Sneds rockets up leaderboard after 'really special' 69

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 31, 2016, 10:41 pm

SAN DIEGO – Brandt Snedeker was standing on a platform outside the scoring area when the horn sounded for the third time Sunday.

“Oh, I don’t want to hear that,” he groaned.

Snedeker had just finished what he said was one of the best rounds of his career, a 3-under 69 that was more than nine strokes lower than the field average on Torrey Pines’ South Course (78.119).

“I want them out there playing,” he said with a smirk, “since I had to play through this all day. I want them to be out there going through the misery that I had to go through.” 

Of the 71 players who began the final round at the Farmers Insurance Open, Snedeker was the only one who is under par on a cold, raw day with blinding rain and 35-mph gusts.  

Now, he has to wait to see if it was enough.

"I couldn't do it again," he said. "I don't know how I did it. It was just one of those freak days."

Starting the day six shots behind the leaders, Snedeker finished at 6-under 282, which is one shot behind Jimmy Walker, who still has eight holes left to play.

Play was eventually called for the day at 4:57 p.m. ET, when 40-mph gusts made the course unsafe for players, spectators and media. The final round will resume at 11 a.m. ET Monday.

“It was like playing a British Open on a U.S. Open setup,” Snedeker said. 

Snedeker’s game has been revitalized after an offseason session with swing coach Butch Harmon when they overhauled Snedeker’s setup position. Since the start of the new year, he tied for third at Kapalua and lost in a playoff at the Sony. 

He has already won here at Torrey Pines, in 2012, under what was another unusual set of circumstances. 

Snedeker thought he’d come up short that year, with Kyle Stanley holding a three-shot lead on the par-5 finishing hole. Inexplicably, Stanley spun his ball back into the pond and three-putted for triple bogey. Snedeker, who had finished hours earlier, eventually won on the second playoff hole. Three times in his career he has erased a final-round deficit of five or more shots.

“Feels eerily similar, actually,” Snedeker said, looking out toward the course, where the leaders were just making the turn. 

Snedeker’s only dropped shot Sunday came on the first hole, in the worst of the conditions. He didn’t lose much ground to the field, however; the 442-yard, into-the-wind hole played to a 4.65 average. 

Snedeker made eight consecutive pars – none more impressive than canning a 35-footer on 4 – before ripping off four birdies in a five-hole span to start the back nine: a 6-footer on 10, a 2-footer on 12, a 37-footer on 13 and a 12-footer on 14. His best shot, according to caddie Scott Vail, came on the par-3 16th, which was playing into a severe crosswind. Snedeker's 5-iron shot landed 14 feet away and was unlucky not to trickle down the ridge, leading to a stress-free par.

In all, he played the last 17 holes without a bogey.

“Damn good,” Vail said. “He just did everything right today.”

Snedeker lamented his par on 18, where he failed to get up and down from behind the green. But he wasn't about to complain, not when he still has a chance to win when play resumes Monday.

“One of my best rounds on Tour, by far," he said. "Under these conditions, to shoot anything under par or around par is a good round. To shoot 69 when you need to, really special.” 

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.