Amateur Scheffler - and sister - post 69 at U.S. Open

By Ryan LavnerJune 16, 2016, 9:41 pm

OAKMONT, Pa. – Amateur Scottie Scheffler is the clubhouse leader at the 116th U.S. Open. OK, so only nine players have finished their opening round after a stop-and-start day at Oakmont, but the point remains: The rising junior at Texas has played some solid golf so far.

“I feel pretty good,” said Scheffler, who turns 20 next week. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Scheffler was a former U.S. Junior champion and can’t-miss prospect from Dallas – sound familiar? – who earned NCAA Freshman of the Year honors in 2015. He suffered a back injury last fall at the U.S. Amateur and had, by his lofty standards, a substandard sophomore campaign, with only one top-10 in 13 starts.

One of the reasons: His body has undergone a massive transformation in the past few years. In high school, at age 14, he was 5-foot-2, 100 pounds. Now, entering his junior year of college, he’s 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, and still growing.

The rapid growth has put tremendous stress on his joints – thus the back injury last year – and he and swing coach Randy Smith have tried to manage an ever-changing swing and body despite limited practice time.

Still, Scheffler has remained competitive because of his world-class short game. He appeared to turn a corner two weeks ago at the NCAA Championship, where he routed NCAA individual champion Aaron Wise of Oregon on his home course in the final match. Texas eventually lost the championship.

“This year in college golf was pretty tough on me,” he said, “and I’m glad that I was on a really good team because that helped me get through it.”

U.S. Open: Full-field scores | Live daily blog | Photo gallery

Scheffler played practice rounds at Oakmont with fellow Texan Jordan Spieth (with whom he’s been compared for years) as well as reigning Open champion Zach Johnson. 

Conditions in the first round were nothing like the practice days, but Scheffler adjusted on the fly. Instead of trying to muster as much spin as possible to hold the rock-hard greens, he played wedge shots with less juice to avoid zipping his ball off the front. He made only two bogeys (on the difficult first and 18th holes) during his round of 69, which put him two shots behind Andrew Landry, who was lining up a 10-footer for birdie on his final hole when play was suspended for the third, and final, time Thursday.

After a 4 a.m. wakeup call, Scheffler was simply relieved to finish.

“I tapped in a 2 1/2-footer kind of quickly, which maybe wasn’t the smartest idea,” he said. “But I wanted our group to get done so we didn’t have to come back in the morning.”

After enduring three weather delays, Scheffler might not hit another competitive shot until Saturday, which would allow for even more family time. Once again, he has his older sister, Callie, on the bag. She’s already looped for him in several big-time events, including the 2013 U.S. Amateur and two cameos on the PGA Tour.

“The comfort level is huge,” Scottie said. “We both kind of knew the drill.”

Callie is interning this summer for WorldLink, a cloud solutions and technology company outside Dallas. To caddie here, she had to ask her boss for a week off work, even though she had spent only nine hours in the office during her internship in the marketing department.

“They were incredibly supportive of Scottie and I,” Callie said, “and they said, ‘Don’t even worry about it. Go caddie. This is an incredible opportunity for your entire family.’”

Callie has one year of eligibility remaining at Texas A&M, where she has improved from a redshirt freshman with a 79 scoring average to a member of the starting five. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in marketing.

“The chemistry is really good between us,” she said. “I know his game and he’s really comfortable with me here.”

Through one day, at least, Scottie appears even more at ease on the big stage.

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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.