Norman vows to be more assertive as captain

By Associated PressNovember 13, 2011, 4:23 pm

SYDNEY – Greg Norman is laying it on the line for next week’s Presidents Cup, saying he won’t let television dictate his pairings and he won’t be afraid to send Adam Scott out against Tiger Woods.

He also said he’s going to be an assertive captain and give more advice than he takes.

After Norman finished his final round at the Australian Open on Sunday with a 3-over 75, he hobbled into the media center on his blistered feet to say he learned from his losing experience as Presidents Cup captain in San Francisco two years ago.

“At the end of the day, I am going to say this is who you are going to play,” he said of the team event which starts Thursday at Royal Melbourne. “I’m going to be a little bit more assertive, more of a captain instead of seeking advice.”

The potential Woods vs. Scott pairing, whether in the foursomes or fourball events or the singles next Sunday, is a delicate one. Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams, was formerly on Woods’ bag. They have had a fractious relationship since Woods fired Williams in July, and Williams made a racial slur against Woods at a caddie function last week in Shanghai.

“If it happens, it happens, it’s not going to be premeditated,” Norman said. “I talked to Adam about it, asked him if it works out that way, do you have a problem, and he said, ‘No, not at all.”’

“He might end up playing with him every day, who knows. I’d expect the two of them (Woods and Williams) to meet up face to face from Thursday onward,” he added.

Norman said he remembers being told by then-captain Peter Thomson at the Presidents Cup in 1998 that he was going to play Woods in a singles match on Sunday. The International team had a big lead going into the singles - and eventually won for the only time in the history of the competition - and Norman wasn’t happy with the decision, figuring it was something orchestrated for television.

“Peter and (Jack) Nicklaus (the U.S. captain that year) came up to me and said you are going to play Tiger tomorrow,” Norman said. “I said I didn’t want to make it a Norman-Woods show, and I rebelled against it. But Peter said, ‘You’re going to play him.”’

“In a situation like that, I learned if I am going to be the captain, the draw is going to be this way tomorrow and that’s what you are going to do.”

Asked if he felt whether television has that much effect on the pairings, Norman replied: “That was my assumption.”

Norman said one of his biggest dilemmas is the realization that that many of the American and International team members are good friends on and off the course.

All five Australian players on the International team play on the PGA Tour and own homes in the United States. Bubba Watson of the U.S. team and the International team’s Aaron Baddeley are best friends.

Norman said he was close friends with Seve Ballesteros when the two were young, with the Spaniard even staying at his house in Florida. The two often exchanged advice on the practice range, but their friendship soon waned.

“He became No. 1 and I came knocking on his door and I became No. 1, all of a sudden there was too much pressure, and the friendship suffered,” Norman said. “I always believed in the world of individual sport, everyone was your enemy. You focus on the job at hand.”

He’ll expect the same from his International players at Royal Melbourne.

“Curtis Strange was probably the toughest one I’ve ever played against who had that ability to cut your heart out on the first tee and hand it back to you on the 18th hole,” Norman said. “I loved playing guys like that.

“I’ll tell my guys to forget all the other stuff that is going on around you, you’ve got to win that point. Instilling that in their heads is the way to go.”

As a parting shot, Norman reiterated how his approach to leading the team has changed since the defeat in San Francisco.

“I am going to be more a captain instead of seeking advice and other people’s opinions and trying to make everybody happy,” he said. “At the end of the day you’ve got to make the decisions. The guys will realize that this is the captain speaking, this is what he wants us to do.”

Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel beginning Monday at 6PM. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Wednesday 9PM-2AM, Thursday 7:30PM-2AM, Friday 3PM-2AM and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

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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."

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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

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Green jacket tour

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Man of the people

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Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

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Departure from TaylorMade

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Squashed beef with Paddy

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Victory at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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