Goosen leads Mickelson closing in on No 1

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2010, 10:53 pm

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AKRON, Ohio – Phil Mickelson is closing in on No. 1.

The first step is to make up a one-shot deficit against Retief Goosen, the 36-hole leader Friday at the Bridgestone Invitational. Looking more inevitable is Mickelson finally supplanting Tiger Woods atop the world ranking.

Goosen turned bogey into birdie by chipping in from 25 yards off the green at No. 4, sending him on his way to a 4-under 66 that gave him a one-shot lead over Mickelson and Justin Leonard (66) going into the weekend at Firestone.

Even as Goosen led another assault on par in soft conditions, Woods continued to look as ordinary as ever. The seven-time champion at Firestone hit only three fairways and stumbled to a 2-over 72 – the first time he has ever had consecutive rounds over par at this tournament – that put him 13 shots out of the lead, and five players removed from last place.

Woods had no intention of speaking to reporters, instead walking to his car and driving away.

He has been No. 1 in the world since the week before the 2005 U.S. Open, but would lose his top ranking if Mickelson were to finish in fourth place alone and Woods – who is tied for 72nd – finishes out of the top 44.

“Obviously, it would be cool,” Mickelson said. “It would be something I would love to do, being regarded as No. 1 according to the ranking. And I know that I’ve got a great opportunity this week. I know that I’m playing well, and this is my best opportunity.”

But he still has 36 holes in front of him on a course that has rewarded good shots with low scores.

Despite a bogey on the final hole, Goosen was at 7-under 133 as he tries to win his first World Golf Championship. It doesn’t figure to be easy, not so much because of Firestone, rather the number of players chasing him.

Sixteen players were separated by four shots going into the weekend.

That includes Bubba Watson (71) in the group at 5-under 135, Adam Scott (70), Lucas Glover (66) and Paul Casey (68) at 136, and Rory McIlroy (69) and Dustin Johnson (65) in the group at 137.

“Every part of your game needs to be good here, driving especially,” Goosen said. “You need to hit it on the fairway, otherwise you’re struggling.”

As Woods and Mickelson showed, that depends.

Woods, who started on the back nine, didn’t hit a fairway until the 17th hole, and it got so bad on the 14th hole that his drive landed in a bunker on the 13th hole. He still scrambled for par and was even on the front nine, but too many errant shots caught up with him.

Mickelson wasn’t much better – he hit only six fairways – but he made the most of his chances.

“I didn’t play great today. I was a little off,” Mickelson said. “I hit some bad shots, and I was able to salvage a lot of pars today.”

But he had a three-hole stretch of not making any pars, which is what makes Lefty so entertaining. His tee shot on the 14th went into the same bunker on the wrong hole that Woods visited earlier, only Mickelson tried to take it over the trees and clipped some branches. When he finally got around the green, he missed a 5-footer and took double bogey.

Mickelson followed with a 4-iron into 20 feet for birdie, and a 12-foot birdie on the 16th.

Even his last two pars were not typical. He drove it so far right on the 17th that before leaving the tee, Mickelson reached into his bag for a glove and signed his name with a frown and the words, “Sorry.” He figured he had hit a fan, and he was right.

“The hazards of following me,” Mickelson told him.

He got up and down for par with a deft chip over the bunker, then saved par on the 18th with a long bunker shot by the green that caught the top of the hill perfectly and rolled to within tap-in range.

Mickelson won at Firestone in 1996 when it was the old World Series of Golf, and he had an excellent chance in 2008 when Woods had the year off with knee surgery.

Woods has never finished worse than fourth at Firestone, which is certain to change.

He was hitting smother-hooks on the range and took that to the golf course, where only his short game kept the score from getting out of hand. Even so, Woods will be finished with his third round Saturday some two hours before the leaders tee off.

That means the world’s No. 1 player – for the next two days, anyway – will go to the PGA Championship needing to play his best of the year to make the Ryder Cup team. And he might not last very long in the four-tournament playoff system on the PGA Tour after that.

At least he’ll be back on Saturday.

That won’t be the case for Lee Westwood, the world’s No. 3 player who was paired with Woods for two days. Westwood has been battling soreness in his left ankle for the last month, and it finally reached a point where he withdrew Friday from the Bridgestone Invitational, and from the PGA Championship next week.

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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