Lee leads Fowler, Lefty in front of record WMPO crowd

By Associated PressFebruary 6, 2016, 11:58 pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Danny Lee knew there was a huge crowd Saturday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He still was amazed when told just how many people packed TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course.

''Two-hundred thousand?'' Lee asked, making sure he heard right.

Actually, an estimated 201,003 - the largest crowd in golf history.

''Wow! This is crazy,'' Lee said.

Lee had some pretty good numbers of his own on a sunny, warm afternoon at golf's biggest party, shooting a 4-under 67 to move three strokes ahead of friend Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama with one round left.

''Taking slow breath out there really helps,'' Lee said about the wild atmosphere.

The previous largest crowd at the Stadium Course was 189,722 in 2014. The event also set a day record Friday at 160,415, and has drawn 535,035 for the first six days - close to the weekly mark of 564,368 set last year.

''I'm just trying to enjoy myself and I am,'' Lee said. ''It's so much fun out there, so many people just cheering for Rickie instead of me, unfortunately. But I'm having fun.''

Lee had six birdies and two bogeys to reach 13-under 200. The 25-year-old South Korean-born New Zealander won the Greenbrier Classic last year for his first PGA Tour title.

''Winning at the Greenbrier Classic gave me a lot of confidence,'' Lee said. ''It kind of taught me how to be on the top and what I need to work on and what it takes to win a golf tournament.''

He's making his fourth appearance in the event after missing the cuts the last three years.

''I always struggled with my tee-shot game out here,'' Lee said. ''This week, I have been driving it really nicely.''


Waste Management Phoenix Open: Articles, photos and videos


Fowler parred the final five holes for a 70. Matsuyama had a 68.

''I just didn't get much out of the round,'' said Fowler, at No. 4 the top-ranked player in the field. ''Just kind of managed it well and played with what I had to get around.''

Second-round leader James Hahn had a 74 to fall into a tie for seventh at 7 under. Tied with Lee for the lead at 12 under after the 11th hole, he dropped five strokes on the next three holes.

Hahn bogeyed the par-3 12th and made double bogeys on par-5 13th and par-4 14th. He drove left into the desert on 13, then hit his tee shot out-of-bounds to the right on the long, uphill 14th after a fan distracted him at the top of his swing.

Lee birdied Nos. 2-4, making a 21-footer on the par-4 fourth, and holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the par-4 eighth.

After a three-putt bogey on the par-4 11th left him tied with Hahn, Lee got up-and-down for par from the greenside bunker on 12 to pull ahead. Hahn and Fowler bogeyed the hole from the same bunker.

Lee birdied 13, but gave back the stroke with a bogey on the par-5 15th after driving left into the water. The 2008 U.S. Amateur champion got back to 13 under with a 9-foot birdie putt on the short par-4 17th.

Fowler got a break on the 15th when his hybrid from the right rough ballooned short and right and stopped a foot short of the water.

''It came out soft and floated on me,'' Fowler said. ''Got a little lucky there.''

He won two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi for his fourth worldwide victory in nine months.

Matsuyama chipped in for birdie on the par-4 14th and two-putted for birdie on 15. The 23-year-old Japanese player tied for second last year, a stroke behind Brooks Koepka.

''I didn't putt very well today,'' Matsuyama said through a translator. ''I didn't drive the ball very well, but I did get it around. I'm happy with that.''

Bryce Molder and Boo Weekley were 9 under. Molder closed with an 18-foot putt on the par-4 ninth for a 64, the best round of the week. Weekley birdied three of the last four holes for a 65.

Phil Mickelson was 8 under after 65. The 45-year-old former Arizona State player made an unlikely birdie on 15 when his hybrid from 255 yards went so far right that it crossed the lake and ended up in the 11th fairway. He hit a wedge to 15 feet and made the putt.

''It was the worst shot of the year and I ended up making a birdie,'' said Mickelson, the tournament winner in 1996, 2005 and 2013.

Bubba Watson had his first over-par round ever at TPC Scottsdale, shooting a 73 to drop to 2 under. He shot par or better in his first 36 rounds in the tournament.

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.