Europeans using EurAsia Cup for Ryder Cup prep

By Associated PressJanuary 13, 2016, 1:25 am

Europe captain Darren Clarke was keen to stress that the Ryder Cup in September wasn't in his thoughts heading into the second edition of the EurAsia Cup this week.

''There's no Ryder Cup stuff going on in the back of my mind,'' Clarke said on Tuesday.

It seems his players see it differently.

''One of the main reasons I wanted to play the EurAsia Cup so much was to get invaluable team experience in a Ryder Cup year,'' said Irish player Shane Lowry, making it clear where his priorities lay going into the match against Asia starting in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

''A lot of the lads on our team next week are looking to qualify for the Ryder Cup this year and (this week) gives us a great chance to show Darren what we are capable of and hopefully impress him.''

Lowry is one of a number of Europe's new breed looking to take their opportunity this week in the absence of the continent's star names - Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, and Graeme McDowell.

Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, and Stephen Gallacher all played in the first EurAsia Cup, which finished tied at 10-10 in 2014, and went on to make their Ryder Cup debuts later that year in Gleneagles.

For maybe half of the 2016 team, the same reward is there.

Three days of competition in the sweltering heat at Glenmarie Golf & Country Club - temperatures reached 102 degrees on Tuesday - will help Clarke discover if the likes of Andy Sullivan, Kristoffer Broberg, Danny Willett, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Bernd Wiesberger can be relied on when the stakes are raised at Hazeltine from Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

What helps Clarke and his European side is that Asia has put up an even stronger team this time round.

Anirban Lahiri and Byeong-Hun An, two rising stars in Asian golf, are on the team captained by Jeev Milkha Singh. Thongchai Jaidee is also there, backing up his appearance for Team International in last year's Presidents Cup against the United States in Incheon, South Korea.

That contest counted as Ryder Cup practice for the Americans, who will be looking to prevent an unprecedented fourth straight victory for Europe in Hazeltine. Now it's the Europeans' turn.

It is also a shop window for Asia's players.

''They know that they are playing on the big stage and the world stage, and from there, they can move on and follow their dream, whether it's the European Tour or the U.S. (PGA) tour,'' Singh said.

''Having an event like this, I think, it's a big boost for golf worldwide.''

There will be six fourball matches on Friday, six foursomes on Saturday, and then 12 singles on Sunday.

In 2014, Asia came from 7-3 down to salvage an unlikely tie, and Clarke is predicting another close match, which would be a good experience for the Europeans.

''Hopefully, it will be every bit as exciting,'' Clarke said. ''I don't know how our nerves will be at the end of the week.''

The Queen of Malaysia, Tuanku Hajah Haminah, is set to play in Thursday's pro-am. She will strike a ceremonial opening tee shot before joining the players on the course.


Lineups:

Asia: Byeong-Hun An, Anirban Lahiri, Thongchai Jaidee, Wu Ashun, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, SSP Chawrasia, Danny Chia, Nicholas Fung, KT Kim, Shingo Katayama, Prayad Marksaeng, Jeunghun Wang.

Europe: Shane Lowry, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Kristoffer Broberg, Danny Willett, Soren Kjeldsen, Matt Fitzpatrick, Bernd Wiesberger, Victor Dubuisson, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher.

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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