Cook leads Watson Blackmar in Champions finale

By Associated PressOctober 31, 2009, 4:18 am

Champions TourSONOMA, Calif. – John Cook shot a tournament-record 10-under 62 on Friday to take a three-stroke lead over Tom Watson and Phil Blackmar after the second round of the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Cook, the Administaff Small Business Classic winner two weeks ago in Texas, had 10 birdies and needed just 23 putts to match his career-best round and reach 14-under 130 for the tournament.

Watson, the surprising runner-up at the British Open, hit every green in regulation and shot a 64. Blackmar, who shared the first-round lead with Jeff Sluman, had five birdies on the back nine for a 67. Blackmar won the AT&T Championship in San Antonio last week for his first senior title.

Sluman (69), Brad Bryant (67) and Russ Cochran (66) were 9 under.

Season points leader Loren Roberts struggled most of the afternoon and had five bogeys en route to a 73 that dropped him into a tie for 25th at 1 under.

Bernhard Langer, who began the tournament in third place behind Roberts, had a 65 to move into a tie for seventh at 7 under. Jay Haas (68) was 5 under, and Fred Funk (69) followed at 4 under. The four are the only players left in contention to win the $1 million annuity.

Cook shot a 68 on Thursday, then opened the second round with three straight birdies to move ahead of Blackmar for the early lead. After two pars, Cook made consecutive birdies on the par-4 sixth hole and the par-3 seventh to move three strokes ahead at 9 under.

But Watson, the 60-year-old Hall of Famer, pulled within range with three straight birdies. Playing two groups ahead of Cook, Watson moved to 10 under with a birdie on the 587-yard, par-5 13th, then hit a soft 7-iron within 12 feet of the pin on the 18th and made the putt for another birdie.

That left Watson temporarily tied with Cook atop the leaderboard but that changed before Watson could finish signing autographs outside the scorer’s tent.

Cook, who was just 1 under on the back nine during the first round, birdied the par-5 16th then closed with short birdie putts on 17 and 18.

Before Cook and Watson shot to the top of the leaderboard, Langer was making his push toward the top after opening the tournament with a disappointing 72. Langer stayed at even par early then birdied seven of his final nine holes, including the final four.

With Roberts struggling for the second straight day, Langer was in good shape to become just the second player to overtake the points leader for the title during the season-ending tournament. Langer is 348 points behind Roberts, and Haas is 602 back. The players will receive a point for every $500 earned, making a victory worth 884.

Langer leads the tour with four victories and $2,033,451. Roberts, a three-time winner, is second on the money list with $1,854,613.

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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