Notes Leftys Creative Memento Dean and Annika

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill -- Phil Mickelson's imagination goes beyond the golf course.
 
Mickelson's victory last year at Baltusrol made him the host of the Tuesday night dinner for past PGA champions, and with that comes the responsibility of giving each champion a gift.

Rich Beem gave everyone Ostrich cowboy boots. Tiger Woods' gift was a personalized humidor one year, and a clock showing the time zones of all four majors in 2000. Shaun Micheel presented everyone with an electric guitar.
 
And Mickelson?
 
'It's tough to get winners of the PGA Championship a really nice gift on an $80 budget,' Mickelson joked.
 
His gift wasn't expensive, but it took plenty of work.
 
'We found some cool things,' he said. 'We went back and found all the past newspaper clippings from the day they were born, and all the newspaper clippings from the week of tournament they won.'
 
He and his wife, Amy, created leather-bound books to hold the clippings.
 
It was a similar to the book his wife made in 2004 when she collected newspaper clippings of his first Masters victory.
 
DEAN AND ANNIKA
Dean Wilson figured he would forever be linked with Annika Sorenstam until he won a PGA TOUR event. Three years after he played with her at the Colonial, Wilson won the International.
 
He and Sorenstam have remained close friends and stay in touch.
 
Sorenstam and Tiger Woods often text message each other after winning majors as they keep score of who has the most. Woods now has 11 majors to Sorenstam's 10.
 
Wilson thought that was a good idea.
 
'I guess I should put 68-1,' he said, noting that Sorenstam has won 68 times on the LPGA Tour.
 
Then he came up with a better idea, realizing that the Swedish star has only played one time on the PGA TOUR, missing the cut.
 
'Maybe I'll make it 1-0,' Wilson said with a laugh.'
 
BROTHERLY LOVE
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have nothing on Jay and Jerry Haas.
 
One pairing in the PGA Championship excites golf fans. The other is even more exciting to the Haas family.
 
The two brothers tee off together Thursday in the final major of the season, the first time brothers have competed in the PGA Championship since Lanny and Bobby Wadkins in 1995 at Riviera.
 
'For me it's a thrill playing with my best friend and brother,' Jay Haas said.
 
Jay Haas is the better known of the two, playing in his 27th PGA Championship and coming in as the reigning PGA senior champion. Jerry Haas is nearly 10 years younger and bounced among various tours for years before becoming the golf coach at Wake Forest and earning a spot by finishing in the top 25 at the Club Pro Championship.
 
Jerry Haas said playing with his brother should help calm some nerves for him in the first two rounds at Medinah Country Club.
 
'I don't get to play very much. I'm a little bit out of my element maybe,' he said. 'I told somebody, now he can't tell me what to do for four and a half hours. That's against the rules.'
 
Jay Haas won nine times on the PGA Tour and has five wins on the Champions Tour, and at the age of 52 will be a long shot for his first major championship. Jerry Haas, whose biggest year included three wins on the Nationwide Tour in 1994, will face even longer odds.
 
That doesn't make it any less fun for the two, who also played together in the 1989 Hawaiian Open.
 
'He's my biggest fan,' Jay Haas said. 'And I'm his biggest fan.'
 
UPBEAT ELS
Ernie Els is back in the PGA Championship after missing last year because of a knee injury.
 
The knee seems healed, and Els' golf game is beginning to heal nicely, too.
 
Els is coming off a strong finish in the British Open, where he finished third, five strokes behind Tiger Woods. The South African said the finish gave him some confidence heading into the final major championship of the year.
 
'It was a good week,' Els said. 'You know, I took a lot of positives out of that one. Being in contention over the weekend was wonderful.'
 
Els has won two U.S. Opens and a British Open. Missing from his resume are both a green jacket, and the Wanamaker Cup that goes to this week's winner. He likes the way Medinah Country Club suits his game, however, and he likes the way his swing looks, too.
 
The only thing holding Els back may be his putter.
 
'I would say early in my career I probably made more putts than I do right now,' he said. 'I may be a more streaky putter. So yeah, that's that.'
 
GATOR BAIT
Chris DiMarco has played the final round of a major with Tiger Woods (2005 Masters) and Phil Mickelson (2004 Masters). Asked the difference, he used an analogy for his beloved Florida Gators.
 
'Tiger has become like my Florida Gators. I think people either love them or they don't want them to win,' DiMarco said. 'I don't say that in a bad way, not because of him. It's just that he's so good that I think people are tired of seeing him win.'
 
That made partial sense, because Woods has won 11 majors.
 
The Gators have only one national title.
 
IN THE BAG
After his final practice round Tuesday, defending champion Phil Mickelson still wasn't sure whether he would use two drivers -- one built for a draw, the other for a fade -- like he did in winning the Masters.
 
'The difference is the temperature,' he said. 'If it's warm enough where I can hit 3-wood on some of the other par 4s, where I just want to get the ball in the fairway, then I will most likely just use one driver.'
 
Mickelson didn't have a 3-wood at Winged Foot, taking it out of the bag in favor of a 64-degree sand wedge to chip out of the rough.
 
The two-driver system was brought up on the first tee Tuesday morning as Mickelson waited to tee off.
 
He saw Brad Faxon and Brett Quigley both playing a Titleist driver that still had a green sticker at the base of the shaft.
 
'Do you have to return this to the pro shop after the round,' Mickelson said, a reference to clubs used as demos.
 
Faxon shook his head.
 
'This one is for the draw,' he said, tapping his driver. Then pointing at Quigley's driver, 'And this one is for the fade.'
 
The tee erupted in laughter as Faxon and Quigley hit their drives.
 
DIVOTS
Tiger Woods and Ernie Els will compete on the Asian Tour in separate events in the next few months. Woods confirmed that he will play in the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, where last year he was runner-up to David Howell. Els will be playing in the Singapore Open. ... Woods can make some more history at Medinah this week. No one has ever won the PGA Championship twice on the same golf course. Woods won by one shot over Sergio Garcia in 1999.
 
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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

    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.