Plenty of Wrongs in Michelle Matter

By George WhiteOctober 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
This one will never die, no matter how much information you have to determine the rights or wrongs of the argument. There is far too much involved in the Great Wie Caper to dismiss it with a quick wave of the hand.
I wasnt at the site of the incident, and neither were 99.9 percent of the people who have reacted so violently about it, so I have to be extremely careful what I say. But this was such a complex issue, one whereby several factors were involved. And there was blame enough to go all around the room, beginning with the main character, Michelle Wie.
Michelle Wie
Opinions about Michelle Wie's controversial 'drop' at the Samsung World Championship will probably go on forever.
* Wie was wrong in not calling for an official in the first place. She may have been exactly right in taking the drop where she did, but it was far too close to not have another pair of eyes ' an officials eyes ' to make certain it was a correct drop.
But Michelle and her playing partner, Grace Park, were playing in the last group and were getting further and further behind the field. If Wie thought of calling for a referee, she probably didnt for fear of falling further behind. She dropped once and, believing her ball had rolled closer to the hole, picked it up and dropped again. She seemed certain that she had proceeded correctly this time, so getting an official to ascertain the distance must have seemed like a moot point.
* Secondly, the LPGA officials were wrong in deciding to assess the penalty ' not because they had the incorrect information in making the decision, but because they could not make a precise determination without having been personally at the scene. They determined Wies drop was wrong by 12, 15, 18 inches. That is far too close to make such an imperial judgment, one which would disqualify Wie from the tournament.
There was no way to precisely determine where Wies ball was found in the bush. And there was no way to determine precisely where she dropped it, especially after 30 hours had gone by. I am assuming here that they could tell the exact pin location from the previous day, but could they?
Officials relied on Wies word ' Here is where the ball was found, and here is where I dropped it. But even that isnt infallible, not when you are discussing 12 inches difference in a measure of approximately 90 feet.
Im not saying that in every such instance there is no way an official can make a ruling. But when the determination is declared to be of such a narrow margin, you cant possibly declare the ball was unequivocally closer to the hole after the drop.
* The LPGA was wrong in not having enough officials to go 18 holes with each group. There were 10 pairings among the small field of 20 players ' only 10 officials were needed - and the LPGA has decided that this is a marquee event. Because there were only two officials present, this black eye had to happen.
* Grace Park was wrong in not carefully scrutinizing Wies drop. She was Wies playing partner, but instead of carefully watching the drop and then reporting that she felt the drop was improper (if it was), Park stayed on the green 20 yards away.
* The reporter who brought up the incident, Michael Bamberger, was wrong for a couple of reasons. He should never have waited until the next day if he thought a violation had occurred ' the player would thus be forced to pay the ultimate penalty, disqualification, for something that could have been prevented if he had notified an official that day. Approximately 2 1/2 hours remained before Wie would sign her card, and there simply is no excuse for delaying the announcement until Sunday.
Now, that having been said, a strong argument can be made that Bamberger shouldnt have said anything anyway. He was at the tournament strictly as a reporter. He didnt have to pay to get in, he wasnt an opponent or an opponents caddy trying to protect the field. His decision to interject himself into the play of the tournament, instead of merely reporting on the events as they transpired, certainly will be debated for a long time.
Let me say, though, that I can find no hidden agenda in Bambergers act. He certainly didnt do it to sell magazines, as so many e-mailers have charged. There wont be 50 more Sports Illustrateds sold this week because of his revelations, and if every one of you who reported that you would never read SI again ' if you have stuck to your statements, SI lost big-time on the deal.
* And finally, all of professional golf was wrong for allowing this third party to decide the fate of a tournament participant a day after the incident took place. I am truly wary of an organization which allows such shenanigans ' and I call them shenanigans because they undoubtedly will cause many more call-ins to take place in the future ' to occur. The tours have a little validity in that they claim because the sport takes place over 200 acres, it would be impossible for them to police activity over such a wide area, that it is necessary to have Mr. or Mrs. Spectator tell them if they think they see a violation.
That occurs in no other sport ' it doesnt happen in football, and there is no way the referees can see the entire field at all times. And it shouldnt be allowed to happen in golf. But ' it REALLY should not be allowed to happen 30 hours after the fact.
Incidentally, much has been made of pictures showing Wie taking her drop with her arm below shoulder lever. This, the pundits say, would make it irrelevant where the drop was, since it is illegal anyway.
To this I say, photos taken immediately before the drop do seem to indicate her arm in an illegal position. However, photos taken from a different angle immediately as the ball is dropped indicate the arm was raised to a proper height. I cant tell that a violation has occurred.
At any rate, this will probably set off yet another avalanche of e-mails. But it is my final say on the matter. The matter became dead the moment the disqualification was announced, and now its left to the Monday Morning Quarterbacks to rehash the issues. And I, matter of fact, have just become one.
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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

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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

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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