Sergio in Command Tiger in Trouble at Open

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- A shank for Sergio Garcia. A duck-hook for Tiger Woods.
 
Both shots were shocking to see on the opening hole at Carnoustie. The bigger surprise Friday at the British Open was which player recovered -- not the guy with 12 majors, but the one seeking his first.
 
Sergio Garcia
Sergio Garcia reacts to his par save on the final hole Friday. (Getty Images)
'It was a solid shank,' Garcia said, able to laugh after an even-par 71 put him 6 under for the tournament and gave him a two-shot lead going into the weekend.
 
His 9-iron skidded into a nasty lie in the rough right of the green, and what followed was a chip that would have made short-game genius Seve Ballesteros proud. It skirted the edge of a bunker and rolled to tap-in range for an unlikely par that brightened Garcia's mood.
 
Woods, on the other hand, hit his iron off the tee so poorly that it found the Barry Burn. That's not unusual at Carnoustie, except the winding stream shouldn't come into play until the final hole, not the first one.
 
It was that far left.
 
He dropped the club right after impact and watched the ball sail over the gallery, hop along the turf and disappear into the burn and out-of-bounds, putting two strokes on his card before he put a ball in play.
 
'It was such a poor shot because the commitment wasn't there,' said Woods, who made double bogey on his way to a 3-over 74 that left him seven shots behind in his quest to become the first player in 51 years to win the claret jug three straight times.
 
'Still not out of it,' Woods said, even though 18 players separated him from the top of the leaderboard.
 
Garcia took another step toward validating his promise, grinding his way through chilly breezes with birdies on both par 5s and only a couple of mistakes that put him two shots clear of K.J. Choi.
 
He has contended for majors since he was a teenager, but the 27-year-old Spaniard looks as though he might finally have figured them out. Garcia wasn't at his best in the second round, but he was good enough.
 
'I was hoping for a little better than what I did,' Garcia said. 'But that was not a bad round. Every time you shoot on a difficult course ... an under-par or even-par round, you know you're not too far away.'
 
Choi, perhaps the hottest player in golf with victories at two big tournaments in the last two months, was bearing down on Garcia with a string of birdies along the back nine until a bogey on the final hole that was a foot away from being worse. His tee shot narrowly avoided the burn left of the 18th fairway, forcing Choi to stand on the stone steps and punch back to the fairway.
 
'You've just got to play that hole as a par 5,' Choi said after a 69. 'Even if you get a bogey, just consider it a good par.'
 
They will be in the final group Saturday of a major that is starting to take shape.
 
The best round of the day belonged to former Masters champion Mike Weir of Canada, a 68 that put him at 3-under 139 along with another Spaniard, Miguel Angel Jimenez, who had a 70. Another shot behind was former U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk (70) and Boo Weekley, whose backwoods charm is starting to captivate Britain as much as his ball-striking.
 
The group at 1-under 141 included U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera and two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen.
 
Absent from the mix is Phil Mickelson, who missed the cut for the second straight time in a major.
 
Lefty needed a par on the final hole to make the weekend but hit a power fade into Barry Burn for double bogey and a 77. It was a setback for the three-time major champion, who lost in a playoff last week at the Scottish Open.
 
'I thought I was playing better than this,' Mickelson said.
 
Also leaving early was Colin Montgomerie, whose victory two weeks ago in Ireland renewed hopes that a major was still in his future. Paul Lawrie, the shock winner at Carnoustie in 1999, took double bogey on the final hole and missed the cut by one.
 
Garcia has never had the lead going into the weekend at a major, and his work is far from done. Five major champions are among those within six shots of the lead, with nasty weather forecast for Saturday.
 
'I'd rather be leading than being eight shots back, that's for sure,' Garcia said. 'You don't feel like you have to push your game to the limit all the time. So I'm pretty happy the way I'm standing right now.'
 
Woods ended his streak of nine consecutive rounds under par at the British Open. And he was lucky it wasn't worse.
 
Two shots came within inches of going into those perilous pot bunkers. He turned away in disgust as his approach on the 10th hole headed for the burn, only to rattle through a small cluster of trees and land safely in the middle of them.
 
'I could have easily shot myself out of the tournament today,' Woods said. 'But I kept myself right in there.'
 
Garcia was stalking a 5-foot par putt on the 18th green when Woods was announced on the first tee.
 
Then came a buzz that Garcia could not ignore. He was startled by the sound coming from Woods' direction -- not cheers, but groans and gasps of the gallery seeing the two-time defending champion hit such a miserable shot.
 
Woods hit into the right rough on the first hole at Royal St. George's in 2003, a ball that was never found. But that was only about 10 yards off line. This shot looked like it belonged on the municipal course at Monifieth up the road.
 
Rarer than the shot was the indecision. He practiced a low stinger on the range, but as Woods settled over the ball, he wondered whether that shot might run into a bunker on the right or if he should hit the ball a little higher.
 
Either way, the result was double bogey and a battle to stay in the game. Woods saved par from a bunker on the ninth, from the trees by the burn on No. 10 and with an approach while standing upright on the edge of a fairway bunker on the 11th.
 
Garcia could have put some distance between his challengers, although he still looked very much in control. He didn't have as many birdie chances as Thursday, when he opened with a 65, but he picked his spots.
 
'I'm not going to lie. I was a little bit nervous at the beginning because you want to do well like I had yesterday,' Garcia said.
 
His confidence was soaring at the end, so much that he broke a golfer's unwritten code never to say 'shank.'
 
'I don't mind it,' Garcia said.
 
He recalled a similar start in the final round of Sun City in 2003, playing with Goosen in the final group.
 
'Down the middle, got the 9-iron out, same club I hit today and shanked it way right of the green,' Garcia said. 'That time I made bogey. I managed to win the tournament.
 
'It's not a bad thing.'
 
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  • 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

    Getty Images

    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.

    PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

    Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

    The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    The statement reads:

    The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

    Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

    The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

    The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

    The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.