Lefty Four Back of Young Stadler

By Associated PressNovember 8, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 HSBC ChampionsSHANGHAI -- Kevin Stadler of the United States and Sweden's Niclas Fasth each shot 8-under 64s on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the HSBC Champions tournament.
 
Stadler and Fasth were three shots ahead of Vijay Singh at Sheshan Golf Club, and four clear of a large group of players -- including American Phil Mickelson, British Open champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Englishman Paul Casey -- at 68.
 
Stadler, who was in danger of losing his American tour card, finished tied for 15th place last weekend in the final event of the U.S. season -- the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Orlando, Florida. He wound up in the top 125 on the money list -- barely, at No. 124 -- which allowed him to keep his card.
 
The relief showed on Thursday.
 
'It was great to come here and play a worry-free tournament,' Stadler said. 'I haven't had many of them in the last month or two.
 
'I was trying not to let it bother me, but it was pretty apparent I was a little on edge because I felt great today being through with all of that.'
 
The son of Craig Stadler -- known as 'The Walrus' -- Kevin Stadler is large like his dad and has a small goatee. But he's never picked up a similar nickname like, perhaps, 'Baby Walrus.'
 
'No, that doesn't work very well, thankfully,' Stadler said. 'I've avoided that for most of my life. I'd love to keep it that way.'
 
Stadler had six birdies on the front nine -- three straight to open the round.
 
'Absolutely, it was a great start,' he said.
 
He dropped one shot on the back nine, a bogey on No. 11 that came after his drive landed in a bunker. A bad lie forced him to chip out sideways, settling for 'an easy 5.'
 
The 64s matched the course record, which was also recorded by Tiger Woods, Henrik Stenson and Michael Campbell.
 
Fasth also got off to a great start, dropping a 12-foot birdie putt on the first hole, then added an eagle-3 on No. 2, where he sank a 25-foot putt after landing a 5-wood to the back of the green.
 
'It was a perfect start for me,' Fasth said. 'To be 3-under after two holes, it's not every day you get that. And I just kept playing on.'
 
Without Tiger Woods in the field -- he played here last year but failed to win -- most of the attention has turned to No. 2-ranked Phil Mickelson.
 
Mickelson birdied three of the first four holes and then played steady, mostly error-free golf.
 
'I just kind of played solid after that,' Mickelson said. 'It shows there's some low scores out there, but I feel like I played pretty good to get to 4-under.'
 
Mickelson is playing his second straight event in Asia -- and his first in China. He finished in a disappointing tie for 23rd place last weekend in Singapore -- 16 shots behind winner Angel Cabrera.
 
Mickelson, who heads home after this event, blamed his poor finish in Singapore on 'a bit of a virus' over the weekend, which was made worse by the tropical heat in Singapore. He said this week he's 'nearly 100 percent.'
 
'I want to spend more time in Asia,' Mickelson said. 'I feel like I'm learning a lot. My kids are with me and they're learning a lot, too. The quality of golf course here is every bit as good as the States.'
 
'Mickelson played with China's best player -- Liang Wenchong. Liang shot 69 and impressed the two-time Masters champion.
 
'I was very pleased with Liang, he's a wonderful player,' Mickelson said. 'I think he's got some great things to come.'
 
The HSBC tournament has drawn 10 of the world's top 20 players. Though it's still 2007, the HSBC event is also the first of the 2008 PGA European Tour season, which has become a 12-month season without a break.
 
'This is the best scenario we can have on the European Tour to get these tournaments in where there is room on the schedule,' Fasth said. 'Yes, they are on the wrong side of New Year's Eve, but this is the way it goes these days.'
 

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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


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    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

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    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

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    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