Karlsson leads money race at season finale - COPIED

By Associated PressOctober 30, 2008, 4:00 pm
2005 Volvo MastersSOTOGRANDE, Spain ' Robert Karlsson leads a four-way chase for European golfs Order of Merit title at the season-ending Volvo Masters.
 
The tournament, which features the top 57 players on the European Tour, begins Thursday with Karlsson protecting a $372,100 advantage over two-time major winner Padraig Harrington.
 
Former champion Lee Westwood trails by $596,258 in third, ahead of Spanish challenger Miguel Angel Jimenez, who needs to make up an $864,770 deficit.
 
Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington has his eyes set on a second Order of Merit crown. (Getty Images)
Though Harrington won the British Open and the PGA Championship this year, Karlssons consistent season ' 12 top-10 finishes and recent back-to-back victories ' has put him at the top of the money list with $3,442,767.
 
The 39-year-old Swede said he will treat this event like every other without the extra pressure.
 
If I start playing match play against Padraig and Westwood, I think were going to put ourselves in a lot of trouble, Karlsson said. I cant play on safety or anything like that. My focus is going to do my best this week and see on Sunday if its going to be enough. Its a tough task ahead.
 
Karlsson, who can become the first Swede to capture the year-end honor, finished in the top eight at every major except the PGA, where he was 20th. But perhaps the biggest reason he leads Harrington is that Karlsson has played 10 more tournaments this year.
 
Its not really a fair judgment of the season, said Karlsson, who won the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Alfred Dunhill Championship. But if you win it, youre not going to complain.
 
Harrington said he expects a stern test with the greens rolling quicker than usual. Strong winds are also expected on the 6,988-yard par-71 course, while heavy showers have been forecast for Friday.
 
Robert has performed more consistently in Europe than I have throughout the year, so consistency wise, and thats what an Order of Merit is, he probably deserves it ' but that doesnt mean he gets it, Harrington said. We have to wait until Sunday to sort that out.
 
Harrington, who is going for his second Order of Merit after edging Paul Casey in a dramatic finale two years ago, can be buoyed by one statistic: No champion has successfully defended his title.
 
With 2007 champion Justin Rose out of the Order of Merit picture, the contenders know the $904,589 prize is essential for their chances of winning at the Valderrama course, which is hosting the 21st edition of the European classic for the final time.
 
Ive got to go out there and try and win the tournament, and there are two bonuses with that: if I win the tournament, I win the Order of Merit. So thats whats in my mind for the week, said Harrington, who has shown tenacity at the last two editions with final round comebacks.
 
Former Volvo Masters champions Westwood (1997) and Jimenez (1999) face tougher tasks since catching Karlsson also depends on how the Swede performs. Both players need victories coupled with Karlsson low down the leaderboard to have any chance.
 
Sergio Garcia remains a contender for his first Volvo Masters trophy after three runner-up finishes at Valderrama. The 28-year-old Spaniard is coming off victory at the Castello Masters to snap a three-year European Tour drought.
 
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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.


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    Victory at Valderrama


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm