Notes: Stanley's desire; Tiger's fundraiser

By Doug FergusonApril 2, 2012, 9:53 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Kyle Stanley, who grew up in Washington state, feels as though he’s back home in the South. He played college golf at Clemson, which is about two hours away.

But he won’t be able to stay on the practice range at Augusta National the way he did at college.

Along with having family in the South, one thing that appealed to Stanley about Clemson was a lighted driving range that coach Larry Penley had installed near the football field.

“You could pretty much practice whenever you wanted. It was pretty cool,” Stanley said.

The latest he stayed out there was 3 a.m., and his motto never changed. His last shot had to be his best one, or he wouldn’t leave. Stanley said there were times he got all the way out to his car, wasn’t satisfied and returned to the range until he hit his best shot.

A strong work ethic took time to develop.

Stanley said a turning point in his golf career came when he was in high school and missed the cut in the state tournament at Spokane. He faced a four-hour drive home with his father.

“I remember just talking to my dad, and he kind of explained to me, ‘Listen, if you want to be really good, if you want to be one of the best players in the world, you’re going to have to work at it.’ I made the transformation pretty quickly,” Stanley said.

His role model was Vijay Singh because of the long hours the former Masters champion puts in on the range.

It has brought Stanley to a big stage. He is a Masters rookie, yet he was tested early this year by making a triple bogey on the 18th hole at

Torrey Pines to lose a three-shot lead, then losing a playoff to Brandt Snedeker. A week later, Stanley made up an eight-shot deficit in the final round to win the Phoenix Open and earn a spot at the Masters.

“It feels like it’s been a long year already,” Stanley said. “There’s a couple of weeks that definitely took a little bit out of me.”

TIGER FUNDRAISER: Tiger Woods began Masters week by launching a fundraising campaign on his personal Facebook page aimed at sending 10 students to college through the Earl Woods Scholarship Program.

Woods started the scholarship program in 2006 in honor of his father, who died that year.

Participants can contribute as little as $1 to the scholarship program. Woods will match every contribution. The six-week campaign ends on May 7. Whoever contributes the most money will be invited to the AT&T National at Congressional that starts June 28, which will include a spot playing in the pro-am and a private putting lesson from Woods. Airfare and lodging is included.

“There is an entire generation of young people who see education as their way out of poverty and struggle,” Woods said. “These are extremely talented kids, but they can’t afford college. The most important thing about this campaign is that a small amount can make a big difference. If enough fans each contribute just a few dollars, the impact is felt for generations. It’s so much bigger than 10 scholars.”

The Earl Woods Scholarship Program began with five students in Orange County, Calif., and since has expanded to include 60 scholars from around the world.

ROOKIE EXPERIENCE: Scott Stallings is among 15 players at the Masters for the first time, which is not to suggest he has a hard time finding his way around the golf course. Stallings already had been on the course 14 times before the first official day of practice Monday.

Yes, he’s excited to be here.

“I just wanted to get my work in,” Stallings said. “I couldn’t imagine being here for the first time and trying to cram everything in and still be able to soak up the whole experience.”

Stallings didn’t necessarily play 14 rounds. He missed a month on the PGA Tour, returning only three weeks ago because of a shoulder injury.

But that didn’t keep him from making his rounds at Augusta, with a little encouragement from Kentucky friend Kenny Perry.

“I think his exact words were, ‘What are you doing? Get your butt down there,’” Stallings said with a laugh. “I’ve made five trips, and on two of those trips, I was just chipping and putting.”

Perry also sent Stallings his yardage book, with notations about the greens. Perry lost in a playoff in 2009.

FALDO MEMORIES: In a compelling television moment that showed how much the back nine at Augusta National can weigh on a player, Nick Faldo debated the club selection for what seemed like 10 minutes during the final round in 1996 before finally settling on a 2-iron. He put it on the green for a two-putt birdie, a pivotal shot in his comeback to beat Greg Norman.

Only the indecision was not about clubs.

Faldo said Monday that he carried a 5-wood in his bag that week, and during every practice round, he put down a ball from 215 yards away to practice. Sure enough, he had that yardage on the 13th hole Sunday, yet he had not hit that 5-wood all week in competition.

And it turns out that wasn’t the right club.

“I put it behind the ball, but because of the severity of the slope … it’s difficult to describe. It’s a downhill lie, and it’s like playing a shot off the banking of a race track. I put the club down, and it wouldn’t sit square.”

He put the club back and opted for the 2-iron.

Faldo said his line to caddie Fanny Sunesson was, “I’m all right. Let’s start again.”

“We were fine down there,” he said. “It’s fun now to listen on TV. Ken Venturi is doing the call, and he’s throwing up all sorts of ideas, that I’m not sure what I’m doing. That all added to it. The bottom line is I was crunching numbers, working out where I could miss it.”

DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION: Anyone expecting to see Ian Poulter in a colorful wardrobe might be disappointed during practice rounds at the Masters. Before he checks out his closet, he checks the forecast.

And it’s supposed to be hot until the tournament gets under way.

“All white,” Poulter said, though that’s not entirely true. “I’ll have an accent of pink tomorrow, maybe the belt buckle and the visor.”

Poulter became a greater fan of weather after the 2007 PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla., when temperatures climbed into the 100s before some players had time to finish breakfast.

“Even in white, in that heat, it was uncontrollable sweating,” he said. “This place, at times, can get that hot.”

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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
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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.