Notes Woods Uses 5-Wood for First Time

By Associated PressNovember 3, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Tour ChampionshipATLANTA -- Tiger Woods made another equipment change Thursday that not many saw coming.
For the first time in his 10 years on tour, Woods took his 2-iron out of the bag and replaced it with a 5-wood for the first round of the Tour Championship.
``He did what?'' Kenny Perry said. ``That's shocking. He hits the best 2-iron out here. He must be getting old.''
Woods started experimenting with a 5-wood during a practice round at Firestone more than two months ago, saying it might come in handy at certain courses where he is at distances between his 2-iron and 3-wood, and depending on the shape of the hole. He worked with a few clubs, and settled on an older version of a Nike T40.
Woods only used it once Thursday, hitting it into the right bunker on the par-4 12th hole.
``I got ahead of that one, and started it a little farther right then I wanted,'' he said. ``But the flight was fine.''
He has said he could have used a 5-wood during the PGA Championship at Baltusrol, particularly on the par-5 17th hole where he either had to hammer a 2-iron and let up on a 3-wood, and often got in trouble.
What made East Lake a good place to experiment?
``I thought about No. 9 (a 600-yard hole) because if you get a downhill lie, I can't hit my 2-iron and stop it on that green,'' Woods said. ``And if we get any wind on 18, it's perfect for a 5-wood. Otherwise, I just hit 3-iron.''
Woods has used the same lineup in his bag since he joined the PGA Tour in August 1996 -- driver, 3-wood, 2-iron through wedge, two sand wedges and a putter.
Whether he uses it more next year depends on the course. Asked about the Masters, Woods considered the extra length on the par-3 fourth hole, which now plays 240 yards.
``It might not be bad on No. 4,'' he said.
Kenny Perry had one of the best experiences of his life during his three weeks at home in Kentucky. He was contacted by friends of a 25-year-old man who is suffering from cystic fibrosis and wanted nothing more than to play golf with him.
``His dying wish was to meet me and play two holes,'' Perry said.
About two weeks ago, Perry drove to Bowling Green and played The Course at Olde Stone, designed by Arthur Hills and rated among the finest in the area.
``We played the eighth and ninth holes. The kid was smiling the whole way around,'' Perry said. ``It was one of the biggest honors of my life.''
When they finished, Perry said they went to the clubhouse and talked for more than two hours.
Perry did not remember his last name, but ``I say a prayer for him every night.''
With all the buzz about the FedEx Cup in the new 2007 season, Fred Funk is more interested in some of the other cups on the golfing landscape.
Like the Ryder Cup. Or maybe even the Presidents Cup.
And most definitely, the Charles Schwab Cup on the Champions Tour.
Funk has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour because of his victory in March at The Players Championship, but not even a playoff-system on tour that could offer as much as $10 million to the winner of the FedEx Cup interests him.
He turns 50 in June, and expects to start spending time with guys his own age.
``I want to play in the Senior U.S. Open,'' he said. ``And I might want to play in the Senior British Open. But a lot of it depends on how I'm doing. If I have a shot at the Ryder Cup, I'll definitely come home and play Milwaukee.''
Funk is No. 10 in the Ryder Cup standings, but the points are weighted far more heavily in 2006.
``It is so much fun being part of those teams,'' said Funk, who has played on U.S. teams for the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup the last three years.
The Tour Championship is using Coca-Cola bottles as the tee markers because the Atlanta-based company is a presenting sponsor. ... The $6.5 million purse is being distributed slightly differently because Phil Mickelson decided not to play, making it only a 29-man field. Last place now is worth $105,300. Mickelson will not receive any official or unofficial money. ... Davis Love III made his 15th start in the Tour Championship, most of any other player since it began in 1987.
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    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."

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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.

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    Man of the people

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    Victory at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm