Sergio hunted down again

By Brian HewittAugust 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
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2008 US Open 81x90BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' Suddenly Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington are inextricably and improbably linked.
 
The connection has been sporting heaven for Harrington, the son of an Irish cop. And it is has been big stage hell for Garcia, the one-time Spanish boy wonder who will be excused if he is having a hard time accepting the notion that golf is just a game.
 
Garcia, the most frustrated player not to have won a major, got another long look Sunday at why he will have to continue to wait his turn. What he saw, playing in the same group, was Harrington carve a second consecutive 66 out of the trenches to capture the 90th PGA Championship at monstrous Oakland Hills.
 
Last year in the Open Championship at Carnoustie it was Harrington defeating a bitterly-disappointed Garcia in a playoff that marked the first major championship victory for a European in the 21st century. This time it was Harrington and Garcia, dueling, in plain view of each other, for five hours on a blustery, rainy, summer afternoon in the upper Midwest.
 
Garcia jumped out to a lightning start with a birdie and an eagle on the first two holes and turned in 4-under 31. Harrington was three behind at that point.
 
It looked like his day, Harrington said.
 
But Garcia bogeyed the 16th, missed a short birdie try at 17 and bogeyed 18th while Harrington was one-putting the same three, all from about 12 feet, to save par, make birdie and save par, respectively.
 
Harrington has now won two consecutive major championships ' he won the Open Championship at Birkdale last month. And ' another milestone ' he is the first European to capture the PGA Championship since Scotlands Tommy Armour beat Gene Sarazen 1-up, when the event was still match play, 78 long years ago.
 
And, oh-by-the-way, Harrington has now won three of the last six majors. Thats Tiger-like, said Ben Curtis, who wound up tied with Garcia at 1-under par 279, two shots back of Harrington. Camilo Villegas and Henrik Stenson tied for fourth at 281. Phil Mickelson shot a Sunday 70 and shared seventh with Andres Romero.
 
Its a long way to catch up with Tiger, Harrington clarified. But he said he was flattered that people are even asking him now about the possibility.
 
For his efforts, Curtis didnt go unrewarded. He and seven other players ' Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard and Boo Weekley ' have now made captain Paul Azingers U.S. Ryder Cup team that will face the Europeans in Kentucky next month. The final four Americans will be announced Sept. 2 as captains picks by Azinger.
 
In the end, Harrington won this championship with his resolve and his flat stick, needing just 51 putts on the weekend on greens many believe to be the most difficult in the United States. He knows how to win, Curtis said. And hes not afraid to win.
 
I felt an edge in experience, Harrington said, which might have been a polite way of saying he believes hes inside Garcias head right now.
 
Added Garcia of Harrington: He was obviously very good on the back nine. Harrington turned in 34 and came home in 32.
 
Garcia meanwhile was a study in resignation. The only thing I can do, he said, is go back home with my head up high and keep working at it. I feel like I gave it my best.
 
But it will be a long time before he forgets the 6-iron from 178 yards that found the water on his second shot at the dangerous par 4 16th. He followed that with a 5-foot par putt that lipped out on 17 and a 14-footer for par on the difficult 18th that also stayed out of the hole.
 
Harrington revealed afterward that he may have been suffering from dehydration halfway through the championship. I was losing my coordination, he said. After stumbling to a Friday 74 he told reporters he didnt think he had a chance on the weekend.
 
Then he started drinking liquids. Then he went out and hung a pair of 66s on the board at a course many players insisted was unfair because of its difficult green complexes and firm fairways that were tough to find until Saturday rains softened the course and forced much of the final two rounds to be squeezed into Sunday.
 
Harrington nursed a sore wrist in the days leading up to his victory at Royal Birkdale last month. And he admitted late Sunday that adversities help his focus. I actually struggle, he said, when things are comfortable.
 
Second round leader J.B. Holmes, forced to play 36 holes Sunday because of the Saturday weather delays, triple bogeyed his first hole of the final round en route to a front nine 43 and a closing 81 that dropped him all the way down to a tie for 29th with Jim Furyk. Steve Flesch, on the other hand, holed his third shot from off the green for a birdie on the difficult 18th and carded a 69 for a hustling back-door top 10 (sixth place).
 
Harrington, at the moment, is considered by many to be the second best player in the world even though hes still ranked No. 3 behind the recuperating Woods and No. 2 Mickelson.
 
The two 66s he fired on the weekend wont soon be forgotten. You wouldnt think that was possible, said Curtis. Probably one of the better two-round totals weve seen in a long time.
 
And clearly the best golf weve seen since Tiger Woods shut his season down in June with leg injuries.
 
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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.