Notes: Els misses cut in return; Lemonade gone bad

By Associated PressJune 17, 2011, 11:40 pm

BETHESDA, Md. – Ernie Els stood in a foyer just inside the clubhouse, along a wall adorned with photos and other mementos from his 1997 U.S. Open victory.

He wasn’t in the mood to reminisce, not after missing the cut in the championship’s return to Congressional.

“Fourteen years ago, I was in a different position,” he said. “Missing the cut now, I’m a little bit older, I’m (turning) 42 this year, and obviously things aren’t going my way right now. It’s been a long time. I’ve had a lot of success the last 14 years from ’97 to now.

“Right now, I’m just as low as I’ve ever been, and that’s the fact.”

Els missed a tap-in on his first hole Friday and wound up 4-putting the hole. His rounds of 73 and 75 put him two shots below the cut line at 4-over 146 when the suspended second round concluded Saturday morning. The two-time champion has missed the cut in four of his last six tournaments and is running out of ways to solve his wayward putting game.

“I maybe should take some time off, and see where I’m at,” he said. “I’m working hard and I’m not getting anything out of it, so maybe I should just go away for a while.”

2009 British Open champion Stewart Cink and Adam Scott missed the cut after each bogeyed his last hole to go to 5 over. That means the tournament is also over for Scott’s caddie, Steve Williams, who isn’t used to getting the weekend off when he carries the bag for Tiger Woods.

The 2003 U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk (149) is also done, as is Colombia’s Camilo Villegas (149), the only player who had made the cut in the last 12 majors. U.S. Amateur champ Peter Uihlein (150) will sit out the weekend for his second major in a row.

The amateurs who made the cut were Patrick Cantlay (142), Russell Henley (142) and Brad Benjamin (145).

Bubba Watson birdied the difficult No. 18 to make the cut, saving the weekend for the foursome who made the send-up, poke-fun-at-golf video this week. The other three in the group –Ben Crane, Rickie Fowler, and Hunter Mahan – have the weekend to think up another parody.


Hold That Room: After shooting a 79 in the first round of his first U.S. Open, Marcel Siem already had plans for a quick exit after missing the cut.

The only thing is, he didn’t miss the cut.

The 30-year-old German roared back Friday to card a 66, putting him at 3 over and guaranteeing a spot for the weekend.

“Next week is BMW Open in Munich, home tournament,” Siem said, “and I thought if you miss the cut, then at least catch the flight tonight at 10 o’clock and be ready for next week.”

Still, just in case, he told his hotel to save his room.

“It’s a nice balcony room,” he said. “They said, ‘Yeah, we’ll wait for you. Hopefully you’ll come back.’ I will be back tonight.”

So how did he turn his game around so quickly in 24 hours?

“All of a sudden, I found my rhythm on the greens, and that helps,” he said. “And my long game was really, really good, as well. I hit them really close, and I think that’s the key here.”


Golf, Bureaucracy and Lemonade: It was a case of bureaucracy run amok, at least from the perspective of the children operating a lemonade stand for charity near the U.S. Open.

Kids from two families put up the stand on private property – a neighbor’s yard that just happens to be on a corner across from a spectator entrance to Congressional. During Thursday’s first round, they received three visits from county officials, twice with a warning. The third time, a citation was issued for operating the stand without a permit. It carried a fine of up to $500 and required a court appearance.

“Does every kid now that sells lemonade have to register with the county?” Carrie Marriott, whose children were hawking the drinks, asked a county official in an exchange caught on video by WUSA-TV.

The answer: yes. In theory, every lemonade stand in every private yard is supposed to have a permit. It’s a law that’s not usually enforced, but Montgomery County spokeswoman Bonnie Ayers said this particular stand could create a safety hazard in an area where police want to keep vehicular and pedestrian traffic moving during the tournament.

“This was just not a good corner for them to be attracting people,” Ayers said, “and they did not have a permit.”

Since fining kids over a lemonade stand can be a public relations nightmare, a deal was worked out. On Friday, the stand was moved down the street and the citation was rescinded. The county also waived the need for a permit, which would have cost about $38.

A homemade sign at the old location announced: “Grand Reopening: 25 Feet Down.”

“We were pleased there was a resolution,” said Rene Augustine, who has three children manning the stand. “It’s been a lesson for them, probably more in entrepreneurship than philanthropy.”

Augustine said the plan had been to donate 50 percent of the proceeds to Just Tryan It, a nonprofit that helps children with cancer. Now it’s all going to charity.

The stand is more elaborate than most. There’s a canopy and plenty of coolers of bottled lemonade. By mid-afternoon, the children had raked in a good haul, including a $250 check from a man who heard of their plight.

“That was very uplifting to the kids,” Augustine said, “because yesterday was kind of a tough day for them.”


Quite the Kid: Patrick Cantlay hardly looked like an amateur on the back nine Friday at the U.S. Open.

Doesn’t matter. He intends to remain one.

The 19-year-old American birdied Nos. 10, 11 and 12 – supposedly the most brutal stretch of the Blue Course – then picked up strokes at the 16th and 17th. He finished with a 67, which, combined with his first-round 75, puts him at even par at the halfway point.

“I had some confidence before I came here this week, but, yeah, it definitely makes you feel good about the future,” Cantlay said, “and hopefully one day I can be playing as a pro.”

But not anytime soon. He just finished his first year of studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and he said he plans to stay until he graduates.

“I have three more years,” he said.

On June 5, as winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award as the nation’s top college golfer, he posed with the Golden Bear himself.


Dinwiddie's Other Open: Sure, Robert Dinwiddie relishes the opportunity of playing in a U.S. Open. Now if he could just find a way into that other Open.

“Two out of three for this one,” he said, “and then none out of 13 for the British.”

The 28-year-old Briton – born in Scotland, now living in England – has failed in 13 attempts at qualifying for the marquee event in his home country.

He made the cut at Torrey Pines in 2008 and tied for 36th. He struggled this week at Congressional with rounds of 78 and 74, in part because of recent back problems.

“I wasn’t able to practice coming in, so I was a little rusty,” he said. “It’s a great experience. Disappointing I wasn’t able to do a bit better.”

But it would be an even better experience to be in the field next month at Royal St. George’s. Qualifying has come and gone – again with no success – but there are still spots available based on top finishers in upcoming European Tour events.

“We’ll see,” he said. “There’s still a chance.”


Pan Handling His First Open: At one end there’s Rory McIlroy, who is making the Blue Course look almost easy. At the other end, there are golfers like Taiwan’s Pan Cheng-tsung, a 19-year-old amateur playing in his first U.S. Open.

Pan, who attends the University of Washington, followed a promising first round of 74 with a 78 on Friday.

“It gives me an appreciation,” said Pan, who took up the game in his home town of Miaoli, Taiwan, where his mother worked as a caddie. “McIlroy is 11 under right now and I’m 10 over? Twenty-one shots difference? That’s a lot. And the course is hard, as everyone knows. But there’s still a way to play these courses, so I think I’ll work harder in the future, just trying to get better.”


Rock Stays Solid: Surely, Robert Rock was going to crash in the second round of the U.S. Open, having made it through the first round fueled by adrenaline and not much else after visa problems made him a last-minute arrival.

Instead, the Englishman was solid again. He followed up his 70 with an even-par 71 on Friday and will stick around for the weekend.

“I ran out of energy after nine holes, to be honest,” he said. “I’m 1 under for the tournament, which is OK, but I feel like I should have got through the second nine in 2 or 3 under. I knew I’d run out of energy at some point.”

Rock didn’t secure his visa for his flight to the United States until Wednesday afternoon, the delay caused by an alcohol-related driving incident when he was a teenager. He arrived in Maryland in the wee hours of Thursday.

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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