Notes Mosquitoes swarm during PGA practice

By Associated PressAugust 11, 2010, 2:36 am

2010 PGA ChampionshipSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Add mosquitoes to the list of life’s certainties when it comes to summertime in the upper Midwest.

Some players practicing for this weekend’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits were swatting as often as they were swinging during their rounds on Tuesday. And you can bet golf bags will be packed with bug spray all week. 

“They were out this morning in a big way,” Hunter Mahan said. “It was quite shocking. Especially when you went by the few holes right by the lake there. I mean, it was, they were incredible. They were swarming, in fact.”

Surrounded by bug-breeding water on hole No. 5, Tiger Woods hit his tee shot into the right rough. Instead of hitting another ball, he jogged off the tee box and said, “It’s all yours.”

Mahan hit his drive, ran off the tee, and Sean O’Hair did the same.

“We can’t do anything about it,” Mahan said. “They seemed to kind of go away during the last nine holes or so. But yeah, it wasn’t a whole lot of fun out there.”

PGA club professional national champion Mike Small said the bugs seemed to be at their worst early in the morning and late at night. Not that he minds.

“It’s a major,” Small said. “I mean, I’d putt on gravel and play in a mosquito-infested jungle if it’s a major.”

With a breeze blowing later on, players who came off the course in the early afternoon didn’t report as many problems. Dustin Johnson said it didn’t bother him. Of course, he is from South Carolina.

“I’m used to mosquitoes where I’m from,” Johnson said.

Unless the wind whips up – which presents challenges of its own at Whistling Straits – there’s not much players can do about the bugs.

“Except put on a lot of ‘Off!,”’ Mahan said.


 

TOUR VOID: Wisconsin sports fans might put football first, but Gov. Jim Doyle says the state also is crazy about golf.

That said, Doyle acknowledged that having Wisconsin lose its yearly stop on the PGA Tour creates a void for what he considers a state with an enthusiastic golf scene.

“We would like to have a regular stop,” Doyle said. “As you all know, getting a date has been a great challenge for us in Wisconsin. We had a great tournament played at a great course, we just over the years couldn’t get a date that really worked for us.”

Facing a shortfall in corporate sponsorship and lukewarm fan interest, the tournament once known as the Greater Milwaukee Open ceased operations and was dropped from the PGA Tour schedule. Recently, it was held opposite the British Open, sapping it of star power.

But with top players appearing at Whistling Straits this weekend, Doyle said about 200,000 fans are expected to attend the tournament.

“I think we will prove with these majors that are coming here that we will have great fans and we can put on a great tournament,” Doyle said. “So we are going to continue to work on this.”

Whistling Straits will host the PGA Championship again in 2015 and the Ryder Cup in 2020. Nearby Blackwolf Run will host the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. And Wisconsin’s Erin Hills will host the 2017 U.S. Open.

“Would you rather have a major every two or three years, which this state will have for the next 20 years, or would you like a tour stop every year?,” Kohler chairman and CEO Herb Kohler said. “Answer that question yourself. I think Wisconsin is taking the right course.”


 

C’MON GET HAPPY: Paul Casey hopes Sergio Garcia brings a smile back from his post-PGA Championship break.

The Spaniard plans to take two months off after playing Whistling Straits this week. He hasn’t won in almost two years, and said he hopes the break will rekindle his love for the game.

“If you don’t have stuff in the right place, or if you’re not happy away from the golf course, then you’re not going to find it on the golf course,” said Casey, who had his own struggles about five years ago. “When I was playing my worst golf, I was also very unhappy off the golf course, and vice versa.

“I want to see the happy, smiley Sergio again,” Casey added. “I don’t know what’s going on with Sergio inside, but it’s the same thing. As soon as I see him smiling again, I think the great golf that we’ve seen from Sergio will come back.”


 

NO PRESSURE, PAL: As a close friend and former University of Illinois teammate of Steve Stricker, Small knows Stricker wants win in his home state this week.

“We spoke about a week ago, and I know this is a big deal to him and I know he’s under maybe some self-imposed pressure, maybe because he wants to win a major and being in his home state,” Small said. 

So Small plans to give his old buddy some space.

“I’m sure we’ll run into each other and have a Coke or something and talk, but I’m not going to go get in his kitchen,” said Small, currently the men’s golf coach at Illinois. “I’m going to let him be and do his own thing and root him on.”


 

DIVOTS: Louis Oosthuizen went back to South Africa after winning the British Open, and was surprised to find out how much people in his home country appreciated his victory. “I think it was a nice thing coming at a good time for South Africa after the World Cup,” he said. “The country was still on a big high after everything and my friends and everyone just said it was amazing.” … The PGA of America touted a study, based on 2008 data, that said the game of golf has an annual economic impact of $2.4 billion and provides more than 38,000 jobs in Wisconsin. … To honor defending PGA champion Y.E. Yang, the First Lady of South Korea arranged to have four of the top chefs in Yang’s home country flown in to Wisconsin for Tuesday’s champions dinner. The menu included japchae, a colorful dish made with glass noodles, carrot and spinach seasoned with soy sauce, and modeumjeon, assorted pan-fried delicacies including halibut, mushrooms and zucchini with vinegar soy sauce.

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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