Notes Cranes lucky 17 Glovers beard has FB page

By Associated PressMay 13, 2011, 1:22 am
The Players ChampionshipPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Ben Crane plucked his ball out of the cup at the famed 17th, smiling the whole time, and then heaved it into the gallery.

It certainly was a lucky souvenir. A battered and scuffed one, too.

Crane got two huge breaks at the treacherous island green during the opening round of The Players Championship, taking advantage of fortuitous bounces off the surrounding wood frame to stay on the leaderboard. He shot a 4-under 68, four strokes behind leader Nick Watney.

Afterward, all anyone wanted to talk about was his woodwork at TPC Sawgrass.

“My ball has a lot of marks, but it’s not wet,” Crane said. “So I’ll take it, I’ll take it.”

No doubt.

Crane’s tee shot at the par-3 17th flew over the green, hit the wooden planks outlining the fringe, bounced about 50 feet in the air and landed on the other side of the murky lagoon. If that wasn’t crazy enough, he chipped back across the water from a poor lie, hit the wood in nearly the same spot and landed well below the hole. He two-putted from there for bogey, maybe the luckiest one of his career.

“It’s a crazy day, a crazy game, but I actually enjoyed myself,” Crane said. “It wasn’t like I hit it in one place going and then another place coming back. It was like within 6 inches. It was probably the same dimple mark both times. Anyway, an impressive way to play 17. I know you didn’t see it that way, but you can draw it up any different way and put a 4 on the scorecard, so I’ll take it.”

He believes it might be historic, too.

“I don’t think anyone in the history of the PGA Tour has played – you know what, in the history of this golf course – has played the hole that way,” Crane said.

Crane wasn’t done, either.

His approach shot on the par-4 18th hit another wooden pylon next to a water hazard, bounced high into the air and landed beyond the hole. He made another bogey, but it could have been worse.

“I definitely deserve the nickname Woody,” Crane said.



CLARK RETURNS: Tim Clark’s first round of golf in more than a month went about like he expected.

Some good, some bad. Some pain, some progress.

Clark shot 2-over 74 in the opening round, a mostly trouble-free day that came as the South African tries to return from an elbow injury so severe he went three months without playing and only teed it up at the Masters in April because he was stubborn. He had rounds of 73-73 and missed the cut.

He felt considerably better at Sawgrass.

“For the most part, it’s getting better, so I’m encouraged by that,” said Clark, the tournament’s defending champion. “It’s better than I expected it would be two weeks ago. If you asked me two weeks ago, I didn’t even know if I would be able to play. So it’s improved a lot.”

Clark was runner-up at the Sony Open in January, but upon returning home noticed a problem in his elbow. Despite pain, he played in the Masters, but only because it’s a major. He took out his clubs Saturday for the first time since Augusta and returned to defend his lone PGA Tour victory.

“You’ve got to at some point test it to see where you’re at,” he said. “You’ve got to come out and play. There’s always a possibility that by actually playing and doing stuff that it gets better. At some point I would have started to play and this just kind of fit right around the right sort of time.”

He made two birdies and four bogeys Thursday, and had one club slip out of his hands. After hitting his tee shot on the par-3 No. 13, the club soared from his grip.

“You’ve got to hit a divot and dig it in,” he said. “It wasn’t a massive amount of pain, but I’m cautious of it. I’m scared to dig it in.”

He ended up 50 feet left of the hole and made par. It was one of several awkward-feeling shots during the round.

“Every now and then, I have a good swing and it feels good,” said Clark, who hasn’t decided whether he will play in next week’s tournament in Fort Worth, Texas. “But there’s a few swings that hurt.”



CARRYING ON: Martin Kaymer and Matt Kuchar had a large gallery following them around the front nine Thursday. They had a considerably smaller contingent on the back.

Kaymer and Kuchar certainly noticed. They didn’t mind, though.

After playing partner Tiger Woods withdrew at the turn, Kaymer and Kuchar carried on without the PGA Tour star and enjoyed the twosome.

“Yeah, you can chill,” Kaymer said. “You can walk very slow, your routine, you have plenty of time and you’re still waiting. Obviously it would have been nice if we wouldn’t play in the heat; that would have been better. But it’s always nice to play in a twosome. You don’t have to wait. You just play your game. You have time to think about your shots sometimes if you need to. Nobody is rushing you.”

Kaymer shot a 5-under 67, two strokes better than Kuchar.

They will play together again Friday – without Woods, who withdrew with leg injuries after his worst nine holes at The Players Championship.

“Obviously when he’s around, it’s a little bit different and more people,” Kaymer said. “Usually when you play a threesome or a twosome on the weekends, you know how many people are following you. But with Tiger there are more cameras, more media people inside the ropes, so it would be nice for me, as well, to get used to those things more often.”



CHEER THE BEARD: Lucas Glover’s beard has received so much attention recently that it now has its own Facebook page.

Glover, who won the Wells Fargo Championship last week, was on the leaderboard again during the opening round of The Players Championship. Glover shot a 7-under 65.

Glover had a larger-than-normal gallery following him, with some even cheering for his beard.

“I don’t really care as long as they’re hooting and hollering for something,” Glover said. “I hope it was because I was making birdies.”

He also insisted that he’s not superstitious about his facial hair.

“No, the ball doesn’t know what I’ve got on my face,” Glover said. “But it’s just something to do. If I get too hot and start itching, I’ll shave it. If not, I won’t. One of those things.”

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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

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

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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