Shag Bag Blog Week 18

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 3, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Welcome to the Shag Bag, where the team and Golf Channel talent will regularly file thoughts and opinions from around the world of golf.

Redemption thy name is 4-iron. Its not that Sean OHairs tee shot at Quail Hollow Clubs 17th was the steeliest of shots, and his bogey followed by a three-putt at the last made for a nervous few minutes, but given OHairs history down the stretch with tournament hardware on the line, it was progress.
OHair rinsed a few at TPC Sawgrass 17th a few years back to dunk his title hopes and earlier this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational he found another watery fate at Bay Hills 16th. On Sunday at Quail Hollow, OHairs 4-iron tee shot at the demanding 17th avoided the water and his bogey-bogey finish was good enough to hold off the likes of Tiger Woods, Lucas Glover and Bubba Watson.
Its worth pointing out that OHairs misses at the 2007 Players against Phil Mickelson and Woods at Bay Hill have given him a rare trail-under-fire seasoning among the games American young guns. Seasoning that likely made things a tad easier at Quail Hollow.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 3, 6:22 p.m. ET


In hindsight, Zach Johnsons birdie blitz, which featured eight birdies in an 11-hole stretch, on Friday at Quail Hollow Club should come as no surprise.
Charlotte, N.C., is close enough to Georgia ' where the Z Man has won three of his five Tour titles ' and Quail Hollow, tamed to scoring perfection this year by officials in search of a spark, has an Augusta National look to it. The rough is being maintained at 2 inches, at the Masters they call that the second cut, and the greens have been rolled to slick perfection.
It all adds up to a perfect fit for the fairways-and-greens putting wizard Johnson.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 1, 12:58 p.m. ET


In case youre wondering, 11 of Tiger Woods 66 PGA Tour victories have been wire-to-wire triumphs.
While a lots made of his record with the lead going into the final round of a PGA Tour event (45-3), Woods isnt bad protecting a first-round lead.
With his 65 Thursday at the Quail Hollow Championship, Woods took a first-round lead for the 24th time in a PGA Tour event. He won 13 of those and has won 9 of the last 12 times he jumped out front in the first round.
Here are his wire-to-wire PGA Tour victories: 06 CA Championship, 06 Ford Championship, 05 WGC-Bridgestone, 05 British Open, 03 BMW Championship, 02 CA Championship, 02 U.S. Open, 02 Arnold Palmer Invitational, 00 WGC-Bridgestone, 00 PGA Championship and 00 U.S. Open.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 1, 11:37 a.m. ET


Tiger Woods lost the Masters, a fact he is probably becoming tired of being reminded. After a few days cooling off in central Florida he seemed properly vented and ready to continue conquering at Quail Hollow on Thursday. That is until a member of the media reminded him of his Masters miss.
In 2000 I had a pretty good year that year and I didn't win the Masters, either, Woods said of that historic 00 campaign that featured nine victories and the final three legs of the Grand Slam.
Still a tad cool, we see.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 30, 3:51 p.m. ET


NBC-TV analyst Johnny Miller used a car analogy comparing Phil Mickelson with Tiger Woods in a media teleconference Thursday afternoon.
Phil has as much horsepower in his car as Tiger, Miller said. Its just that the lug nuts arent tightened down as much.
Miller is preparing to work The Players Championship at the TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. next week.
If Tiger never existed, Phil would be the Tiger today, Miller said.
' Randall Mell
Posted April 30, 1:53 p.m. ET


Rumors of Hank Haneys demise have been greatly exaggerated. At least that was Tiger Woods figurative take of all the Axe Hank talk on the Inter-web since the Masters. On Thursday, the world No. 1 added a literal endorsement of his swing coach with a final-nine 30 at Quail Hollow Club and a Day 1 65.
Haney, who spent last weekend in central Florida working with Woods, would be particularly pleased with how the First Pupil picked his way around the layout, hitting 77 percent of his greens in regulation and needing just 1.57 putts per green in regulation.
Woods 65, good for an early three-stroke lead, is his lowest opening round on Tour since the 2007 Tour Championship, and ' hopefully ' a reason for the Web world to give Haney a break.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 30, 12:52 p.m. ET


John Daly says hes swinging better without his love handles.
Daly, who reports hes up to 60 pounds lost after Lap-Band surgery in Feburary, opened with a respectable 2-under-par 70 Thursday in the first round of the European Tours Spanish Open.
Losing the weight hasnt hurt his power. He averaged a whopping 328.5 yards per drive in the first round. It will be interesting to see how that stands up against long-hitting Alvaro Quiros at days end. Daly played a morning round, Quiros is out in the afternoon.
' Randall Mell
Posted April 30, 9:45 a.m. ET


Brandt Snedeker withdrew from this weeks Quail Hollow Championship and headed home to Nashville, Tenn., to receive treatment for a rib injury that flared up three weeks ago at the Masters.
Snedeker, who also pulled out of last weeks Zurich Classic, was scheduled to work with a pair of trainers from the Tennessee Titans staff and plans to be ready for next weeks Players Championship. The injury was characterized by Snedekers manager as a strain and should not be a lingering problem
In 2005 Snedeker cracked a rib while playing the Nationwide Tour and the time off could be helpful for a player who has struggled since his magical Sunday duel with Trevor Immelman at last years Masters.
The injury is another blow to the American youth movement. Anthony Kim has been slowed this season by a hamstring injury, all of which may prompt U.S. Presidents Cup captain Freddie Couples to request a weekly injury report along with points updates.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 29, 4:46 p.m. ET


Tiger Woods met with the media at the Quail Hollow Championship Wednesday.
He was asked about speculation about Hank Haneys future as his swing coach, speculation based on reports that Woods gave Haney an earful of his frustration after the second round of the Masters.
Heres a snippet of the ASAP Sports transcript where Woods addresses that:
Q: There was some speculation because you were a little cranky at times at Augusta about Hank and your status and his future.
TIGER WOODS: Thats complete speculation. It has nothing to do with Henry. I didnt hit the ball the way I wanted to and I didnt make any putts. I felt like that every day. It was 17 and 18 that hurt. I didnt finish off my rounds the last couple days, and it cost me a chance to win the golf tournament.
Q: So he just happened to be standing there when you were at the point of frustration as much as anything?
TIGER WOODS: No, I mean, usually you just leave me alone, let me vent for a while and then Ill be ready to focus on what I need to do to get ready for the next day. Its happened before, hes seen it before, Stevie (Williams) has seen it. Youve got to vent. We dont get a chance to do that because we come off the green, we do media right away. Youre constantly on, and I just need to vent for just a little bit. Give me five minutes, ten minutes, and once thats over, its what do we need to do to get ready to win this golf tournament the next day.
' Randall Mell
Posted April 29, 3:20 p.m. ET


During his first American news conference since winning the Masters, Angel Cabrera didnt reveal exactly what hell serve at next years Champions Dinner, but he suggested it isnt likely to be exotic.
A lot of different meats and a little wine, said his swing coach Charlie Epps, who served as translator for reporters Wednesday at the Quail Hollow Championship. Meat and potatoes.
Epps, who stayed with Cabrera Masters week, said Cabrera cooked every night of their Masters stay because he doesnt like to wait in lines at restaurants.
Chicken and rice, chicken and spaghetti, Salisbury steak, Epps said. He doesnt buy anything in the can. All fresh.
' Randall Mell
Posted April 29, 2:33 p.m. ET


Lorena Ochoa expects her injured caddie, Dave Brooker, to be back on her bag in six weeks for the McDonalds LPGA Championship, but shell have an experienced substitute to help bridge the gap, according to her brother and agent, Alejandra Ochoa.
Australian Adam Woodward, 34, a former caddie for Maria Hjorth who worked most recently with Ji Young Oh, will tote Ochoas bag for the two events she will play leading into the McDonalds LPGA: The Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill (May 7-10) and the Sybase Classic presented by Shoprite (May 14-17).
Brooker fractured a foot on the eve of the final round of the Corona Championship last weekend while playing a soccer match with other caddies, friends and club members, but he wont require a cast. Hes in a protective boot.
' Randall Mell
Posted April 29, 11:43 a.m. ET


There will be more balls in the air in a quicker start to the Solheim Cup this year.
U.S. Captain Beth Daniel and European Captain Alison Nicholas will switch up the format when the matches are played Aug. 21-23 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Instead of the traditional foursomes (alternate-shot) matches leading off morning play the first two days, the captains have agreed to start with fourball (best-ball).
I always felt as a player that we would see better golf if you played your own ball in the morning and then played alternate shot in the afternoon, Daniel said. As a captain, you see more golf out of your players in the morning to help you make your picks in the afternoon. Another positive is that fans on the first tee in the morning see four players tee off in a group instead of just two.
' Randall Mell
Posted April 29, 10:10 a.m. ET


John Daly is celebrating his 43rd birthday Tuesday in Spain.
Hes there to play in the European Tours Spanish Open.
In his space on, Daly noted that other than being jet-lagged from the flight overseas, its actually the best Ive felt in years. Finally, everything is feeling good.
He lost 40 pounds after undergoing Lap-Band surgery in February. Daly apparently likes the way hes looking. He twittered about the possibility of wearing a white belt with white shoes on tour. He said hes planning to spend most of today working on his short game, putting and wedge play. Hes scheduled to play in the pro-am on Wednesday.
' Randall Mell
Posted April 28, 11:39 a.m. ET


Two years ago Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan drew a crowd, maybe the biggest Wednesday gathering ever on Tour, when they played together in the Quail Hollow Championship pro-am.
This years undercard is slightly more subdued. Woods will tee off at 7:30 a.m. (ET) with NFL star Payton Manning, while defending champion Anthony Kim pulled a North Carolina staple and will play with NASCARs Jimmie Johnson.
It may not be MJ/TW, but Manning and Johnson arent too bad on Tobacco Road.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 28, 11:15 a.m. ET


As reported in an earlier blog by our colleague Randall Mell, the U.S. Center for Disease Control has recommended all non-essential travel to Mexico be postponed because of the onset of swine flu. The alert may be a few days late for some LPGA Tour players who competed in last weeks Corona Championship but early enough to get Nationwide Tour officials thinking.
The Nationwide Tours Mexico Open is scheduled to be played May 21-24 at El Bosque Golf Club, but officials said Monday they are monitoring the situation closely.
We havent made a decision but we are concerned by what we have been seeing and reading, said Bill Calfee, president of the Nationwide Tour. Right now were planning to play the event as scheduled, but that could change.
Nationwide officials sent an e-mail to players on Monday to update the situation and plan to make a decision by early next week whether to play the event. Calfee said the tournament would probably be rescheduled for later in the season if the situation worsens.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 27, 5:01 p.m. ET


LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster returned home to the United States thinking family and friends back home this past weekend were probably more nervous about the swine-flu outbreak in Mexico than the players competing at the Corona Championship in Morelia.
I felt pretty comfortable there, Inkster said. The LPGA did a great job keeping us updated on what was going on. To me, it wasnt a big deal, I felt fine being there.
Morelia is about 200 miles from Mexico City, a city reported on Sunday to be slowed to a snails pace by the threat. Richard Besser, acting director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control, said Monday that the center will recommend non-essential travel to Mexico be postponed.
Inkster said she flew out of Morelia and did not go through Mexico City. She said the airlines did a great job helping reroute players who were scheduled to fly through Mexico City on their way out.
' Randall Mell
Posted April 27, 4:02 p.m. ET


Friendly has become a fad on the PGA Tour. Quail Hollow Club, home to this weeks star-laden Tour stop, has always been a favorite among players, but a little tweaking by officials this year may make the layout an instant classic.
According to tournament director Kym Hougham the rough for this years event will be maintained throughout the week at 2 inches, more than an inch shorter than normal. As a trade off, officials will ramp up Quail Hollows greens to about 12 on the Stimpmeter. Hougham was quick to note, however, the layouts pitched greens could not be allowed to roll much faster than that.
We dont mind letting them go 12, 14 under par, Hougham said. We want some fun for our fans.
Fun for the players, as well.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted April 27, 2:12 p.m. 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