Marucci Merion set for Walker Cup showdown

By Associated PressSeptember 11, 2009, 2:39 am

USGAPHILADELPHIA – Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones left their mark at Merion Golf Club’s East Course. Now, a member of the venerable club will try to add to its legacy.

George “Buddy” Marucci Jr. will lead the two-time defending champion U.S. team against Great Britain and Ireland in the 42nd Walker Cup this weekend in suburban Philadelphia.

Marucci also was in charge of the U.S. team in 2007, when the Americans pulled off a dramatic 12 1/2 -11 1/2 victory at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland in the amateur equivalent of the Ryder Cup. The U.S. team ended a streak of three consecutive losses in 2005.

The weekend competition consists of four alternate-shot and eight singles matches on Saturday, followed by four alternate-shot and 10 singles matches Sunday.

The U.S. team should benefit from their captain’s intimate knowledge of the slick greens and rolling fairways of the storied layout, which is hosting its 18th USGA event.

Buddy Marucci 2007 Walker Cup
Buddy Marucci captained the winning 2007 U.S. Walker Cup team at Royal County Down Golf Club. (Getty Images)


Marucci grew up in a house just off the eighth green of Merion East, where Jones completed the Grand Slam in 1930, and Hogan claimed the U.S. Open in 1950, one year after surviving a horrible car crash.

“Merion is very important to me,” Marucci said. “Certainly winning at Merion would be very, very special.”

Marucci said he is more excited than nervous to have the event at his home club.

And, there’s an excitement in the air at Merion, as the event is considered a trial run for when the club hosts the U.S. Open in 2013.

Jack Whitaker, a Philadelphia native and Merion member who was part of three Walker Cup TV broadcasts, expects the competition to be every bit as good as that of the Ryder Cup, without the raucous gallery.

“It’s a real privilege to have the Walker Cup at Merion and to have a Merion member as the defending captain,” Whitaker said in an e-mail to the Associated Press. “Though not as popular as the Ryder Cup, the Walker Cup is one of the last important amateur events left on the sports calendar. … It once again defines the word amateur as being one who does it for the love of the game, not one who does something poorly.”

While speaking of all amateurs, Whitaker’s comment best describes Marucci.

Once best known as the 43-year-old opponent who lost to Tiger Woods on the last hole of the 36-hole final of the 1995 U.S. Amateur, Marucci, a lifelong amateur, has found success late in his golf career.

A participant in more than 50 USGA events, including 18 U.S. Amateurs, Marucci broke through for his only national championship in 2008 at the Senior Amateur Championship.

He played for the U.S. Walker Cup team in 1995 and ’97, and compiled a 3-0 record in alternate-shot matches and a 1-1-1 singles mark.

Marucci’s interest in competitive golf began innocently enough. The 8-year-old sneaked onto the East Course in 1960 and watched Jack Nicklaus and a team of Americans win the Eisenhower Cup in the World Amateur Team Championship.

“I think that is the first time I realized that something like that existed,” Marucci said. “I can’t tell you that I understood what was going on, but I kind of liked it.”

Marucci got serious about golf in high school and had a solid college career at Maryland.

He chose the business world over the nomadic life of a pro golfer, a decision that was made easier when he considered the talent of his peers.

“My era was (Ben) Crenshaw, (Tom) Kite and Lanny Wadkins,” Marucci said. “I was smart enough to know those guys were a lot better than I was. … It was more of a lifestyle issue than anything else. I just don’t think I would have enjoyed it.”

Marucci went to work for his father’s CPA firm out of college, and then worked for a few years on Wall Street. He returned to the Philadelphia area to get involved in commercial real estate development, a move that allowed him time to get back into golf.

He enjoyed plenty of success locally, winning the Pennsylvania Amateur four times and the Philadelphia Amateur twice.

Unable to defend his Senior Am title this year because of his obligations as coach of the Walker Cup team, Marucci said he wouldn’t trade playing for coaching.

“Being captain of the team is the nicest thing I’ve ever done,” Marucci said. “I’d trade a lot of the things I’ve done for this opportunity.”

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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
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.