A. Jutanugarn hopes to get back on track at Q-School

By Randall MellDecember 2, 2014, 6:16 pm

Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn was on the fast track to stardom last year when she stumbled and fell coming off a tee box and tore the labrum in her right shoulder at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

She was rocketing up the world rankings as a 17-year-old phenom and looking as if she were going to rival Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson as the top teen in the game.

Sixteen months after surgery to repair the tear, Jutanugarn still hasn’t fully recovered.

“I still have pain in my shoulder,” Jutanugarn told GolfChannel.com.

Still, Jutanugarn will tee it up Wednesday at the start of LPGA Q-School in a quest to join her sister, Moriya, as a tour member next season. Moriya was the LPGA’s Rookie of the Year in 2013.

For Ariya, this week is another big step in her bid to return to form.

“I’m playing with what I’ve got,” Ariya said. “I can’t swing the way I did before I got hurt without feeling pain. I can’t make that shallow move down, so I have to swing steeper. I can’t hit a draw. I’m hitting a fade.”

Jutanugarn, who just turned 19, will join England’s Charley Hull, Australian teen phenom Minjee Lee, Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow, Cheyenne Woods, Alison Lee, Madison Pressel and South Korea’s Ha Na Jang and Sei Young Kim in a strong field of Q-School hopefuls. Jang was the Korean LPGA Tour’s leading money winner last year and is the highest ranked player in the Q-School field at No. 25 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. Four-time LPGA winner Lorie Kane, 2005 U.S. Women’s Open champion Birdie Kim and LPGA winner Silvia Cavalleri are also in the field of 154 players at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. The top 20 at Sunday’s finish will earn full-time status with the next 25 earning conditional status.

“Ariya is confident she’ll make it,” said Andrew Park, Jutanugarn’s swing coach. “She has a good attitude, and she doesn’t seem frustrated with all that’s happened. She doesn’t show it.”

Jutanugarn won a Ladies European Tour event as a 17-year-old rookie early last year and nearly won the LPGA’s Honda Thailand event while playing in her homeland on a sponsor’s exemption. In five LPGA starts through sponsor invites and Monday qualifying in 2013, Jutanugarn didn’t finish worse than a tie for fourth. She was No. 15 in the world when she got hurt but went eight months without playing a tournament while recovering. She slipped to No. 82 in the world while playing the LET this year.

“Being out eight months, not playing, you lose some confidence,” Jutanugarn said.

One of the longest players in the women’s game, Jutanugarn says she has lost a good 10 yards off her drives. She says her doctors have assured her that despite lingering pain, she doesn’t require further surgery, but she needs to step up therapy and strength training.

When Park began working with Ariya in January, she told him she was no longer doing rehab and therapy. Park encouraged her to get back at it.

“That required a change of plans,” Park said. “Getting back to that shallow swing was going to be a bit of a challenge, because when she tried to tuck her elbows, it hurt her. You could see she was compensating. I told her that’s OK, some great players have played with steep swings, like Jack Nicklaus.”

Park said Jutanugarn will be re-evaluated by her doctors after Q-School. She’s hoping she will have an LPGA card when she sees them again.

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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.