Suttons Problems Behind Him and Hes Ready to Roll
'Nice to see you guys in the press room. This is my first visit in here this year,' he said to a hearty round of laughter from the assembled hacks. Hal was obviously in a good mood after shooting his second straight 66 at Doral Friday. And he obviously was in a good mood to be back on the East Coast after the PGA Tour had started the first couple of months out West.
Sutton had back and ankle problems toward the end of 2000, maladies guaranteed to greatly hamper your effectiveness. He had won the TPC in a torrid shootout with Tiger Woods and added the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic mid-year. Then he suffered his physical ailments and was quiet the second half of the year. Ditto the West Coast this year.
'Let's have three cheers for some heat,' he said after traipsing around in Doral's 85-degree temperatures. 'We have been in the cold. It is nice too sweat a little bit.'
As expected, Sutton and the players from the east have a decided preference for Bermuda greens and the eastern courses. Putting was a huge problem for Sutton out west. At Doral there were no worries, mate. He sank `em like he was putting at 10-feet holes, making a couple of 20-footers Friday and a pair in the 12-15 foot range.
'The West Coast is tough,' said Sutton, the admiration apparent for the first eight winners.
'You play a lot of courses, multiple courses, you are not putting on the same set of greens every day. The greens are all different, and some are like putting through a gravel pit.
'If you get off to a poor start, not making anything, trying to make some putts, some times you feel like talking to yourself out there.'
Stewart Cink echoes the feeling. A resident of Atlanta, Ga., a graduate of Georgia Tech, he is as East Coast as the Boston Red Sox. 'I'm a huge fan of Bermuda,' said Cink. 'I grew up mostly on Bermuda. I never realized they could get it this good a shape until I first came to Doral. It is awesome to see roll out here.'
Of course, your preference undoubtedly is shaped by your region of the country. 'I am sure the guys of the West Coast would argue the other way,' said Cink, recognizing regional preferences.
But Sutton doesn't like the West Coast grasses. And he doesn't leave any doubt about that.
'I hate putting seaside poa annua greens,' he said. 'There is an awful lot of that on the West Coast.'
Sutton gave more than a passing thought to the injuries that handicapped him toward the end of last year. He's in his 40s now, mindful that the body doesn't rebound from injuries the same way it does in the 20s. To put it mildly, it was a tremendous relief to shoot numbers like he has posted at Doral.
'I was concerned,' he says, his face darkening for a moment at the thought of Hal Sutton reduced to also-ran. 'Every time I turned around, it was something different happening.
'I got that tendonitis in my left ankle. I think that caused a lot of the other problems. In hindsight, I would have been better off if I took five or six months off right after I detected that tendonitis and let it heal. But I didn't.'
Of course not. You wouldn't think that Matt Dillon would let a little ole' ankle injury stop him. Or James Arness, for that matter. Hal Sutton wasn't going to, either, come hell or high wedges.
[Read Hal Sutton's Bio Here]
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
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."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
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.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“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
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.
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.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18