Golf's word of 2013: Dufnering, Phrankenwood or something else?

By Jason SobelNovember 20, 2013, 1:02 pm

The good people at the Oxford English Dictionary have chosen "selfie" as 2013's word of the year. While there’s been a wealth of professional golfers posting these types of self-aggrandizing pics on social media platforms this year – hey, let's face facts like they’ve faced the camera lens - it's clear that the dictionary people aren't hardcore fans of the game.

If they were, the word of the year would be “Dufnering.” You know, that sitting-on-his-hands thing that Jason Dufner did in a Texas classroom which was caught on camera and within 24 hours became an Internet meme.

In choosing selfie, the Oxford officials noted a 17,000 percent increase in usage of the word over a year ago. Well, guess what? Dufnering didn’t even exist a year ago, so that’s, what, about an infinity percent increase? Sorry, I’m not a math guy. But I know words – and Dufnering is a word that exploded this year.

But if memes aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options. Like “anchoring.” The process of sticking the butt end of a putter where the sun don't shine - namely, a player's belly - didn't originate in 2013, but consternation over the issue reached epic proportions.

It was enough that the USGA and R&A jointly enacted an impending rule banning anchoring. Therein might lie the true definition of a word of the year: If it became so popular that it was banned, it's a solid candidate.

Conversely, a word can reach new levels simply by not being implemented. It was only last December when Graeme McDowell - one of the game's most prevalent thinkers - was asked for his thoughts on “bifurcation” and admitted he didn't know the meaning of the word.

These days there's rarely a golf fan - let alone a player - who doesn't understand that it means a separate set of rules for professionals and amateurs. The USGA and R&A have yet to implement this one, but that doesn't mean it hasn't made an impact on our language.

That's more of a golf-related term, of course. The same can't be said for the word "oscillate," which can be used to describe movement in everything from particles to pendulums. In our corner of the world, it was used ad nauseum to describe Tiger Woods' opinion of how his ball moved during a controversial incident at the BMW Championship.

Anytime a word receives -Gate treatment on the back end, it's a big deal. And so it was for OscillateGate.

Maybe all these rules-related words are too serious for the word of the year, though. Maybe we need something a little more fun. Something that isn't really a word after all. Something with a hip, funky spelling.

Enter "Phrankenwood."

That's the on-again, off-again half-driver, half-3-wood invented by Phil Mickelson and used throughout his three-victory season. And yes, it even spawned a 2.0 model called, of course, Son of Phrankenwood.

Or maybe the word of the year isn't just one word. For anyone who hasn't just watched a professional event but also listened to one this year, the terms "mashed potatoes" and "Baba Booey" have - quite unfortunately, most of us would agree - become major words in the game.

Don't believe it? Try listening to a big-time event for 10 minutes without hearing either one. I dare you.

With all of these candidates, I’m fully expecting the people at Oxford English Dictionary to issue golf a soulful and apologetic, “Sorry.”

Actually, that right there is our word of the year.

Sergio Garcia said it to Tiger Woods after insensitive comments; Phil Mickelson said it after criticizing California’s tax structure; Michelle Wie said it after walking off the green early at the Solheim Cup; D.H. Lee said it after gesturing with his middle finger; Yani Tseng said it after oversleeping; Bubba Watson said it after berating his caddie; and Butch Harmon, Steve Elkington, Chris Kirk and Stacy Lewis each said it after unrestrained Twitter rants.

So, there you have it. The word of the year is: Sorry.

And if you don’t like it, I’ll apologize.

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