Long-Hitting Wie Latest Young Sensation at Kraft Nabisco

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2003, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Like many 13-year-olds, Michelle Wie is self-conscious about her braces and ill at ease when talking to adults.
When it comes to hitting the golf ball, though, Wie seems all grown up.
The Korean-American teenager with the big swing drew gasps from the galleries at the Kraft Nabisco tournament Thursday, pounding the ball more than 300 yards off the tee on some holes.
The rest of her game wasn't too bad, either, as Wie shot an even-par 72 in the first round of the LPGA Tour major championship.
``It was OK,'' Wie said. ``I can take it.''
The 6-foot Wie consistently hit the ball well past playing partners Natalie Gulbis and Christina Kim, but it may have been her calm demeanor that was the most impressive thing about her major championship debut.
Even missing short birdie putts on the 16th and 17th holes didn't get her down.
``Tee to green was perfect,'' Wie said. ``Green to hole wasn't as good.''
Wie wasted no time showing off her long game, knocking her drive on the first hole 30 yards past Kim. On the second hole, a par-5 playing 504 yards, she was 50 yards past Kim and had only 185 yards to the green for her second shot.
The eighth-grader from Honolulu is well on her way to her goal for the week -- making the cut for the first time in an LPGA tournament.
``Just play even par or a little under par,'' Wie said. ``I don't want to be at the top, it puts too much pressure on myself.''
Wie played in three LPGA events as a 12-year-old last year, missing the cut in all three. She will play in six tournaments this year, the most allowed under a new LPGA regulation designed to keep too many young players from taking tournament spots.
Though she won't be eligible to play as a pro until 2008, Wie's long hitting ways are already well known among the women players.
``Wow, she's got some swing,'' Se Ri Pak said. ``It looks like she's got some game, too. I can't say exactly, but I can see that she's going to be a really good player.''
Wie's father, B.J. Wie, caddied for her as he usually does. Both the father, a university professor, and the daughter are on spring break.
``She was nervous but being nervous helps her most of the time because she can concentrate more,'' B.J. Wie said.
The elder Wie said his daughter hasn't been welcomed by all LPGA players, though he said no one has said anything negative to either him or her. He rejected the suggestion that perhaps his daughter was doing too much at too young an age.
``I don't think so. This is a great opportunity,'' he said. ``Why not take the opportunity?''
Wie's appearance at the Kraft Nabisco isn't all that unique. Aree and Naree Song both made their debut in this event at the age of 13 when it was known as the Nabisco Championship and they were known as the Wongluekiet twins.
The Songs are now 16, and Aree finished in the group before Wie on Thursday with a 72. Unlike three years ago, no one was there to interview either her or her sister, who shot a 78.
Wie, meanwhile, seemed to handle the attention well enough for someone who is just as concerned with getting her braces off as she is with hitting her drives long and straight.
She was supposed to have them taken off before the tournament, but broke a bracket and now has to wait.
``I hope so,'' she said when asked if they were going to come off soon.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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.