The Lessons of RTJ

By Brian HewittSeptember 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
Lessons. There were so many of them. So much instructive information came out of the sixth Presidents Cup. And we must not forget these lessons, going forward in the game of team golf, which, by the way, should never be confused with individual golf.
Lessons, like the fact that golf at its highest and most scrutinized level doesnt always have to be played with the volume turned all the way up to 10. Thursday and Friday at the Presidents Cup, on the course, were full of quiet intensity accompanied by stout play. It was every bit as terrific, as theater, for its spare brilliance as the Solheim Cup was, as theater, for its unprepossessing celebration.
Lessons like the fact that the question a reporter asked of American captain Ben Crenshaw six years ago at the Ryder Cup finally has an answer.
The question was: Ben, why is it so hard to find a partner for Tiger Woods?
The answer, we finally now know was this: Because nobody thought to pair him with Jim Furyk, a less outwardly emotional player, but one whose pilot light produces the same blue flame as Woods.
And if you dont think the most important moment of this Presidents Cup was late Saturday morning when Woods and Furyk willed their way to winning the last two holes against Stuart Appleby and Vijay Singh to gain a stunning halve, then you simply werent paying attention.
Woods and Furyk will be partners in these things for as long as they can stand on the same tee box together. Same goes for Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco.
The putt DiMarco holed on the last hole to beat Stuart Appleby and clinch the Cup late Sunday was remarkable. But it was just one part of an improbable up-and-down from an awkward stance with a lousy lie from the rough that was worlds more amazing than just the putt itself.
DiMarco continues to refuse to allow himself to be ignored on golfs big stages. He has been there at the last two Masters. He was there at the 2004 Ryder Cup, the 2004 PGA Championship and the 2005 Accenture Match Play. Sure, he could have won more than he has. But it is impossible to ignore his presence and his appetite for important moments.
In a world where a lot of people have, unfairly, decided its not hip to be American, Chris DiMarco is as American as you will find on the PGA Tour. Every movement he makes shouts in your face that he is not going away. Neither, he will tell you, is America.
So his partner, as long as they can stand in the same tee box together, will be Mickelson. And dont think the Europeans, who will oppose the U.S. next year in Ireland at the Ryder Cup, didnt notice this.
We learned that David Toms and Kenny Perry didnt quit Sunday when they could have. We learned that Justin Leonard has always been an undervalued resource as a team player.
And, on the International side, we learned how really good Retief Goosen is and that his taut singles victory over Woods was an instant classic before it even concluded. An injured Ernie Els was sorely missed. Vijay Singh, needs to putt well to play great.
The Internationals fight their fight in the Presidents Cup with less fanfare and less guile than do the Europeans in the Ryder Cup. And, as strong as they are, it is hard to believe they have won just one Presidents Cup in six tries.
The Presidents Cup is not perfect yet. The powers-that-be need, among other things, to restore what they promised us at the conception of this event: That there would never be a team tie at the end of Sundays play.
But through trial and error'lessons that had to be learned the hard way'the Presidents Cup is finally comfortable inside its own skin.
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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