Good Field Bad Date for 84 Lumber

By Associated PressSeptember 14, 2005, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicFARMINGTON, Pa. -- Phil Mickelson. Vijay Singh. David Toms. Jim Furyk. With four of the top five money winners on the PGA Tour, the 84 Lumber Classic has a better field than most of the post-major tournaments.
For tournament founder and lumberyard billionaire Joe Hardy, it's not good enough.
Hardy is willing to spend big to turn what now is a well-attended but relatively unimportant event that begins Thursday into an upper-tier tournament that doesn't compete with football season, the pennant races, the back-to-school rush or the European pro circuit.
So, after spending nearly $75 million in the last year building a five-star, on-course players lodge and further improving the Mystic Rock course at his Nemacolin Woodlands resort southeast of Pittsburgh, Hardy is lobbying hard for a better tour date starting next year.
With Hardy showing he can attract many of the recognizable names via intense lobbying -- Tiger Woods was set to play last year, but pulled out after the Ryder Cup -- he wants better dates to showcase his fast-maturing tournament.
While attendance should be respectable, with about 70,00 tickets sold, the 84 Lumber Classic is going against the Steelers' game Sunday in Houston and Pitt's televised game Saturday at Nebraska. That kind of competition is bound to limit the crowds, especially since most fans are expected to drive at least an hour each way to get there.
Hardy prefers to see the tournament moved to August as soon as next year, though the change might not come until 2007, when new TV contracts could result in a slimmed-down schedule that eliminates some lesser-interest fall tournaments.
Hardy has spoken often with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem about getting an earlier date, before the Steelers' season starts and college and high school students are back in school.
``We've made Tim Finchem sensitive to our desires,'' Hardy said. ``But we feel we're going to earn whatever date we're eventually going to get.''
Seventeen of the top 30 money winners are entered in the $4.4 million tournament, won last year by Singh during a run of five victories in six tournaments. Also entered among the top 10 money winners are PGA champion Mickelson, Toms, Furyk and Chris DiMarco.
Ten golfers, including the International team's Stuart Appleby, Peter Lonard and Singh, are using the tournament to tune up for next week's Presidents Cup in Virginia.
Last year's event attracted 21 of the top 30 money winners, partly because Hardy leased two private planes to shuttle golfers to the following week's World Golf Championship event in Ireland. But while Hardy spends big each year to attract a quality field, this was one perk that didn't work as intended; one plane experienced mechanical problems, forcing a 12-hour delay that irked some golfers.
As a result, Hardy was extra generous to the golfers this year, sending gifts on their birthdays, their wives' and kids' birthdays, Father's Day and Mother's Day. Mickelson's 2-year-old son, Evan, got a tournament-supplied birthday visit from a Spider-Man character.
Hardy also listened to advice offered by Singh and John Daly, both of whom are sponsored by 84 Lumber, and undertook the second major renovation of the 7,511-yard Mystic Rock course in as many years. Twelve of the 18 holes were altered, making what previously was an average course narrower and longer.
Numerous players said the course needed toughening following winning scores of 22 under (by J.L. Lewis in a weak 2003 field) and 15 under (by Singh).
One feature that wasn't changed is the statue of Daly that stands in front of a waterfall near the No. 5 hole. Daly and Hardy are so close that Daly calls him ``Dad,'' and the resort contains a golf teaching center named for Daly.
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  • 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

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    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.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.