Finally Football in Peace

By Kraig KannNovember 4, 2005, 5:00 pm
OK, the news is finally out. Rumored since the beginning of summer, and taken as almost fact in the past few weeks, the PGA Tour is a ship sailing a new course.
The Skipper is commissioner Tim Finchem, whos apparently had his TiVo box tied to Extreme Makeover for the last few seasons.
Give him credit ' a lot of it ' for risking the status quo that has kept the PGA Tour running like a champ for years and attempting to take it to a new level.
The PGA Tour schedule in 2007 will take some getting used to. A season-long points race called the FedEx Cup will run from January into August, allowing for 144 to qualify for a championship series of four events culminating with the Tour Championship.
Three of those events will be played in big market towns like Boston, New York and most likely Chicago, where the 144-player fields will basically play off for the right to get to the Tour Championship and play for some serious cash.
Make no mistake about it. Football won, and golf lost. Golf, no matter who was playing, just couldnt make a dent into the fall season dominated by the NFL and the NCAA.
In short, Tiger couldnt compete with the support given to Auburn, Clemson and the Missouri Tigers. Ben Crane couldnt hold a candle to Ben Roethlisberger. John Daly can play all he wants, but Jon Gruden is still a more popular figure in the fall television landscape.
So if you were the PGA Tour, what would you have done? Appeasing sponsors and networks who shell out big bucks for the product needed more.
The PGA Tour hiked up its boots and basically hitched up to the bumper of NASCAR. A points race to keep interest. A chance to have every week mean something. A chance to have the collective stars play in the same fields more often.
Time will tell if folks buy into what the PGA Tour and commissioner Tim is selling. But for now, I like it. And I like the thinking from the PGA Tour.
Tiger, Phil and Vijay might be done after the Tour Championship. But that wont mean an end to the rest of the calendar. And the rank-and-file, who has the same chance as the above mentioned stars to earn FedEx Cup points throughout the year, still gets about seven events after Labor Day in what will be called the Quest for the Card series.
Will those seven events get the same publicity as the earlier events leading up to the big bang finish? No, certainly not. But for PGA Tour card holders, its the same opportunity as has always been there to earn a living and keep you a part of the tour in the following year.
If you like the story of the player hoping to keep his job, the remainder of the schedule after the Tour Championship will remain about the same. Plenty of pressure and a good dose of name players. Vijay wont shut it down and he wont be alone. Dont worry.
Truth be told, Im a huge football fan. Like many, college football dominates my thinking in the fall as the BCS race overtakes the PGA race.
But I guarantee you that the FedEx Cup race will be getting plenty of attention as pro and college teams gear up for the start of their seasons. And thats what Finchem and Woods and Singh and Mickelson want.
Give us a chance at the front page, they might say.
I think theyll get it. Football wins one battle. But golf, while not so stubborn to stand its ground and lose, has chosen to fight on with a new purpose.
Good luck. At this point, Im all for it. I hope Im not alone.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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