Notes Tough Act for Hamilton to Follow

By Associated PressJanuary 5, 2005, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Vijay Singh isn't the only one trying to follow up on a dream year.
Todd Hamilton was gearing up for his rookie season on the PGA Tour at this time a year ago, hopeful of making enough money to keep his card. He figured he would watch the Mercedes Championships on television, as always.
Instead, he was introduced Thursday as a two-time winner -- the Honda Classic and the British Open.
'I never expected last year to work out the way it did,' Hamilton said.
For an encore, he would settle for consistency, even if that means a little less excitement.
Despite two wins and finishing 11th on the money list -- the best by a rookie since David Duval was 11th in 1995 -- Hamilton had only one other top 10 and missed eight cuts. He thinks some still believe his season was a fairy tale, although he hardly backed his way into his two victories.
Hamilton won the Honda Classic with a birdie-birdie finish to beat Davis Love III. Even more impressive was the British Open, where he was paired with Ernie Els over the final 40 holes at Royal Troon and beat him in a playoff.
'I think it's going to be awfully difficult to duplicate or even improve on what I did last year,' Hamilton said. 'I don't expect a year like that to happen again, but I hope that I can get in those positions to make it happen. If I don't win, and play
poorly the whole year, it will be a disappointing year.
'If I don't win, yet give myself a chance to do well in events throughout the year, that would be nice.'
The next year has not been kind to surprise winners of major championships recently.
  • Rich Beem finished 71st on the money list the year after he won the '02 PGA Championship on the strength of a runner-up finish at the Western Open. He had only one other top 10.
  • Ben Curtis, who won the '03 British Open, had only one top 10 last year and finished 141st on the money list.
  • Shaun Micheel ('03 PGA Championship) was 82nd on the money list last year and also had only one top 10.

    But Hamilton brings far more experience into the 2005 season.
    He was a longtime fixture on the Japanese tour, and won four times the year before he made it through Q-school.
    'If you really didn't follow golf very closely, there are probably a lot of you guys that had to look up what I did in Japan,' he said. 'You would not have known that I had won 11 events over there. There was probably a lot of research that had to have been done on my career, even before last year started.'
    Also in his favor is his down-to-earth personality.
    'I've known Todd since college, and the guy hasn't changed one bit,' Steve Flesch said.
    Hamilton is married to his high school sweetheart. He rarely goes a day without playing golf, and wintry weather in Texas over the holidays was the only thing that kept him off the course.
    He doesn't believe fame has changed him, and a good example came last fall when Hamilton, an All-American at Oklahoma when the Sooners won a national title under Barry Switzer, went back for a football game.
    He was in the bathroom when a man turned his head and started staring at him.
    'I should know you,' he said.
    'No, you probably don't know me,' Hamilton replied. 'I'll be 39 here in a few weeks. I went to school here, but it's been a long, long time. You shouldn't know me.'
    The man wouldn't let up until Hamilton finally said, 'Do you watch golf?'
    'He goes, 'That's where I've seen you!' He had watched me play in the Open championship,' Hamilton said. 'Funny things happened like that.'
    The silver claret jug has a prominent spot in his Dallas-area home -- on a shelf in the living room. Hamilton already had a replica made, and he keeps the original British Open trophy in the case he keeps in a closet.
    'It's nice to sit down on your couch and look up on your mantle and see that,' especially if you've played golf that day, even though it's just with your buddies and you shot 4 over or 5 over,' he said. 'Then you go down, sit on your coach, flip on TV and it's sitting right above your TV. That's pretty good motivation.'
    With so much focus on Tiger Woods' new swing, Vijay Singh was asked what his trained eye sees about the differences in the player he replaced at No. 1 in the world.
    This is one discussion Singh didn't want to join.
    'I'm not a swing coach,' he said. 'You've got to ask Butch that.'
    It broke up the room with laugher. Singh was referring to Butch Harmon, who was Woods' coach for a decade before Woods fired him and began seeing Dallas-based Hank Haney.

    Vijay Singh is on top of the world for the second straight year, this time with a record.
    Along with his PGA Tour money record, the 41-year-old Fijian set a record for worldwide earnings in 2004 with $11,648,699, beating by about $600,000 the amount Woods won in 2000.
    The World Money List has been published by IMG the last 39 years. It includes tournaments such as the Skins Game and the Target World Challenge.
    Singh won $10,905,166 on the PGA Tour and $733,533 in events on other tours. Ernie Els finished second with $9.3 million, while Woods came in third with nearly $7.1 million worldwide.
    A record 112 regular tour players won more than $1 million last year.
    Annika Sorenstam led the Women's World Money List for the fourth straight year with $2,746,824, while Craig Stadler led the seniors with $2,681,041.
    Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Mercedes Championships
  • Full Coverage - Mercedes Championships
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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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.