Harrington or Tiger for Player of the Year

By Associated PressNovember 18, 2008, 5:00 pm
During a break in a recent meeting, PGA Tour executives were asked their choice for player of the year. Half of them chose Padraig Harrington. The other half raised their hands for Tiger Woods.
None received a ballot, which was mailed last week to players for a vote that could show what they regard as relevant.
Topping the list of five nominees were Harrington, the British Open and PGA champion who became only the seventh player since 1960 to win consecutive majors in the same season; and Woods, who won four times in six starts, including the U.S. Open in a playoff, before season-ending knee surgery.
The 16-man Players Advisory Council and four players on the PGA Tour policy board, which compiled the ballot, added FedEx Cup champion Vijay Singh with his three victories, three-time winner Kenny Perry, and a most peculiar selection of Camilo Villegas, who won the final two playoff events.
Why not Anthony Kim, who also had two victories (against full fields), had more top 10s and finished higher on the money list while playing the same number of tournaments?
They would have been better off listing only four names rather than snubbing someone.
Not that it matters.
Players really only have two choices, and this is one case where it might be helpful to have exit polling. Then again, it would really be helpful if the TASS-oriented PGA Tour disclosed the vote totals like every other sport.
Harrington is considered the front-runner based on recent precedence and the value of majors.
Anytime you win a major championship, its always going to be a great year, Woods said last year after winning the PGA Championship for his only major that season.
So what does two majors make it?
Since the PGA Tour award began in 1990, no one has won two majors without winning the award. Double major winner Nick Faldo was not a member in 1990 when the inaugural award went to Wayne Levi, who won four times and was second on the money list.
Faldo did win the points-based award from the PGA of America in 1990, although Gary Player won two majors in 1974 when the PGA award went to Johnny Miller and his eight victories.
If I had been voting, I would have gone with Gary, Miller wrote in the December issue of Golf Digest.
And if Miller were voting this year (hes not), his choice would be Harrington. The Irishman had four other top-five finishes, including a tie for fifth in the Masters. But those majors were his only victories.
The recent precedence for the PGA Tour award is Mark OMeara in 1998. He won the Masters and British Open at age 41, the oldest player to win two majors in one year. Players voted him over David Duval, who led the tour with four victories, won the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest scoring average.
But the other major champions in 1998 were not worthy of serious consideration. Lee Janzens only victory was the U.S. Open. Vijay Singh tacked on the International a week after winning his first major at the PGA Championship.
The other major winners this year were Masters champion Trevor Immelman, who like Janzen had no other victories; and Woods, whose four-month ledger is comparable to Tom Lehmans career.
Along with winning the U.S. Open, he was second in the Masters. The only other tournament Woods failed to win was the CA Championship at Doral, where he tied for fifth. He won the Buick Invitational by eight shots, the Accenture Match Play Championship by a record score (8 and 7) and the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a 25-foot birdie on the final hole.
Woods sat out the entire month of May after a knee surgery, then missed the final three months of the season because of another operation. He still finished second on the money list, and didnt give up the lead until there were two tournaments left.
Thats how dominant Woods was the first half of the season.
But over the second half of the season, Harringtons golf was special.
A vote for Tiger is essentially saying that had there been no knee injury, he would have won one of the majors that Padraig did, Miller wrote. But there is no assurance that Tiger would have won the British or PGA, and you cant give him credit for winning the majors he didnt play.
This might be one time the players agree with Miller.
Duval, the subject of such a debate 10 years ago, reached a similar conclusion Tuesday afternoon. Woods record in only six tournaments is worthy of consideration'four wins, one major, no finish worse than fifth, second on the money list.
It sure looked like it might have been a walkaway, Duval said. But the fact is, he didnt play. Who knows what would have happened? Youre assuming he would have played that way all year. I dont think thats fair for a player who played all year and won two majors.
Lee Westwood suggested this month that Harrington did not have the most consistent year or he would have wrapped up the Order of Merit in Europe without having to play the final month.
But when asked about player of the year, he returned to Harrington.
Any player that wins two majors in a year has to be classed as the best of the year, Westwood said.
If he doesnt win, perhaps Woods can aspire to something else never accomplished.
Along with being a perennial candidate for player of the year, Woods might be a shoo-in next season for comeback player of the year.
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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