Magic number is 125 for dozens at Viking Classic

By Associated PressOctober 28, 2009, 6:15 pm

Viking Classic 2007 LogoMADISON, Miss. – Just five years after winning the British Open, Todd Hamilton is fighting for his PGA Tour card at the Viking Classic.

He isn’t alone.

The tournament begins Thursday with dozens of players trying to retain their eligibility with two events left in the 2009 season. All 21 players between Nos. 114 and 135 on the money list are entered. The top 125 get full exempt status on the 2010 Tour.

“It’s important for me to keep my card,” Hamilton said while pelting range balls.

The tournament’s new spot on the schedule makes it a pivotal event for players hovering around the cutoff. And Hamilton has work to do at No. 133.

It’s the first time he’s been in such a difficult position. His Open victory in his first year on tour gave him a five-year exemption. That expires after this year’s season finale Nov. 12-15 at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

“I know that it’s a nerve-racking thing if you are on the bubble,” Matt Kuchar said. “The best thing to do is try not think about it, try not figure out what position you’ve got to finish in. Just play good golf.”

Kuchar isn’t worried. He’s 24th on the money list, second only to 14th-place David Toms in the field, and arguably the hottest player among the 132 chasing the $648,000 winner’s check at a waterlogged Annandale Golf Club, after winning three weeks ago and finishing in the top 15 in his last five consecutive tournaments.

Thunderstorms earlier in the week drowned the course, taking some of the bite out of the par-72, 7,199-yard layout and leaving players like rookie Ricky Barnes soaking wet after a Tuesday afternoon practice round.

Barnes, who built a six-shot lead in the third round of the U.S. Open in June before finishing second, is another player with his card on the line. After that runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, he missed six of nine cuts, slipping to No. 121.

Drop five spots and Barnes could wind up back in PGA Tour Qualifying School for a fifth time. He’s never graduated from Q-School, a grueling event capped by a six-round final where the top 25 win full playing rights.

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  • Event: Viking Classic

“I’m playing the golf course instead of the rest of the 15 guys near that number,” said Barnes, who finished high enough on the Nationwide Tour money list last season to give him full exemption onto the PGA Tour this year. “You can’t really treat it as match play.”

But Hamilton will, in a way, especially this late in the year. The 44-year-old said during late-season tournaments, scoreboards don’t just show scores. They’ll show the live fluctuations in the money list during the event.

“You look up there and you see 128 by your name,” he said, “it’s a little different than when you see 123 or 124.”

There are a few more familiar names lingering around the cutoff: 2001 PGA champ Rich Beem is No. 124 and former world No. 1 and 2001 British Open champion David Duval is 125th.

Asked if he’s glanced at the money list to figure out what position he needs to finish in these last two tournaments, Hamilton shrugged.

“I haven’t,” he said. “But I may.”

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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