Lewis gets 'mad,' shoots 63 in bid for Olympic gold

By Jay CoffinAugust 18, 2016, 7:12 pm

RIO DE JANEIRO – Happy. Mad. Grumpy. Whatever works.

Stacy Lewis arrived at the Olympics with lowered expectations. That’s a difficult thing for one of the fiercest competitors in the game to admit. But she was exhausted from playing six weeks in a row, then took a two-week break, got married and didn’t prepare for the Games as much as she would’ve liked.

Those expectations were tempered; until she stepped on the first tee.

Expectations began to increase with every step during Wednesday’s first round. Lewis was relatively pleased with an opening 70, but promptly bolted to the practice range because something in her swing just didn’t feel right. She didn’t find what she was looking for.

Lewis, 31, returned Thursday looking for more answers on the range and, again, came up empty. She stormed to the first tee “mad” because she didn’t know what was in front of her. New husband Gerrod Chadwell told Golf Channel that his bride was “grumpy.”

Nearly five hours later, Lewis had made 11 birdies and signed for a sensational 8-under 63 to take the lead. An hour thereafter, Inbee Park topped her total mark and took the top spot by a shot.

“Something seemed to click and I got some more confidence as the day went on,” Lewis said. “I think the putts going in definitely helps. Any time you see some putts go in, it frees up the swing a little more. But I don’t know. I didn’t expect this today at all.”

VIDEO: Highlights from Lewis' 11-birdie, 8-under 63 in Round 2

Olympic golf coverage: Articles, photos and videos

Lewis’ putting was lethal. Sure, she hit the ball much closer to the hole than she did the previous day, but she drained six putts longer than 10 feet, including one from 20 and another from 28 feet. The icing came when she struggled off the tee and found herself 199 yards from the hole for her third shot on the par-5 home hole. She carved a hybrid to within 4 feet and made birdie.

Here’s the kicker: Lewis made a carless bogey on the seventh hole and a made double bogey on the par-3 14th when she three-putted from 30 feet. But she rebounded with four consecutive birdies to end her round.

“Sometimes when I get mad I get more focused,” she said, bluntly.

The only thing that went wrong for Lewis on this record-setting day was that she wore a sleeveless shirt. Her shoulders, white at the beginning of the day, were beet red by the end of it.

“I never go sleeveless,” she quipped. “Apparently I should.”

Until the last month, Lewis had been frustrated because she hasn’t collected a victory in over two years. In fact, since her last victory in June 2014 (NW Arkansas Championship) Lewis has 11 runner-up finishes and 27 top-10s, four of those coming in her last four events.

The former world No. 1 has won 11 LPGA events and two majors during her career but was desperate to break out of her winless funk. So, two months ago, on her way to the Portland Classic, she watched video of her victories, wanting to see if there was anything different between past and present. One of the obvious things she noticed was in the setup of her putting.

“I don’t know what it was, but just watching those videos really helped me,” she said, also noting that those videos showed her that she hit a lot of bad shots and still won big tournaments.

Lewis hasn’t finished worse than seventh since she did her homework.

Now she finds herself in contention halfway through the Olympics, a tournament Lewis floundered on playing until she realized that not playing would be a humungous mistake.

Good decision.

Lewis is gaining confidence with every waking moment. She began the week happy, turned mad and grumpy for spurts, and then was satisfied after putting the finishing touches on a 63 as she’s searching for an elusive victory.

 “It’s definitely not 100 percent,” Lewis said. “There are some swings out there today I’d like to have over again. But I feel like I know what I need to do. I’m going in the right direction.

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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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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