South African media hail Schwartzels win

By Associated PressApril 11, 2011, 5:47 pm

JOHANNESBURG – South African newspapers hailed Charl Schwartzel’s “masterclass” on Monday after he marked the 50th anniversary of Gary Player’s breakthrough first international win in the Masters with another victory for their country at Augusta National.

South African fans had to stay up late to watch it.

It was 12:48 a.m. in Schwartzel’s hometown of Johannesburg when he made the last of his four straight birdies to finish off a two-stroke victory over Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott. His 6-under 66 was the best final round by a winner in 22 years.

“Charl’s Masterclass,” said The Star, alongside a full page photo of a victorious Schwartzel waving to the galleries on the 18th green.

The Afrikaans-language Beeld called Schwartzel’s performance – which also included a chip-in for birdie on the first hole and an eagle on No. 3 – “Masterful.”

Online, The Citizen said “Schwartzel wins Masters with birdie blitz,” adding “No Masters champion had finished with such a run” following Schwartzel’s clutch of late birdies.

Earlier, South Africa’s Sunshine Tour quickly proclaimed “Schwartzel steamrollers opposition to win Masters” on its website and said Schwartzel “pulled off an extraordinary victory in one of the most thrilling Masters ever.”

Schwartzel won 50 years to the day after Player became the first non-American to wear the green jacket, and seven of the top 10 finishers were from outside the U.S.

“I am absolutely delighted for Charl and South Africa. Congratulations and very well done to him. That is how you finish like a champion!” Player wrote on Twitter.

Trevor Immelman, the 2008 champion, also congratulated Schwartzel on Twitter.

“Really happy for Charl!!!” Immelman wrote.

“Going to be nice to have some South African food at the Champions Dinner again next year,” he added, in reference to the tradition of the defending champion choosing the menu for the Masters champions’ dinner.

After waiting 25 years for a first international winner, foreigners have won three of the last four Masters titles. But it remains the only major never won by an Australian.

In Australia, it was Monday morning. From sun-drenched beaches to office workers glued to television sets in coffee shops, Australians felt a degree of collective pain when Scott and Day fell short.

Websites of major Australian newspapers were quick to report on yet another Masters opportunity lost.

“Schwartzel shatters Aussie Masters dream” reported national daily The Australian, while the Sydney Morning Herald said “Australia’s long history of heartache at Augusta National has continued.”

The Daily Telegraph in Sydney said “Australia has suffered its share of Masters heartbreak, but today will rank with one of the most agonizing.

“Just as their mutual hero Greg Norman did three times previously, Adam Scott and Jason Day have been relegated to joint second place by another freaky back-nine performance.”

Peter Thomson, who won five British Opens and remains Australia’s most prolific major champion, said he got up early in Melbourne to watch the telecast.

“I’m thrilled about it,” Thomson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “Our younger generation is showing what they can do, particularly Day.

“I just wish one of them would win the British Open, that’s the real world championship,” he added, tongue in cheek.

Swimmers at Sunrise Beach north of Brisbane, Australia had gathered at a surf lifesaving hut to watch the televised proceedings with the lifeguards, groaning their way back to the ocean when the South African won.

There was a special interest in this part of Australia – Scott grew up in Queensland state, living at times north and south of Brisbane. Day was born in Beaudesert, just southwest of the city.

Also vying for Australia’s first green jacket as Masters champion was 2006 U.S. Open winner Geoff Ogilvy, who finished with 67 and was tied for fourth with Tiger Woods and England’s Luke Donald.

One interested observer Down Under was Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles for Australia on the tennis court. Her husband, Roger Cawley, got up at 4:30 a.m. to watch most of the final round, Goolagong Cawley about an hour later.

Their son, Morgan, went to school with Scott and the two played doubles tennis together.

“We were pulling for Adam but anytime a guy shoots four birdies in a row to finish the Masters, he deserves to win,” Goolagong Cawley said.

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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