Scott ready to get season started

By Doug FergusonFebruary 15, 2012, 2:02 am

LOS ANGELES - Adam Scott was on the range at Riviera on Tuesday and had every reason to feel like a stranger. He is the only player from the top 10 in the world who has yet to play a tournament this year.

“I may have to introduce myself to a fair bit of people,” Scott said.

Waiting until the Northern Trust Open to begin his 2012 season was only partially by design. Scott had planned to be at Kapalua for the PGA Tour opener, but he had his tonsils taken out in December. He said the recovery time for an adult is about three weeks.

Scott said he had tonsillitis at least five times a year for the last couple of seasons, and when it happened at the Deutsche Bank Championships - he was tied for the lead through 36 holes - that was the last straw.

“It was the first time I had it during a tournament,” he said. “I figured if I had it during a major, it would be one less chance of getting one.”

The three-month break was the longest of his career, and it was the first time in 10 years Scott has spent so much time at home in Australia. It allowed him to get his mind off golf, and it made him eager to return.

“I’m really ready to play, and that’s important, too,” Scott said. “I’ve been starved of tournament golf at the moment.”

The majors were also behind his late start to the year.

Scott has not performed well in the biggest events throughout his career as he tried to find the right schedule leading up to the majors. He might have found something a year ago, when he was runner-up at the Masters and finished seventh in the PGA Championship. It was only the second time he had two top 10s in the majors in one year.

Scott will play the Match Play Championship, Doral and then take part in the Tavistock Cup. That means he will play three tournaments and a 36-hole made-for-TV exhibition before going to the first major.

But it worked last year.

“Look, I’ve tried so many different things trying to get myself in the best shape for the biggest events, and until last year, I didn’t play very good in the biggest events,” he said. “Last year I changed it up and took my time getting ready properly, and I had a good result. It worked last year. I have to try to do something similar.”

Scott also hopes the late start will keep him fresh at the end. Despite a solid season, he felt flat when the FedEx Cup playoffs began.

RANKING SEPARATION: Yani Tseng is the defending champion for the first of six times on the LPGA this year (State Farm is no longer on the schedule) at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And while wins are the best barometer, the women’s world ranking also shows what kind of season Tseng had in 2011.

At this time a year ago, Tseng was No. 1 in the world with an average of 10.34 points. It was so close at the top that four players - Jiyai Shin, Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr and Na Yeon Choi - were within one point of replacing her.

Tseng returns to Thailand with an average of 15.81, while Pettersen remains No. 2 at 9.0 points. The difference between Tseng and Pettersen is equal to the gap between Pettersen and Karen Stupples at No. 61.

NO RESPECT: Riviera is getting a reputation of not showing much respect to its past champions.

Players were stunned last week to learn that the Northern Trust Open rejected Mike Weir’s request for a sponsor’s exemption. Not only is Weir a former Masters champion, he won back-to-back in Riviera within the last decade. Weir rallied from seven shots behind on the last day to win in 2003, then won in 2004 to become only the sixth repeat champion.

The exemptions instead went to Fred Couples, K.T. Kim, Jason Gore, UCLA sophomore Patrick Cantlay and Texas freshman Jordan Spieth. It was the exemption to Spieth that raised eyebrows. He has made the cut in the Byron Nelson Championship (a hometown course) the last two years, but has no connection to Los Angeles.

Weir, trying to make his way back from elbow surgery, said he was surprised by the decision, but chose to leave it at that.

It’s reminiscent of the time Robert Allenby was trying to register in 2002 as the defending champion. He hit a 3-wood in a cold, driving rain to 5 feet to win a six-man playoff, a shot worthy of a plaque that isn’t there.

He was asked for his credentials. Allenby showed them, and the person registering still couldn’t find his name. Exasperated, Allenby turned to a large photo on the wall showing him posing with the trophy and said, “That’s me.”

COMEBACK GROUP: The PGA Tour massages the groups for the opening two rounds of tournaments to provide story lines, and it wasn’t too hard to figure out one such group for the Northern Trust Open.

Phil Mickelson, Kyle Stanley and Brandt Snedeker, three players who had very little in common until they all rallied from at least six shots to win tournaments over the last three weeks.

Mickelson was six shots behind Charlie Wi at Pebble Beach; Stanley came from eight shots behind Spencer Levin in the Phoenix Open; and Snedeker rallied from seven shots behind to beat Stanley at Torrey Pines.

It’s most fitting that Stanley is in the same group as Mickelson.

He was practicing at Whisper Rock on Wednesday of the Phoenix Open, just three days after the calamitous finish, when Mickelson approached to offer some advice.

“It wasn’t an organized meeting or anything,” Stanley said. “I had never met him before. He just told me to keep my head up, and how to approach it the next time I have a big lead, how to stay aggressive. It was pretty classy.”

DIVOTS: British Open champion Darren Clarke has a new caddie. He has hired Phil “Wobbly” Morbey on a temporary basis to try to shake his run of bad results since winning at Royal St. George’s. … Jessica Korda became only the fifth player to win an LPGA Tour event at 18 or younger. … Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have each won 13 times on the PGA Tour in their native state of California. Woods won his 13 titles at Torrey Pines (seven), La Costa (three), Pebble Beach (two) and Harding Park (one). Mickelson won his at Torrey Pines (three), Riviera (two), PGA West (two), Pebble Beach (four) and La Costa (two). … In a change this year, while qualifying for the Match Play Championship has closed, the tournament will wait until next week’s world ranking to determine the seeds.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Four of the six winners on the European Tour were outside the top 100 in the world ranking.

FINAL WORD: “I want to knock on his door and say, `Can you be my friend and teach me to putt?”’ - Michelle Wie, on seeing Luke Donald at The Bear’s Club in Florida.

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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.