Notes Special celebration Big Easy a bit irate

By Doug FergusonMarch 9, 2011, 4:26 am

WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. – Martin Kaymer celebrated his rise to world No. 1 without ever leaving America.

The 26-year-old German has a home in Scottsdale, Ariz., which is where he spent last week after his runner-up finish in the Match Play Championship that allowed him to replace Lee Westwood atop the ranking.

His brother and a friend flew in from Germany, only to tell him the next day they were leaving for the airport. Kaymer couldn’t figure out why they were going home so soon, but he found out when they got to the airport.

They were there to pick up Kaymer’s father, Horst, who joined the celebration.

“He says, ‘Next time in Germany, who knows if you’re still No. 1, so I just wanted to take the opportunity to say congratulations,”’ Kaymer said. “And yeah, the next day he flew out again in Germany. Not a lot of parents do that, and it was nice. I was a 30-hour trip for pretty much 24 hours he was there.”

Kaymer could have lost the No. 1 ranking had Westwood finished third at the Honda Classic, and the battle for No. 1 figures to continue all the way through to the Masters. Westwood again will have a chance to get back the top spot at Doral.

“I really don’t care,” Kaymer said. “I’ve been No. 1 in the world at least for seven days. No one can take it away from me.”

The celebration went beyond family.

Kaymer said he received a call last week from two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer, who was No. 1 when the world ranking made its debut in 1986. Langer lasted three weeks at the top and never returned.

“He just said he’s very proud of how he kept everything together, that I have a very good family and people around me who keep everything in line, that I never really lose my focus on things,” Kaymer said.

He said Langer told him that not many athletes have good people around him, and to keep his circle as small as possible. They also talked about playing a practice round at Augusta National.


TOUR DEPTH: Europe has the top four players in the world ranking. The strength of the PGA Tour might come from the likes of Mark Wilson, D.A. Points and Aaron Baddeley.

The PGA Tour still has the strongest fields, according to how many ranking points are allocated. Through two months, only twice has a European Tour event offered more points – Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Another statistic that might show depth of the PGA Tour comes from its winners.

Seven of the 10 winners were ranked out of the top 100 in the world. The exceptions were Bubba Watson (No. 33 when he won Torrey Pines), Luke Donald (No. 9 when he won the Match Play) and Wilson, who was No. 91 when he won the Phoenix Open. Wilson had been No. 237 when he first won this year at the Sony Open.

On the European Tour, all but two of its winners were ranked outside the top 50 – Thomas Bjorn (No. 134 when he won the Qatar Masters) and Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia (No. 497 when he won the Avantha Masters in India).

“I think the fields are so deep nowadays,” Rory McIlroy said. “And the difference between the top 10 players and the top 200 players … there’s not that much difference. If you lined everyone up on a range, you couldn’t tell the difference, really.”

It could be a case where Europe has strong fields among the top two dozen, while the PGA Tour is strong all the way to the bottom.


TIGER’S NEW DIGS: Tiger Woods says he is close to moving into his new home in south Florida, and it sounds as though the most exciting part of that is his practice facility.

“It’s phenomenal,” Woods said on his website.

His design team built a short-game practice area that features four greens, six bunkers of various depths and sand, along with a video center and a putting studio.

Without any wind, the longest club he can hit is a 7-iron. Woods also said he can hit shots from his studio on the second floor.


ERNIE’S DILEMMA: Ernie Els was fitted for a Presidents Cup uniforms two weeks ago at the Match Play Championship, although he still hasn’t decided where he will be playing Nov. 17-20.

The South African Open, where he is the defending champion, has been moved to the same date as the Presidents Cup in Australia, leaving Els uncertain, along with being a little irate.

Els said is spoke to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem last week, and that Finchem is meeting with European Tour chief George O’Grady and South African chief Gareth Tindall.

“It’s basically in their hands and it’s a bit of an issue to resolve,” Els said. “Somebody is going to have to move a date or something.”

But he at least recognizes the problem of such a crowded schedule at the end of the year.

The European Tour wants to end its season with the Dubai World Championship, which already has been pushed back because of the Presidents Cup. Previously, two South African events were held in December and were considered the start of the next season.

The top five players in the International team standings are South African, and all played in the South African Open last year.

“It could be quite something,” Els said.


LOCAL CADDIE: Alastair Presnell hired a local caddie for the Nationwide Tour event in Panama two weeks ago, and it became somewhat of a distraction in the final round.

The Australian Associated Press reports that the caddie’s cell phone rang five times during the first seven holes, and Presnell’s patience finally ran thin.

“On the eighth tee, Alastair told his caddie to throw it in the bush,” said Mathew Goggin, who played in Presnell’s group. “So the caddie literally threw it in the bush and walked off.”

Goggin wound up winning by one shot over Presnell and Darron Stiles.


DIVOTS: David Barrett has won the USGA’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for his “Miracle at Merion: The Inspiring Story of Ben Hogan’s Amazing Comeback and Victory in the 1950 U.S. Open.” … Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera is playing this week in the Puerto Rico Open with his son, Federico, who received a sponsor’s exemption. … Graeme McDowell has played in two PGA Tour events this year and has tied the course record at both – a 62 on the Plantation Course at Kapalua in the Tournament of Champions and a 64 on the Champion Course at PGA National in the Honda Classic.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Of the four major champions from 2009, Y.E. Yang is the only player to qualified for the World Golf Championship at Doral.


FINAL WORD: “When will I win again? Whenever it happens, it happens. I’m just going to keep trying to progress.”– Tiger Woods.

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.