Westwood confirms No 1 ranking at Sun City

By Associated PressDecember 5, 2010, 7:41 pm
SUN CITY, South Africa – Lee Westwood confirmed his year-end No. 1 ranking with an eight-shot win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Sunday.

The top-ranked Englishman sailed to a 4-under 68 in the final round at the Gary Player Country Club for a 271 total, chipping in from the fringe on 18 for a memorable birdie finish.

“It was the stuff that dreams are made of, I guess,” Westwood said of the pitch and run from nearly 40 yards that nestled in the cup for a three on the last hole and a perfect ending in front of a packed gallery.

“I didn’t want to get ahead of myself but I knew I was playing well. It was a professional round I thought. Recently, I really felt there was a good week coming.”

Westwood had five birdies and one bogey, on No. 17, to secure the top ranking for the remainder of 2010 from a resurgent Tiger Woods.

South Africa’s Tim Clark shot a 1-under 71 to finish second on 9-under 279, one better than compatriot Retief Goosen and Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez.

The 37-year-old Westwood has led the 12-player field since Friday and was unchallenged on the final day to win his first Nedbank title on his seventh attempt, collecting $1.25 million in prize money. It was his second tournament win of the year in his final event of the season.

He carded under-par rounds of 68, 64, 71 and 68, with four bogeys all week, in a performance befitting his top ranking.

“It (the No. 1 ranking) is something that I’m still coming to terms with,” Westwood said. “But since I’ve become No. 1 I’ve finished second (HSBC Champions), third (Dubai World Championship) and first. So, I think I can cope with it.”

Paired with Westwood Sunday, Clark rolled in a seven-foot putt on 18 to save par and clinch second place – and a check for $660,000.

“I had a pretty good idea what was at stake there (with the putt on 18),” said Clark, who bogeyed his first hole of the day and never threatened a dominant Westwood despite three birdies in his back nine.

Clark also bogeyed 17 after misreading the yardage and ending up well short of the green, but the result was not in question from the time Westwood made birdie on Nos. 9 and 10 – both long, testing par 5s – to increase his overnight five-shot advantage.

“I don’t think it would have been possible to catch Lee today. There’s no question he is the world’s No. 1. It’s not just points on a sheet. I think he has that belief right now,” Clark said.

Westwood’s final-round 68 was only matched by Goosen, who jumped from ninth to a share of third with his 4-under finish to share third with Jimenez on 8 under.

The charismatic Jimenez, who delighted South African fans all week, ended with a 15-footer for birdie and a matador-like flourish with his putter.

Ernie Els and Ross Fisher were three shots back on 5 under. Els struggled with a new putter and had two bogeys and a double bogey going out, ending with a 1-over 73 – his worst round of the week.

Fisher was hampered by a suspected stomach virus, which also struck Louis Oosthuizen and Westwood’s caddie, Billy Foster, and slumped to a 75 after being in contention Friday and Saturday.

Defending champion Robert Allenby of Australia (72) and first-round leader Padraig Harrington (75) shared seventh on 3-under 285.

South African-born Englishman Justin Rose (72) and Anders Hansen, who had three double bogeys in a 76, were 2 under.

Italy’s Edoardo Molinari slipped to 11th with his 76, and British Open champion Oosthuizen (74) was 19 shots back from Westwood’s score in 12th and last, 2 over par – although that still netted him $250,000.

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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.