After Further Review: Spieth joins Norman in Masters lore

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Jordan Spieth's second-nine collapse ...

Greg Norman is one of the game’s all-time great players, but when it comes to Augusta National his is a name from which you’d like to keep your distance. After a shocking collapse in defense of his title, though, Jordan Spieth now joins the likes of Norman, Scott Hoch, Ed Sneed and even Arnold Palmer as players who let green jackets slip through their fingers.

Of course, once the dust settles Spieth can take solace in the title he won last year – a consolation that always eluded Norman. But the parallels between the two combatants, whose Masters meltdowns were separated by 20 years, are hard to ignore.

The confidence with which many were set to anoint Norman as he took a six-shot lead into the final round in 1996 was equaled – if not surpassed – by the sentiments directed toward Spieth as he stood nine holes away from a second straight wire-to-wire victory. But the ball can bounce funny down the stretch at Augusta National, and while Norman’s demise played out as a slow bleed, Spieth’s was over almost as quickly as it began.

The other aspect that ties the two is that their respective collapses will likely overshadow sublime rounds from their counterparts – both Nick Faldo and Danny Willett closed with sterling rounds of 5-under 67. Their strong final-round efforts may be historical footnotes, but those coveted green jackets hang in their locker just the same. – Will Gray

On the drama of Sunday at the Masters ...

The Masters delivered another epic tale of wonder and woe.

Sometimes we leave the stage that is Augusta National exhilarated by a bold charge that won it, sometimes gutted by a disheartening collapse. Apologies to Danny Willett, but this will be remembered for the latter.

The Masters can take our breath away. Sometimes it’s the dramatic way it’s won. It’s Bubba Watson hooking a shot out of the woods to win in a playoff. It’s Adam Scott burying a birdie putt on the second hole of sudden death to win for all of Australia. It’s Jack Nicklaus with the charge of all charges, winning at age 46 when he seemed untethered from his previous greatness.

And sometimes the Masters takes our breath away in uncomfortable ways.

Greg Norman’s collapse in ’96, when he lost a six-shot lead to Nick Faldo in the final round, was slow torture.

Spieth’s collapse was more like a punch in the gut, historic in its swift delivery. – Randall Mell

On the heroics and heartbreak of the final round ...

It’s not as though we needed a reminder, but Sunday’s extremes at Augusta National were everything that is special about the year’s first major.

After three days of blustery winds that resulted in few reasons to cheer, the frantic give and take over the final nine holes on Sunday was exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Masters, highlighted by equal parts heroics and heartbreak.

While Jordan Spieth’s implosion on Nos. 10, 11 and 12 – which he played in 6 over par – will be the lasting image from the 2016 Masters, eventual champion Danny Willett’s inspired play, his closing 67 matched the best round of the day, was just as a compelling. – Rex Hoggard

On the lasting effects of Spieth's meltdown ...

How long will Jordan Spieth’s collapse linger? That’s the biggest question to emerge from this 80th Masters.

Nine holes from becoming the youngest three-time major winner since 1923, the world’s No. 2-ranked player melted down in an unimaginable way, coming home in 41 – with two birdies. Spieth won’t play again until mid-May, which is plenty of time to absorb the most crushing loss of his career.

Knowing Spieth, it wouldn’t surprise at all if he returns more determined and motivated than ever. – Ryan Lavner

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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
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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.