Every goes low and then goes off

By Associated PressJanuary 14, 2012, 8:48 am

HONOLULU (AP)—Matt Every feels like a rookie again on the PGA Tour. He canonly hope it turns out better.

Two years ago, the ultra-confident Floridian missed six weeks in the springwith a broken finger.

In the summer, the PGA Tour suspended him for three months following hisarrest during the John Deere Classic on a misdemeanor drug charge. Agents werecalled to a casino hotel because of a strong odor of marijuana coming from theroom he was in.

Every apologized in a statement for showing poor judgment that week. Afterhis 6-under 64 on Friday gave him a two-shot lead in the Sony Open, he blamedpolice for the way the arrest was handled, and questioned the length of hissuspension.

He didn’t return until the final event of the year, too late for him to tryto keep his card. He didn’t make it through Q-school, went back to theNationwide Tour, and here he is back in the big leagues.

His season got off to a good start—until he walked off the course.

Every said his 64 was just “normal stuff.” After he brought up the troublehe got into in the summer of 2010, he didn’t hold back on the arrest, thesuspension or how he is perceived.

“I don’t think the police handled it very well. But whatever,” Every said.“And the tour, too, man. If they would have thrown a month at me instead ofthree, that would have been nice.”

Did the punishment fit the crime?

“Probably,” he said. “But there’s nothing I can do about it now. I’m notbigger than the tour—never will be. It’s their call, and I did it, and it’sover with.”

Every described it as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. “Perfectstorm,” he said.

He made it clear that he doesn’t do drugs and he’s not a party animal. Everyis married and expecting his first child in June. But he also said very littleabout him has changed since that episode.

“I still hang out with the same people,” he said. “I have great friends,man. If one of my friends likes to smoke marijuana every now and then, I’m notgoing to say, `Well, you can’t be my friend anymore.’ Honestly, man, I know morepeople who smoke marijuana than who don’t smoke marijuana. I know that’sprobably not the politically correct thing to say, but it’s the truth.”

In an awkward interview with Golf Channel on the topic, Every said he didn’tthink it was a big deal.

“There’s a lot worse stuff that goes on out here than when I got in troublefor,” he said.

Asked about the outcome of the charge, Every said he had to “stay out oftrouble” for a year. One of his agents at Goal Marketing, Kevin Canning,declined comment when asked how the case was disposed.

As for golf, Every made it sound as though it was just another day onmanicured fairways.

“Just played good,” said Every, who was at 10-under 130. “I just didn’tmake many mistakes and made some good putts, hit some good irons, just kind ofnormal stuff.”

His normal stuff was enough to put him atop the leaderboard through 36 holesfor the first time on the PGA Tour, not bad for a guy who took four years to getto the big leagues.

He had a two-shot lead over David Hearn , who kept a Canadian presence on theleaderboard with a 66, and Carl Pettersson , who played what might have been oneof the easiest par 5s ever.

Pettersson finished on the 504-yard ninth, which was playing with theunusual Kona wind.

The goal is to keep the tee shot away from a bunker and the driving range onthe left, and out of the canal on the right. After that, it wasn’t really a par5. There were 27 eagles, and the hole averaged 3.957, lower that seven of thepar 4s at Waialae.

Pettersson had sand wedge for his second shot, which he hit to 10 feet for atwo-putt birdie.

“It felt weird,” Pettersson said. “I freaked out. I said to my caddie,`Are you sure?’ It just didn’t feel right.”

He wasn’t the only player who took advantage. Erik Compton , in his firsttournament as a PGA Tour member, was outside the cut line when he wentbirdie-eagle on the eighth and ninth holes to make the cut on the number at1-under 139.

Brendon de Jonge switched putters to start the new season. He opened with a71. He went back to his old putter on Friday and shot 62. That put him at7-under 133, along with Pat Perez , who is going through a myriad of changes onand off the course and had a 67.

Also at 133 was Doug LaBelle, in the Sony Open after he made it through aMonday qualifier for the third time.

Steve Stricker , trying to become the first player since Ernie Els in 2003 tosweep the Hawaii events, was tied for the lead until he caught a plugged lie inthe bunker on his 10th hole and made double bogey. He wound up with a 69, stillonly five shots behind.

Also five back was Tadd Fujikawa , who made a big splash on his native Oahufive years ago by making the cut at age 16.

It wasn’t long before he turned pro, but the road through the mini-tours hasbeen tough. Fujikawa, immensely popular in these parts because of his humblebackground, received a late exemption and shot 66 on Friday.

Every said he is behind where he should be, attributing that to atroublesome rookie season in 2010.

He broke his finger in April, keeping him out for six weeks, then ran intotrouble with the marijuana charge at the John Deere Classic. He returned to playseven more tournaments before he was suspended, and wound up 160th on the moneylist.

“I kind of feel like a rookie out here,” Every said. “My rookie year …I almost kept my status and played half the tournaments that everybody elseplayed. I feel like it was a pretty good year for me. I just didn’t get to playmuch.”

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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