McDowell Yang tied at top of Chevron World Challenge

By Doug FergusonDecember 6, 2009, 4:19 am
Chevron World ChallengeTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Graeme McDowell was surprised as anyone to hear the news last week about Tiger Woods in a car accident, having no idea where it would lead – for either of them.

Woods was caught up in allegations of extramarital affairs that brought made headlines around the world. McDowell was summoned to replace him in the Chevron World Challenge, which could turn into quite the bounty.

McDowell played a six-hole stretch at Sherwood in 6-under par Saturday on his way to a 6-under 66, giving him a share of the lead with Y.E. Yang (71) going into the final round of the $5.75 tournament.

They were at 10-under 206, two shots ahead of Padraig Harrington and European tour money winner Lee Westwood, with Ian Poulter and Jim Furyk another shot behind.

“Obviously, a huge blow for the tournament not to have Tiger here,” McDowell said. “I feel very fortunate to receive the invite. It was a great opportunity for me.”

Timing is everything for McDowell, a 30-year-old from Northern Ireland who is No. 55 in the world. Because this is the first year Woods’ tournament offers world ranking points, a victory or even top finish likely makes him eligible for the Masters.

McDowell was at the World Cup in China last week, presumably his last tournament of the year. He planned to go home to Florida instead of chasing world ranking points in Australia, believing he could crack the top 50 next year to get an Augusta National invite.

That’s when he got the call that Woods might not play.

He was to fly through Los Angeles on his way home, and when he arrived Sunday night, he was asked to stick around for one day until Woods knew for sure what he was doing.

McDowell ran off three straight birdies on his back nine, then ripped a 3-wood into 15 feet on the par-5 13th for an eagle, finishing his stretch with a long birdie on the 15th. His only flaw came from a soft lie in the bunker on the par-5 16th, where a fat shot went into the hazard and he took double bogey.

Yang also was in China for the World Cup and knew he was playing Sherwood all along. He wasn’t planning on a fever that has dogged him throughout the week, although it’s hard to tell from the score.

The PGA champion opened with a birdie with hopes of a big day, then stalled until making two birdies on the back nine.

“As the day went by and my body wore down a bit more, I bogeyed a few holes,” he said.

Oddly enough, few players felt worse than Harrington, who had a 70 and is very much in contention to win for the first time this year. Why the sad face? Harrington isn’t quite sure.

The Irishman felt no coordination over any of his shots, one of those days when he walked off the first green and couldn’t wait to get back to the clubhouse.

“I must have got out of be don the wrong side or something,” Harrington said. “Something wasn’t right today. I played great yesterday, played good the first day, played horrible today. Who know what will happen tomorrow?”

He was expecting just about anything – from him and everyone else.

Eight players were separated by three shots on a course that features five par 5s, where birdies and bogeys await at every turn. Also in the hunt were Sean O’Hair and Kenny Perry, both at 7-under 209.

Harrington year has been under great scrutiny, a three-time major champion to spent six months searching for a swing key and didn’t get very good results – much less a victory. What would it mean to finally get a win in the last tournament of his season?

“I just can’t get too much into that,” he said. “That’s not going to help me win tomorrow. I’ll wait for the results and we can decide how important it is for my year.”

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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