Notes Defending The Players The name game

By Doug FergusonApril 20, 2011, 1:39 am

PGA Tour (75x100)JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tim Clark will be at the TPC Sawgrass next month for The Players Championship, where last year he captured his first PGA Tour victory with the greatest 36-hole comeback in tournament history.

Whether he plays golf remains the question.

Clark is coping with an elbow injury so severe that he went three months without playing and only teed it up at the Masters because he was stubborn. He had rounds of 73-73 and missed the cut.

“I have had lots of treatment done, everything I can do to get better,” Clark said Tuesday. “It’s been a slow process. I’m hoping I’m able to tee it up at The Players Championship right now. I’m still pretty unsure how it’s going to be by then. Play or not, I’ll be at Sawgrass for the week. I just hope I’ll be able to play.”

Only two other players have failed to defend at The Players – Jerry Pate in 1983 because of a neck injury and Steve Elkington in 1998 because of sinus surgery.

Clark started his season with a tie for 17th at Kapalua and a runner-up finish at the Sony Open. After flying home to North Carolina, he started experiencing pain in his left elbow. The South African tried a cortisone shot, even blood spinning, without much progress. One therapist at Augusta suggested the source might be a pinched nerve.

He hopes that’s the case, although he concedes that diagnosis is “a bit of a question mark.” In some respects, it was an achievement for Clark to finish two rounds at the Masters.

“At no point did I feel very good there,” Clark said. “After Thursday, I really didn’t think I’d be able to play Friday. An hour-and-a-half before the round, we got my arm moving, and it was kind of OK to play. It was more of a case of me being stubborn, not really wanting to withdraw. I was encouraged by the fact that I could finish two rounds, even though I was still in quite a bit of pain, and encouraged that I didn’t shoot a couple of 80s.”

The Players Championship begins May 12, giving Clark three full weeks to try to get ready.

“I think that I have to go in with the same mindset into The Players,” he said. “Even though I’m not at 100 percent right now, I have to plan on playing and probably go through the same process. Even if it’s little sore, get work done and try get to where I can at least compete.”

One shred of good news for Clark is that his wife gave birth to their first child – a boy, Jack, on April 1. Clark’s plan was to compete in the Masters, then take a chunk of time off to be with his family. He’s had plenty of time at home lately.

“Once I get back to health, I’ll be back to playing a lot more,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get better soon. But it’s been nice to spend time at home with the newborn. He’s been great.”

GOING PUBLIC: Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson believes the PGA and European Tours should start going public with their discipline of players.

The PGA Tour does not disclose when a player is fined, and the European Tour typically keeps such matters quiet. It made an exception when Tiger Woods was shown on TV spitting on the green in Dubai because of the enormous publicity. Woods later apologized on Twitter.

“I would not want to give the impression in any way that the standards of behavior in golf are poor,” Dawson told the Press Association on Tuesday at Royal St. George’s. “I think they are very high, and golf is still held up as a model for many other sports. These particular incidents that we see do get a great deal of publicity and rightly so.

“As regards what the tours’ disciplinary policy should be in terms of whether it should be made public, I think if you look at the wider world of sport, that has become the norm,” he said. “There are many good reasons for keeping it quiet, but I think it’s possibly something that the tours who do that should look at changing, because I think putting these things in the public domain has a lot of benefits – especially now that golf is an Olympic sport.”

NAME GAME: Engraving the name of Louis Oosthuizen on the claret jug has proven far easier than pronouncing it, even in the nine months since the South African won the British Open at St. Andrews.

First came a reporter’s bungled attempt to mention his name during a press conference at the Masters, only for Charl Schwartzel to smile and correct the pronunciation.

Then came this nugget from The Daily Mail.

According to the British newspaper, Oosthuizen was at a PGA Tour event recently when he gave the starter a crash course on how to pronounce his name. Sure enough, the starter nailed it, introducing him as “Loo-ee WEST-high-zen.”

If only he had stopped there.

The starter then saw the initials RSA next to his name – Republic of South Africa – and added, ” … from Russia.”

DIVOTS: Although the Masters said it would look hard at its criteria to keep the field from getting too large, officials says any changes to current qualifications would be announced before it effects the 2012 invitations. In other words, Brendan Steele can count on a trip to Augusta National next year. … The British Open returns this year to Royal St. George’s, an all-male club in England. R&A chief executive Peter Dawson says such clubs in Britain are small in number, are older clubs and it’s up to them how to operate within the law. He told the Press Association: “We don’t use The Open for what I might call social engineering.” … Brendan Steele became the 10th winner of a PGA Tour event this year to be ranked outside the top 100 in the world. … Erik Compton is now 10th on the Nationwide Tour money list. The top 25 at the end of the year earn PGA Tour cards. … David Duval made 17 birdies at the Texas Open, the same as winner Brendan Steele. Duval also had seven double bogeys, which explains why he finished 19 shots out of the lead. … The 10 semifinalists for the Ben Hogan Award as the top college player include three from Oklahoma State – Kevin Tway, Peter Uihlein and Morgan Hoffman.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Of the 17 winners on the PGA Tour this year, only four have ever played in a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.

FINAL WORD: “The color of the hair.” – Kenny Perry, asked the difference between galleries on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour.

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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