On-course behavior not helping Bubba

By Jason SobelAugust 8, 2014, 9:30 pm

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – About 90 minutes after Bubba Watson finished his second round at the 96th PGA Championship, he finally emerged from the clubhouse. Smiling and energetic, he stopped to answer a few questions about a day on the course that found him visibly and audibly demonstrative at various times.

Not that he saw it that way.

“No, what would I be frustrated about?” he asked rhetorically. “I feel great.”

Really? Not a little angrier than usual? Maybe a little more irritable?

“I don’t think so. Maybe if you watched me on three of the four holes I made bogey. But no, I didn’t feel any different today.”

Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.

But if this was the norm, then something might need to change.

On the 16th hole – his seventh of the day - he cried, “I can’t play golf, man. I got nothing.” On the 18th tee, a double-crossed drive was followed with a scowling, "It doesn't matter what I do, man. It doesn't matter. It's f------ horses---.'' On the next hole, unhappy with a recovery shot, he tossed his club into the rough. Two holes later, he accompanied another poor swing with another outburst: “God doggit.”

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In social media circles, the debate heated up as to whether Watson is everything he claims to be, whether he might be more disingenuous than many realize.

He denied that claim, instead focusing on what went wrong from a technical standpoint.

“When the rain comes, my driver is really difficult to hit straight, because of the water on the club face,” he explained. “So anytime it starts raining, I don’t hit my driver very well. It squirts one way or the other. … [There was] just a stretch where you get one shot that goes one way and another shot that goes another way. I didn’t think my swing caused it, but it just makes you second-guess yourself next time you’re up on the tee.”

No apologies. No admission of guilt. No regrets.

Deep inside, though, he must have known that his on-course behavior was over the top.

About 30 minutes after speaking with GolfChannel.com outside the clubhouse, Watson got his message across through social media. He tweeted:

Sorry for my actions today! Trying to get better as person. Thanks to all who support me. #YallDontGiveUpOnMe

This was hardly the first public relations blunder of his career.

He once got into a televised argument with Steve Elkington during a round. He played the role of ugly American while competing in France. He blamed caddie Ted Scott for club selection while in contention down the stretch of a tournament.

It wasn’t even the first public relations blunder for him this week.

Two days before the tournament started, the PGA Tour’s longest hitter adamantly declined to take part in the restored long-drive competition, instead opting to hit 3-iron off the 10th tee of his practice round.

“I was just trying to prove a point that nobody cared about,” he later explained. Or perhaps more precisely, failed to explain.

All of this from a player who announced in January that this year would be more of a spiritual journey.

“This whole year is about rejoice,” he said at the time. “When I look back, I have to rejoice on what I have done.”

He even addressed his behavior inside the ropes.

“On the course, I have to act the same way I do off the course. Off the course, I don't get angry. I don't flip out. On the course for the last few years, you know, I have showed anger, showed me being disgruntled. That's not the way I should be portraying myself.”

The way he portrayed himself on Friday was like a diva, pouting throughout the round.

It was enough that even his playing partners took notice, though neither blamed him for affecting their rounds.

“He was fine,” said Rory McIlroy, who posted a 4-under 67. “He complained a couple of times on a couple of bad shots, but everyone complained. I complained out there, as well. That definitely didn’t affect me.”

Added Martin Kaymer: “A couple of times, he said that he had water on the clubface before he hit. If that’s true, who knows? We are all just very different characters. Rory and I get along very well. Bubba, he just did his own thing.”

For a player who so clearly has made it a goal to control his attitude during the course of a round, Watson is obviously failing to meet that ambition.

Before he left the course for the day, he was asked one more time if he was annoyed or irritated or frustrated.

“Me? Just frustrated because of bad golf.”

At least he admitted that much.

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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

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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

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Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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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