After Further Review: Stellar end to stellar LPGA season

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2014, 11:13 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on a terrific year for the LPGA, a historic vote for the PGA of America and an anti-climactic finish in the Race to Dubai.


The LPGA’s stars shined all year long. Big names kept delivering big wins.

From Paula Creamer’s 75-foot bomb for eagle to win at HSBC, to Lexi Thompson outdueling Michelle Wie in the season opening major at the Kraft Nabisco, to Wie winning the U.S. Women’s Open, to Mo Martin’s Cinderella Story victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, to Christina Kim’s win in Mexico to Rolex world No. 1 Inbee Park’s beating No. 2 Stacy Lewis in a back-nine duel in Taiwan, the year was loaded with drama.

The women didn’t disappoint Sunday in their season-ending event in Naples. Lydia Ko and Lewis gave the tour a big-bang finish, with Ko taking home $1.5 million, sweeping the Tour Championship and the Race to the CME Globe, and Lewis sweeping the Rolex Player of the Year Award, Vare Trophy and money title.

Ko and Lewis were a pair of exclamation points on a terrific year. - Randall Mell


While Saturday’s vote at the PGA of America annual meeting was historic, it was not hasty. Suzy Whaley became the association’s first female officer and is now on track to ascend to the presidency of one of golf’s most influential organizations.

As monumental as Whaley’s election may have been, it should not be viewed as an overreaction to recent events.

When Ted Bishop was ousted from office following an insensitive tweet in which he called Ian Poulter a “Lil Girl” last month, there was a school of thought among some observers that the PGA had become cornered by circumstances.

But Whaley’s commanding victory on the first ballot proved the association elected the right person, regardless of gender. - Rex Hoggard


People are always gonna complain about something.

No, that's not a new concept, but we were reminded of it once again this week, when Rory McIlroy merely had to remain alive and breathing to clinch the European Tour's Race to Dubai crown.

This lack of drama follows a FedEx Cup finale two months ago during which Billy Horschel, who had barely made a peep in the regular season, won his second straight event to vanquish McIlroy and every other top player who hadn't spent the previous 11 months in hibernation.

You can dislike the uninteresting nature of McIlroy's season-long title. You can hate the volatility of Horschel's win. But to complain about both? Well, that's literally a no-win situation. - Jason Sobel

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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