Notes Lefty Unlucky at the 17th at Quail Hollow

By Associated PressMay 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson was defiant to the end, insisting one bad score wasn't going to spoil an otherwise spectacular day.
How about four of them?
During the Wachovia Championship, Lefty played the par-3 17th in 7 over -- with three double bogeys -- and knocked his tee shot into the water three days. That included Sunday, when he made a charge up the leaderboard with nine birdies in the first 15 holes.

Mickelson narrowly missed another one at 16, then headed to the next tee thinking he still might have a chance to win. An awful 7-iron never had a chance to find land, so he reloaded and hit his third shot in the middle of the green.
He two-putted for double bogey, then added a bogey on the final hole to finish tied for seventh at 5 under.
``I had it going and made nine birdies and it was a good time,'' Mickelson said. ``I felt like starting the round, if I could shoot 9 under that it might be good enough. You just never know.''
Instead, he was left with a 6-under 66, tied for low round of the day with four others.
``I'm not going to let one hole ruin my day,'' he said. ``It was unfortunate. I had a chance to win, but those things happen, and for whatever reason, that hole just gave me fits this week.''
It reminded him of the 1995 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, when he played the 16th hole there in 6 over. With all pars at 17 at Quail Hollow, he had a chance to join the three-man playoff with Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk.
``There's a good chance playing that hole 7 under may have gotten me over the top this week, but you've got to play all of them,'' Mickelson said. ``You've got to play all 72. That one just gave me a hard time.''
Until his struggles, Mickelson energized a large gallery with electrifying play. He shot 31 on the front, then birdied 10 and 11 to get to 7 under for the day. After two pars, he nearly drove the short par-4 14th with a fairway metal, then saw his pitch nestle next to the hole for a tap-in birdie.
Another one at 15 moved him to 8 under for the tournament, and when leader Sergio Garcia faltered a bit at the start, Mickelson believed he might come all the way back to the lead. A tough kick off the fringe on his approach to the 16th left him with a downhill 30-footer, and his putt slid just by the lip.
Then came the disaster at 17.
``I got to 9-under through 15 and I felt like I needed to get one or two more to have an outside chance if Sergio backed up a little bit,'' Mickelson said. ``Unfortunately, I didn't finish well on 17 and 18.''
Charles Howell III finished an up-and-down week at Quail Hollow with a bogey-free round of 68 -- with the emphasis on no bogeys.
Howell had no trouble scoring all week, making 17 birdies. But he kept himself out of contention with too many mistakes, some of them from the middle of the fairway.
``Everything is good with my game. I'm working hard on it, and I'm working on the right things,'' Howell said. ``I'm excited about the direction it's going.''
His only victory came three years ago at a tournament that no longer exists (Michelob Championship at Kingsmill), but Howell showed signs early this year with close calls at the Sony Open and Buick Invitational. Then he missed the cut at The Players Championship and the Masters.
``I'd rather take a bullet in the foot than miss a cut there,'' said Howell, who grew up in Augusta, Ga. ``But what can you do? I've had a good start to the year, and I'm looking forward to the rest of it.''
The playoff was the third in a row on the PGA Tour and the fifth in the past six tournaments. It also was the 12th consecutive stroke-play event decided on the final hole. ... The others with 66 in the fourth round were Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Chris DiMarco and Carlos Franco. ... With virtually no wind for the first time this week, the average score dropped to 72.3, and 13 players shot better than 70.
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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.

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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