Tiger Woods takes the lead at Tour Championship

By Doug FergusonSeptember 26, 2009, 2:23 am

THE TOUR Championship by Coke 2007 LogoATLANTA – Tiger Woods had a chance to pull away from the field. He had to settle for a one-shot lead Friday in the Tour Championship, which was still not a bad place to be.

Over the final four holes, Woods missed consecutive putts from about 4 feet – one putt for eagle, the other for birdie – and closed with a bogey for a 2-under 68 in sweltering conditions at East Lake to lead Padraig Harrington and Sean O’Hair.

Woods was fuming over the missed putts. He found perspective shortly after signing for his seventh consecutive round in the 60s.

“The day as a whole was a good day,” Woods said. “I shot under par, I got myself … in the lead.”

Despite the lost opportunities, he was at 5-under 135 and in great position to capture the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus. None of the other players among the top five seeds – who can win the FedEx Cup with a victory at East Lake – were among the top 10 on the leaderboard going into the final two rounds.

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Player: Tiger Woods
  • Club: East Lake Golf Club
  • Event: The Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola
  • Tour: PGA Tour

Harrington would have to win the Tour Championship and have Woods finish in a two-way tie for second. O’Hair needs a victory and for Woods to be in at least a three-way tie for second.

The possibility is there. Woods is 33-7 when he has at least a share of the 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour, although it was only a month ago that he had a four-shot lead in the PGA Championship and wound up losing to Y.E. Yang.

The immediate concern is winning the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake. And those scenarios also are numerous.

Ernie Els came to life with five birdies over his last 10 holes for a 66 and was only two shots behind at 3-under 137. Kenny Perry, who nearly wilted in the heat Thursday, also had a 66 and was at 2-under 138, along with Jerry Kelly (67).

“If I win this golf tournament and Tiger finishes second … I’m going to be throwing a big party and jumping with joy,” O’Hair said. “If I don’t win the 10 million bucks, I should have played better. A win is a win. Let’s face it, I’ve got to win this golf tournament to win the $10 million. If I do my job, that’s all I can do.”

It all starts with Woods, who appears to be on his game.

Three straight birdies to close out the front nine put Woods atop the leaderboard, and he really put on a show over the final hour before fans that crammed behind the ropes on both sides of the fairway.

He turned a sure bogey into an amazing par on the 13th. From a suspect lie in the bunker, 190 yards up the hill toward the green, his shot came perfectly and landed just over the back, although it sank to the bottom of the Bermuda rough and he could only chip to 20 feet. Woods saved par with a putt that curled in the right side on the final turn.

Then came the 5-wood to the par-5 15th that barely cleared the bunker and rolled to just over 4 feet. Woods saw grain moving to the left and the slope running toward the right. Confused, he caught the left lip of the hole and had to settle for birdie. On the 16th, he started walking to the green as the ball made its descent, knowing it was good.

But from just inside 4 feet, with spike marks in his line, he tried to jam it into the cup and hit the left lip again. Woods saved par with a downhill putt from 8 feet on the 17th, and finished with a bogey when he missed the green so far left the ball settled against the grandstand. With the green running away from him, he played a flop shot that came up a yard short and stayed in the rough.

“Today’s round probably could have been one or two better, for sure,” Woods said. “But overall, I’m very pleased with my scoring the first two days.”

Harrington missed his share of putts – from 6 feet on the 14th leading to bogey, and a 5-foot birdie chance he missed on the 17th. He was pleased to still be in the hunt for the Tour Championship, even as the FedEx Cup looks out of reach.

“I’m in good position as regards to the tournament, probably not the best position as regards to the FedEx Cup,” Harrington said. “It’s a little bit out of my control. But I’m looking forward to the weekend. I left a few shots out there toward the end, but overall, I knew there was another 36 holes to play. And I’ve got to make things happen at some stage.”

Woods and Harrington will be paired Saturday for the ninth time this year, five of those over the last two months. Harrington enjoys the company, even though Woods has gotten the best of him.

“You know you’re going to be in contention, and you know you’re going to have a chance of winning the tournament the more you play with Tiger,” Harrington said.

 

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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