Triumph and Tragedy

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 28, 2008, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
TRIUMPH...: Tiger Woods picked up where he left off last season, winning his first event of 2008 in runaway fashion. Woods grabbed sole possession of the lead in the second round and never looked back, ultimately finishing eight strokes in front of runner-up Ryuji Imada for his fourth straight win at the Buick Invitational.
 
Backspin Tiger's seeming ease with which he won this event - for the fourth straight time no less - gets the ball rolling for his 2008 season, a season in which the normally subdued Woods stated the Grand Slam is a real possibility. And, oh by the way, he tied Arnold Palmer for fourth (62) on the all-time PGA TOUR wins list. Next up? The Hawk, Ben Hogan, coming in with a career total of 64.
 

AND TRAGEDY: On the eve of the Buick Invitational, a pall was cast over the tournament when it was reported that Steve Duplantis, a long-time PGA TOUR caddie, had been killed in an accident when he was struck by a taxi while crossing a street in Del Mar, Calif. Duplantis was 35.
 
Backspin One of the more popular caddies on TOUR, Duplantis was regarded as having a confident way in dealing with whomever's bag he was carrying. A 'free spirit' off the course, Duplantis and his nightlife were detailed in a book titled, 'Bud, Sweat and Tees,' a novel that focused on Rich Beem and his time with Duplantis.
 

HEY, WHAT ABOUT ME?: Perhaps lost in the shadow of Tiger's romp at Torrey Pines, world No. 2 Phil Mickelson also made his '08 season debut as well. Lefty tied for sixth at 6 under, 13 shots back of his rival.
 
Backspin Mickelson was almost scratched from the event due to respiratory problems early in the week, but still managed to gut it out through four rounds. It was vintage Phil, thrilling the crowds at one point with six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on Saturday before finishing his last 27 holes with as many bogeys as birdies.
 

GREAT SCOTT!: Adam Scott, ranked eighth in the world before heading to the Qatar Masters, posted a career-best 11-under 61 to blow past the field and win his sixth European Tour title. For the weekend, Scott's scorecard looked flawless - 18 birdies, 18 pars and no bogeys.
 
Backspin In a week that had Australia on center stage due to the playing of the Australian Open, Scott reminded everyone back in his native land that there was more going on than just tennis. The Aussie made quite a statement with his win, serving notice to his critics that he might be a force to reckon with this upcoming major season.
 
ALOHA MEANS GOODBYE: The Champions Tour bid farewell to Hawaii as Jerry Pate was able to overcome harsh, windy conditions to win the Turtle Bay Championship on Oahu. Pate was one of only three players to finish the final day under par for a two-shot win over Fulton Allem and Jim Thorpe.
 
Backspin The story coming into this event was Fred Funk. Not only was he the defending champ, but he was also coming off a win the prior week at the MasterCard Championship on the Big Island. Despite the confidence from his 10th place showing at the Sony Open - on the PGA TOUR, mind you - and his win the week before, Funk was no match for the Hawaiian trade winds. A final round 9 over par left him in a disappointing tie for 32nd.
 

TIGER SPEAKS: Tiger finally spoke with reporters on the Kelly Tilghman issue and once again he tried to put a cap on the controversy, saying, Kelly and I did speak. There was no ill intent. She regrets saying it. In my eyes, it's all said and done.
 
Backspin As much as Tiger ' and so many others ' want this issue to go away, it will linger for quite some time. And unfortunately for Kelly, it will always be a part of her past. But hopefully, while this will not be completely forgotten, we can at least move on and push it out of our peripheral. After all, as Tiger showed this past week there are plenty more exciting things to talk about when discussing the games greatest player.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Tournament organizers were offering a 26-foot luxury yacht to any player who managed to make a hole-in-one on the par-3 17th during last week's Qatar Masters; A statue was unveiled at the Tiger Woods Learning Center, depicting Tiger and father Earl arm and arm; John Daly was denied a sponsors exemption into this weeks FBR Open.
 
Backspin Alas, no player was able to come up with an ace on the par-3 prize hole and therefore everyone was forced to drive away from the event instead of sailing away; What a week for the world's No. 1, honoring his late father and then going out and doing what his father taught him best - dismantling the field; The final sponsors exemption in Scottsdale was handed to young Aussie superstar Jason Day. Odds are tournament organizers wont have to worry about him withdrawing.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Buick Invitational
  • Full Coverage - Turtle Bay Championship
  • Full Coverage - Qatar Masters
  • More Headlines
  • Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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