Notes Surprise in the Ryder Cup rankings

By Associated PressAugust 5, 2010, 1:31 am

AKRON, Ohio – Even avid golf fans might be surprised to see who is No. 4 in the U.S. Ryder Cup team rankings this week.

Tiger Woods? Nope. He’s ninth. Stewart Cink? He’s at No. 13.

Try Jeff Overton, hardly the name that comes to mind when you consider the best American players in 2010.

“It’s not like I’m Tiger Woods,” he said. “Maybe if we could ever win instead of finish second, maybe we’d have a little better chance of (being known).”

Overton is listed so high among U.S. golfers for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor because he’s played consistently well all year. He’s had three seconds and two thirds, barely missing out on his first career win several times.

On Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic, it took Stewart Appleby’s stirring 59 in the final round to beat him. The 27-year-old Indiana University graduate also was runner-up at the Zurich Classic and the Byron Nelson.

“This year I’ve been able to get inside the top three a lot, but I haven’t been able to get that win,” he said Wednesday, the day before the start of the Bridgestone Invitational. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep plugging along. Like (former British Open champion) Ian Baker-Finch said, ‘You keep knocking on the door enough times, eventually something is going to happen.”’

Overton’s scoring average is 69.81, third best on the PGA Tour. He is 12th on the money list with more than $2.4 million. He’s up to No. 47 in the world rankings after starting the year at No. 186.

A native of Illinois, he is the son of a former baseball player and quarterback at Indiana State. He said he gets his competitive fire from his dad.

He also dates an opera singer.

Asked where they met, he laughed and said, “Bloomington, Ind., the No. 1 opera school in America.”

Overton said he knows about as much about opera as his girlfriend knows about golf.

For instance, his girlfriend’s mother came out to see him play once. He made a bogey and she said, “What did he do? He made a bogus?”

So far this year, he’s been anything but bogus when climbing those Ryder Cup charts.

“(Making the team) would be half the goal, and then the next half of the goal would be to figure out a way to go win the USA some points,” he said.


BY ANY OTHER NAME: Sometimes a golfer needs to not be so concerned about winning in order to win.

That was perhaps the case for Justin Rose for his first decade as a professional. In six full years (and parts of four or five others), he never won on American soil. Second-place finishes at the Texas Open in ’06, Bridgestone in ’07 and Memorial in ’08 not only whetted his appetite for winning, but also increased the questions about why he wasn’t winning.

Rose turned 30 last week but he’s been celebrating all year in the U.S.

Wins at the Memorial and AT&T National have pushed him up the charts in the world rankings. He was 70th to start the year but is now 19th. After years of promise mixed with disappointment, he is considered a threat to win every tournament.

“I said before I started winning that my game was in great shape,” he said on Wednesday. “I didn’t need to do anything different; I didn’t need to work on anything. I guess it was the patience factor of just letting it happen.”

Rose was born in South Africa and raised in England. He now has homes in London and Orlando, Fla.

Some athletes begin to press when they don’t meet their own or others’ expectations. The difference for Rose was letting go.

“The switch for me was … just letting it come out on the golf course, just letting my game sort of go to the first tee, not getting in my own way,” he said. “It’s a very simple mindset to talk about, much harder to do.”


59 FALLOUT: It’s difficult for the typical once-a-week golfer to even contemplate how someone shoots 59.

Stuart Appleby became the fifth player to shoot a 59 in a PGA Tour event when he won the Greenbrier Classic on Sunday by going 11-under over the last 18 holes.

Appleby, set to tee it off in Thursday’s opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational, turned the front side in 6 under. The thought immediately came to him that if he maintained that he might just win the tournament.

“Then I eagled 12 and I thought, ‘I’m on record pace,”’ he said. “I thought there’s nothing at the end of the round that’s going to stand out to be a real test if I’m playing any good. There’s no 500-yard, par-4s; there’s birdie opportunities there. The course was very benign.”

Still, he needed to continue to not just play well but to make birdies. As he traversed the back nine at the Old White, the word spread about what he had within his grasp. The pressure grew, because Appleby also knew.

“I thought, well, just got to keep hitting it close and see if I can make putts – and the putts just seemed to come to me,” he said.

Always, his primary incentive was catching, then staying ahead of Jeff Overton.

“I sort of had two motivating forces,” Appleby said. “One was to try and chase, and one was to also do something a bit unique.”


WHO’S NO. 1? Tiger Woods has been No. 1 in the world golf rankings for the past 270 weeks. But he could fall from that perch this weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.

If Woods wins, he stays No. 1. If second-ranked Phil Mickelson wins, he takes over the top spot. If third-ranked Lee Westwood wins, and Tiger finishes third or worse, he could be the world’s top player.

Mickelson or Westwood could also take over No. 1 if they were to finish high and Woods were well back in the pack.


DIVOTS: The top 50 players in the world rankings are scheduled to play in the Bridgestone which has a purse of $8.5 million and pays $1.4 million to the winner. … An older woman stood by the first tee on Wednesday wearing a pink T-shirt that said, “You Thrill Me, Phil.” … Spectators who spend $75 on tournament merchandise receive a free ticket to Sunday’s round. … Appleby met his wife, Ashley, at a nearby restaurant 10 years ago during the Bridgestone. They’ve been married eight years.

Getty Images

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."

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