Nelson Picard Elected to Hall of Fame

By Associated PressApril 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
Hall of Fame logo (75x86)Larry Nelson, overlooked as a Ryder Cup captain and often forgotten despite his remarkable journey from Vietnam War veteran to three-time major champion, finally got his due Wednesday when he was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
'Of all the awards, nothing can top this,' Nelson said.
Nelson was elected on the PGA TOUR ballot by getting 65 percent of the vote, the minimum required.
He will be inducted Oct. 30 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., along with the late Henry Picard, selected through the veteran's category; and Vijay Singh, who deferred his induction after being elected last year. That will bring membership in the Hall of Fame to 112.
Nelson's election came in his 11th year on the PGA TOUR ballot, and in many respects, it was overdue.
He won the PGA Championship twice and the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Seve Ballesteros as the only players to capture three majors in the 1980s. Nelson played on three Ryder Cup teams, posting a 9-3-1 record and becoming the only player to go 5-0 in a Ryder Cup.
But he was passed over as U.S. captain the last four times, with the PGA of America opting for Tom Lehman for this year's matches.
'This honor is so far greater than that,' Nelson said. 'I don't relate the two things. This has to do with my career. The Ryder Cup captain has to do with three or four people deciding who does that for the year.'
Picard, who died in 1997, won 26 times on the PGA TOUR, including the 1938 Masters and the 1939 PGA Championship. He later became a teacher, with Hall of Famer Beth Daniel among his pupils.
No one was elected from the International ballot, with Jumbo Ozaki heading the list with 46 percent of the vote. An inductee from the Lifetime Achievement category is expected later this spring.
Nelson was informed of his election three weeks ago, and even for a man who went about his golf so quietly, it was difficult for him to keep this a secret until the announcement at the Legends of Golf tournament in Savannah, Ga.
His road to the Hall of Fame is unlike any other.
Nelson's joy was baseball as a kid, and he thought golf was a sissy sport until he met a burly soldier in Vietnam named Ken Hummel who told him about guys making a living playing golf. Returning from the war, Nelson went to Kennesaw Junior College in Georgia and decided to play golf when he wasn't in class.
He was given Ben Hogan's book, 'Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf,' as a guide, and was encouraged by members at Pine Tree Country Club, where he worked, to try the mini-tours.
'I fell in love with it and got better every day,' Nelson said. 'I was always put in a situation where everyone was better than I was. My motivation was getting better and feeding my family.'
He broke 100 the first time he played, and made it through PGA Tour qualifying school in 1973. Six years later, he won the Jackie Gleason Inverrary Classic by three shots over Grier Jones, then won his first major in 1981 by four shots over Fuzzy Zoeller at Atlanta Athletic Club.
His defining victory might have been the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 1983, when he beat Watson by one shot. Nelson added the '87 PGA Championship at PGA National, beating Lanny Wadkins in a playoff. He ended his career with 10 victories.
'Until I get in front of everyone in St. Augustine will it actually feel it's real,' Nelson said. 'I'm living in a dream world right now.'
What touched him the most Wednesday was a group of Hall of Famers who attended the announcement, such as Hale Irwin, Tom Kite, Charlie Sifford, Tony Jacklin and Carol Mann.
'I don't know of too many people who feel they deserve to be in there,' Nelson said. 'To get the 'welcome' from guys who have accomplished a lot more than you have ... it's like winning another major, as far as I'm concerned.'
Picard won the '38 Masters with a 32 on the front nine, holding off Harry 'Lighthorse' Cooper and Ralph Guldahl, then won the PGA a year later with a birdie on the 36th hole to square his match with Byron Nelson, and a birdie on the first hole to win.
'Henry Picard was one of the country's brightest stars in the decade leading up to World War II, where his victory total compares favorably to the likes of Sam Snead during that span,' PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said.
The voting body for the World Golf Hall of Fame consists of Hall of Fame members, golf writers and historians, the World Golf Foundation board of directors and members of the Hall of Fame's advisory board.
The Hall of Fame does not disclose vote totals, only percentages.
While he was selected through the veteran's category, Picard received 53 percent of the vote on the PGA TOUR ballot. Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange received 50 percent, followed by Craig Wood at 37 percent.
Copyright 2006 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 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.