Bradley should be a lock for Presidents Cup team

By Doug FergusonAugust 16, 2011, 8:41 pm

JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Until winning the PGA Championship, the coolest thing in golf that happened to Keegan Bradley during his amazing rookie season was getting a phone call from Fred Couples in May after he won his first PGA Tour event.

But if he doesn’t get another phone call from Couples next month, that would be just cold.

Bradley’s second win of the year moved him up to No. 18 in the Presidents Cup standings, giving him three more tournaments - all of them with $8 million purses - to try to move into the top 10 and become the first tour rookie to qualify for a U.S. team. If not, Couples makes two captain’s picks on Sept. 26.

Except the way Couples is talking, he only has one pick. The other already is set aside for Tiger Woods.

“He doesn’t have to prove a lot to any captain, I don’t think,” Couples said at the Memorial, when Woods was in the middle of his three-month break from golf to heal injuries in his left leg.

Even when Woods returned to competition two weeks ago at Firestone, Couples again suggested that Woods only had to indicate his desire to play for him to be added to the Presidents Cup team.

“As far as I’m concerned, if he is not in the top 10 … he will be on our team, no doubt,” Couples told The Golf Channel.

That would mean Couples is willing to spend a captain’s pick on a guy who has played two full tournaments since the Masters, breaking par only once in eight rounds.

It means he will pick a player who might have competed only once in about three months before the Presidents Cup. Woods is under contract to play in the Australian Open in Sydney on Nov. 10-13, which is one week before the matches at Royal Melbourne.

And it will mean taking a guy who not only hasn’t won in 21 months, but who has finished within three shots of the lead in just one of his last 19 stroke-play events on the PGA Tour.

This wasn’t a problem last year for Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin. When it was time to make his four selections, Woods had shown signs of turning his game around with consecutive finishes in the top 15 against two of the strongest PGA Tour fields of the year. Plus, there were no other Americans who had distinguished themselves as logical picks.

This year is different.

Among those outside the top 10 in the standings going into the final month of qualifying are Rickie Fowler, who won his last four holes to keep alive U.S. hopes in the Ryder Cup last year, and Gary Woodland, a winner this year and an intimidating player in match play with his length.

And then there’s Bradley.

It is not unprecedented for a player to win a major and get left off a Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup team in the same year. Ben Curtis and Shaun Micheel won the last two majors of 2003, and Jack Nicklaus didn’t pick either one.

Then again, that was their only win of the year.

Bradley previously won at the Byron Nelson Championship in May after a sudden-death playoff, and if that wasn’t enough to show his resolve, the PGA Championship should have answered any remaining questions.

He is plenty long off the tee, saving his best drive for the 16th hole when he was coming off a triple bogey and needed a birdie to turn around his fortunes. His belly putter, although maybe not aesthetically pleasing, works for him, especially the way he holed so many important putts.

Does Couples really have any other choice but to take Bradley?

The standings are based on PGA Tour earnings dating to the 2009 Barclays, with double the money for the current year. Woods, who earned 53 percent of his points in the four FedEx Cup playoff events at the end of 2009, is No. 28 and likely to fall even farther down the list. The lowest-ranked American ever chosen was Paul Azinger, who was No. 24 in 2000.

Bradley’s stunning turnaround Sunday at Atlanta Athletic Club - three birdies over his last six holes to go from a five-shot deficit with three holes left to a playoff victory in the final major of the year - illustrate just how much golf has changed.

For one thing, American golf is either very deep or very mediocre, which could mean the same thing.

The Americans had gone six majors without winning, its longest drought since the Masters began in 1934. And it was ended by a 25-year-old rookie who was No. 108 in the world and playing in his first major.

Anyone see that coming?

No one has taken over as a dominant force in golf since Woods ran into trouble, first with his health, then with his personal life.

Three of the top four players in the world ranking have not won a major.

Bradley was the seventh straight first-time major champion, the longest streak in the modern configuration of majors that date to 1934. He was the 13th winner in the last 13 majors, the longest stretch without a repeat major winner since it went 15 in a row in the mid-1990s.

This is what golf looks like without Woods.

It won’t look any different just by putting him on the Presidents Cup team.

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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.