Parnevik Grabs Early Nissan Lead

By Associated PressFebruary 14, 2002, 5:00 pm
LOS ANGELES, Calif. ' For a guy known to wear hot pink pants, Jesper Parnevik is always good for a few surprises. The biggest one Thursday was his 6-under 65, giving him the early lead in the first round of the Nissan Open.
Coming off what he called some of the worst golf of his career, the zany Swede made two eagles while using a new putting grip and led by one stroke over Billy Andrade and David Peoples at renovated Riviera Country Club.
Turns out the biggest change wasn't the course. Parnevik, who has played all seven weeks on the PGA Tour this year and hasn't registered a top-10 finish, was walking past a mirror in his hotel room when he realized he wasn't rotating his hips properly.
Suddenly, drives that were going short and crooked became his chief asset.
That's not all. Parnevik was playing the pro-am Wednesday and, for reasons even he can't explain, decided to switch to a cross-handed grip for the first time in his life.
And not just any grip. He points his left index finger down the shaft and his right index finger over his left thumb, with his right thumb attached to his left wrist. It sounds like he should have been doing the hokey-pokey, but instead he was holing a lot of putts.
'Everything fell into place very nicely,' Parnevik said.
The only problem he encountered was his left elbow brushing against his ribs on the longer putts, but Parnevik found a quick solution.
'I take a deep breath to hold my stomach in,' he said.
Unconventional, yes, although it was difficult to argue with the results.
Parnevik made a 20-foot eagle putt on the first hole and decided this new grip just might be the answer, at least for now. He also holed a couple of 25-footers for birdie, and chipped in from the fringe on the 315-yard 10th hole for eagle.
He remembers making two eagles in consecutive rounds at the Volvo PGA Championship in England, but 'that's been it for the next 10 years. It doesn't happen very often.'
Esteban Toledo, raised in impoverished conditions in Mexico and a fan favorite in these parts, had a 67, along with Tommy Armour III.
Sergio Garcia had a 73 and went to the practice green to sort out his problems. Also at 73 was defending champion Robert Allenby, the same score he started with last year.
David Duval and John Daly were among the late starters.
Parnevik has played Riviera well in the past, tying for 13th last year and finishing second to Kirk Triplett in 2000, the year he wore his bright pink pants in the final round.
The Swede dressed close to normal on Thursday, with chocolate-colored pants and an argyle sweater, but most of the attention was on his swing changes.
Parnevik had hip surgery at the end of 2000 and is still making some adjustments, such as rotating his hips more during the backswing.
'It hit me last night in the hotel room when I walked by a mirror,' he said. 'I thought maybe I should try that. My drives were much straighter and 30 yards longer.'
He had a 9-iron into the 463-yard second hole, and a wedge on No. 12 after hitting a drive that was about 325 yards.
The putting style was really bizarre. Parnevik has never gone left-hand-low, even while messing around on the practice green.
'When you're desperate, you're desperate,' said Parnevik, who was 134th in putting coming into the Nissan Open.
The season is young, but not for him. He hasn't missed a tournament yet, and figures he will wind up playing 10 in a row through the Honda Classic, where he is defending champion.
'I had a bet with my caddie that I won't take a break until we win on tour,' Parnevik said. 'The way I was playing, it looked like it was going to be a long year.'
For Andrade, this is a new beginning.
He missed the cut in his first three events, and his ego was further bruised when Titleist decided not to renew his contract for the year. Andrade showed up in Hawaii with a blank bag and no club contract, enough to make any 15-year veteran feel like he doesn't belong.
'It was tough to explain my situation,' he said. 'I've been with that company my whole career. But numbers are numbers, and someone had to get cut.'
He signed with Mizuno last week and feels like he's back in the picture.
'What I've done so far is irrelevant,' Andrade said. 'This is my beginning.'
Full-field scores from the Nissan Open
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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