Mickelson loses $5K bet to 17-year-old Aussie amateur

By Jason CrookJanuary 17, 2016, 3:15 pm

Original story: Jan. 16, 2:00PM ET

Phil Mickelson is known for taking gambles on the course. Quite literally.

So this story, while interesting, isn't exactly shocking.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, during a practice round while trying to recruit 17-year-old Aussie Ryan Ruffels to Arizona State University where Lefty's brother Tim is the head coach, Mickelson proposed a friendly wager, and then promptly lost.

“We get on the first tee, it’s pretty early in the morning and he says, ‘I don't wake up this early to play for any less than $2,500,’” said Ruffels.

The 42-time PGA Tour winner gave Ruffels 2 to 1 odds, offering him $5,000 if he lost and letting the amateur defer his payment until he turned pro, decisions that proved costly considering the kid shot an opening-round 66 at last year's Canadian Open and made the 36-hole cut. 

"I was a few down through nine but then I birdied six of my last seven to win by one shot and took his money, so that was pretty cool," Ruffels said.

Not only did Mickelson lose the bet, but he also lost the prospect. Ruffels has since turned pro and will make his first two PGA Tour starts on special exemptions at the Farmers Insurance Open and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

h/t to Golf Digest


Update: Jan. 17, 10:19AM ET

After a media maelstrom following the release of the original story about Ryan Ruffels playing with the Mickelsons, Ruffels' manager, Bud Martin of Wasserman Media Group, sent this statement to Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte: 

"Upon reading the January 15th “Next Big Thing” article in the Sydney Morning Herald and absorbing the subsequent media fallout, we wanted to set the record straight as it pertains to Ryan’s December 21 practice round at Torrey Pines with Phil Mickelson and his brother Tim who is the head golf coach at Arizona State University. While it's no secret both Phil and Tim would love to have had Ryan attend ASU and become a Sun Devil, the timing in the Sydney Morning Herald story was off, and in no way was either [Tim or Phil] recruiting him to do such at Torrey Pines. Ryan had months ago decided he was turning professional at the upcoming Farmers Insurance Open and that it would be announced yesterday in Melbourne, Australia, at a media conference at Victoria Golf Club Ryan’s home golf course. Both Phil and Tim were well aware this was the case. As for the actual round, Ryan jumped at the chance to get in a practice round for the Farmers with one of golf's legends and a real pro from whom young players can gain valuable experience. The “friendly wager” and the "birdie barrages” reporting is a bit overdone and becoming a media fish story, but rest assured Ryan had a great time, appreciates Phil and Tim and their willingness to support him during an important step in his development and looks forward to his career as a professional which begins at Torrey Pines later this month."

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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.