Villegas edges Garcia at East Lake

By Associated PressSeptember 28, 2008, 4:00 pm
THE TOUR Championship by Coke 2007 LogoATLANTA ' Too far behind to do anything about the FedEx Cup, Camilo Villegas put together a stirring rally Sunday that was good enough to win the Tour Championship in a playoff over Sergio Garcia for his second consecutive victory.
 
Villegas overcame a five-shot deficit by making six birdies over his last 11 holes for a 4-under 66, then beat Garcia with a par on the 233-yard 18th hole used in the playoff.
 
The 26-year-old Colombian, who had gone 85 starts on the PGA Tour without winning, picked up his second in a row with a finish that brought the gallery to life on a sunny afternoon at East Lake.
 
Camilo Villegas and Vijay SinghHe birdied the 17th hole from 12 feet to catch Garcia, then twice hit beautiful lag putts from outside 45 feet, once in regulation to finish at 7-under 273, then in the playoff to cap off his season in style.
 
Villegas, who will move to No. 6 in the world rankings, earned $1.26 million for winning the Tour Championship.
 
I cannot emphasize how hard Ive worked, Villegas said.
 
Anthony Kim and Phil Mickelson each shot 69, and each had a chance to join the playoff. Kim, playing in the second-to-last group with Villegas, missed from 30 feet. Mickelsons 20-foot birdie putt stayed above the hole.
 
Garcia missed a 20-foot birdie putt to win, then never gave himself much of a chance on the 18th hole in the playoff. He came out of the shot, and it wound up in deep rough some 30 yards short and right of the flag. His chip stayed in the collar of the green, and a chip to extend the playoff was well short.
 
It was the third consecutive time Garcia has blown a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour over the last three years, including a six-shot advantage at the Wachovia Championship in 2005 and a three-shot lead in the 2007 British Open at Carnoustie.
 
I doubted myself too much early on, and it cost me, he said.
 
The consolation prize might be the Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average. Garcia came into the Tour Championship trailing Mickelson by one-hundredth of a point, and wound up at 69.40. Mickelson finished at 69.42.
 
Tiger Woods, who had season-ending knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open, did not play the required 60 rounds to be eligible for the award, which will not be official until the Tours Fall Series ends the first week of November.
 
Fun way to finish the year, have it come down to the last shot, Mickelson said.
 
What was supposed to be the highlight of the Tour Championship ' the FedEx Cup ' turned into an afterthought. Vijay Singh effectively wrapped up the $10 million prize two weeks ago in St. Louis, so all he had to do was finish 72 holes at East Lake and sign for the correct score to win the FedEx Cup.
 
I made one birdie and one bogey. It was easy not to make a mistake, he said.
 
Singh closed with a 70 and tied for 22nd in the 30-man field, but none of that mattered. He won the first two playoff events to take the drama out of the FedEx Cup for the second consecutive year.
 
Villegas missed the cut at The Barclays in the first round of the playoffs, which ultimately cost him. He wound up 551 points behind in the FedEx Cup, but that was only bookkeeping.
 
While the FedEx Cup suffered another dull finish, the Tour Championship was anything but that. Over the back nine, it turned out to be one of the best regular PGA Tour events of the year.
 
Mickelson, Garcia, Kim and Villegas ' four of the hottest commodities on a tour without Woods ' had at least a share of the lead along the back nine at East Lake. They were in the final two groups. At least one player made birdie or bogey on every hole except the 18th, which yielded only one birdie in the final round.
 
Villegas might have been the one player no one expected to be there.
 
He started the final round five shots out of the lead, and despite a pair of birdies, gave it all back and more with a tee shot into the water on the par-3 sixth, and a bogey on the next hole. But the Colombian showed his flair, storming right back into contention with three straight birdies as the leaders faltered.
 
Garcia, also a playoff loser to Singh in The Barclays, failed to birdie the par-5 ninth from a greenside bunker, and didnt make his first birdie until the 12th hole. Mickelson was reminded how much his putter has held him back, missing several chances inside 12 feet.
 
Kim was the most steady of the bunch, but after taking the outright lead with a 20-foot birdie on the 11th hole, the 23-year-old did not make another birdie the rest of the round.
 
Kim was the only player who failed to birdie the uphill, par-5 15th, as the others shared the lead at 7 under. Mickelson and Villegas both dropped shots on the 16th by missing the green and hitting chips outside 10 feet, but Villegas redeemed himself.
 
From the first cut of rough on the right side of the 17th fairway, he made an aggressive swing, knelt and clasped his hands as if praying while watching his ball head left of the flag. It caught enough of the green to settle 12 feet away, and he made it for birdie.
 
Garcia went from a three-shot lead to a two-shot deficit until an 18-foot birdie on the 12th got him back in the game. He was solid the rest of the way until the playoff.
 
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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
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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.