Notes Sergios Open hopes Simpson bounces back

By Associated PressMay 6, 2011, 3:27 am

Wells Fargo ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Sergio Garcia wants to play in the U.S. Open. He hasn’t decided whether he’ll play in a qualifying tournament, if needed, to do so.

Garcia put himself into contention at the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday with a 3-under 69 that left him five shots behind first-round leader Bill Haas. Garcia needs to play well in the next month in hopes of boosting his world ranking from 72 into the top 50 to get an exemption into next month’s U.S. Open at Congressional.

“Four good weeks, get into the U.S. Open and move on from there,” Garcia said.

Asked what he’ll do if he doesn’t reach the top 50, Garcia stopped short of saying he’ll go through qualifying for the first time.

“I don’t know. It’s still up in the air,” he said. “Hopefully, I won’t have to.”

The 31-year-old Spaniard skipped a European Tour event in his home country at a club he’s a member of this week to play in Charlotte, where there are more ranking points at stake. He’ll also play next week at The Players Championship.

Garcia, coming off his worst season as a pro, has played in every major since 1999.

“I don’t care about streaks. I don’t care about records, things like that,” Garcia said. “I just worry about enjoying it and doing what I love and trying to do it the best way possible.”


PAIN IN THE NECK: Moments after shooting 69, Padraig Harrington closed an interview with a group of reporters Thursday by saying, “It’s nice to be wanted.”

The Irishman isn’t nearly in as much demand as when he was winning consecutive British Open titles and the PGA Championship in 2007-08. Harrington has missed the cut in four of the last five majors, including three straight.

Harrington shot 77 and 72 to send him home from Masters last month, later revealing he played with a sore neck after hurting himself swinging left-handed during his normal warmup routine.

“I couldn’t move my neck to the right at all, maybe 10 percent of what I normally have,” Harrington said.

Now healed, Harrington feels he’s not far removed from contending again.

“I was in good form a few weeks ago. I got injured at the Masters and that obviously set me back,” he said. “I’ve been conscious of getting all parts of my game working. It’s nice, I didn’t play so well, but to score well was good.”


CLEMSON’S DAY: There was a tint of orange in the first round.

Jonathan Byrd (6-under 66) was two shots off the lead and fellow former Clemson golfer Lucas Glover (5-under 67) was tied for fourth.

“I’m glad he’s playing good,” Byrd said of Glover. “But I just want to be right ahead of him, because he’s your buddy.”

It seemed to be a day for golfers with experience at Quail Hollow. Leader Bill Haas, who played at Wake Forest, has played the course countless times. David Toms, who sits two back, won the inaugural event in 2003.


SIMPSON BOUNCES BACK: Four days after an excruciating playoff loss in part thanks to an odd one-stroke penalty, Webb Simpson shot a 2-under 70 and sat six strokes off the lead.

Simpson, who grew up in North Carolina and recently moved to Charlotte, felt comfortable.

“It was a good day,” he said.

That wasn’t the case Sunday.

Simpson, winless on the PGA Tour, was leading at New Orleans by one shot and his ball was less than a foot from the cup on the 15th green when it moved. Simpson believed it was caused by the wind. He was still issued a one-stroke penalty and lost in a playoff to Bubba Watson.

The U.S. Golf Association is considering modifying the rule.

“I’d like for it to be changed,” Simpson said. “I think every other player on the PGA Tour agrees with me, so we’ll see what happens.”

A BLANK WALL: That 5-wood David Toms used to make an ace in the third round of his PGA Championship victory 10 years ago is now in a glass trophy case in a game room at home in Louisiana.

Even more interesting is the game room itself.

It has a pool table and a couple of televisions, which is to be expected. He also has the trophies from his 12 wins on the PGA Tour in special box cases with a light shining on the hardware.

And then there’s the blank wall.

“There’s no boxes,” Toms said. “But behind it there are boxes in case I won more. It’s all finished out. It’s just a blank wall right now, but it can be cut out. The boxes are there with the lights, everything is ready to go. Just have to cut a hole in it.”

First, though, he has to win.

As for those other trophies? Some of them are collector’s items. Four of his trophies come from tournaments that no longer exist – the Michelob Championship at Kingsmill (twice), the Buick Challenge at Callaway Gardens and the International in Colorado. Another trophy comes from the Match Play Championship, although it’s no longer played at La Costa, where Toms had a strong record.


DIVOTS: Players who went off early were met with wind and temperatures in the 40s. “It was downright cold,” said Brandt Jobe, who shot 69. … The tournament is sold out for the eighth time in nine years.

Getty Images

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.