Notes: Westwood and Watney play golf, talk football

By Associated PressFebruary 25, 2012, 4:23 am

MARANA, Ariz. – Hunter Mahan is making it look easy on Dove Mountain’s undulating greens in the Match Play Championship.

Counting conceded putts, Mahan made nine birdies in 15 holes for the second straight day. He beat Steve Stricker, 4 and 3, on Friday in the third round after topping Y.E. Yang 5 and 3 on Thursday.

“Distance control is everything,” Mahan said. “Making sure you’re landing in the right spot and getting the right bounce. We’ve done a very good job of that and been very clear. That’s enabled me to make these solid, aggressive swings. If you get it in the right place, you’re going to have good looking putts and birdies.”

He’s using a new putter after struggling on the greens last week at Riviera in a 24th-place tie in the Northern Trust Open.

“Last week, I had no sense of the greens and missed everything,” Mahan said. “But for some reason this week, I feel confident. I feel confident whenever I get on the green I’m going to make it. It’s a good feeling to have right now.”

He’s using a formula that carried Geoff Ogilvy, Ian Poulter and Luke Donaldto victories the last three years on the Jack Nicklaus-designed desert layout.

“It’s an interesting course because it seems like bombers would eat it up,” Mahan said. “But it hasn’t been the case. So it’s been kind of surprising in a way. It seems like good shot-makers and good putters have won here.”

Mahan will play Matt Kuchar in an all-American quarterfinal.


SOCCER TALK: Lee Westwood finally found a way to beat Nick Watney – and also discovered the American has a passion for British soccer.

“We talked about football going around out there,” Westwood said after beating Watney, 3 and 2, in the third round to exact some revenge for Watney’s second-round victories over the English star the last two years.

“It’s called football, not soccer, and he knows a lot about it. He’s a Spurs fan, so that may mean he doesn’t know a lot about it. He didn’t know Nottingham Forest well, which means he really doesn’t know a lot about football or what league they’re in.

“So, we had a chat going around out there, and I filled him in on the England manager’s job, and how his manager might be a favorite for it, and his team might be trying to keep hold of him. I like playing with Nick. He’s a good lad.”

Westwood will play Martin Laird in the quarterfinals. Laird advanced with a 3-and-1 victory over fellow Scot Paul Lawrie.


KOREAN OPEN REMATCH: Rory McIlroy got a good look at quarterfinal opponent Bae Sang-moon three years ago in the final round of the Korean Open.

Bae won the event at Woo Jeong Country Club, closing with a 4-under 67 to beat fellow South Korean player Kim Dae-sub by a stroke. McIlroy had a 72 to tie for third.

“I was really impressed with him,” McIlroy said. “He’s a very good ball-striker and he played very well then. That’s the only time I’ve played with him.

“He’s been very impressive this week taking down (Ian) Poulter and Charl (Schwartzel), two of the best players. Especially, Poult is one of the best match players, and Charl, obviously, a major champion. So, he’s had a great week so far.”

McIlroy beat Miguel Angel Jimenez, 3 and 1, and Bae edged John Senden 1 up in the only third-round match to reach the 18th hole.


FULL 18: Matt Kuchar finished off Martin Kaymer, 4 and 3, on the 15th hole, then declined a ride to the clubhouse and played the final three holes by himself.

“I was working on a few things that I thought could be tightened up a little bit,” Kuchar said. “All in all, I feel like my game is in good form. I just wanted to play a few extra holes to familiarize myself with them.”

He will face Hunter Mahan in the quarterfinals.

“There’s not going to be any weak opponents here in this field of 64,” Kuchar said. “Hunter has been playing better and better. I know he’s going to be tough.”


DIVOTS: Bae joined K.J. Choi (2008) and Y.E. Yang (2011) as the only South Korean players to reach the quarterfinals. Choi and Yang failed to reach the semifinals. … The third-round losers received $140,000. The quarterfinal losers will get $270,000. The champion will receive $1.4 million, second-place is worth $850,000, third $600,000, and fourth $490,000.

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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
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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.