Are There Any Surprises Anymore

By George WhiteNovember 8, 2005, 5:00 pm
Question ' Why are the so-so players winning all the tournaments?
 
Answer ' Ever thought that it might be because they arent so-so?
 
Bart Bryant was the latest, and he sent shock waves up and down the blue-ribbon field with a six-stroke win against the best players on the PGA Tour. Maybe its
Bart Bryant
How many people picked Bart Bryant to finish the year in the Top 10 on the PGA Tour money list?
time we sit up and take notice of something thats become glaringly obvious in the second half of the season: ANYONE who owns a PGA Tour card can win. And sometimes, those who own a Nationwide Card can win.
 
Bryant was completely off the radar screen when last season begin, and I dont mean just off the screen to the average fan ' he was off the screen to HIM.
 
There's always been a seed of doubt in my mind that this would happen, said Bryant. I certainly don't put myself in the same category as Retief and Vijay and Davis Love and Tiger Woods. I mean, these guys are the elite players in the world.
 
The win last year hardly caused a quiver in the fan recognition needle. It was at the Valero Texas Open in September and it was easy to brush it off as an anomaly, a quirk of fate. He was still No. 137 on the Official Golf World Rankings the week after the win in Texas, and not even in the top 200 before it.
 
This year, though, Bryant won Jack Nicklaus event ' the Memorial - and people jerked to attention as they considered this guy hmmmm. Then ' this.
 
Really, though, you need to stop and think who has been winning on tour lately. Since the end of August, one tournament after another, its been surprise after surprise after surprise. And now, its pretty obvious that there ARENT any surprises. In short, these guys are good.

The headliners won four in a row in August - the Buick Open, The International, the PGA Championship, the WCG-NEC. Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods won those events, and all seemed right in the golf world. Oh, Vaughn Taylor successfully defended in Reno the same week as Woods won the NEC, but Reno is a satellite event you know ' as if that makes a difference. Taylor still had to overcome some pretty good talent ' Justin Rose, Philip Price, Jesper Parnevik, Tim Herron, Skip Kendall
 
But then Brad Faxon won at Hartford, and that was a little bit of a surprise since Brad had missed nine cuts in the 20 events played up to that time. But since then at the Buick Championship at Hartford, the PGA Tour has gone topsy-turvey. Pick out a name ' any name ' in the field and he is a potential winner.
 
The top guns, of course, are the only ones eligible for the WCG-American Express. But with the exception of Woods win at the AmEx in early October, look who has been winning all the events the last couple of months:
 
It started with the Deutsche Bank, when Olin Browne won, defeating Woods, Davis Love and Justin Leonard, among others. At the Bell Canadian, it was a creaky old fossil, Mark Calcavecchia.
 
Remember the 84 Lumber, and remember the Nationwide fugitive, Jason Gore, getting home for the win? Singh was in that field. The Valero Texas Open was won by another guy who has been lost in the woods the last 10 years ' Robert Gamez. And at Greensboro, K.J. Choi won after missing cuts in his last two outings.
 
The last four tournaments have been won by complete surprises ' Wes Short at Las Vegas, Lucas Glover at Funai, Carl Petterson at the Chrysler Championship, and now Bryant.
 
Did that quartet steal them? Nope. Short won at Las Vegas with a field that included Jim Furyk, Love, Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington and Lee Westwood. The Funai field included Woods, Singh and Goosen, and Glover outlasted them all. And Petterson won in the Tampa Bay area over a field that included Goosen, Love, Singh, David Toms and Mike Weir.
 
Even the Southern Farm Bureau had an unlikely winner last week. Heath Slocum hung tough all four days, and that was against a field that included Loren Roberts, John Cook, Todd Hamilton, Zack Johnson, Lee Janzen, Bob Tway you get the picture.
 
Not since Mickelson at the PGA has a top-15 player won a full-field tournament. But remember Tim Petrovic at New Orleans, Ted Purdy at the Byron Nelson, Peter Lonard at Hilton Head, Sean OHair at John Deere, Jason Bohn at the B.C. Open or Ben Crane at Milwaukee? They all won PGA Tour events this year.
 
And now, Bryant. He will be 43 this month, but Bart Bryant just showed the caliber of player he has become. He was No. 22 on the money list when the Tour Championship began, but now hes ninth after winning $3,249,136 this year. Not bad, Id say, for a guy who formerly was known primarily as Brad Bryants little brother.
 
That's impressive, said Tiger, whose 11-under total was second-best but still six shots in arrears of Bart (Bryant, not Simpson.) Around this golf course it's impressive.
 
The golf course is playing fast and it's right up his alley, but still, you have to make putts, hit fairways and hit greens, and he did that all week. He was very consistent all week. He didn't have any bad stretches where he could have lost it. He had a couple bad holes, but he got right back there yesterday.
 
He played consistent. He made some putts, so hats off to him.
 
Hats off to all the who-dats who have become whose-whos. There really isnt a shocker out there anymore. Anyone, it is true, can win.
 
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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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.