Nelson Supports Azinger Pick

By Brian HewittNovember 8, 2006, 5:00 pm
Larry Nelson hadnt gotten the call from the PGA of America. And he couldnt say that he was surprised.
It was late Monday morning. And two hours earlier they had announced that Paul Azinger would be the captain of the American Ryder Cup squad for the next renewal of golfs Super Bowl scheduled for 2008 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Nelson is 59 years old. Azinger is 46. The PGA of America, Nelson told me over the phone, believes its captains need to be more contemporary with its players. Nelson also told me he would still love to captain an American team one day. But, he said, that wont happen until and unless the PGA of America changes its modus operandi.
Not one trace of bitterness was detectable in Nelsons voice. His qualifications for the job are multifold. Not the least of them are his 9-3-1 career record in Ryder Cup play and the fact that he is a Vietnam veteran. Nelson is soft-spoken but no one has ever questioned his toughness.
Late last month Nelson was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. These are good days for him. But the PGA of America did not grant him a formal interview.
Paul is a great guy, very enthusiastic, Nelson said. And one of his best characteristics is as a motivator.
Nelson was especially enthusiastic when he heard that Azinger will get four Captains Picks, an increase of 100 per cent, for his 2008 team. They (the PGA of America) had to do something, Nelson said. If they didnt, it would have shown me they didnt care.
The captaincy now, Nelson added, is more important.
I hate to say make or break, he said. But with two picks it was almost sometimes just an honorary thing. With four picks, Pauls going to have to play his picks.
Nelson also supported the decision to push back the announcement date for the Captains Picks. Traditionally, the selections were revealed the day after the PGA Championship, an event that sometimes takes place five weeks before the Ryder Cup.
With the flexibility provided by the opportunity to wait, Azinger can better determine and choose the hot players (not already on the team) in the days leading up to the matches.
You want as much time as possible. Nelson said. Paul will probably have it narrowed down to eight or nine guys. Then he will have some very analytical and emotional questions.
Azinger already has begun analyzing Valhalla Golf Club, the site of the matches. He said at his Monday press conference that he wants to explore turning the par 4 13th into a drivable hole.
Perhaps the most dramatic hole in recent Ryder Cup history is the short par 4 10th at The Belfry in England. Valhalla pro Keith Reese told me Tuesday that the 13th at his golf course has a members tee box that can shorten the hole to 280 yards.
Risk and reward is what the Ryder Cup is all about anyway. So Azinger appears to be on the right track here as well. The 13th normally plays 350 yards downhill to a green almost completely surrounded by water. But, Reese, said, if you miss it long and straight there is a grassy bank area that will collect golf balls.
It is interesting to note that in 1996 Phil Mickelson led the PGA Championship at Valhalla after 36 holes only to make double bogey on Saturday and Sunday at No. 13. He would finish three shots out of the playoff won by Mark Brooks over Kenny Perry.
The 13th at Valhalla is a dangerous hole. Paul Azinger isnt afraid of danger.
Im very pleased for Paul, Nelson said.
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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.