Notes Holmes gets first albatross Phil plunges

By Associated PressMay 8, 2011, 5:11 am

Wells Fargo ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – J.B. Holmes didn’t see it go in. The television cameras didn’t catch it, either.

But the thunderous cheer around the 15th green at Quail Hollow on Saturday made it clear Holmes had one of golf’s ultimate rarities: an albatross.

“Usually when it gets that loud you figure it went in,” Holmes said. “Still, from that distance it’s hard to get that ball in that little hole.”

The second 2 on a par 5 on the PGA Tour this year and the first in the Wells Fargo Championship’s nine-year history was part of Holmes’ 7-under 65. It allowed him to jump within six shots of leaderJonathan Byrd entering the final round.

“That’s the first one I’ve ever made,” said Holmes, who has had two holes-in-one. “It was nice to come in tournament play. Those are a lot harder to get than holes-in-one.”

The long-hitting Holmes ripped his tee shot more than 340 yards over the trees on 15, playing as the easiest hole on the course this week. But was a little concerned he may have been hugging the left side of the fairway a bit too much to have a good angle.

When he got there he was in better shape than he thought with an uphill lie from 215 yards. He asked for a 5-iron.

“We were talking about just trying to stay a little short of the hole,” Holmes said. “I put a really good swing on it, hit it right where I wanted to. It started just a touch left of the flag and cut back about 2 yards. It looked great the whole way.

“When you hit one like that you’re just hoping for it be up there around 4 or 5 feet. I saw it bounce and I thought when it the ground it could be a little bit long. But then everybody started cheering and I was like, ‘Did it really go in?”’

Alex Cejka had the other albatross on tour this year to open his first round, holing a 3-wood from the fairway on the 10th hole in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February. There were six on tour a year ago.

Holmes, who last won in 2008, followed it up by making a 25-foot birdie putt on 16 and then salvaged par on 18 after hitting his tee shot in the woods.

“I put myself in position for Sunday,” he said. “That’s all you can ask for.”

 REMEMBERING SEVE: While several players and caddies wore black ribbons on their caps Saturday in memory of golf great Seve Ballesteros, Spain’s Sergio Garcia took it a step further by wearing all black to honor his countryman.

Garcia then slogged through a 2-over 74 that included a bogey-double-bogey finish hours after learning Ballesteros died after a nearly three-year bout with a cancerous brain tumor.

“It’s unfortunate and it’s difficult, but that wasn’t why I played so poorly,” said Garcia, who sits at 4-under. “I just hardly did anything great this week. But yeah, it’s a sad day.”

CBS analyst Nick Faldo, who dueled with Ballesteros in several tournaments, choked up on the air while talking about his former Ryder Cup teammate.

“I’m really touched by the guy,” Faldo said.

The PGA Tour announced it will suspend play for a minute at 3:08 p.m. EDT Sunday at Quail Hollow for a moment of silence in honor of Ballesteros. 

 CINK’S SUCCESS: Stewart Cink was asked after his 4-under 68 left him three shots off the lead how it felt to be in contention heading into a Sunday on the PGA Tour.

“It’s been a little while,” Cink acknowledged. “It’s fun to get out there and feel a little bit of a tension – not attention – but tension.”

When a reporter suggested perhaps both words would fit, Cink smiled.

“A little of both,” he said. “Yeah, it’s fun to be relevant in a tournament.”

Outside of his 2009 British Open win, not much has gone right for Cink on the golf course. The latest developments include tinkering with his swing.

“I think what I’ve done is I’ve built upon what I was doing that year up to Turnberry, which was pretty pathetic play,” Cink said. “If you look back at my year in 2009, Turnberry was great, but other than that it was one of the worst years of my career.”

Cink hasn’t won since and has no top-10 finishes this year.

“I wouldn’t say it’s coming together because it feels different every day,” he said. “Definitely the way I hit it today definitely could have easily been a 73 or 74. I turned that around into a 68 just by hanging in there and making some good decisions.”

 ALL WET: The water finally did in Phil Mickelson.

After saving par three times after getting his ball wet over the first two rounds, Mickelson bogeyed 15 and double-bogeyed 17 after hitting shots into the water on Saturday. Mickelson’s 2-over 74 left him eight shots off the lead.

It was rare to see Mickelson plunge on the leaderboard in this event. He was runner-up at Quail Hollow a year ago and has five top-seven finishes in seven appearances. He’ll enter Sunday tied for 16th.

 DIVOTS: Former Quail Hollow champion Anthony Kim (78) and Chad Campbell (80) were among the players to miss the 54-hole cut. … Morning fog forced a 90-minute delay at the start of the third round.

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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