Nelson Seeks 1st Major at The Tradition
But there was one thing lacking from his resume ' a major championship victory.
This week, Nelson will try to avenge his playoff loss to Tom Kite at The Countrywide Tradition in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Nelson, who has 13 career Senior wins, missed a chance to collect his first major when he bogeyed the second hole of sudden death. That left the tournament in the hands of a pair of Toms ' Kite and Watson.
Six proved to be the lucky number for Kite. On the sixth playoff hole, Kite stuck a 6-iron to six inches for a tap-in birdie and his first major triumph since the 1992 U.S. Open.
The Tradition wasnt Nelson's only close call in 2000. He tied for second two weeks later in the seasons second major, the PGA Seniors Championship. However, Doug Tewell ran away with the tournament, winning by seven shots.
In the years final major, Nelson earned his third runner-up finish at the Ford Senior Players Championship. This time, he shot 67 in the final round to finish one shot back of Raymond Floyd, who shot 66 on Sunday.
This year has been a continuation of the last. Nelson won the first two events of the season, the MasterCard Championship and the Royal Caribbean Classic. Hes also tops on the money list with over $730,000.
But still, the major lingers.
To collect that elusive title, Nelson will have to defeat a host of major-caliber players. Kites back to defend; as is two-time Tradition winner Gil Morgan, four-time champion Jack Nicklaus, Bruce Fleisher and Hale Irwin.
Irwin has 30 career Senior victories to his credit ' a Tour record ' but none have occurred at this event. Hes won the Senior PGA three times, the U.S. Senior Open twice and Senior Players once.
But never The Tradition.
One notable exception from the field is Watson. Last years co-runner-up opted to play in the PGA Tours WORLDCOM Classic in Hilton Head, S.C.
News, Notes and Numbers
*This years purse is $1,700,000. The winner will earn $255,000 and there is no 36-hole cut.
*This is the 13th playing of The Tradition; all have been contested on the Cochise Course at Desert Mountain.
*Last year, Tom Kite became the 9th player to earn his maiden Senior victory in a major championship. Doug Tewell became the 10th at the 2000 PGA Seniors Championship. Jack Nicklaus also earned his first Senior win at The Tradition in 1990.
*Kites winning score of 8-under-par 280 last year was the highest in tournament history. The tournament record is 22-under-par 266, set by Gil Morgan in 1997.
*Nicklaus is the only player to win all four Senior majors. Hale Irwin, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer lack only The Tradition to their credit.
*This weeks dates for this event are the latest since 1989. That is due to the weather. In 1990, an ice storm postponed the opening round. In 1997, temperatures were in the low 40s, with winds blowing 20mph and rain falling. In 1998, another ice storm delayed the first round for 2 hours. In 1999, two days worth of snow reduced the event to 36 holes. And last year, lightning and rain on Friday twice suspended play and forced the second round to be completed Saturday morning.
This week's full field
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
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."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
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.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“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
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.
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.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18