Fujikawa Playing for Fun Pride Not Money

By Associated PressJuly 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
Reno-Tahoe OpenRENO, Nev. -- As Tadd Fujikawa prepares for his professional debut at the Reno-Tahoe Open, the 16-year-old is more concerned about acting like a pro than cashing a check.
 
'I think it's more of a pride thing for me than the money,' Fujikawa said Tuesday after a practice round at Montreux Golf & Country Club on the edge of the Sierra Nevada.
 
The 5-foot-1 Hawaiian was introduced to golf fans last summer as the beaming teen who became the youngest golfer ever to play in the U.S. Open. He missed the cut at Winged Foot but brought the same fun-filled demeanor to the Sony Open in Hawaii in February, where he become the second youngest player to make the cut at a PGA TOUR event.
 
Last month, he announced he'd received a sponsor's exemption and intended to turn pro at Reno, a tournament in its ninth year opposite the World Golf Championship, which attracts Tiger Woods and the other top golfers in the world to Ohio.
 
For a high school junior missing his first week of the new school year back home in Honolulu to make a run at a $3 million purse, he offers a remarkably mature take on what's most important in his life.
 
'I think it's more about me. I think that is more important than golf,' Fujikawa said.
 
'I think giving back to the community and treating people the way you want to be treated -- giving back to junior golf -- I think is really important,' he said.
 
'That is more important to me right now, to show I treat people very nicely. That's what my parents have taught me throughout my life... I'd rather have (fans) see that than say, `Oh, he's a really good player but his attitude stinks.''
 
But doesn't the $540,000 winner's check interest him just a little bit?
 
'Not really,' he said with a laugh. 'Maybe for my parents or my family. For me, I just want to go out and have fun.'
 
The Reno-Tahoe Open has served as a springboard for a number of young players who claimed their first PGA TOUR victories here -- Notah Begay III (1999), Chris Riley (2002), Vaughn Taylor (2004-05) and Will MacKenzie last year -- as well as tour veterans who ended dry spells, including Scott Verplank (2000), John Cook (2001) and Kirk Triplett (2003).
 
Taylor's consecutive wins at Reno helped propel him to last year's Ryder Cup team.
 
MacKenzie is only the second Reno winner to return the following year to try to defend his title because typically the victor moves up enough in the world golf rankings to secure a spot in the other weekend event.
 
It's all a dream for Fujikawa, who said the decision to turn pro was easier on him than his parents.
 
'Basically, I've always wanted to be able to compete against the best players in the world and hopefully beat them,' he said Tuesday.
 
'I think that is every golfer's dream, to be the best in the world. I felt that I could get further in my golf and achieve more and learn a lot quicker.'
 
'For me, it was not a hard decision. For my parents, they obviously are going to think about the down side of everything just to be safe. ... We just felt it was the right thing to do and the right time to do it.'
 
Fujikawa said he's discussed his decision with other players since he arrived in Reno last week to begin practicing for the tournament. One was Kevin Na, who also turned pro as a teenager.
 
'He basically said just to go out there and have fun. Don't take it too seriously,' Fujikawa said. 'It's really hard I think when you start playing for money. I'm not out there for the money. If it comes great. If it doesn't, that's all right.'
 
He takes the same approach to his height.
 
'Maybe I will grow. If I stay short, that's OK,' he said. 'A lot of people say, `Wow, you're a lot shorter than you look on TV. That's the main thing, as long as I look taller on TV.'
 
Fujikawa said one of the hardest chores will be keeping up on his studies while trying to get in as many tournaments as he can in the coming months.
 
'Actually I think school starts on Wednesday,' he said. 'That's not too good. I'm going to be missing the first week, so I'm going to have to catch up. Some teachers are kind of mad.'
 
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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.