needed to win the 17th and 18th holes to win his semifinal round match.
 
Benjamin went 1 up on the second hole Saturday, and Taylor never had the lead. Going into the final, Taylor had trailed after only three of the 72 holes he played.
Getty Images

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."

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