Herman leads Honda by 1; McIlroy 8 back

By Doug FergusonFebruary 26, 2015, 11:31 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Playing in America for the first time this year, Rory McIlroy's first shot was a 2-iron out of play.

A relentless wind with gusts that approached 35 mph provided a rude welcome to just about everyone Thursday at the Honda Classic except for Jim Herman, who somehow made it around PGA National without a bogey for a 5-under 65 and a one-shot lead.

McIlroy managed to salvage a tough day with by holing a 30-foot birdie putt and two-putting for birdie on the 18th hole for a 3-over 73. It was his highest score to par since he opened with a 3-over 74 at The Barclays seven months ago. And he didn't seem too bothered.

The world's No. 1 player was competing for the first time since he won in Dubai a month ago. And he wasn't alone. He played with Dustin Johnson, who birdied his last two holes for a 77, and Phoenix Open winner Brooks Koepka, who shot a 78.


Honda Classic: Articles, videos and photos


''The conditions were obviously very tricky from the start,'' McIlroy said. ''From the first hole, it was always going to be a day like that. I feel like I salvaged something out of the round the last couple holes, but it was just a day to keep trying, not to give up and know that anything around level, 1-, 2-over par still isn't out of it.''

Only 19 players managed to break par. Only three holes - both par 5s and the downwind ninth - played under par. Seventeen players had a front-nine score of 40 or higher.

Herman didn't mind the wind, though he moved to South Florida more than a decade ago and was surprised earlier in the week when there was hardly any wind at all. Even with a 65, it still wasn't easy. He twice saved par from the fairway and rolled in a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole.

''I don't mind it blowing,'' Herman said. ''I feel like I can control the golf ball pretty well with my iron game. So yeah, it was OK that the wind was blowing.''

Brendan Steele pitched in from about 35 yards to save bogey on the 14th hole, a key moment in his round of 66. Martin Flores, Kapalua winner Patrick Reed and Padraig Harrington were at 67. U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer was among those at 68.

Harrington would seem to feel at home in these conditions. On a day when the gusts were relentless, they still would be considered a wee breeze in Ireland. Except that the Irishman has spent the last four weeks in gorgeous, calm weather on the West Coast.

''If I had come from Ireland, I probably would be thinking it was a nice day,'' Harrington said. ''But having played the last four weeks over here, even I was struggling and questioning and doubting myself out there. I found it very difficult.''

McIlroy found that out immediately.

Even starting on the easier first hole, the wind fooled him and took his 2-iron far to the right and toward the driving range. Just like that, he was 2 over.

He found the water left of the green on the par-3 fifth hole for another double bogey, and came within a foot of big trouble on the 14th. His tee shot went left toward some houses and stopped about 18 inches from the out-of-bounds stakes. He made bogey to fall to 5 over with four holes remaining.

Walking to the 15th tee, the power group of the day had put up some shocking numbers.

Johnson, who contended at Riviera and Pebble Beach, was 9 over for his round. Koepka was 5 over. Collectively, that made the group 19 over.

''Walking from 14 green to 15 tee, I said to Brooks, 'Let's just make a couple birdies on the way in, try and get something out of it,''' McIlroy said. ''Luckily, I was sort of able to do that. But it was tough. When nothing is going your way and you don't really have anything to feed off, you don't see many good shots and guys ... we're all struggling. It was a grind out there. We'll all go home and put our feet up and get ready for tomorrow.''

No one could remember the last time they faced such wind, which wasn't that strong for South Florida. There was virtually no wind in Hawaii this year, or even at Pebble Beach. It was a stiff start to the Florida swing.

Reed had the best score of the afternoon wave, when the wind was at its strongest.

''When I hit 6-iron normally 200 yards and I'm pulling 6-iron from 170, it's tough,'' Reed said. ''The main thing was just to stay in my golf swing and just be comfortable and try to be confident that's the club to hit from those distances. I feel like I did a good job.''

Phil Mickelson opened with a 71 and was relatively pleased, though that was hard work. He hit into water hazards three times on the front nine.

''I really enjoyed the challenge of the day,'' Mickelson said. ''It's fun to be back out competing, and I had a good day with the putter.''

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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.