Notes Poulters long walk Sharp-dressed man

By Associated PressSeptember 10, 2010, 4:30 am
BMW Championship

LEMONT, Ill. – Ian Poulter put the long walk between the 10th green and the 11th tee at the BMW Championship to good use.

Poulter, who needs a strong performance this week to advance to the Tour Championship, opened with a double bogey on 10 on Thursday. But he calmed himself down as he walked the 250 yards that separate 10 and 11, and went on to post the best score of the afternoon groups.

Poulter was third at 5-under 66, two strokes behind leader Matt Kuchar.

“I was glad it was a long walk from the 10th green to the 11th tee, that’s all I can say,” he said. “Double bogey is not how you want to start the third FedEx event. I suppose the only good way of looking at it is there’s 71 holes to go. I bounced back pretty good.”

Poulter made birdies on the long par 3s on the back nine, eagled the par-5 15th hole and chipped in on 18 from 20 yards for another birdie to make the turn at 4 under.

“I wasn’t really worried, I just didn’t want to start with a double. Especially on that easy of a hole,” Poulter said of the 10th, which produced just eight bogeys and two doubles Thursday.

And not in this tournament.

Poulter missed out on the Tour Championship at last year’s BMW by the slimmest of margins. He dunked his approach into the water on the final hole and made bogey, leaving him outside the top 30 by less than half a point, the smallest margin in the three-year history of the series.

Poulter came to the BMW in 44th place in the FedEx Cup standings, and estimated he needs a top-10 finish to make the Tour Championship in two weeks.

“They had to take it down to a decimal point. I don’t want no decimal points this year,” Poulter said. “I’m going to win this golf tournament and I want to win at East Lake and I want to go and enjoy myself at the Ryder Cup. So that’s my goal.”

There are putt-putt courses Phil Mickelson would enjoy more than Cog Hill.

Mickelson has made no secret of his dislike for Cog Hill, the longtime home of the Western Open that is now one of the rotating sites of the BMW Championship. His contempt has only grown since Rees Jones renovated it ahead of last year’s BMW.

“It’s interesting,” Mickelson said when asked his impressions of the course after shooting a 1-over 72 Thursday.

There was some thought Lefty might even skip the third round of the FedEx Cup. He’s at 14th in the standings after the first two events, and most likely would have made the Tour Championship even if he’d stayed home this week.

He’s here, but he skipped the pro-am to play at Butler National – a course clearly more to his liking.

“That’s in great shape,” he said. “The greens there were just pristine, and I had a nice, relaxing day.”

SHARP-DRESSED MAN: Ryan Moore’s snazzy duds drew as much attention as his score.

Moore did his best Bobby Jones imitation at the BMW Championship on Thursday, wearing a tie tucked beneath his black sweater.

“I bought it a couple of days ago,” he said. “I was just walking around a store and thought, `You know, I might wear some ties this week.’ Just sounded good. I saw the weather was only going to be about 70 to 75 degrees. I can definitely handle a sweater and tie in those temperatures.”

While most players sport clothes from major labels—Nike, Ashworth, Adidas, just to name a few—Moore is his own man. The 27-year-old’s outfits come straight from his personal closet, and he favors looks that are a throwback to the Jones and Sam Snead eras.

He’d even consider breaking out a tweed jacket if it was cold enough.

“Everywhere I go, anywhere I’ve worn it, fans love it,” Moore said of his distinctive look. “That was certainly not the purpose at all. I love this look. I love that golf used to have that look, and I like to wear it when I can, when weather permits. That’s just how I like to look. It’s not for attention or anything like that.”

No, Moore gets enough with his game. He closed with five straight birdies, and his 29 on the back nine is a Cog Hill record. At 6-under 65, he’s a stroke behind leader Matt Kuchar.

“That’s just golf,” Moore said. “Just a great way to finish.”

OUCH!: Scott Verplank promised Charlie Wi a steak dinner for getting him into the BMW Championship.

He might want to buy his doctor one, too.

Verplank said Thursday his achy left wrist feels better than it has in weeks after having a cortisone shot Monday night. Verplank has been struggling with tendinitis most of the year, and it got so bad last week he withdrew from the second round of the Deutsche Bank Championship because he could no longer grip the club through his swing.

“It wasn’t very good for the first five, six, seven holes. After that it wasn’t that bad,” said Verplank, whose wrist was bound tightly with white tape and then covered with a black wrap. “It hurt a lot less today than it did any other time in the last two or three weeks.”

Verplank played the first five holes at 4 over, and finished with a 76. That’s 12 strokes behind first-round leader Matt Kuchar.

Verplank figured his season was over when he left Boston. But Wi birdied the last hole Monday to bump Verplank up to No. 70 in the FedEx Cup standings and put him in the field for the BMW. His doctors told him he wouldn’t damage the wrist any further by playing, so Verplank got the cortisone shot, his first of the year.

There are no alternates in the playoffs, so it wasn’t as if Verplank deprived someone else of a spot in the field.

“I probably shouldn’t have come here. But nothing’s going to split, splinter, explode or tear,” Verplank said. “I’ve been playing with it all year, anyway.”

AYE, AYE CAPTAIN: Ian Poulter could have a future as a Ryder Cup captain.

Asked what he thought of Corey Pavin’s picks for the U.S. team earlier this week, the Englishman said they didn’t come as any surprise. Tiger Woods was all but a lock, and many figured Pavin would pick Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink, major champions who have already played Ryder Cups on the road.

Pavin’s last pick, though, was Rickie Fowler, the first PGA Tour rookie to make a U.S. Ryder Cup team.

“They were the four picks that I would have chosen,” Poulter said Thursday. “Guys were discussing it for a few days … and I think they were most people’s picks.”

WORLD RANKING: Phil Mickelson’s meltdown in the final round at the TPC Boston will make his road to No. 1 a lot tougher at Cog Hill.

For Mickelson to go atop the world ranking for the first time in his career, he would have to finish no worse than second place by himself, and that’s provided Tiger Woods finishes out of the top seven.

Mickelson can go to No. 1 with a win no matter what Woods does.

Steve Stricker also has a chance at the BMW Championship. He would have to win, and have Woods finish out of the top 17 and Mickelson finish worse than second.

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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
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.