Woods looks to keep going at FedEx Cup

By Doug FergusonSeptember 3, 2010, 2:03 am
PGA Tour (75x100)NORTON, Mass. –A chart of FedEx Cup standings at the Deutsche Bank Championship showed Tiger Woods at the top, not unusual considering he was won the cup and its $10 million prize every year he has played.

This chart was different.

It listed the 10 players who are on the bubble at the TPC Boston, starting with Woods at No. 65 through Josh Teater at No. 75. Only the top 70 after this week will advance to the third round of the playoffs at the BMW Championship, where Woods is defending champion.

Woods has failed to defend a title when the tournament has changed dates or when he was injured. Never has he not gone back to a tournament as the defending champion because he was not eligible.

“It’s been a different year,” Woods said.

It might be showing signs of turning around. One tournament is not enough to declare Woods’ game is back, although his tie for 12th at The Barclays was his best finish since June. Plus, it got him into the second round of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

And for the first time since the Masters, when he returned to golf after a five-month layoff, Woods went through an entire press conference without a mention of his broken marriage or how it got to that point.

Even so, it remains odd to see Woods so far down any list.

Matt Kuchar is No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings on the strength of his victory last week to open the four-tournament playoffs. Steve Stricker is No. 2 and the defending champion at the TPC Boston. They are assured of reaching the final round.

Woods is only assured of making the weekend because the Deutsche Bank Championship doesn’t start until Friday, the lone tournament on the PGA Tour schedule that ends on a Monday.

“I’m starting to see some progress, which is nice,” Woods said. “Mentally, I’m hitting the ball much better, hence I have more confidence. I’m driving the ball much straighter, hitting the ball a little bit farther, especially with my irons. And those are all positive signs. It’s just a matter of making it a little bit more natural. And that’s just reps.”

Whether the tournament lasts any longer than Labor Day depends on the path of Hurricane Earl – the same name as Woods’ late father. The forecast was for good weather through noon on Friday before it starts getting nasty, with the worst of it late Friday afternoon and into the night.

The tour moved tee times up as much as it could with a 99-man field – 40 minutes – with hopes of getting the round in. Officials will decide Friday morning whether to play lift, clean and place to protect against the late starters having to return Saturday morning to complete the first round in what could be a swamp.

“It will be awesome to get this finished tomorrow,” said Mark Russell, a vice president of rules and competition for the tour.

So much is at stake this week – not one cup, but two.

For the 99 players – Kenny Perry pulled out on Wednesday – the goal is to finish in the top 70 in the standings to advance to Chicago and the BMW Championship. It’s far more tense for the 14 players that U.S. captain Corey Pavin has on a white sheet of paper he keeps in his pocket, all of them candidates to be among his four Ryder Cup picks.

Woods figures to be a lock. Zach Johnson is getting plenty of support as another pick. For the rest of them, the Deutsche Bank Championship is one last chance to make an impression on the captain, and even that might not be enough.

“There are no promises out there to anyone,” Pavin said. “I think everyone is mature enough to understand that.”

The players on his list were all invited to his barbecue during the PGA Championship, meaning they will get a phone call next week to say whether they made the team. The only addition was David Toms, a runner-up at Greensboro two weeks ago.

Pavin invited the eight players who qualified for his team – Phil Mickelson had not yet arrived – to dinner Wednesday night. He is soliciting their opinions, and said all the players are coming up with the same list of seven or eight guys who would be good picks.

“I think he’s got a pretty good idea who his picks are going to be,” Stricker said. “I mean, I think he still has some questions. I think it depends a lot on what happens here this week, and he wants to have some players step up and show him something. I don’t think anybody is set in stone yet, but I think he’s really looking forward to see what’s going to happen here.”

Stricker doesn’t have to worry about that, nor does Matt Kuchar, who made his first Ryder Cup team. They can think exclusively about the FedEx Cup for now, both in prime position to chase the $10 million prize.

Woods, meanwhile, is trying to stay in the top 70 of the standings after this week, although his primary goal hasn’t changed whether he’s No. 65 or No. 1 in the FedEx Cup.

“I go out there and tee it up to win the tournament,” he 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