Johnson Set for His Fifth Major - COPIED

By Associated PressJuly 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
2006 John Deere ClassicSILVIS, Ill. -- He hasnt been back to survey the destruction, not that Zach Johnson really needs it.
 
He saw the videos and pictures.
 
He heard the horror stories from his relatives and friends back home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and he realizes just how fortunate they are.
 
The damage they suffered relative to other people, its really minimal, he said.
 
For those not so fortunate, Johnson encouraged the PGA TOUR to raise funds for flood victims. The PGA stepped up, and Johnson is relieved that his biggest problem heading into the John Deere Classic is getting his game on track.
 
Johnson is again one of the top attractions at the John Deere, which he considers his home event even though he cant seem to settle in here. He has never finished higher than 20th and missed the cut last year, a few months after winning the Masters.
 
This time, hes returning from left wrist tendinitis that kept him out for three weeks as he tries to conquer a course that has given him fits over the years. And hell be challenged by a relatively deep field for a tournament that the top players generally skip because of the British Open.
 
To combat that, organizers chartered a jet this year to fly participants from the Quad Cities to Manchester, England, meaning no more dashes to OHare for commercial flights. No more connections, either.
 
Last year, only eight participants went from the Deere to the British Open. This year, there are 22 on the passenger list, including two alternates and the highest finisher not already qualified for Royal Birkdale.
 
One player who wont be on that plane is veteran Kenny Perry.
 
A two-time tour winner this year, he chose to skip the British Open and stick with his plan to play the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee next week.
 
You know what, Im an independent contractor, said Perry, ranked 20th in the world and fourth on the money list. I can do whatever I want, and I like that.
 
His focus is on helping the U.S. win the Ryder Cup at Valhalla in his home state, Kentucky. Winning a major?
 
That is the ultimate, he said. But at this stage of my career, I fought all that for 22 years. I want to play golf at the courses I enjoy playing at these last couple years, and Im going to go out on my terms, not on their terms.
 
Johnson was a surprise winner at Augusta in 2007, but he has struggled here for some reason.
 
He grew up just over an hour away in Cedar Rapids, serves on the tournaments board and believes the course suits his game.
 
So why the problems?
 
Maybe its just the added pressure on myself, he said. I havent figured that part out yet. Maybe Im just not clicking at the right time, either.
 
Johnson seemed to be clicking entering last years tournament, when he was ranked 15th.
 
Now?
 
Hes down to 29th after missing three cuts and finishing in the top 10 just once in 15 starts this year, although he thinks he played better than the scores indicate. This will be Johnsons first tournament since the U.S. Open when he was gone after the second round.
 
Tendinitis in the wrist surfaced the following Tuesday while preparing for the Travelers Championship in Connecticut. He iced it that night but couldnt move it the next morning.
 
What was frustrating was I get hurt and I thought it was a pretty big deal, but SportsCenter was Tiger and his injury; I got nothing, Johnson said in jest.
 
He started swinging again last week, but regaining his timing takes, well, time.
 
While he recovers, so does a region.
 
The Monday after the U.S. Open, Johnson suggested to commissioner Tim Finchem and several other officials that the tour raise money for the flood victims. A few days later, an unknowing Jerry Kelly did the same.
 
The fund started last week, and the total through the weekend was $12,975.
 
To me, this is like a Midwest Katrina, said Kelly, a Wisconsin native who got a firsthand look at the damage in his home state when he caddied at the Womens U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Erin Hills last month.
 
Johnson was in Cedar Rapids the week before the flood. His parents Dave and Julie left for the U.S. Open the day before it hit and were lucky to return to an intact house.
 
His moms downtown office was flooded, but she can work out of home or at a satellite office at a local high school. His dads chiropractic clinic escaped damage even though a nearby hospital and surrounding offices were devastated.
 
I saw a lot of pictures and some kind of video (of the area) and Im telling you its the luckiest thing, Johnson said. His office is sitting right there and you can see about two or three yards. His office is two or three feet higher than all the other offices there. No damage whatsoever.
 
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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