Injuries all apart of the game on PGA Tour

By Doug FergusonMarch 14, 2012, 12:35 am

PALM HARBOR, Fla. - This might come as a shock, but Tiger Woods isn’t the only player coping with an injury.

Paul Goydos was driving to the doctor’s office Tuesday morning to have surgery on his left wrist. It has been bothering him most of his 25 years on the PGA Tour, but the pain usually goes away. This time, it didn’t. He has a bone spur that needs to be removed, and figures he’ll be out of action for some three months.

Would it hurt his feelings if this news was buried behind an update on Woods’ left Achilles tendon?

“No,” Goydos said, stifling a laugh. “It’s called the Achilles’ heel for a reason.”

Lucas Glover had to wait three months to make his PGA Tour debut. The former U.S. Open champion slipped off a paddle board along the shores of Hawaii the weekend before the season opener at Kapalua and injured knee ligaments. Glover didn’t think it was so bad at first. He thought about playing Honolulu, then the California desert, then San Diego, then Pebble Beach.

All he got was a weekly dose of disappointment each Friday afternoon when he withdrew from the next tournament, until he finally gave up on the West Coast Swing. Glover finally gets to play the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook, having recovered from the sprained medial collateral ligament and a plica tendon, along with some atrophy in his quadriceps.

But it’s all about the Achilles these days.

“I don’t feel slighted at all,” Glover said. “What is it, 14 to 1?”

Glover grinned, waiting for the numbers to make sense. That would be 14 majors for Woods, one for him.

David Toms also withdrew from the Cadillac Championship on Sunday with a back injury. No one seemed to notice. There’s a chance some people didn’t even know he was at Doral in the first place.

Instead, there was television footage of Woods in his red shirt climbing into a golf cart and being driven to the parking lot. NBC Sports was able to use the camera from the blimp for an overhead shot of Woods’ driving away from Doral in his black Mercedes, which didn’t thrill the folks at Cadillac who paid upward of $10 million to sponsor the tournament.

The good news for Woods is that he’s still news. As Jack Nicklaus once told him in South Africa, “Just make sure you’re part of the conversation.” Never mind that Nicklaus was talking about rivalries, not injuries.

It will stay that way, especially while the golf world holds its breath to hear whether the Achilles tendon injury that forced Woods to withdraw after 11 holes on Sunday really was a mild sprain, as he said Monday night on Twitter.

Woods hopes to be hitting balls by the end of the week, and maybe even compete next week -though he didn’t make clear in 140 characters if he was talking about the silly made-for-television event called the Tavistock Cup or the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, which would be his last event before the Masters.

No one moves the needle like Woods.

That much is true, even as Rory McIlroy settles in as the new world No. 1 and doesn’t shy away from it.

The day after the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland held off Woods to win the Honda Classic and go to the top of the ranking, McIlroy was at Madison Square Garden before thousands of fans with a tennis racket in hand and Maria Sharapova on the other side of the net. It was a fun moment, something rarely - make that, never - seen from Woods.

On Tuesday, McIlroy tweeted a picture of New York fashion designer Alexander Nash fitting him for a suit. Turns out McIlroy has been invited to the White House for dinner on Wednesday. The only thing Woods shared Tuesday on Twitter was a link to a video commercial of himself with Shaquille O’Neal engaging in something called “Golf-Fu” for EA Sports.

Some observers suggested McIlroy shared more about himself in 15 minutes of a press conference last week than Woods had in 15 years.

It doesn’t matter.

Woods remains golf’s most compelling figure, whether people want to see him return to glory or continue to flounder.

Proof of that was an email that an Australian man sent to The Associated Press to say the Miami-Dade police department had been alerted to a pair of traffic violations by the 14-time major champion.

The man said Woods was seen sending a text on his mobile phone while driving away from Doral, and that the footage was sent out to a worldwide audience. And that’s not all.

“Mr. Woods was constantly changing lanes whilst sending the text message and failed to indicate to the other drivers (indicators in Australia are the little orange lights on each corner of your vehicle),” the email said. “I am confident that your legislation is similar to ours in regards to their use.”

So we’ve gone from TV viewers calling in potential rules infractions to traffic violations?

Such is the life of Tiger Woods.

He brought this on himself by winning the Masters by 12 shots at age 21; winning the career Grand Slam when he was 24, then repeating the feat twice more; winning one U.S. Open by 15 shots and another on a shattered left leg; bringing in so many endorsements that his career earnings were in the neighborhood of $1 billion. And that was before one of the greatest downfalls in sports.

Woods feels as though there is a double standard, and he’s right.

But what does he expect? Who else from his generation has a body of work that’s even remotely comparable? And yet he sounded as though he were searching for sympathy two weeks ago at the Honda Classic when he said Nicklaus would have been under a similar microscope if Nicklaus had been part of this media era.

“It’s just a different deal, and I know that a lot of people don’t get the same analysis with their games that I do,” Woods said. “But it’s been that way since I turned pro.”

It probably will stay that way until he retires. Goydos said as much four years ago in Hawaii, when asked when Woods no longer would be considered golf’s top attraction.

“When Tiger decides he’s not going to play,” he said.

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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."

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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