Mickelson Garcia Kim come out firing

By Associated PressNovember 6, 2008, 5:00 pm
2006 HSBC ChampionsSHANGHAI, China ' Henrik Stenson shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the HSBC Champions.
 
The Swede dropped a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th, putting him a shot ahead of four of the games top players: Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim, defending champion Phil Mickelson and Australias Adam Scott.
 
Garcia nearly tied for the lead, but the Spaniard missed a four-foot eagle putt on the 18th.
 
Unfortunately, my putting stroke didnt feel as good as its been feeling lately, Garcia said. Maybe its the jet-lag or something.
 
Garcia is the worlds No. 3-ranked player behind Tiger Woods and Mickelson, and has a chance to move in to second if he finishes in the top three this week.
 
If he wins, the No. 2 spot is his. If Garcia finishes second, Mickelson needs to finish at least fourth to keep his spot. Mickelson will need to finish at least 15th if Garcia is third.
 
The important thing is that Im moving in the right direction, Garcia said. It will be nice to finish the year as No. 2, but if I dont, Im just going to come out next year going strong and try to keep playing well.
 
Mickelson said he seldom thinks about being ranked No. 2 behind Woods, or losing that spot to Garcia this week.
 
Thats the last thing that I really think about, other than trying to improve my game and be the best that I can be and hopefully the best in the world, he said. But I dont worry about the points system or the actual rankings themselves.
 
The HSBC event is being called Asias major, and there are suggestions it should become a World Golf Championships event. For now, its simply a $5 million tournament with 10 of the worlds top 20 playing.
 
An all-day drizzle combined with some heavy rain ' mixed with fog and Shanghai smog ' to limit visibility at the Sheshan Golf Club located just outside Chinas financial capital.
 
Stenson said at the 288-yard 16th he could see only contours of the green.
 
It was pretty hard to see at times, yeah, the Swede said. I thought there would have been a fog delay, or a smog delay.
 
Added Mickelson: Although it was difficult to see, it was very good scoring conditions.
 
Stenson opened with a bogey, but then dropped a 6-foot putt for an eagle on No. 2. He birdied the next three holes ' two with 15-foot putts ' and kept building momentum.
 
I was rolling it good on the greens, Stenson said. I think it was more being able to shoot a really good score without playing well.
 
Kim limped around the course after badly spraining his right ankle and bruising his jaw while horseback riding in the last few weeks. He said the horse raised up and as it came down, his mouth slammed shut as his mount hit the ground.
 
I dont know whats going on with it, Kim said of his jaw. I just cant open my mouth very wide.
 
My diet is pretty much limited to noodles, he added.
 
The HSBC Champions is the first event of the European Tour season that culminates a year from now in the Dubai World Championship. The European Tour has also rebranded the Order of Merit ' the season money title ' and now calls it the Race to Dubai.
 
The Dubai tournament will have a $10 million purse with $10 million more available in bonus money.
 
Several American-based players ' including Kim and Camilo Villegas of Colombia ' have recently joined the European Tour hoping to capitalize on the season-ending money prize.
 
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  • 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.