Into the gloaming

By Whit WatsonAugust 13, 2010, 6:50 am

The first day of the 92nd PGA Championship was reminiscent of the final round of the 2000 Bridgestone, Tiger's so-called 'Shot In The Dark.'

Thanks to a lengthy fog delay on Thursday morning at Whistling Straits, many of our heroes battled the waning sunlight across Lake Michigan, racing against time to complete their opening rounds at the final major of '10. In the moments before the horn mercifully sounded at around 9 p.m. ET, the late starters in Wisconsin were flat-out hitting and hoping.

Shortly before the '00 Masters, then-10-year-old Qass Singh penned a note for his father, Vijay: 'Papa, trust your swing.' Vijay would go on to win that week, capturing his second major.

Sage advice, then and now. However, on Thursday, 'trust your swing' took on new meaning for those who played in the dark. Hit it and hope. As a life-long recreational player, I was completely entertained by the final hour of the first round at the PGA. Who among us hasn't putted out on 18, with dinner and bragging rights on the line, long after the sun has dropped below the horizon? Forgive the cliche, but it was terrific theater.

Fitting then, that the first-round clubhouse lead was shared by Bubba Watson. With all due respect to Francesco Molinari – the only other player in the house at 4 under – Bubba is terrific golf theater. His press conferences are happenings; his swing is something that not even Peter Jacobsen would attempt to imitate. Simply put, Bubba is a player. He plays golf, not 'golf swing,' as our friend Peter Kostis is fond of saying.

I have long held the belief that the world is divided into two camps: artists and mechanics. Artists are all about the result, with little regard for process. Mechanics revel in the details. Golf has given us a long list of successful 'mechanics,' including Hogan, Nicklaus, Player, and Tiger. However, the list of 'artists' in the game is far longer: Hagen. Snead. Trevino. Palmer. Ballesteros. Couples. Mickelson. And today, Bubba.

He may lack the resume of the previous list, but he has equivalent talent, and otherworldly imagination – the sign of a true 'artist.' In short, he's just damn fun to watch. And it was fun to watch him on Thursday.

My dad – another Watson – has been my preferred golf partner ever since he put a cut-down set of Nicklaus Golden Bear irons in my hands when I was seven or eight years old. He's a 'mechanic,' a player driven by process and detail, but has enough 'artist' in him to appreciate the beauty of the game.

For as long as I can remember, he has held fast to the belief that the twilight is the best time to play the game. There's nothing he enjoys more than racing against the dying sunlight, putting out on 18 in the gloaming, and retiring for dinner and trash talk. That's where memories are born.

We're only one day into the '10 PGA Championship, but there was something entirely pleasing about seeing an artist, Bubba Watson, atop the leaderboard at a course like Whistling Straits, itself a study in artistry. We can only hope that the next three days will be as entertaining, day or night.

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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.