Woods remains out front at Chevron World Challenge

By Doug FergusonDecember 5, 2010, 4:12 am
Chevron World ChallengeTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Tiger Woods is one round away from ending his worst year with a familiar finish.

Woods regained control with three straight birdies early in his round, then finished with a shot that covered the flag for a tap-in birdie Saturday that gave him a 4-under 68 in the Chevron World Challenge.

It was the first time all year that Woods has posted four straight rounds in the 60s, dating to his final-round 65 in Australia. What mattered was keeping his four-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, who also had a 68.

No one else was within eight shots of the lead.

“I’m excited about tomorrow because of the way I’m playing,” said Woods, who has never lost a tournament that he has led by at least three shots going into the final round.

Woods, who has gone more than a year without winning – or even close to winning – was at 17-under 199. He won the last two times he played Sherwood Country Club, where he is the tournament host, missing in 2008 after knee surgery and last year when his personal life was caving in around him.

But after eight months of looking like an ordinary player, he is starting to resemble the guy who has won 82 times around the world and 14 majors. It was his lowest score and largest lead after 54 holes since the BMW Championship last year, which he won by eight.

McDowell, trailing by four going into the second round, quickly closed within a shot with a two-putt birdie on the second and daring tee shot to the top-right hole location on the par-3 third.

Woods quickly pulled away. He hit a blast-and-run from a plugged lie in the bunker on the par-5 fifth to 2 feet, rolled in a fast 20-foot birdie on the sixth and then covered the flag on the seventh to about 3 feet.

Just like that, his lead was back to five.

The back nine could have gone either way. Woods was in trouble off the tee at the 11th, put picked it clean off the dirt to about 12 feet for a two-putt birdie to keep his lead at four shots. He looked to expand that lead when McDowell hit out-of-bounds on the par-5 13th, but he somehow managed a par.

On the next hole, McDowell had 6 feet for birdie and Woods was 20 feet away for par. Woods made, McDowell missed.

That’s why Woods is taking nothing for granted going into the final round. Sherwood is the kind of course where low scores are available because of the five par 5s, but it’s easy to post a big number if a player gets out of position.

Dustin Johnson found that out the hard way, playing the final four holes in 7 over for an 80 that left him at the bottom of the pack.

Woods appears to be making big strides toward getting his game back. He still sees it as baby steps.

“Since the PGA, there has been incremental progress, little stepping stones along the way,” he said.

McDowell has reason to see it differently. He played with Woods the first two rounds in the HSBC Champions at Shanghai, when Woods fell out of the hunt quickly with errant shots and suspect putting.

This was a different Woods he saw Saturday under a cloudy sky.

“I thought the ‘wide’ was still there,” McDowell said of Woods’ tee shots in Shanghai. “I thought he controlled it very well today. He really only had one bad drive, and he’s so impressive around the green. He’s the best there ever was around the greens.”

Paul Casey got off to a fast start, 5 under through seven holes, until he four-putted the eighth for double bogey. He had to settle for par on the next seven holes and wound up with a 69. He was in third place, eight shots behind.

With the greens still slick and the pins slightly tougher, Woods and McDowell matched the best score of the third round. That’s why they’ll be in a two-man race on Sunday with a title on the line. It’s not an official PGA Tour event, although it might feel like one to Woods.

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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