Ernie Els Back to Work After Break

By Associated PressFebruary 12, 2003, 5:00 pm
PERTH, Australia -- After a short break in Bali, Ernie Els is back at work. He has had an exceptional month, winning three tournaments in four starts and finishing second in the other.
Next up for the South African is the Johnnie Walker Classic, which starts Thursday and also features Sergio Garcia. The $1.68 million tournament at the par-72 course at Lake Karrinyup Country Club is sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian PGA tours.
There is some doubt, however, if Garcia can play. The 23-year-old Spaniard injured a hamstring kicking an Australian Rules football at a charity event and withdrew from a pro-am Wednesday.
'I'm going to keep treating it and I will go and hit some balls as well and we will see how I feel,' Garcia said. 'Whatever happens, I won't make any decision about playing until tomorrow.'
Els, winner of the Johnnie Walker in 1997, opened this year with back-to-back wins on the PGA Tour, then blew a lead in the final round to finish runner-up at the Caltex Masters in Singapore.
Just when it appeared fatigue set in, with Els 10 strokes off the pace going into the weekend at the Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne two weeks ago, he shot 66-65 in the last two rounds to overtake Nick Faldo and Peter Lonard for the title.
With his eight-stroke win in the Mercedes Championship and his playoff win over Aaron Baddely in the Sony Open, Els completed the 'Hawaii 2-0' to surge to the top of the 2003 money list in the opening two weeks.
His win at the Heineken gave him five wins in seven tournaments and also helped close the gap on Tiger Woods, who has been sidelined following knee surgery.
Garcia knows that even if his leg were in good shape Els would be tough to beat.
'Ernie has been playing unbelievable golf,' he said. 'He's done something the last three months that I don't think anyone has done before.'
Retief Goosen won this event by eight strokes last year, despite a 1-over 73 in the final round. The South African has had two top-four finishes in three starts this year but his consistency has been overshadowed by his compatriot.
Also in the field is Nick Faldo, who won the Johnnie Walker in 1990 and '93, and 1996 champion Ian Woosnam.
Lee Westwood, the European tour leader in 2000, was a late addition. He will join young English trio Justin Rose, Nick Dougherty and Paul Casey, who won the ANZ Championship in Sydney last weekend.
Robert Allenby will lead the Australians, along with Craig Parry and Adam Scott. For Asia, there's Joyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal, both of India.
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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
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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.