What We Learned: Deutsche Bank Championship

By Jason SobelSeptember 4, 2012, 12:30 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the week. This week, we focus on what's in the bank for Deutsche Bank winner Rory McIlroy and the conundrum one player found himself in after a social media gaffe.

I learned that Rory McIlroy has a lot of work to do in order to pass Tiger Woods. No, not in skill level or recent major wins or some inane statistical ranking that may show Woods ahead of him. In overall career PGA Tour earnings, Woods became the first player to top the $100 million mark with a solo third-place finish on Sunday, while poor young McIlroy remains more than $88 million behind. That’s more than a bit facetious, of course, as Rory pulled a solid $1.44 million winner’s paycheck to cruise past the likes of Tom Watson and Tom Kite on the all-time list. Not bad for a 23-year-old who didn’t even own Tour membership last year. Perhaps someday McIlroy will also pass that nine-figure milestone. If he does, his first words afterward should be a nod of gratitude toward his fellow $100 million man for paving the way. – Jason Sobel

I learned – or, better yet, was reminded – of the dangers of social media. World No. 2 Luke Donald became the latest cautionary tale, tapping out a few regrettable tweets Saturday night about his distaste for the redesigned 18th green at TPC Boston. There was no issue with his first message – in which he vented about how unfair the green complex was – because he’s entitled to his own opinion and, frankly, several players voiced that sentiment, too. But then, in what was supposed to be a private message, he tweeted his phone number and called architect Gil Hanse an inappropriate name. The screenshot went viral, at least in golf circles.

As he should, the classy Donald owned up to his mistake and apologized Sunday, then suggested that he would “take a hiatus” on Twitter. That’s too bad. The Englishman is one of the true delights on the medium, often enlightening followers and even exchanging a few light-hearted jabs with his peers. One insensitive tweet – even if deleted within seconds – can be captured by anyone with a smartphone. That can lead to ridicule, and that can lead to an apology, and ultimately, that can lead to a fine, a public reprimand or a loss of sponsorship dollars. Perhaps it’s a good thing Twitter is 140 characters or less. – Ryan Lavner

Rory McIlroy isn’t temporarily holding down the No. 1 world ranking this time. He is nailing it  down. Good luck wrestling it away again, fellas.

For a couple years now, we've had caretakers rise to the top of the world ranking, but that revolving door is closing. McIlroy is the game’s best player right now. Nobody has won more titles (3) on the PGA Tour this year. Nobody has won more money on the PGA Tour this year. Nobody has won more money on the European Tour. Nobody has more FedEx Cup points, and nobody has more Race to Dubai points.

At his best, McIlroy blew away the field at the PGA Championship three weeks ago. Without his best coming home Sunday, he still prevailed at the Deutsche Bank Championship. McIlroy is still figuring out what it takes to reign over the game, to reign over all the distractions that entails, but he’s learning fast.  – Randall Mell

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