Notes Love of country Big Easys hindsight

By Associated PressOctober 14, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ben Curtis had so much fun playing for his country that he wants to do it again.
Curtis, who went 1-1-1 in his Ryder Cup debut last month, has selected Brandt Snedeker to be his partner for the World Cup, which will be played in China during the week of Thanksgiving.
Six other Americans turned down the long trip, and Curtis wasnt sure he would be able to go without the right partner. He wound up with Snedeker, who is becoming a world traveler this time of year.
I am very excited to be playing with Ben and representing our country in this event, Snedeker said. In our sport, you dont get the opportunity too many times to compete for your country, and this is going to be a thrill for me. I think it will also be a good experience as a I work hard to reach my goal of making the next Ryder Cup, and perhaps next years Presidents Cup teams.
The Americans have won 23 times since the World Cup began in 1953, but their last victory came in Argentina in 2000 behind Tiger Woods and David Duval. A year ago in China, Boo Weekley and Heath Slocum lost in a playoff to Scotland.
Colin Montgomerie returns for the defending champions, this time with Alastair Forsyth. Other teams include Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher for England; Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson for Sweden; and Rory Sabbatini and Richard Sterne for South Africa. Sabbatini led South Africa to the World Cup with Trevor Immelman in 2003.
As for Snedeker? The World Cup will be the end of a month on the other side of the world.
He is getting married this weekend, then plays the Kiwi Challenge in New Zealand on Oct. 28-29. Then its off to Fiji for his honeymoon, followed by a trip to Japan for the Dunlop Phoenix before meeting up with Curtis in China.
Mark Calcavecchia made it five years before another knee surgery.
He was to have athroscopic surgery Tuesday in Phoenix to repair the torn medial meniscus in his left knee, his first surgery since 2003 but the fifth since 1985. He expects it will take four to six weeks to recover, but that wont stop him from defending his title in the Merrill Lynch Shootout with partner Woody Austin.
Im not sure how much cartilage will be left after this, Calcavecchia said. Ill play the Merrill Lynch in a wheelchair if I have to, but Ive got plenty of time to get ready for it.
The Merrill Lynch Shootout has been pushed back this year to Dec. 11-14.
Calcavecchia played with pain most of the year, withdrawing from the U.S. Open and Turning Stone Championship two weeks ago when he couldnt take it anymore. He is 48, but has one omen on his side for next year.
My recent even years havent been too good, but the odd years have been, he said. So Im looking forward to 09.
The Merrill Lynch Shootout has something for everyone this year.
Greg Normans popular silly-season event has six Ryder Cup players, five Champions Tour players and one guy who has been on injured reserve most of the year ' Brad Faxon. Still to be named are two more players in the 24-man field for the Dec. 12-14 event in Naples, Fla.
Mark Calcavecchia and Woody Austin are the defending champions.
The Ryder Cup players are Stewart Cink, J.B. Holmes, Kenny Perry, Ian Poulter, Steve Stricker and Boo Weekley. Also playing is Paul Azinger, the winning captain from the Ryder Cup.
Tiger Woods generated plenty of conversation when he said reconstructive surgery on his left knee typically recovers at 85 percent after six months, but takes two years before it is back at full strength.
Ernie Els, who tore up ligaments in his left knee in the summer of 2005, spoke from experience when he said Woods was doing the right thing to take his recovery slowly. Woods is not expected to even hit balls until January. Els returned in December of 2005, but says he wasnt fully recovered until six months later.
I was very stubborn. I wanted to come back as soon as possible, Els said. I set a date for me of Sun City, and that was definitely too early. The doctors down there saw my knee and though I was crazy to play, it was so swollen. My doctor told me that I couldnt do any more damage to my knee. The tendon was a good surgery. That was what I wanted to do.
Obviously, he said, Tiger is a little different.
Two courses on the Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama were ranked 1-2 among public courses in a new survey from Golf World in which the magazines readers were asked to rank the best private, resort and public golf courses.
The Grand National course in Opelika, Ala., was No. 1, followed by the Capitol Hill course in Prattville, Ala.
Golf World said it received more than 21,000 individual golf course ratings from online polling, and readers were asked for evaluations on various criteria.
The top two resorts in the survey were Kiawah Island and Turning Stone, while the top two private course were Augusta National and Pine Valley.
Rory Sabbatini has failed to break par the last four times he has held a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, including a victory at Riviera. Titleist is returning to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., for the first time in seven years. Titleist executive vice president Jerry Bellis said the return is due to the PGA shifting the shows emphasis to a more educational platform. Boo Weekley was inducted into the Milton (Fla.) High School Hall of Fame during halftime of its football game last Thursday. Jim Furyk played in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf for the fourth time. Only Tiger Woods (8) and Greg Norman (5) have made more appearance. I guess I got a lot out of winning one major, said Furyk, who has been an alternate the last three times.
Zach Johnson became the fourth player named Johnson to win on the PGA Tour this year. The others were Richard Johnson, Dustin Johnson and Johnson Wagner.
I really couldnt believe how well some of the guys played. Under so much pressure, the shots they were hitting were incredible. As a player myself, I never realized how good it is to watch.' Darren Clarke on the Ryder Cup.
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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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    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

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    Man of the people

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    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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