Masters cant come soon enough for Woods

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2011, 3:05 am

The interview room was packed, with green-jacketed Augusta National members lining the back wall to make sure journalists didn’t get too unruly. Tiger Woods was on his way in, finally ready to answer some of the questions about the mystery that surrounded his life.

None of us in the room that day last April expected to learn much, and Woods was true to form. He talked vaguely about becoming a better man, danced around questions about his personal life and offered little about the state of his game.

Even the bizarre commercial Nike ran a few days later with his late father presumably speaking to him from above drew just a soulful gaze from an otherwise silent Woods.

“I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. And did you learn anything?” Dad asked.

A year later we’re still trying to figure that out. Woods remains as much of an enigma today as he was in the room that day at Augusta National, preparing for his return to golf while still grappling with the issues that would eventually make him a divorced man.

There are reports he has a new girlfriend, which stirred up some excitement recently among the tabloids. But as another Masters looms the talk about his personal life has largely faded.

Now we just want to know about his game.

It was on display Saturday in Florida, where Woods entered the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with thoughts of contending after a posting a nifty 68 the day before on a tough golf course.

“We’re trying to build toward the first major, and that’s kind of how my game is,” he said after the round. “It’s building, and it’s coming.”

Hopeful words, though nothing we haven’t heard before. Woods has been talking about his game coming around for months now, even as his winless streak stretches into a second year.

Then he plays like he did on Saturday, and you wonder if he’ll ever win another green jacket again.

Two balls in the water on the back nine. Chunked chips from perfect lies. Misses on short putts, the kind he never missed before.

It all added up to a fat 74 that once again left Woods no chance of winning in his final tuneup before the Masters. On a course he once dominated, Woods struggled to hold his place as Bubba Watson and some of the game’s rising stars took dead aim at the flags.

The Masters is less than two weeks away. And Woods still looks lost.

Just what is wrong with his game has been debated in press rooms and bars from the coast of California to the swamps of Florida. Trying to figure it out is about as easy as trying to figure Woods out, and that’s a task a lot of amateur psychologists have failed at.

He has a good round, then follows it with a stinker. He hits shots like the Woods of old used to hit, then follows them with clunkers.

There’s no real pattern to it, which makes it even more perplexing. Woods himself seems baffled by it all, as if it’s happening to someone else.

He should be dreading the drive down Magnolia Lane to one of the parking spots reserved for former champions. In a strange way, though, Augusta National might just be the perfect place to turn it all around. 

He picked it for his coming out party last year and was in contention all week, despite a balky swing. Every round was under par, and his tie for fourth place gave no indication of the struggles that were yet to come.

He knows every blade of grass and every shot he’ll have to play. If he was able perform like he did last year with the circus that surrounded him, he should be able to put some scores on the board this year.

“There are certain golf courses where I feel pretty good and comfortable no matter how my form is going into it, and Augusta is one of them,” Woods said. “Over the years I’ve won there a few times, but the majority of my finishes have been pretty high. Golf course fits my game.”

If Woods was upset after his round Saturday, he didn’t show it. He was patient with the press, then went and signed autographs for about five minutes.

That’s something the Tiger of old wouldn’t have done and proof he’s at least trying to live up to his vow of being more respectful to both the game and its fans. He’s still a work in progress but seems more comfortable in his occasional interactions with fans.

The new swing is coming around, too. There are more good shots than bad, and now it’s just a matter of putting them together more consistently.

Sooner or later, though, he needs to win to get his swagger back.

For Woods, the Masters couldn’t come at a better time.

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm