Tiger Augusta Singh and More

By Associated PressMarch 26, 2003, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tiger Woods reached the century mark at the Bay Hill Invitational by making the cut for the 100th consecutive time on the PGA Tour.
Measuring that mark is a matter of perspective.
Byron Nelson holds the record with 113 consecutive cuts in the 1940s. Jack Nicklaus made the cut 105 straight times in the early 1970s.
What makes Woods' mark so misleading is the number of PGA Tour events that don't even have a cut -- the three World Golf Championships, the season-ending Tour Championship and the winners-only Mercedes Championships.
The PGA Tour counts cuts as playing every eligible round and making money.
In tournaments that have a cut, Woods' streak is at 74, which still would rank fourth in tour history (Hale Irwin made 86 cuts in a row in the mid-70s).
''I'll tell you one thing, it's not as impressive as what Byron's done,'' Woods said. ''Granted, the fields weren't as deep and the cuts were not as low, but the fact he had to be in the money and finish top 10 every week ... he did that for 113 straight tournaments?''
In Nelson's era, making the cut meant making money. Except for the majors a few other events, no more than the top 20 finishers got paid. Nelson never finished lower than a tie for 17th during the eight years of his streak.
Woods said the best way to regard his streak is a ''reflection of the times.''
''The fields are that much deeper,'' he said. ''We get more events that are no-cut, but we have to go so much lower. You can't afford to shoot a bad round.''
In some respects, Woods' streak might be even more impressive. Among active players, the closest anyone has come was Vijay Singh, who made 53 consecutive cuts from 1995-98.
Unless Woods adds another tournament to his schedule, and assuming he keeps playing well, he would break Nelson's record at the Tour Championship -- which has no cut.
Augusta Changes
The deep fairway bunkers that have been extended 80 yards toward the fifth green isn't the only change at Augusta National.
The ninth green has been slightly altered to accommodate a new hole location, and players can thank Tiger Woods for that.
Woods said he had a ''great conversation'' with Masters chairman Hootie Johnson about the ninth green.
''The top shelf was getting to be too small,'' Woods said. ''I said, 'You could make a great hole location by flattening it out.' He left me a voice message to say he had done that.''
Indeed, club officials say when they re-sodded the ninth green last summer, the back shelf was extended 6-to-8 feet, allowing for one or two new pin placements.
A Real Hazard
The PGA Tour's solution to low scores and the long ball has been hole locations cut three paces from the side of the greens, and making the putting surfaces as firm as the weather allows.
A more subtle change has been the bunkers.
Tour officials told players in a recent meeting that they no longer are tamping down the sand to make it firm and uniform. Softer sand leads to more plugged lies, and it's never easy to get those shots close to the hole.
''It makes them more of a hazard,'' Jeff Sluman said. ''You get frustrated when it happens, but nobody said the bunkers were supposed to be uniformly perfect.''
Long Layoff
Vijay Singh ended the longest layoff of his PGA Tour career when he tied for 20th in the Bay Hill Invitational, his first tournament since Pebble Beach.
He said he suffered a stress fracture in the rib caused over the time, with a five-hour session on the range at Torrey Pines inflicting the final blow.
When was the last time he missed five weeks?
''Forever,'' he said. ''I don't think I've ever done that my whole, entire life.''
He didn't catch cabin fever during the layoff. Singh tended to his garden at home in Ponte Vedra Beach, and also relaxed with his wife and son.
''I was being a family man for a change, and I haven't done that for a while,'' he said. ''It was nice seeing my boy going to school and seeing him come back, eating dinner with my wife, watching TV with the family.
''It was hard the first few weeks. I wanted to play,'' he said. ''After a while, you kind of get used to it. You get so comfortable staying home and doing nothing.''
On The Spot
Brad Faxon never dreamed the toughest question he faced at Bay Hill would come during the junior clinic he hosted on the eve of the tournament.
Faxon asked if there were any questions when a young girl raised her hand and asked why the men's game was more popular than the women's game.
''She was sitting right next to her mother, who was beaming,'' Faxon said. ''I said, 'That's a good question. ... You ever hear of Tiger Woods?'''
Faxon made a nice recovery.
''I don't know, but I have some ideas about it,'' he told her. ''Men's golf has been around longer than ladies' golf. We have the most popular athlete in the world playing our sport. I think corporate America started with men's golf and it's grown that way.
''I don't know if that's right, and I'm sorry to say I don't think it will ever catch up. That's just the way it is.''
Even though the PGA Tour signed up title sponsors through the next TV contract, it is still feeling the effects of a tough economy. EMC, one of sponsorship cornerstones of the World Golf Championships, has withdrawn as title sponsor of the World Cup. The tour has asked IMG for help in finding a replacement. ... The PGA Grand Slam of Golf will be played Dec. 4-6 at Poipu Bay in Hawaii. The tournament for the four major championship winners had been scheduled for Dec. 15-17. ... Renee Powell, the second black woman to compete on the LPGA Tour, will receive the 2003 PGA First Lady of Golf Award on June 4 during the Senior PGA Championship.
Stat of the Week
Fulton Allem has not qualified for a major championship since the 1995 U.S. Open. He is in The Players Championship through a 10-year exemption from winning the 1993 World Series of Golf.
Final Word
''You get something to eat, hang out with the guys and listen to some stories we've all told 10 times over.''
-- Ernie Els, on what he does during a rain delay.
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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