Van de Velde: 'Zero expectations' for Champions debut

By Associated PressJuly 7, 2016, 9:13 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. – It's been five years since Jean Van de Velde retired from professional golf. Now, two months after turning 50, he figures it's time for a comeback.

That will come this weekend at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open on the PGA's senior circuit.

''You feel like you kind of miss the adrenaline of competing, and I have to say that's not something that goes away that easily,'' said Van de Velde, whose claim to golfing fame was his spectacular meltdown on the 72nd hole of the 1999 Open at Carnoustie. ''Unfortunately, my clubs are not really listening right now.''

The last time Van de Velde played as a touring pro was in 2011. Since then, he says, he's played about 10 to 20 casual rounds per year. When he tees off on Friday with Kirk Triplett and Craig Stadler for the opening round at En-Joie Golf Club, it'll be his PGA Tour Champions debut on a course he first played Wednesday.

Since his retirement, Van de Velde has spent the last five years running the French Open, a European Tour event that was held last week. He didn't fly across the Atlantic Ocean until Tuesday.

''I have zero expectations how well I can swing the club,'' he said Wednesday during a news conference. ''I have to have low standards.''



In the summer of 1999, Van de Velde overcame the Scottish wind, tight fairways, thick rough and imposing hazards remarkably well in a major where the cut fell at 12 over par. He played the first three rounds at even par and had a five-shot lead over Craig Perry and Justin Leonard.

Van de Velde still maintained a three-shot cushion when he teed off at No. 18 that Sunday. What followed was a flurry of mistakes that ended with a triple bogey and made Van de Velde a household name. The sight of him removing his shoes and socks and gingerly stepping through shin-deep water as he debated whether to try to hit his ball out of the Barry Burn remains etched on the minds of anybody who witnessed it.

Van de Velde fell into a tie and he lost a four-hole playoff with Paul Lawrie and Leonard. Lawrie won the playoff and Van de Velde failed to become the first Frenchman since 1907 to win the tournament.

His desire to compete remains, and Van de Velde will be able to do it again against familiar foes.

''I want to compete with the guys that I've been playing with over the years. I want to play,'' he said. ''I stopped because, you know, not that my time has gone but you're 44 years of age, you have four children, you want to see them grow up, you want to be there a little more.''

Missing from the Dick's field will be runaway Schwab Cup leader Bernhard Langer, who has three wins and $1.5 million in earnings this year. Jeff Maggert, who shot a bogey-free 6-under 66 in the final round last year to overcome a four-shot deficit and beat Paul Goydos by two shots, returns to defend his title, while Vijay Singh will be making his first appearance at En-Joie.

Perhaps most riveting of all, though, will be the return of long-hitting John Daly, who won the 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie. Daly turned 50 in late April and will be making his seventh start on the Champions Tour and first at En-Joie since his final B.C. Open appearance in 1995.

Daly tees off Friday in the final group with Michael Allen and Billy Andrade.

''I'm excited to go back. It's been a long time,'' Daly 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