Ochoa back to defend Wie back in action

By Associated PressOctober 1, 2009, 2:26 am

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PRATTVILLE, Ala. – Lorena Ochoa has made a habit of ending streaks at the Navistar LPGA Classic, whether she wanted to or not.

Ochoa beat Candie Kung with a 2-foot par putt on the second hole of a playoff last year after coming in winless in seven starts. Two years ago, Maria Hjorth kept the Mexican star from a fourth consecutive victory.

Ochoa hopes to snap an 11-tournament winless stretch dating back to the Corona Championship in late April. The $1.3 million Classic begins Thursday on the 6,546-yards, par-72 Senator Course on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill in suburban Montgomery.

“I have nothing but good memories,” Ochoa said Wednesday. “I would love to win the tournament. I heard nobody has won the tournament twice, so it would be nice to put my name up there. I feel good playing on this course.”

She came fairly close to winning last week. Ochoa, who had won 21 times from 2006-08, finished four strokes behind winner Sophie Gustafson at the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge in Danville, Calif.

Recent rains have changed the dynamics some in Prattville.

“I think I have a good plan on how to play the course,” Ochoa said. “It’s playing a little bit longer because obviously it’s a little bit wet and the rough is a little bit higher. So I think it should be a little bit different than last year.

“But at the same time, a good challenge. I’m happy to be back, and I’m going to do my best to defend my title. It would be great to win on Sunday.”

Gustafson, No. 3 money winner Cristie Kerr, Hjorth and Michelle Wie are also in the field. It’s a chance for Kerr to make up some ground on Jiyai Shin, who leads her in the Rolex Player of the Year chase.

Wie returns from a short break for the start of classes at Stanford, where’s she’s taking communications and statistics courses.

She has six top-10 finishes in 16 events, including a runner-up at the season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay.

“I had a good two weeks off and a good week of school last week,” Wie said. “I’m excited to play again. I felt like I practiced a lot last week and it will be fun to put that into action.”

This is the 19-year-old’s first time playing in the Navistar Classic and her first visit to Alabama. She likes the Southern flavor just fine so far.

“I love the food here, love the music. It’s great,” Wie said. “Every other radio station here plays country music, so I’m pretty happy about that.”

She’d be even happier with her first LPGA victory.

“That’s a goal I can’t really control as much,” Wie said. “More of a personal goal is what I’ve been trying to accomplish all year: Try my hardest and play my hardest and end the week, knowing I’ve done that.”

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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.


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