U.S. maintains lead on Day 2

By Doug FergusonNovember 17, 2011, 11:08 pm

MELBOURNE, Australia – The Americans kept the lead in the Presidents Cup, and they still don’t have a point from Tiger Woods.

In some of the toughest conditions ever at Royal Melbourne, Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day earned a small measure of redemption by holding on to beat Woods and Dustin Johnson on the 18th hole, helping the International team split the six fourball matches Friday.

The Americans lead 7-5 going into a double session Saturday with 10 points at stake.

Woods is 0-2 for the first time ever in this event, and the first time in any team competition since he and Phil Mickelson lost their opening two matches at the 2004 Ryder Cup.

The state of his game was tough to measure, as was the case with any other player. The wind was vicious. On a sand-belt course with fast greens, the most telling statistic was that 13 holes in the six matches were won with pars – a rarity in the better-ball format.

International captain Greg Norman, who knows Royal Melbourne as well as anyone, poured water on the 18th green to drive home just how hard it was. The green repelled the water down the slope, none of it absorbed in the firm turf.

“There’s probably nowhere else in the world where that would happen,” Norman said.

Norman was mostly impressed with Baddeley and Day. One day after they bogeyed the last two holes and had to settle for a halve, Baddeley came through in the clutch with a tough par on the last hole – right after Woods nearly chipped in for birdie from behind the green – to help keep the International team in the game.

“I was very disappointed yesterday. I feel like I let Jason down,” Baddeley said. “So it was great to come through today and make par on the last hole.”

Woods was the only American without a point. His game looks fine. The numbers are shocking.

Hoggard: Rough day at Royal Melbourne

Match by match: Day 2 fourball recaps

His partnership – Steve Stricker in foursomes Thursday, Johnson in fourballs Friday – has won only one hole in two matches. That came on the fourth hole Friday when Woods rolled in a 25-foot birdie putt, complete with a fist pump that is rarely seen these days. The lead lasted only four holes, however, as Baddeley and Day squared the match with a par on the eighth.

Baddeley made a 25-foot birdie putt on the 13th to go 1 up, and Woods and Johnson couldn’t catch up. They just didn’t have enough birdie chances and when they did, they couldn’t make them.

“Just trying to hit the greens, that was a heck of an accomplishment,” Woods said. “Wedges weren’t holding, balls were oscillating on the greens, you’ve got to play the wind on putts. It was a tough day.”

Woods and Johnson will give it another shot Saturday, paired in the foursomes session. They will face Adam Scott and K.J. Choi.

The north wind is considered the toughest at Royal Melbourne. The wind blows harder on links courses in the British Open, but these greens have far more slope and most are elevated. The premium is on precision, and even that isn’t always enough.

“It’s carnage on a golf course like this today,” Adam Scott said after he and K.T. Kim lost to Mickelson and Jim Furyk. “Thank goodness it’s match play and we weren’t actually counting our strokes.

“Today is a day where it’s hard to feel like you’re playing well.”

Ernie Els, a multiple winner at Royal Melbourne, said it was the fastest he has ever seen the greens because of the heat and wind. Officials did not cut the greens overnight, fearful of wind blowing golf balls all over the place.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give it an 11 today,” Norman said about the conditions as the round began.

The Americans managed just fine.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, the leadoff match for the second straight day, again beat Els and Ryo Ishikawa, closing them out on the 17th hole. Mickelson and Furyk also remained perfect, with Furyk making a birdie on the 17th for a 2-and-1 victory.

The International team won the last two matches. Geoff Ogilvy, who grew up next door at Victoria Golf Club, holed a bunker shot on the fifth hole to give him and Choi a lead they never lost. More importantly, Ogilvy holed a 6-foot par putt on the 18th to take down Nick Watney and Bill Haas, a team that still has not had the lead in two matches.

Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel, South Africans with three majors between them, won on the 17th hole against David Toms and Hunter Mahan.

Toms and Mahan are one of five teams that have yet to be split up. Els and Ishikawa will try to get their first point Saturday, while Simpson and Watson, and Mickelson and Furyk, are paired again. The other team that remains intact is Baddeley and Day, who go into Saturday with a lot more confidence after their big win.


Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Friday 3PM-midnight and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

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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