Notes WGC on the move Cink on split with Harmon

By Doug FergusonMarch 2, 2011, 2:28 am

PGA Tour (75x100)MARANA, Ariz. – The World Golf Championships, which used to actually move around the world, have been in the same U.S. cities for the last five years. That could change with a new television contract.

For now, most of the attention is on the Match Play Championship.

It moved to the high desert north of Tucson in 2007, and the four-year contract with Dove Mountain ended in the sleet and snow at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. There is an option for another year, and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said speculation that the Accenture Match Play Championship is moving for 2012 would be “inaccurate.”

“I’d say right now that the most likely scenario is going to be it stays here,” Finchem said.

So much depends on the rest of the schedule.

The tour is about to enter negotiations on a new television contract, which expires in 2012. Tour executives have been hammering out various models in recent months and are close to presenting a proposed schedule of events.

“We’re not uncomfortable here,” Finchem said. “It’s worked well and we have a good partnership with the people here. The facilities are great. It’s just that as we get into television later this year, it forces us to look at the overall calendar and make sure the calendar works. As you know, there’s a lot of moving parts to that.”

Chief among them is whether the NFL schedule expands and pushes the Super Bowl deep in February. Another part of the equation is the Fall Series and the tour’s interest in adding tournaments in Asia. It already has one in Malaysia, along with the WGC in Shanghai.

“Then you have the traditional part of it, which is tournaments wanting to move in certain situations,” he said. “Right now, this tournament is at the end of the West Coast, and that appears to be a strong possibility that would continue.”

Finchem said the tour would decide on the Match Play venue within three months to give local organizers time to prepare. Then again, that’s also true for all the PGA Tour events on the West Coast swing, and even some in Florida.

It’s all about the calendar.

“Like here, if we wanted to play this a lot earlier, it gets to be a struggle weather-wise,” he said. “All the WGCs, China included, you’ve got to be careful in terms of player movement and making sure it fits with the different tours. We’ve already created problems with ourselves globally with the expanded season. It’s complicated.”

Part of the headache this year is the South African Open being held the same week as the Presidents Cup, especially with the top five players in the International team standings from South Africa.

As for the Match Play Championship?

“I’d say we’re going to review it, and the likely conclusion is we stay here,” he said. “But it’s not about here. It’s about the calendar.”


WESTWOOD ON TIGER: Lee Westwood knows about slumps, having slipped to No. 253 in 2003. He recalled a favorite adage Tuesday when talking about Tiger Woods, one that his friend Darren Clarke once said about Westwood.

“Having played with Tiger since 1997 … there’s an old saying that class is permanent and form is fickle,” Westwood said. “He’s the classiest player I’ve ever played with. I’d be wise enough to know not to write him off.”

There has been chatter that Woods should try to play more tournaments to help get his game on track, especially after losing in the first round a week ago at the Match Play Championship.

Westwood had some perspective on that, too.

“When I went through a bad patch, it was a juggling act whether to stay home and practice or go play and risk not playing well and taking another confidence knock,” he said. “It’s very much up to the individual. Tiger has to do what he feels is right.”


RAPUNZEL REYNOLDS: This is one bet Chad Reynolds doesn’t mind losing, no matter how he looks.

Reynolds, the caddie for Nick Watney, was due for a haircut about a month ago. At Torrey Pines, he made a wager with the boss before the final round. He would cut his hair when Watney failed to finish out of the top 10.

That seemed reasonable, since Watney was 11 shots out of the lead.

“I’m thinking about driving to Phoenix and getting my hair cut Monday morning, and he drops a 63 on me,” Reynolds said.

Watney had a tournament-best 63 to tie for sixth. Then came a tie for fifth at the Phoenix Open. A week later at Pebble Beach, he was eight shots behind going into Sunday and closed with a 67 to tie for sixth.

And the hair kept growing.

Watney needed to win two matches for a top 10 at the Match Play Championship. He beat Anthony Kim in the first round, then beat Lee Westwood before losing in the third round.

Watney is off this week, then plays at Doral, where two years ago he lost by one shot to Phil Mickelson.


CINK COACH: Among the changes for Stewart Cink this year was leaving Butch Harmon.

Cink had gone to Pat O’Brien for his putting, and now uses the Dallas-based O’Brien as his only coach. Cink said the main reason for leaving Harmon was scheduling.

“If you look at all of Butch’s players, I was the one who was the most tied up with stuff,” said Cink, who lives north of Atlanta. He said he wasn’t willing to give up his family time by taking trips to Las Vegas.

Harmon also works with Phil Mickelson (San Diego), Nick Watney and Natalie Gulbis (Las Vegas), and Dustin Johnson, who lives in South Carolina but makes frequent trips to Las Vegas.

Cink said he was energized being around O’Brien, describing his philosophy as “new school” compared with Harmon.

“But I love Butch,” Cink said. “We’re good friends.”

Harmon keeps a limited stable of clients these days and did not say if he would add one now that Cink has departed.


STAT OF THE WEEK: PGA Tour members have won 34 of 38 World Golf Championships.


FINAL WORD: “We never gambled growing up, only because I didn’t have any money to gamble with. And I would lose it, anyway.” – Bill Haas, on playing with his father, Jay Haas.

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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