Nicklaus Palmer christen new Michigan course

By Associated PressAugust 11, 2010, 3:30 am

2010 PGA Championship

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Days before another major champion is crowned, four players who have won their fair share of big golf tournaments played 18 holes together.

This was no ordinary round, however, for Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Johnny Miller, who teed it up Tuesday along Lake Michigan in Benton Harbor.

As far as they were concerned, the stakes were pretty high.

The event was designed to commemorate the opening of a new course – the Nicklaus-designed Golf Club at Harbor Shores, which has the stated goal of serving as an economic driver for one of Michigan’s most impoverished cities.

Around one-fifth of the residents of Benton Harbor are without a job, and crime is an ongoing concern.

The course sits around a mile from the city’s struggling downtown district and when all is said and done is expected to be the centerpiece of a larger project that is to include hundreds of homes, a marina and shops and restaurants.

The idea is to “change the community through the game of golf,” Nicklaus said.

If all goes according to plan, he said, the Harbor Shores development project will create jobs and housing, increase the tax base and lure tourists to Benton Harbor, which sits around 100 miles from Chicago in the state’s far southwestern corner.

The four champions played in rotating two-man teams in a skins scramble format and were competing for a $1 million purse.

Watson won the most cash, but the entire million is going to the Boys & Girls Club and The First Tee of Benton Harbor.

“It never ceases to amaze me what this game has done for people,” Watson said.

The day wasn’t all about charity and economic development, though.

There was fun to be had, too, and some golf to be played on the 6,861-yard, par-71 course that once was home to a toxic waste dump and factory space.

Now, lush green fairways wind through wetlands, along the Paw Paw River and within shouting distance of Lake Michigan.

The quartet made 15 birdies, and the Watson/Palmer team posted an eagle on the par-5 15th hole, but the best shot didn’t even count.

Nicklaus, just messing around on the 10th hole, dropped a ball down and nailed a 100-footer – uphill no less.

The players interacted often with the crowd of 3,000-plus and even held a golf clinic ahead of time.

The atmosphere was in sharp contrast to another golf event being held this week in the upper Midwest – the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

A lot of attention will be paid there to the slumping Tiger Woods, but he wasn’t forgotten on Tuesday in Michigan. During the pre-round clinic, Miller took a shot at Woods.

“Jack, I don’t think Tiger’s going to get your record, by the way,” he said, referring to Woods’ pursuit of Nicklaus’ 18 major championships.

The crowd erupted into applause, and Nicklaus – in the middle of a practice shot – joked that he “hit 10 yards farther when you said that.”

Nicklaus then turned to the fans and said that “nobody ever wants their records to be broken,” but that “if somebody comes along and plays better and breaks your record, ‘Congratulations and well done.’

“That’s the way it should be,” he said.

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.