Creamer replaces injured Korda on U.S. Solheim Cup team

By Randall MellAugust 8, 2017, 6:14 pm

Paula Creamer’s disappointment failing to make a U.S. Solheim Cup team for the first time in her professional career was short lived.

Captain Juli Inkster revealed Tuesday that she named Creamer as the alternate who will replace injured Jessica Korda on the 12-woman American team that will meet the Europeans next week in Iowa.

“The reason is that Paula’s been there,” Inkster said. “She knows what is going on. She has the experience. She is playing well.”

It’s important to note Inkster had to choose her alternate on Sunday evening, not knowing how serious the injury to Korda’s right forearm was and whether Korda might have to end up withdrawing on the eve of the Solheim Cup.

Instead, Korda announced on Monday that she was reluctantly withdrawing from the event.

“I felt if Paula had to come in Wednesday night and tee it up on Friday, she could handle that,” Inkster said. “I wanted the experience and someone who was not afraid to step in at that point.”

Inkster said she didn’t have anyone else in mind besides Creamer when she submitted the name of her alternate on Sunday night.

“I have a lot of faith and confidence in Paula,” Inkster said. “She reminds me a lot of myself as far as heart and grit.”

Creamer was not in good form two years ago, when Inkster named her as one of her U.S. Solheim Cup captain’s picks going to Germany. Inkster quickly showed her faith in Creamer by sending her out in the opening match with Morgan Pressel. They teamed to take down Europe’s best team, Anna Nordqvist and Suzann Pettersen, 3 and 2 in foursomes.

Inkster also sent Creamer out as her anchor in Sunday singles, and Creamer defeated Germany’s Sandra Gal to complete the United States’ historic comeback victory in Germany. Creamer was 2-2 in Germany.

In six Solheim Cups, Creamer is 14-8-5. Her 16 ½ points are more than any American in the matches outside Inkster ( 18 ½) and Cristie Kerr (17 ½), but Creamer has struggled on tour the last two seasons.

After missing the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open one month ago, Creamer appeared to be a long shot to make the American team. It was her fourth missed cut in her last five starts. She had slumped to 92nd on the LPGA money list and a career-worst 127th in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. Also, for the first time in her career, Creamer wasn’t qualified to play in the Ricoh Women’s British Open. She had to advance through a qualifier three days before the championship to earn a spot.

Creamer said after returning home following the U.S. Women’s Open missed cut, she found something in her work with swing coach Gary Gilchrist. She tied for 13th at the Ladies Scottish Open two weeks ago and tied for 16th at the Women’s British Open last weekend.

“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster,” Creamer said of her emotions. “It’s been a whirlwind.

“I have definitely put in the time. I’ve been working so hard. I know people say that, and it’s just words, but it’s been starting to show. I’ve been staying positive. I knew it was just a matter of time that it was going to happen.”

Inkster said she was disappointed Korda was hurt and had to withdraw. Korda made the team finishing fifth on the U.S. points list. Inkster praised Korda for thinking of the team above herself in letting her know quickly how serious the injury was.

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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

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Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

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Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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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