Colsaerts seeks advice on Augusta from Nicklaus

By Associated PressApril 8, 2013, 8:21 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Nicolas Colsaerts ran into Jack Nicklaus Jr. last week and asked what advice he had about the Masters.

It didn't take long for the younger Nicklaus to answer: ''I would just talk to Dad,'' he said.

An hour or so later, Colsaerts was face-to-face with the “Golden Bear,” winner of six Masters and as expert as one can be on how to succeed at Augusta National.

''Yeah, I felt pretty lucky,'' Colsaerts said on Monday.

That's the way Colsaerts has felt since arriving for the first time at the season's first major. The 30-year-old, known as the “Belgian Bomber” for his length off the tee, has soaked in everything he can about what he hopes is the first of many times he'll get to play for a green jacket.

''The first time you walk through the clubhouse and you get to see this piece of land in front of you,'' he said with awe. ''Just how green it is, how clean it is everywhere, underneath the trees. I don't think there's anything like this.''

The Masters begins on Thursday.

Several golf fans hadn't seen anyone like Colsaerts, when he jumped onto the worldwide scene last year. Already a champion on the European Tour with a win in the Volvo Match Play, Colsaerts contended for the British Open title last summer, when he tied for seventh after an opening 65.

Colsaerts’ stature grew at the Ryder Cup when, as the European team captain's pick, he had eight birdies and an eagle as he and partner Lee Westwood defeated Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the opening day's fourball matches.

''It's funny because since the Ryder Cup, everybody thinks I average 27 putts a round,'' he said. ''I don't. I just want to make that clear.''

Something else Colsaerts made clear: He believes his game fits Augusta National to a tee.

''Certain players come here and look at this place and feel like they have the game that suits it,'' he said. ''And I definitely think that I do.''

He beefed up his chances, he believes, after his visit with Nicklaus, who won the last of his record 18 majors here at the Masters in 1986.

Colsaerts said the two talked about every hole from pin positions to shots never to hit in particular situations. Colsaerts blogged about the meeting last week, calling it one of the ''highlights of my humble golf-life experience.''

Colsaerts came to Augusta last month to fit in some practice and found it difficult on the empty course to envision the layout he saw on TV each year, with full galleries ringing each green. Colsaerts felt better after Monday's practice on the front nine. ''With all these people around, it's quite an appealing gallery to play in front of,'' he said.

Colsaerts doesn't mind the ''Belgian Bomber'' nickname, proud that he's just the third golfer from his country to play Augusta National. He's less thrilled about the other nickname he's been tagged with, ''The Muscles from Brussels'' because action film star Jean-Claude Van Damme was called it first. ''I don't particularly like one of them because it's already been given to a Belgian actor,'' Colsaerts said.

He'll have a place in Belgian history all his own if he succeeds this week. ''It's the tournament for me,'' he said. ''So I can't wait to see what I'm going to do in it.''

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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