Notes Goosen Making Changes

By Associated PressNovember 2, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA -- Retief Goosen made it sound as though he was making minor adjustments in his swing when he hired a coach for the first time in nine years. Turns out those changes are closer to an overhaul.
Goosen did not want to go into great detail, but he said some major flaws have crept into his game the last few years.
'At normal speed, it's hard to see them,' he said. 'But when you slow it down, you can see the problems.'
Thursday at the TOUR Championship was a small hurdle. He hit eight fairways in blustery conditions, and the ones he missed were not off by much. The result was a 68 that left him tied with Joe Durant.
'I've been trying to work on a few things,' he said. 'It's obviously not easy going out there and trusting it, but today in these conditions to get a good round in sort of gives you a bit more confidence going into the next few days.'
Goosen said last week he has hired Gregor Jamieson, a pro at Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., where Goosen has a house for about 50 days a year. One reason he chose Jamieson is their relationship, and the fact that Jamieson doesn't have a lot of other clients.
The South African said his swing started to break down in 2004, when he won the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills and closed with a 64 at East Lake to become one of only three players to win a tournament in which Tiger Woods had a share of the 54-hole lead.
What saved him two years ago was his putting, although he hasn't hit it close enough to the flag to make many putts this year.
'It's going to be a slow process,' he said. 'It's something I decided on a couple of months ago to start working with somebody, and I want to do it now until the end of the year so when I start next year it's not all that new to me.'
Mike Hicks, the former caddie for Payne Stewart who now works for Jonathan Byrd, was hopeful of getting to the TOUR Championship. Byrd needed to win last week at Innisbrook, and he had a good chance until stumbling to a 73 in the third round.
Turns out Hicks made it to East Lake, anyway -- working for Jim Furyk.
Mike 'Fluff' Cowan, the regular looper for Furyk, called last week to say he had traces of pneumonia and couldn't make it to the TOUR Championship. Furyk gave Hicks a call, then had to make sure he was still available.
East Lake is the only PGA TOUR course that closes with a par 3 -- except when Congressional hosts the U.S. Open -- and it's no picnic.
The scorecard has it at 235 yards from an elevated tee, with bunkers guarding both sides. No one made birdie on the final hole Thursday until the last two groups, when Adam Scott and Jim Furyk each holed putts.
'You come into that hole on Sunday, you'd like to have a two-shot lead,' Joe Durant said. 'That's just a hard hole.'
It has settled the TOUR Championship only once -- the first year, in 1998 -- when Hal Sutton saved par from a bunker to force a playoff, then hit 4-wood to 6 feet for birdie on the first extra hole to defeat Vijay Singh.
Phil Mickelson (2000) and Singh (2002) each won by two shots, while Retief Goosen won by four shots in 2004 and Bart Bryant won by six shots a year ago.
Goosen lost the outright lead on Thursday when he tried to hit a hard draw with a 3-iron, but blocked it into the bunker and blasted out to about 4 feet, missing the putt. Still, he likes the finish at East Lake.
'It's different to have a par 3 as a finish,' he said. 'I think it's better than having a par 5 as a finishing hole.'
There aren't many bubbles at East Lake, but Dean Wilson is on one of them.
Hawaii's best player is No. 20 on the money list, and staying there means an exemption to the British Open next year, along with an incentive from one of his endorsement contracts.
Playing in his first TOUR Championship, he struggled with six bogeys against one birdie, giving him a 75. That projects to a finish at No. 23 on the money list. Even if that happens, it would be tough to call this a disappointment. He has never finished higher than 98th on the money list, and he won for the first time on tour this year at the International.
With so much focus on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson skipping the TOUR Championship, also missing is Stephen Ames, who won The Players Championship this year.
Ames had to miss the last two weeks of the season with a back injury.
Unlike the other two players, however, Ames will get last-place money of $106,500 because he withdrew with an injury. The earnings will not count toward the money list.
David Toms and Vijay Singh are the only players to have teed it up in the last eight TOUR Championships. ... Jim Furyk was the only player to make birdie on the 520-yard fifth hole, which plays as a par 4. No one made birdie at No. 16, and those two holes played the toughest Thursday with an average score of 4.419. ... Stewart Cink had the most consistent round at East Lake, making only two bogeys in his round of 69.
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  • 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.