After 3 major duds, the golf gods giveth back at PGA

By Jason SobelAugust 10, 2014, 1:02 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Let’s not sugarcoat things: As far as golf seasons go, this one has stunk worse than Craig Stadler’s old socks.

The Masters was over by the time the final pairing reached the back nine on Sunday. The U.S. Open was over by Friday. The Open Championship was over before it even started.

The game’s most popular player went from winning to wincing, as Tiger Woods never finished higher than 25th place.

The next guy on that list hasn’t exactly dominated, either, with zero top 10s for Phil Mickelson on the PGA Tour so far.

Meanwhile, the guys who have won titles aren’t even household names in their own households. Bowditch? Hadley? Noh? No offense to any of ‘em, but each could walk through his local mall holding a trophy and still not get hassled by anyone but the perfume lady.

Even Scott Stallings, who won his third career title earlier this year at Torrey Pines, doesn’t get any respect. Following his second round at the 96th PGA Championship on Friday, the walking scorer in his group asked where he currently works as a club professional.

Cue Rodney Dangerfield and commence collar tug.

Such is life in the topsy-turvy world of parity, where anyone can win on any given Sunday.

Not to go all Sergio Garcia circa 2007 on you, but there is only one villainous organization to blame for this year’s interminable snoozefest: Those unmerciful golf gods.

The almighty beings who control the game’s landscape from behind the curtains have robbed us of our fun. They’ve taken away our excitement, our nerves, our diversion from lives spent in too many cubicles and classrooms, wishing away the hours with thought bubbles of final round drama floating above our heads.

They have rendered our Sunday afternoons into fitful bouts of burdened sleep on the couch. Or even worse, they’ve turned ‘em into the perfect time to get cracking on that honey-do list.

Maybe, though, just maybe, they were testing us.

PGA Championship: Articles, videos and photos

Testing our patience, our perseverance, our love of the game. They wanted to see just how long we’d keep returning to watch listless leaderboards.

Well, entering Sunday’s final round at Valhalla Golf Club, there’s finally some good news: We’ve passed the test.

Those insidious golf gods have turned benevolent. They’ve nurtured our waning interest back to health at just the right time.

With 18 holes remaining, there are currently 18 players within six shots of the lead. And these aren’t just any players – we’ve got a handful of world-class talents in contention, from next-gen stars Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler to old favorites Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker to the underdoggiest of underdogs in Bernd Wiesberger and Mikko Ilonen.

“Jam-packed,” Fowler called the leaderboard. “You never know what can happen. It's wide open and someone is going to have to play some good, solid golf tomorrow to win.”

This is all we’ve been asking for the entire year, isn’t it?

It’s the Daytona 500 with cars racing bunched together on the final lap. It’s the Kentucky Derby with horses neck and neck down the stretch. It’s the Super Bowl with an offense driving and the clock quickly ticking down to zero.

A few years ago, the PGA of America dropped the longtime slogan, “Glory’s Last Shot,” for this tournament, but the premise remains. Sunday will mark the last major championship round for eight months and while there’s obviously still plenty more golf to be played this year, a final-round dud could leave a bad taste in our mouths for an awfully long time.

If this one goes anything like the previous day, those afternoon naps will be replaced by edge-of-your-couch anxiety, leaving the honey-do list taped back to the fridge for another week.

Not only will a cushioned course provide plenty of pin-seeking darts and red numbers on the leaderboard, but the par-5 18th hole has the opportunity to produce fireworks in the manner of an eagle to secure the win – something that has never before happened in 430 previous majors.

Then there’s the historical angle: You’ll someday want to tell your grandkids about the day you watched Mickelson win his sixth major. Or McIlroy win his fourth. Or Fowler win his first.

“You have to push yourself [Sunday],” Mickelson explained. “You can't make the mistakes, but you can't play defensive and conservative. You have to attack. The golf course is soft and you can get to a lot of pins.”

For the first seven months of this year, the golf gods needed to taketh away. Now it appears they have finally decided to giveth back.

Congratulations. We’ve waited for this day, waded through enough of the doldrums. We deserve this. We passed the test. The best day of this golf year is almost here. All we need to do is stock up on Cheetos and make sure those couch grooves are conforming.

But just in case, we all might want to pray to the golf gods extra hard beforehand.

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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.