Redshirt to red numbers: UNLV's Bobbitt breaking through

By Ryan LavnerMarch 11, 2015, 1:00 am

LAS VEGAS – Five days ago, the co-leader at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters trudged into his coach’s office and announced that he wanted to redshirt this season. More than that, he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

After all, sophomore Redford Bobbitt hadn’t traveled with the team all year. Last year, in 14 rounds as UNLV’s No. 5 man, his best score was 75. He was ninth on the team in scoring average. His game showed no immediate signs of being good enough to crack the starting lineup, so he wanted to shut it down, quit, wait until the fall for another chance.

First, Bobbitt, 19, sat down with assistant coach Philip Rowe. Together they brokedown the decision, pros-and-cons list and all. Rowe left the meeting believing that he hadn’t done enough to change his player’s mind.

Two hours later, Bobbitt called head coach Dwaine Knight to solidify the plan.

Knight has seen it all during his 28-year, Hall of Fame coaching career – but especially the vagaries of the teenage mind.

So he told Bobbitt:

• The timing wasn’t right; most players take redshirts during their junior seasons, to ensure that they have two more years of eligibility.

• Bobbitt’s fifth year wasn’t guaranteed – a lot can happen, of course, between now and Fall 2017.

• And in 2006, a player named Matt Kinsinger was struggling mightily with his game, but Knight gave him a chance to play as an individual at Southern Highlands. He went out and won the event.

“The big message,” Rowe said Tuesday, “was don’t delay being a good player now. You’re a good player. Go take advantage of it.”

Later that night, Bobbitt sent Rowe a text: I’m playing. I’m in.

Though Bobbitt remained committed to the program, he remained irked by the knowledge that even if he wanted to redshirt he wasn’t promised a fifth year of eligibility.

“I knew that they believed in me,” he said, “but they wanted me to go earn it.”

During the practice round here, Rowe played the back nine with Bobbitt and sensed an edge to him. The next day, while playing as a non-counting individual in the No.1-ranked tournament in the country, Bobbitt shot a 7-under 65 to share the first-round lead.

A number of high-profile players signed their card, glanced at the leaderboard and wondered who the heck Redford Bobbitt was.

Hard to blame them.

Bobbitt said he even overheard a few players discussing what his over/under would be for Tuesday’s second round. The projections weren’t pretty.

“It was like, screw you guys,” Bobbitt said. “I’m going to show you it’s not a fluke.”

Even with a nervy start, Bobbitt held it together for a 71 on Day 2. At 8-under 136, he is tied with Alabama’s Robby Shelton, the reigning NCAA Freshman of the Year, heading into the last day.

Afterward, it was Bobbitt – the team’s No. 9 player – who spoke during the team meeting.

“That was a little breakthrough,” Rowe said. “Admitting that he was nervous, but having the strategies and a plan to work through it.”

The same team that Bobbitt wasn’t good enough to qualify for could have desperately used his help this week. The Rebels, who have won their home tournament seven of the past 10 years, are tied for ninth, 20 shots behind.

“Funny how that works out,” Bobbitt said with a smile.

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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.