Jay Haas rallies to win Greater Hickory Classic

By Associated PressSeptember 21, 2009, 1:25 am
Champions Tour

CONOVER, N.C. – Jay Haas has won plenty of times on the Champions Tour.

This one may leave quite an impression.

Haas overcame a slow start to shoot a 7-under 65 on Sunday, setting a tournament record while winning his second Greater Hickory Classic by two shots over Russ Cochran and Andy Bean.

Haas, who also won the event in 2005, finished at 18-under 198 at Rock Barn Golf and Spa’s Robert Trent Jones course. His three-day total broke the tournament mark by one shot, set by R.W. Eaks in 2007.

Jay Haas
Jay Haas now has 13 career Champions Tour wins. (Getty Images)
It also made the 13-time winner on the 50-and-over tour the second repeat winner in the tournament’s seven-year history. Eaks won back-to-back titles in 2007 and ’08.

“I didn’t see this coming, certainly not a couple weeks ago,” said Haas, who had been receiving treatment for tendinitis in his right elbow, which kept him off the tour for a month.

“A couple weeks ago, I just didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know if my shot was going to work,” he said. “But today, it felt great – no pain at all.”

Cochran and Bean also shot 65 on Sunday, with Hal Sutton (65) and second-round co-leader Nick Price (68) tied for fourth at 15 under.

Haas and Price, who were tied for the lead at 11 under after Saturday’s round, both got off to slow starts Sunday. Haas didn’t get his first birdie until the fifth hole and tacked on a second on No. 7, while Price bogeyed his first two holes to fall two strokes behind.

That opened the door for Cochran, who had earned provisional qualifying status on the Champions Tour at the start of the season, and earned exempt status after a third-place finish at the U.S. Senior Open.

Making just his 11th start, Cochran made four birdies on the front nine, the last two tying him for the lead. He then birdied No. 12 to pull ahead, and tacked on another birdie on No. 13 to go up by two strokes.

“I hit a lot of real good shots,” Cochran said. “I was real happy with the way I played. Unfortunately, I caught a great champion on a good day.”

Haas, who shot a 10-under 62 on Friday, assumed command of the tournament with birdies on five of the last six holes, including four straight between Nos. 13-16.

“The first 12 holes, I played awfully well … but I didn’t have a lot of close shots,” he said. “I really didn’t know what Russ was doing up ahead of me … but I figured that 13 (under) wasn’t going to be good enough. So I was trying to birdie every hole.”

Haas ended a 26-tournament winless streak dating back to last year.

Bean, who began the day among three players tied for third at 9 under, made a late run after two birdies on the front nine. He played a five-hole stretch of the back nine in 3 over, then eagled the par-3 18th to pull even with Cochran.

Jeff Sluman, Mark McNulty and Bob Tway finished tied for sixth, five shots back, after all shot 65 in Sunday’s final round. Fred Funk (70), who led Loren Roberts by 57 points in the Charles Schwab Cup standings entering this week’s tournament, was among eight players tied for 12th at 10 under.

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 Web.com 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.