Internationals Dot US Top 30 But Is That Bad

By George WhiteOctober 7, 2004, 4:00 pm
It was only 10 years ago, actually back in 1994, that the U.S. tour was overwhelmingly U.S.-dominated. One decade ago, 26 of the 30 players who qualified for the Tour Championship at seasons end were Americans.
Then, just like today, the No. 1 player was not American-born ' Nick Price was born in South Africa, raised in Zimbabwe. So was No. 2 ' Australian Greg Norman. But from there down through much of the money lists upper half, it was largely the home-bred.
Lets see, Ernie Els was No. 19, David Frost was No. 20. But there wasnt another international player until down at No. 46 ' Craig Parry. Jose Maria Olazabal was No. 8 on the money list because of his Masters victory, but he only played in four U.S. events besides the majors and wasnt a PGA Tour member. This was Vijay Singhs second year in America, but he had a back injury in 94 and finished 52nd on the money list.
Take a look, now, at the prospectus for the Tour Championship as of this week. The Tour Championship isnt played for another month ' the first week in November. But the picture has totally changed from what it was a decade ago.
In the top spot this year is another international ' Singh. Number 2 is American Phil Mickelson, but No. 3 is yet another international ' Els. In fact, non-Americans are liberally sprinkled throughout the top 30. Fourteen 14 of the top 30 are internationals, as opposed to only four in 94.
What an incredible difference 10 years has made to the PGA Tour. Whereas a decade ago the few internationals among the games elite either came from Australia or South Africa, today they come from every corner of the globe.
Norman and Frost are no longer a factor, but look who has replaced them. This year, a Spaniard is represented, but it isnt Olazabal- its Sergio Garcia. Els is still winning tournaments, but another South African has been roaring through the U.S. tour ' Retief Goosen, followed by South African Rory Sabbatini. Adam Scott, Stuart Appleby and Mark Hensby are the top Australians now, not 49-year-old Norman.
And look at the other countries that are represented ' would you believe Trinidad and Tobago (Stephen Ames - now a Canadian citizen), along with Canadas Mike Weir, two from the Far East (South Korean K.J. Choi and Japans Shigeki Marayuma), and ' gasp ' Paraguay (Carlos Franco)?
Darren Clarke from Northern Ireland got in the top 30 Sunday when he finished in a tie for fourth at the World Golf Championship American Express tournament. The Tour Championship was the first thing out of his mouth after his finish in Ireland.
Im disappointed I didnt win (the American Express) and then the Tour Championship, he said upon completing the tournament, before he knew that his money earned in the AmEx did indeed place him at No. 26 on the U.S. list.
I had a few things on my mind, said Clarke. Number 1, just trying to make the Tour Championship. I'm 33rd I think going into this week, and hopefully today this will jump me up a little bit. Whether I've got to go play another tournament or not (in the States) to see if I can get in, I'll take a look at that at the end of the day.

The Tour Championship obvious is very meaningful to Clarke, even if he has to come play at Disney or at Tampa to get in. He plays the European Tour primarily, but also has played enough PGA Tour events to qualify him for this circuit.
If I'm very close I will try, he said. Because I played it for the first time last year and it's one of the biggest and best tournaments in the world and I'd love to get in.
So, obviously, would a lot of international players. And there are a couple of ways to look at the sudden influx of them on the U.S. tour.
One is to bemoan the lack of top American talent on the American tour.
The other way, though, is to appreciate that golf, at last, has become a truly international game. And the worlds greatest collection of talent plays the PGA Tour. Could there be a greater compliment?
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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

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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 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.