Singh Defends Despite Bad Timing

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 6, 2004, 4:00 pm
It was late 2003. Jim Furyk was asked to size up the contenders for Player of the Year. He started listing the candidates and their qualifications, when he paused and asked the media a rhetorical question.
 
Vijay, does he have four wins this year? he said. John Deere stuck out and I went, He won the John Deere? I said: Geez, I didn't even know he went.
 
Singh did play the John Deere Classic last year. And he did win. It was the first time he had ever played the event, which was contested in September of last year and was a part of his late-season flurry to top Tiger Woods on the money list.
 
Singh obviously was living in the now when he signed up to play in Silvis, Ill; he was consumed with playing in as many tournaments as possible in order to win the money title. He certainly wasnt thinking about how he would be affected by that decision in 2004.
 
This years John Deere will be contested this week ' the week before the British Open.
 
And because Singh has said that he always defends his title, he will meet his responsibilities and be on hand.
 
Its kind of like a pain, because Ive got to fly all the way after the tournament, Singh said. If it wasnt the week before, it would be great. But Ive got to do that.
 
This will be the first time Singh has ever played in the U.S. the week before the British Open.
 
I dont think Ill be tired. Ill have three or four days to get ready for the tournament. But itll be interesting, he said. I have not won the British Open, so this could be a good omen. Im just going to take a positive out of it and see if I can go out there and win the damn thing.
 
Singh is easily the top draw at the TPC at Deere Run. He and Jay Haas are the only entrants ranked inside the top 20 on the Official World Golf Ranking; though, the field does include Chris DiMarco, Stewart Cink, Shigeki Maruyama and Zach Johnson.
 
While some tour regulars like Phil Mickelson, Ben Curtis, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman will be at Loch Lomond for the European Tour's Barclays Scottish Open this week, others will be prepping for the seasons third major on their own time.
 
For the British, I like to go over early and play some golf and just play some rounds, said Mike Weir. I haven't played a competitive tournament the week before going over there. That's an option sometime I might do. Right now I just go with some friends and we play golf in the area, just kind of get used to playing in the wind, keeping the ball down and playing bump-and-run shots.
 
Jim Furyk also likes to cross the Atlantic a little earlier to in order to acclimatize himself.
 
I think I make good use of the time change, and by the time Monday rolls around I want to be getting rid of the jet lag, feeling good, just physically healthy, he said. I like to play a few rounds of golf over there just to get used to seeing the ball roll 40 yards downwind after hitting a 9-iron. It's difficult. It's a little adjustment.
 
But The Open is a closed issue for many in the John Deere field. They will be traveling to Endicott, N.Y. for the B.C. Open, which is contested concurrently with the British.
 
And for now, they will be focusing on ending Singhs reign at one year.
 
Singh won last years edition by being the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s. His Sunday 65 helped him overcome a two-stroke deficit at the beginning of the final round.
 
He won by four over Chris Riley, Jonathan Byrd and J.L. Lewis.
 
His 268 total, however, was nine strokes higher than the tournament record. David Frost shot 259 in 1993, when the tournament was played at the par-70 Oakwood Country Club.
 
Frost is the only player to successfully defend his title, winning in 1992 and 93. Scott Hoch is a two-time champion (1980, 84), while D.A. Weibring is the only three-time winner (1979, 91, 95).
 
This is the fifth consecutive year that the TPC at Deere Run (par 71, 7,193 yards) has played host. Oakwood in Coal Valley was the venue from 1975-99. The tournament, which began as the Quad Cities Open in 1972, was originally contested at Crow Valley Country Club in Bettendorf, Iowa.
 
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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.


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    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.


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    Man of the people


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

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    Victory at Valderrama


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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