Wie Struggles in Practice at Canoe Brook
Wie practiced on the range and then played nine holes on the Canoe Brook Country Club's North Course in preparation for Monday's 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifier.
All the 16-year-old star has to do to make the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, N.Y., is finish in the top 18 in the field of 153 players.
'She just qualified on the practice tee,' Leadbetter quipped after working on Wie's swing for more than an hour. 'I think she's got a decent shot at it. She is confident. She had a very good outing in Korea a few weeks ago and she is swinging pretty well overall.'
Wie refused to speak either before or after playing.
'She has to focus on her preparation,' said her father, B.J., who walked the course with his daughter, wife Bo, Leadbetter and caddie Greg Johnston.
Leadbetter focused much of his attention on Wie's tempo. It has a tendency to quicken during her swing, and that leads to a tendency to pull the ball left.
Playing in front of less than a dozen spectators, Wie yanked the ball left on the second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh holes. Her frustration seemed to peak at the 212-yard, par-3 seventh, where she took five shots off the tee. Her first finished on the adjacent sixth fairway. Three of the next four landed short and left in a greenside bunker. The other went over the green.
'Give her a day or so,' Leadbetter said. 'She hit a lot of good shots, too.'
Wie actually hit several outstanding shots. She put her second shot on the first hole 10 feet from the pin. She missed the birdie putt.
After taking a mulligan on the downwind, downhill, 572-yard, par-5 second hole, Wie hit her second drive 327 yards, then hit the green from 245 yards.
'I got that in my bag,' quipped Stew Robertson, 71, of North Brunswick. 'Then I wake up from my dream and I don't have it.'
Wie also reached the 501-yard, par-5 eighth hole, which was playing into the wind, in two.
Leadbetter called the North and South courses at Canoe Brook classic old courses that aren't 'tricked up.' Hitting the small greens will yield birdies, he said.
Wie has the game and personality to make golf history, he said.
'It really is incredible,' he said. 'No way a few years ago would you have ever dreamed of a 16-year-old girl having the opportunity of hopefully getting into the men's U.S. Open. She is just special. That's all I can tell you.
'Her mind-set, not only her great athletic ability and great golf swing. She has an unbelievable mind. She really thrives on pressure. She likes the pressure-cooker situation. Her game seems to get better the more the pressure is on.'
The atmosphere Monday is expected to be zoo-like, with many people coming to see if Wie can beat the field of PGA Tour professionals and club pros.
Leadbetter said the commotion won't bother her.
In her recent tournament in South Korea, she played as cell phones rang and police sirens chased fans off a local road.
'Nothing will be worse than that,' Leadbetter said. 'This will be a walk in the park.'
Wie's first day at Canoe Brook was calm. She arrived at 11:45 a.m., had lunch with club pro Greg Lecker, then went to the driving range.
As she loosened up on the far right, teenagers Jake McIntyre of Chatham and Mike Sawyer of Summit hit balls prior to their round.
As Wie was about to start hitting, they walked away.
McIntyre took out a camera and videotaped Wie's swing.
Asked why he didn't stay and hit ball near Wie, Sawyer stated the obvious.
'It would be embarrassing,' he said.
If Wie finds her swing tempo by Monday, a couple of pros also might be embarrassed.
'It's not going to be easy,' Leadbetter said. 'It's a very good group of players, good tour players and some good club professionals. She is going to have to play well. There are only 18 spots. We're confident.'
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
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."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
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.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“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
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.
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.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18