OHair Palmer lead at Firestone Mickelson four back

By Doug FergusonAugust 8, 2010, 1:58 am

WGC-Bridgestone - 125w

AKRON, Ohio – Sean O’Hair and Ryan Palmer kept firing at flags and making birdies until they wound up tied for the lead Saturday in the Bridgestone Invitational. The way this tournament is going, that only means they get to tee off last in the final round.

Palmer birdied three of his last five holes for a 7-under 63. O’Hair made an eagle early in his round and found confidence late with a wedge to a dangerous pin for birdie that led to a 64 to join Palmer in the lead.

They were at 9-under 201, one shot ahead of Matt Kuchar (66).

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the lead or one shot back, two shots back. It doesn’t matter,” O’Hair said. “There’s 18 holes of golf left (Sunday), and in my opinion, there’s no leaders. It’s just a shootout.”

That’s what it looked like under perfect scoring conditions Saturday, with 35 players shooting in the 60s.

The group did not include seven-time Firestone champion Tiger Woods. He went through the motions on his way to a 75, finishing another poor round some two hours before the leaders even teed off. Woods was 20 shots behind, in 78th place out of 80 players in this World Golf Championship.

He declined to speak to the media for the second straight day, telling a PGA Tour official that he drove it terrible, hit his irons terrible and didn’t putt well.

Phil Mickelson also failed to break par, but he’s still in the tournament – and still has a shot to replace Woods at No. 1 in the world.

It was easy to find Mickelson on the South Course, for the gallery was cheering his every move. He got within one shot of the lead with a birdie on the par-3 seventh hole, but stumbled coming in with two bogeys for a 71.

That dropped him into a tie for 10th, four shots out of the lead. Mickelson would have to finish alone in fourth place to reach No. 1 in the world ranking for the first time in his career.

His focus is on winning the tournament, and he’s not alone. Mickelson was among 15 players separated by only four shots going into the final round on a Firestone course that has given up plenty of low scores with its soft, smooth greens and rough that is not nearly as dense as it has been in previous years.

Katsumasa Miyamoto set the pace early with a 62, the low round of the week and one shot off the course record set by Woods in 2000 and Jose Maria Olazabal in 1990.

“Of all the great players that have played here that really haven’t posted that score, it’s just an honor,” Miyamoto said.

For so many others, it felt like a picnic.

Ernie Els, already a two-time PGA Tour winner this year who has been atop the tour’s FedEx Cup standings the last four months, finished with back-to-back birdies for a 64 and was only two shots out of the lead. He was at 7-under 203 along with Peter Hanson of Sweden (68) and Justin Leonard (69).

Hunter Mahan, trying to make a late push for the Ryder Cup team, shot a 66 and was among those at 204.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Els said. “If you’re on your game today, you can score because the greens are holding, the fairways are in unbelievable shape. If you’re off target you’re going to have a tough time. Keep it in the short stuff and if you get it on the greens you’ll have a lot of opportunities.”

Retief Goosen, who had a one-shot lead, made triple bogey on the opening hole and never recovered from a bizarre situation. After chipping just through the green, and chunking a chip on his fourth shot, the ball rolled back into the rough. The grass was thin enough that the ball kept turning in the grass, ever so slowly, over a span of about three minutes.

Goosen eventually called an official, who said he could only wait for it to stop. Once it did, he chipped on and took two putts. He shot a 73 and wound up in the group at 4-under 206.

O’Hair hit a 3-iron to about 12 feet for eagle on his second hole and didn’t make any bogeys. His final birdie came on the 16th, and while it’s not unusual to make birdie on a par 5 with a wedge in hand, this shot gave him some confidence.

The pin was toward the back of the soft green, so anything short would spin back to about 15 or 20 feet. Going beyond the flag brought the bunker into play. O’Hair hit a pitching wedge from 131 yards that landed near the flag, took a hop and spun back to pin-high for an easy birdie that put him in a share of the lead.

The trick now is to stay there, and O’Hair knows that won’t be easy with so many players in range on a soft course.

“Whoever is going to win this golf tournament is going to be the guy that’s ready to play tomorrow and be on top of his game,” he said. “I think I’m definitely capable of doing that.”

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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