Wie Trying to Make History at US Open

By Associated PressJune 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
Michelle Wie has played eight tournaments against men, starting at age 13. She shot a 68 in her PGA Tour debut when she was in the ninth grade, and she kept golf fans riveted by reaching the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur Public Links last summer in her long-shot bid to get into the Masters.
Wie's Shot-by-Shot Scorecard
None of those moments has ramped up the hype over the 16-year-old from Hawaii quite like this.
Wie isn't trying to make the cut Monday at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J. She's trying to make history.
Wie, who just finished her junior year at Punahou School in Honolulu, is among 153 players trying to get 18 spots available for the U.S. Open, which would make her the first female to compete in any major championship.
No one doubts she is capable, although it likely will take two of her best rounds. But the mere prospect of her teeing it up alongside Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els at Winged Foot has drawn media interest from around the world, far more than for anything she has done in a short but entertaining career.
Wie said she didn't feel any differently now than when she first played on the PGA Tour in the '04 Sony Open, where her 68 remains the best score ever by a female competing on a men's tour.
'They're both challenging,' she said.
The odds of her finishing in the top 18 after 36 holes at Canoe Brook depend on how you look at it.
Wie's career-best on the PGA Tour is 2 under par, both times at Waialae Country Club where she often plays. The cutoff for getting into the U.S. Open last year at the Canoe Brook qualifier was 3-under 139. Two years ago, when the New Jersey club hosted one of the larger sectional qualifiers, the 22nd and final spot went to Scott Hend at 140.
The field includes 135 professionals, four dozen of them members of the PGA Tour. Two of them are major champions (Mark O'Meara and Mark Brooks), while another is No. 10 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings (Vaughn Taylor).
Wie has never made the cut - top 70 and ties - on the PGA Tour. The closest she came was in 2004 at the Sony Open, when she missed by one shot after shooting 68 in the second round.
Now, she has to finish in the top 18.
'I'd be very surprised if she got through,' Brooks said. 'You've got to play better than just making the cut on tour to qualify, usually. If you went over there and looked at those two courses and said, 'What would the tour shoot here?' If you figure the cut would be 3 under, you'd better shoot 4 or 5 under.'
Wie plays at 8:35 a.m. EDT Monday on the South Course, a par 70 at 6,632 yards. She will be the last to tee off in the second 18 holes on the North Course, which plays at 7,066 yards as a par 72. She will be paired with David Gossett, a former PGA Tour winner who has lost his status because of a deep slump, and Rick Hartmann, a club pro from Long Island who qualified for the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
Despite the presence of so many PGA Tour players, the circumstances are different from a regular tour event.
'Some are annoyed that they even have to be there,' USGA executive director David Fay said. 'You have a couple of bad holes and who knows? That's one way of approaching it. The other thinking is to compare her not with the PGA Tour players, but the non-tour players. Each year, a small number of them make it. She only has to be one of them.'
Two years ago, when there were 22 spots available at Canoe Brook, a half-dozen players who qualified weren't on the PGA Tour.
'I don't know what the odds are, but if she plays good, I think she's in,' said Sean O'Hair, who played a practice round with Wie at Waialae in January.
Wie made it through 18-hole local qualifying last month at Turtle Bay in Hawaii, another course she knows well. Some of the PGA Tour players, such as Brooks, Taylor and J.J. Taylor, were playing the final round Sunday at the Memorial in Ohio. They had to fly to New Jersey and be ready to tee it up Monday morning.
Wie arrived at Canoe Brook on Thursday and has been practicing every day. Her swing coach, David Leadbetter, arrived from Florida and has been fine-tuning her swing to keep it simple.
The intangible is how Wie performs for the crowd, from those in the gallery to those with cameras and notepads. She is comfortable in the spotlight and has a knack for making news. She played in the final group of her first LPGA major when she was 13, and had a chance to win the Kraft Nabisco this year until her eagle chip on the 18th hole ran 10 feet by and she missed the birdie putt to get into a playoff.
Even in her professional debut last October, she stole headlines when she was disqualified over a bad drop.
Els had his doubts about Wie until they played a practice round together in 2004 at the Sony Open. He said that day he never would have imagined a female having the talent or even getting the opportunity to play with the best in the world. 'Give her another couple of years to get stronger,' he said.
Now, Els is just as curious as anyone else.
'You've got to give her credit,' he said. 'She's 16, she's really coming on nicely now. At least this one she's qualifying for; she's not taking a spot from anybody. She's doing all the right things, and hopefully, she makes it.'
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.