Tigerless Golf

By Brian HewittMay 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
Another weekend without Tiger and another weekend with more than one event that was must see if you consider yourself a serious golf fan:
 
Actually there will be two more weeks without Tiger now that he has announced he wont be back until the U.S. Open. Maybe there are a few players who hope Tiger wont be ready for Torrey Pines. And the U.S. Open is our national championship, an event that doesnt need Woods presence to prop up its credibility.
 
That said, there is no good reason to wish Woods wont be in San Diego in two weeks. Unless
 
Unless it turns out Woods recently surgically-repaired knee isnt ready for the rigors of a USGA set-up. If thats the case'and Tiger will make the final determination'the best thing for all parties involved should be for Tiger to protect his future at the expense of playing in the present.
 
The problem is Woods might not really know how his knee is going to react until he gets to Torrey Pines. And he might not REALLY know until the championship begins.
 
Bad knees are like bad backs and bad wrists and most other injured areas. When there is contact, the weakest area feels the pain. If and when Tiger feels the need to gouge a ball out of U.S. Open rough, theres no way his left knee, if it isnt fully healed, isnt going to experience the shock.
 
One teaching pro, who works with several top-ranked TOUR pros, recently told me he thinks Woods is the smartest player in the history of the game and maybe the smartest athlete of all time. Hard to argue with that. Thats why I think Woods will make the right decision. And when he does, I will not second guess him.
 
I, for one, am hoping the knee is ready.
 
Meanwhile, back at the BMW PGA Championship, the Crowne Plaza Invitational, the LPGA Corning Classic and Senior PGA Championship:
 
  • Phil Mickelson is now the presumptive favorite for Torrey Pines. He has won there before and he was pretty much hitting on all cylinders when he won (again) at Colonial Sunday. Phil can be maddening this way. Just when you think hes at his best, he often shows us his worst. But he has now won the Hogans Alley double this year (Riviera and Colonial). And only Hogan (1947), Snead (1950) previously achieved this feat. So, you go, Phil. Your next U.S. Open victory will be your first. What better opportunity to exorcise the demons of Winged Foot and 2006?
     
  • Luke Donald fired a final-round 65 Sunday at Wentworth at the BMW PGA Championship to climb all the way up to a tie for third. This is the same Luke Donald who lost in a playoff at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines four years ago. Add his name to the short list of players to watch at the U.S. Open. You can also add the name of two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen. Goosens world rank has plummeted in the last 18 months. But he carded a stylish 66 Sunday at Wentworth to finish tied for sixth.
     
  • And while were on the subject of Euro golf, why is it that Miguel Angel Jimenez can fluff a chip on the 72nd hole and need his putter three times on the 73rd hole at Wentworth, yet never seem to miss anything in Ryder Cup play? Jimenez birdied the second playoff hole to defeat Oliver Wilson and virtually assure himself a spot on Nick Faldos European squad for Septembers Ryder Cup matches.
     
  • Heres why I liked the Senior PGA so much this time around despite the fact that tough weather and tough course set-up made par a rumor: There were lots of interesting names'Langer, Haas, Sluman, Norman, OMeara, Sindelar, Simpson et. al.'on the leader board all week long. And anytime Oak Hill gets showcased on a big stage it makes me think of Stranges U.S. Open win there in 1989, Americas galling Ryder Cup defeat there in 1995, Hank Kuehnes win at the U.S. Amateur in 1998 (the field included Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell, Aaron Baddeley and defending champion Matt Kuchar, just to name a few), and, of course, Shaun Micheels winning 7-iron on the 72nd hole at the PGA Championship in 2003. Oak Hill is a great routing with highly-challenging green complexes.
     
  • Watching Justin Leonard hustle his way to a closing 67 at Colonial Sunday to sneak up on a T33 reminded me of his final round there in 2003. If Leonard had birdied the 72nd hole, he would have signed for a Sunday 59 which would have made Kenny Perrys victory the third biggest story of the week behind No. 2 Leonards 59 and No. 1 Annika Sorenstams brave showing against the men.
     
  • Finally there was Leta Lindley defeating Jeong Jang in a one-hole playoff at Corning. The knock on Lindley has always been that she cant drive her way out of a paper bag. Well take this critics: Lindley is now a winner on the LPGA for the first time in her 295th career start and has the check of $225,000 to show for it. The race isnt always to the longest.
     
    Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
     
    Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Crowne Plaza Inviatational
  • Full Coverage - Senior PGA Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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