Clarke Bjorn McGinley vice captains at Ryder Cup

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2010, 4:09 pm

WENTWORTH, England – Europe Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie selected Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley as his vice captains on Tuesday, saying they had the qualities to help the team regain the trophy from the United States.

Europe is widely regarded as the favorite heading into the event at Celtic Manor, Wales from Oct. 1-3. With three tournament veterans assisting him, Montgomerie said the team had a great chance to make it six wins in the last eight events.

“The Ryder Cup is about passion, commitment and will to win, and all three men I’ve named possess these qualities in abundance,” Montgomerie said. “They have all been part of successful European Ryder Cup teams in the past and know the players who will be part of the team. I think this is the strongest team we have ever assembled, on and off the course.”

United States captain Corey Pavin has selected four vice captains in Tom Lehman, Jeff Sluman, Davis Love and Paul Goydos.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are the top two players in the world rankings but there is a sense that the balance of power in world golf is shifting toward Europe.

Four Europeans filled the leading five positions at the British Open at St. Andrews last week, while Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won the U.S. Open, ahead of Frenchman Gregory Havret. Justin Rose, struggling to qualify for the European team, recently won two tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Montgomerie still has to finalize his 12-man team, which will be chosen after next month’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

The nine players currently occupying the automatic qualification places for the European team are McDowell, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ross McGowan.

Among those who could be fighting to be picked as one of three wild card choices available to Montgomerie are Rose, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Alvaro Quiros and Sergio Garcia.

Among Montgomerie’s vice captains, Northern Irishman Clarke is a veteran of five consecutive Ryder Cups from 1997 to 2006, and was on the winning side four times. Bjorn of Denmark played in the victorious 1997 and 2002 teams and assisted Bernhard Langer at the 2004 event that Europe won at Oakland Hills, Michigan.

Irishman McGinley holed the winning putt for Europe in 2002 at the Belfry.

“The four of us will be a team. We are very much together and we will be making decisions from now on together,” said Montgomerie, a veteran of eight Ryder Cups. “All of us have huge respect from the players, and respect on the course is vital.”

Bjorn and McGinley have long been regarded as potential vice captains but Clarke is arguably the surprise addition. He is fondly remembered for his display at the K Club, Ireland, in 2006, when he won three points from three just weeks after his wife Heather died from cancer.

Europe won that year by a record-tying nine-point margin.

“In the Ryder Cups I’ve been involved in, the spirit in the team room has been fantastic and we want to generate that as much as possible,” said Clarke, who still has an outside chance of qualifying for the team as a player. “We’ve all been there and done it before.”

Montgomerie said he decided against selecting Jose Maria Olazabal as a vice captain because the popular Spanish player had been absent from the European Tour for much of the last two years because of rheumatism in his shoulder.

Under captain Nick Faldo, Europe lost the trophy in 2008 at Valhalla, Ky., having beaten the U.S. in 2002, ’04 and ’06.

Montgomerie said there would be no complacency in the European team, adding: “There is no overconfidence here. We know these matches are very, very close.

“You only have to look back at the (18 1/2 -9 1/2 ) win Europe had in 2004 in America: 11 matches went to the last hole and we happened to win nine of them. If it was the opposite way, we would have lost the Ryder Cup – that’s how close these matches are and we are under no illusions at all about how difficult the task this will be to regain the Ryder Cup.”

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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.  

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

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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