Mickelson accepts apology takes wedge out

By Doug FergusonFebruary 4, 2010, 1:57 am
LOS ANGELES – Phil Mickelson won’t be using the Ping Eye 2 wedge that led a fellow player to accuse him of “cheating,” even though he hopes others will use the controversial club to keep attention on what he calls a ridiculous rule.

“I won’t be playing that wedge. My point has been made,” Mickelson said Wednesday on the eve of his two-time title defense at Riviera. “But if these governing bodies cannot get together to fix this loophole, if players stop using this wedge – which would stop the pressure of the issue – then I will relook at it and put the wedge back in play.”

The Ping wedge has grooves that no longer conform under a new USGA regulation, adopted by the PGA Tour. However, any Ping wedge made before April 1, 1990, is approved for play under a legal settlement from two decades ago.

Mickelson is among five players who have used the Ping wedge in competition this year.

Several players believe using the club goes against the spirit of the new grooves regulation, although Scott McCarron fueled the debate when he said of Mickelson and others, “It’s cheating.”

Mickelson hinted at legal action after saying he was “publicly slandered.” He said McCarron offered him a sincere apology on Tuesday night, which he accepted.

“We all make mistakes, and we all say things we wish we could take back,” Mickelson said. “I’ve done it a bunch in my career. And the fact that it’s also not easy to come up and face that person, look them in the eye and apologize … I appreciate him being a big enough man to do that.”

Instead, Mickelson vented his anger at the USGA and its lack of transparency in developing the new rules for grooves. He has complained that his submitted wedges that fit the guidelines, only for the USGA to reject the club for violating the intent of the new rule.

“I’ve very upset with the way the rule came about, the way one man essentially can approve or not approve a golf club based on his own personal decision, regardless of what the rule says,” Mickelson said. “This has got to change.”

The next step remains murky.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem met with players on Tuesday night and conceded that Tour officials did not realize a Ping wedge from 20 years ago would become such a big issue.

Finchem said the Ping Eye 2 wedge produces spin at about 60 percent of the rate from last year’s wedges, but about 10 percent more than wedges approved for competition this year.

“The assumption was made last year that very few, if any, players would use that club because they’re 20 years old,” Finchem said. “I think we underestimated that a little bit.”

He said the Tour could either do nothing and monitor how many players used wedges, an option that seemed unlikely because Finchem said it still raised issues over fairness in competition. Some players are going to eBay to find the clubs, as Ping stopped making them and now only can confirm through serial numbers when the wedges were made.

The other option is to work out an agreement with Ping chairman and CEO John Solheim. He said Solheim was to meet with the USGA over the next few weeks, and “I can only hope progress is made in that regard.”

Ping plays the biggest role in any solution because of its lawsuits against the USGA and PGA Tour over square grooves.

Finchem said the third option involved a complicated process in which the Tour’s independent committee on equipment tries to establish a local rule. He called that a “cumbersome process.”

Any solution could be weeks, if not months, away.

In the meantime, Mickelson said he would not use the wedge at the Northern Trust Open, even though he’s hopeful others will.

“If there’s no pressure among these organizations to make changes, I will immediately put the club back in play,” Mickelson 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