Who Wants to Be Tigers Partner

By George WhiteSeptember 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
It must have seemed so simple to Tiger Woods that September day in 1997. That morning he teamed with his pal, Mark OMeara, and together they made quick work of their Ryder Cup opponents, Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer, 3 and 2. He was as a perfect 1-0 in team competition.
 
The feeling lasted all of half a day. That afternoon, Woods was doused with cold, harsh reality. He partnered with OMeara again, but this time Monty and Langer whipped them good, winning 5 and 3. And Tiger has had a tough time of it ever since in partners play at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
 
So, who wants to play with Tiger Woods? You would think everybody would, partnering with the guy who is quite possibly the best player in the game.
 
The fact is, partnering with Woods may be the most difficult assignment in the game today. For one, you know you are directly in the spotlight if you go out with Tiger. The world EXPECTS you to win. Just dont mess up, people say. But that is an exacting order for the men who have played with Tiger in the Presidents and the Ryder Cup.
 
Tiger has been the victim of buzzards luck, to be sure. On his own ball, he has shot a 63 and lost in four-balls (better ball). He has shot 64 and lost. He has shot 65 and lost. That, friends, is difficult to do if youre his partner. If one player shoots a 63, a 64 or a 65, his partner has to mess up awfully bad for him to lose. Either that, or the opposing team has to both shoot somewhere in the mid-60s.
 
For the record, Tigers record in pairs play is 10 wins, 17 losses and one tie. Difficult to believe, but true. He is a very respectable 5-1-1 in singles, where he relies on nobody and nobody relies on him. But put him with a partner, and Tiger is less than overwhelming.
 
Woods is baffled. I've shot some good scores and have come out with absolute bagels (zeros), he said. I don't know why. And also I've played atrociously, too. I've had both gamuts.
 
In Presidents Cup play, Tiger has never won a four-ball (better-ball) match. Yes, thats 0-6. Playing alternate shot in the Presidents, he has a 5-1 record. In the Ryder Cup, he has a losing record in both events ' 3-5 in better-ball, 2-5-1 in foursomes.
 
In four-ball, you can have a guy - you can nickel and dime him and still win a match. In foursomes (alternate shot) you can't do that; you have to have both players clicking at the same time. For some reason, I've had better luck in that format.
 
Fred Couples typifies the people who have been selected to play with Tiger. And the pressure of being in such a position can be very difficult, he says.
 
It's extremely tough to be his partner, said Freddie, because you want to do so well.
 
I did play with him in Australia and the first day we beat Ernie Els and Vijay, like 6 and 5 (actually 5 and 4), and we had a ball. The second day, literally, I don't think he played his best - but he doesn't need to play his best. I really killed him around the greens. I missed a few putts and we ended up losing on the last hole when I think Craig Parry chipped in from 70 feet.
 
Tiger has played with OMeara and Justin Leonard, with Couples and John Huston. Hes partnered with Steve Pate, Tom Lehman, David Duval, played all four matches with college teammate Notah Begay in the 2000 Presidents Cup.
 
Hes paired with Paul Azinger, Mark Calcavecchia and Davis Love, four times again with Charles Howell III in the 2003 Presidents Cup, then was paired twice with Phil Mickelson and once with Chris Riley in the Ryder last year. And the results with nearly all has been distressingly familiar. He has a winning record with only Love (2-1) and Riley (1-0).
 
Love tried to explain the mental tricks teaming with Tiger plays on you.
 
I think sometimes it's harder when you know that all you have to do is help a little bit, and you'll be OK, he said. Tiger and I were laughing about the Ryder Cup, my first Ryder Cup match with him at The Belfry. All you've got to do is relax and play - and sometimes that's hard to do. sometimes it's easier said than done.
 
Certainly with Tiger, you can just help a couple of holes, you're going to be OK. But that's what team golf is all about.
 
And sometimes, says Love, just playing with a new partner is tough. Certainly when all of a sudden you get thrown with Stewart Cink, whom you've never played with, or Tiger you've never played with - I don't think it's really the person, just that new-partner nervousness.
 
Theres no question that Tiger should be the easiest to play with. But theres also no question he is difficult.
 
Why is that? Is it because the players really do tense up when theyre paired with him, fearing they just might make the telling mistake that loses the match? Or is it that Tiger doesnt play quite as well in team events as he does in singles? After all, he is the master of going it alone, of cold-blooded birdie-hunting while he and his caddie are alone against the world. Seemingly it would be quite difficult to compete with a partner when you are so trained to make it as a single entity. Hence, the 5-1-1 record in singles.
 
I, of course, dont have a definitive answer. The tense-partner theory makes a lot of sense to me. But maybe Tiger doesnt play well in doubles. And maybe opponents simply get sky-high when they go against him. After all, they know they arent expected to win. And ' voila! ' they claw and fight and scratch until they have won the point.
 
Such are the vagaries of being Tiger. In a world where nothing is simple, his record in partners play certainly isn't, either.
 
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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