Break Out the Bubbly

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 22, 2008, 4:00 pm
In Backspin, takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.

BACK IN THE GOOD OL' USA: The United States took a 9-7 lead into the Sunday singles format and held on for its first Ryder Cup victory since the miracle at Brookline back in 1999. It also ended Europe's impressive run of three consecutive victories.
BackspinHard to imagine things going any better for captain Paul Azinger's squad this week: From the fast start on Friday, to the raucous Louisville fans, to Anthony Kim's convincing win over Sergio Garcia in the opening singles match on Sunday. Somewhere Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton and Tom Lehman must be wondering what champagne tastes like.

WITH YOU ALMOST ALL THE WAY: Tiger Woods said in his monthly newsletter, which came out last Tuesday, that he would not be attending the Ryder Cup at Valhalla. Instead, he would be cheering on the U.S. team from home, with his cell phone by his side, should anyone call for advice.
BackspinWho needs advice from a guy who is 7-12-1 in team portions of the Ryder Cup? Looks like the Americans who did play did just fine without him. Tiger better play well over the next two years if he wants to make the 2010 team ' hes not a sure bet to be a captains pick.

13TH MAN: U.S. captain Paul Azinger wanted the Kentucky crowd to be a positive influence for his team ' and he got his wish. The support was overwhelming throughout the week and help buoy the Americans to victory.
BackspinAzinger and company did their part to get the crowd riled up. They signed tons of autographs leading up to the competition, held a pep rally in downtown Louisville Thursday night, and even managed to get off to a good start (for once) Friday morning. Throw in a couple of Kentuckians on the team and the local crowd was roaring at every stop. Even European captain Nick Faldo mentioned that he would have liked to have had a few more supporters in the gallery for his side.

MOVE OVER JD: Boo Weekley came into the Ryder Cup an already established player with two PGA TOUR wins, but may have left as a household name. Chants of 'Boooo' rained down from the Kentucky crowds all week as the down home Floridian went 2-0-1.
BackspinWeekley's biggest contribution might have been to get underneath Lee Westwood's skin with his efforts to get the crowd fired up early in the week. Westwood wasn't his usual dominant self in this competition. But one thing is clear: Golf fans have finally found a replacement for John Daly.

A STAR IS BORN: Anthony Kim's first Ryder Cup was one to remember, from his 1.5 points earned with Phil Mickelson in team play to his 5-and-4 thumping of Sergio Garcia in Sunday singles. Kim, who finished 2-0-1 in his Cup debut, was among the strongest players on the team.
BackspinThe 23-year-old Kim breathed some much needed life into the U.S. team with his youthful exuberance and stellar play. Add to that his desire to be on the squad and successful partnership with Mickelson, Kim headlined the Americans' Ryder Cup rookies. He probably would have done even better had Mickelson not weighed him down.

ACTIONS LOUDER THAN WORDS: Michelle Wie shot 70-65-74-71 to easily qualify to the second stage of LPGA Q-School. Wie finished in a tie for fourth, with the top 30 and ties advancing to the finals, Dec. 3-8 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.
BackspinA side note to Wies qualifying was her snubbing of the media after her first three rounds. She finally spoke Sunday after the event was over and said something like, 'Um, I'm really like, um, happy and stuff.' Actually she didn't say that. But we figure what she did say wasn't too far removed.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Will MacKenzie birdied the second hole of a playoff against Brian Gay and Mark Turnesa to capture the Viking Classic on Sunday...Matt Bettencourt won the Oregon Classic for his first Nationwide Tour title Sunday, closing with a 3-under 69 for a two-stroke victory over former U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson Once again, Michael Jordan could be seen following the U.S. team at the Ryder Cup.
Backspin With the win, MacKenzie solidifies his TOUR card for next year, jumping to 99th on the money list... 'This will take a while to settle in. Its what you dream about when youre a little kid. Its awesome,' Bettencourt said Wonder why Jordan doesnt follow them around at the Presidents Cup?
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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

    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.