Mixed Reviews on the WGC

By Kraig KannOctober 7, 2005, 4:00 pm
So just how great are the events reserved for the greatest players in the world? Thats my question this week, and I trust Im not alone in some of my thoughts.
Weve now spent six years covering, hyping and typing stories regarding the World Golf Championships events. Do you remember how it came to be in the first place?
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is the undisputed king of the WGC events, with 10 career victories.
In 1996 at the Presidents Cup, golfs five world governing bodies - PGA Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organization, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour (South Africa) - joined together with designs on a new stable of international events that would begin in 1999. In that year of 1999 the Asian Tour also jumped aboard.
Together, the International Federation of PGA Tours created the Accenture Match Play Championship, the NEC Invitational, the American Express Championship and the World Cup ... providing a place for the best in golf to compete against only the best in golf.
After six years time, Tiger Woods is the only player to capture all four World Golf Championships titles in his career. And thus, the best of the best has proven himself as the best of the best.
Including this years NEC Invitational at Firestone Country Club, Woods has 10 victories in 20 World Golf Championships starts. Iincluded in the total are three at this weeks American Express Championship, lending credence to the belief that -just like the major championships ' when only the best get together, Woods is a good bet to get the best of everyone involved.
How can you not get up for tournaments as big as these? Woods has said about playing in the WGC events. These are the best players in the world and youre going head-to-head against them. Thats why these tournaments were started.
Then-No. 1 in the world Greg Norman called the idea his own before the concept was finalized. Point being ' the best players wanted more than just four opportunities (Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship) to go head-to-head.
Yet six years into this, Im just not as excited about these events as I feel Im supposed to be. Yes, I work at The Golf Channel and Im paid to cover it with enthusiasm. But work aside, Im also a huge fan of the sport who is being targeted just like you as a potential viewer or ticket buyer. And I just dont see the majority of these events as anything more than weeks for world ranking points, no cuts and big paychecks.
The Accenture Match Play Championship? Love it. Plenty of star power, yet completely unpredictable. Even the marginal golf fan can find reason to watch. But thats where my consistent allegiance to the WGC ends.
To me, the WGC events have truly created the Haves and the Have Nots. For the players - if youre in the tournament, youre doing great. Great world ranking, big money season. If youre not, youre wishing you were there.
And for the tournaments ' well, weve definitely given a reason for fans to lose a bit of interest in the regular tour stops. Sorry, but youve cut those events down to size. And if you happen to be set up against a WGC event, youre telling potential customers that theyre not seeing the best. How good is that?
Four major championships and three WGC events mean seven stops for Woods and three fewer chances that he would play in another regular tour event. Tell me that doesnt hurt Greensboro or Memphis or Canada? And its not Tigers fault. He plays a set number of tournaments, which happens to be his right.
Still, there has to be something to sink our teeth into ' right?
I think Ive found it.
Little known Jason Bohn feels like a giant this week after making birdie on Sunday at 18 to find enough money to move to 23rd on the PGA Tour money list and qualify. Hardly the young gun hotshot, it has taken him some time to find success. The journeyman pro earned his spot on the PGA Tour last year and won for the first time at this years B.C. Open. The WGC event, for him, is a grand stage to be included.
Sean O Hair is in the field as a fresh-faced rookie on the PGA Tour whose win this year at the John Deere Classic followed up a near win at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship and proves that great play is rewarded ' period.
Bart Bryant has been around the block at least as much as anyone in the field. A win last year in San Antonio earned him a spot at the Mercedes Championships where he was the happiest man in the field. This years win at the Memorial was the ultimate validation. And now, to truly be included with the games stars, is the bonus he wondered if hed ever get.
Feel free to disagree that the WGC-NEC and this weeks AmEx are hardly tournaments with a lasting importance like we get from a major championship.
In short, my argument is this: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh are among a group that knows theyll always be invited to a WGC party. And Ill enjoy watching them because it truly is a treat to watch the best.
But for now, Ill reserve the right to pull for the collection of players like Bohn and OHair and Bryant that hopes theyll have a chance to find their way onto the invite list and pull the upset.
For me, that would be something to remember.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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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.