Holmes Allenby share lead at Sawgrass

By Associated PressMay 7, 2010, 3:29 am

The Players Championship

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Conditions were so tame at The Players Championship that being anywhere around par meant being nowhere near the lead.

Just ask Tiger Woods. Or Phil Mickelson. Or Ernie Els.

J.B. Holmes and Robert Allenby each shot 66 in the opening round Thursday, leading an all-out assault on the Stadium Course. More than half the field broke par, 34 players were within three shots of the lead and the average score (71.1) for the first round was the lowest in 17 years.

“You see a lot of good scores, but I guarantee you the leader at the end of the week is not going to be 24 under,” said Bill Haas, one of 10 players at 4-under 68. “It’s not going to happen.”

That notion gives just about everyone hope heading into Friday’s second round.

“I only made three birdies,” said Woods, who shot 70 after missing the cut last week at Quail Hollow. “I had myself a few chances in there to make some putts, make some birdies, and didn’t really do it.”

Masters champion Mickelson finished with the same score and felt about the same way.

“Two under is not what I wanted,” Mickelson said. “But there is a round in the mid 60s. If I can shoot that tomorrow, I’ll get right back in it.”

Holmes played bogey-free for his 66. The only time he came close to a bogey was at No. 10, when he hit over the green and did well to chip to 15 feet before making the par putt.

“It was a fun day, one of those rounds where everything was going pretty good,” Holmes said. “It’s kind of one of those rounds where it’s not easy, but it felt pretty easy.”

Allenby played in the afternoon, when the breeze kicked up, and only had one lapse with a three-putt on the par-3 eighth.

“Greens were a bit slow out there, definitely quite soft after the rain that we’ve had the last couple of days,” Allenby said. “It definitely made it very accessible, some of those flags. I’m happy with the start, just happy to be amongst it.”

It was a large group.

Francesco Molinari of Italy had a chance to join the leaders until he chopped up the par-5 ninth hole for a bogey and finished at 68. Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and Davis Love III were another stroke back at 69. Els was 2 over, one shot behind a group that included Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy.

With scrutiny higher than ever after the worst tournament of his career, Woods settled down after a shaky start and eased speculation that he could miss consecutive cuts for the first time in his career.

A week ago, he had his second-highest round (79) and the worst 36-hole score (153) of his career to miss the cut by eight shots. Then came practice rounds that didn’t look much better.

“I’ve felt like I’ve done some good work this week, even though reports are I was hitting all over the lot,” Woods said. “But I was working on a few things. I was very comfortable with what I was working toward, and I was very excited about what was happening. It was just a matter of doing it in competition. And I did it today.”

A few pars saved the day – one after a hooked tee shot into the trees, another when he fanned a shot to the right into the bunker on No. 4, then made an 8-foot par putt after hitting another bunker.

Nothing looked worse than a 3-wood he popped up on No. 7, barely reaching the fairway and having to hit a 5-wood for his second shot on a par 4. He got up-and-down for par, and two holes later, gave a light but meaningful fist pump when he hit 5-wood to a tucked green on the par-5 ninth to 18 feet for a two-putt birdie.

His round could have been considerably better had he not missed so many birdie chances – four putts inside 12 feet. Even so, Woods sounded much more optimistic after playing only his seventh round of competition since Nov. 15.

“It takes time to get into the rhythm of competing, and it takes tournaments,” he said. “And I haven’t had a lot of tournaments under my belt.”

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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