Elected officials: Skinny on Prez Cup roster

By Rex HoggardNovember 13, 2011, 9:43 am

The ninth edition of the Presidents Cup starts Thursday at Royal Melbourne. Here's a look at the U.S. and International rosters, with players' previous PC history and match records.

United States team

Matt Kuchar (rookie)

Skinny: A rookie in name only, having played in last year’s Ryder Cup (1-1-2) and emerging as the most consistent American over the last two seasons.

Steve Stricker (fourth, 9-6-0)

Skinny: Not to overstate this, but America’s Presidents Cup hopes likely rest on Stricker’s ailing neck. In ’09 he and Tiger Woods led the U.S. side with a perfect team record. Captain Fred Couples will need something similar to that at Royal Melbourne to end America’s Southern Hemisphere drought.

Dustin Johnson (rookie)

Skinny: DJ is explosive and a natural fit to partner with Phil Mickelson, but he’s been erratic this fall and struggled in his first professional team event, going 1-3-0 last year at Celtic Manor.

Webb Simpson (rookie)

Skinny: He may not be the PGA Tour’s player of the year, but he was clearly low American in 2011. The steady performer should have a solid week in Australia.

Nick Watney (rookie)

Skinny: Seems to be rounding into form just in time for the matches following solid finishes at the Australian Open (T-4) and the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (runner-up).

Phil Mickelson (ninth, 15-13-10)

Skinny: An international team competition enigma for much of his career, Phil 2.0 has taken on the role of mentor to younger players in recent years and his record has improved.

Bubba Watson (rookie)

Skinny: Overwhelmed last year in his first Ryder Cup, but Bubba may be due for a big week. Still, the pressure is on Couples to find him a workable partner.

David Toms (fourth, 6-7-1)

Skinny: Veteran’s form has faded since his torrid summer run, but Royal Melbourne is a good fit for his fairways-and-greens game.

Hunter Mahan (third, 4-4-1)

Skinny: Mahan’s withdrawal from the Australian Open is Couples’ second-biggest concern, after Stricker, heading into the matches, but the “old soul” is a natural fit to be paired with Toms or Jim Furyk.

Jim Furyk (seventh, 15-10-3)

Skinny: Steady utility man who sports one of the U.S. side’s best Presidents Cup records and gives Couples plenty of pairing options.

Tiger Woods (seventh, 18-11-1)

Skinny: The “comeback” was cut short on Saturday at the Australian Open but he showed the kind of spark in Sydney that Couples had hoped for when he selected him for the team.

Bill Haas (rookie)

Skinny: The only true rookie on the U.S. side has plenty of support in Melbourne, with father Jay an assistant captain and longtime swing coach Billy Harmon on the bag.

Fred Couples, captain

Skinny: Questioned for his captain’s picks and his handling of the Keegan Bradley situation, Couples’ second turn as the U.S. captain will likely be his hardest.

International team

Jason Day (rookie)

Skinny: The top-ranked player on the International side is peaking at the right time (T-4 at Australian Open) and likely a lock to play with Adam Scott in Greg Norman’s uber pairing.

Adam Scott (fifth, 8-10-2)

Skinny: If he can keep caddie Steve Williams quiet the Australian may emerge from this week’s matches as the heir to Ernie Els’ crown as the team’s point man.

Charl Schwartzel (rookie)

Skinny: Quietly consistent and largely overlooked, the Masters champion may be Norman’s wild card and is a natural fit to play with his mentor Els.

K.J. Choi (third, 3-6-0)

Skinny: The “Tank” has been slowed by injuries and pedestrian play the last few weeks and has struggled to find a suitable partner in his previous matches.

Kyung-tae Kim (rookie)

Skinny: South Korean will likely play with Choi and has little experience on the international stage. How he handles the atmosphere will be the key to Kim’s week.

Retief Goosen (sixth, 11-10-3)

Skinny: Goose managed to earn just a half-point in ’09 at Harding Park and his recent form, no top 10s since June, suggests he may struggle again.

Geoff Ogilvy (third, 4-5-0)

Skinny: This is a big one for Ogilvy, a Victoria Institute of Sport product who cut his teeth on the sand-belt courses and appears to have finally emerged from a series of injuries that slowed him in ’11.

Ernie Els (seventh, 16-12-2)

Skinny: The captain in waiting is the only member of this year’s team who played in the ’98 matches at Royal Melbourne, the site of the International side’s lone victory. The Big Easy lost just a single match in ’98.

Y.E. Yang (second, 2-2-1)

Skinny: Decent record in his first team turn and his unflappable demeanor, as well as his sneaky-good putting, makes him a match-play natural. Don’t be surprised to see him play Woods.

Ryo Ishikawa (second, 3-2-0)

Skinny: The 20-year-old was solid in his debut at Harding Park, clipping Kenny Perry, 2 and 1, in singles play and he teamed well with Yang.

Aaron Baddeley (rookie)

Skinny: He watched nearly all of the ’98 matches from behind the ropes at his beloved Royal Melbourne and delivered under pressure at The Tour Championship to land one of Norman’s captain’s picks.

Robert Allenby (sixth, 8-13-3)

Skinny: Why Allenby, who Couples correctly pointed out hasn’t won a PGA Tour event in a decade? Because he owns Royal Melbourne, where he won the ’92 Johnnie Walker Classic and ’93 Players Championship and was a runner-up as an amateur at the ’91 Australian Open.

Greg Norman, captain

Skinny: The Shark probably didn’t do himself any favors with his pointed assessment of Woods’ game recently and the pressure to win on home turf will be intense, but if he’s successful it will be a fitting swan song for one of Australia’s finest.

Watch wall-to-wall coverage of the Presidents Cup live on Golf Channel beginning Monday at 6PM. Tournament air times: Golf Channel Wednesday 9PM-2AM, Thursday 7:30PM-2AM, Friday 3PM-2AM and Saturday 6:30PM-12:30AM. NBC coverage Saturday at 8AM and Sunday at noon. (Note: all times are ET)

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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.

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