Trust Em Woods Drives the Bus

By Kraig KannJuly 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
Heres what Shaun Micheel said last week at the Cialis Western Open. We cant all be Tiger Woods and contend each week.
 
Thats Shuan MicheelPGA Tour winner and major champion all wrapped up into one big week two years ago at the PGA Championship held at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y.
 
How did the quote come about? Simple. Micheel and Ben Curtis were in contention at Cog Hill Golf Club and the questions were coming rapid fire regarding their success, or lack of, since their major championships.
 
Neither Micheel nor Curtis (who won the Open Championship at Royal St. Georges in 2003) has had a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour since winning the major.
 
To some, drilling either man with the what in the name of Cinderella is wrong with your game is an unfair question. Another critic might look at such finger pointing as a compliment in the truest sense.
 
Actually, I think questioning the likes of a Micheel or Curtis, or Todd Hamilton about their lack of contention since winning one of golfs ultimate and precious prizes is nothing more than a great compliment.
 
We want and expect great things out of them ' which ought to tell them that they can play at the highest level.
 
On the Sprint Post Game last week my cohort Brian Hewitt asked Curtis (who was a co-leader heading into Sunday) whether a win at the Cialis Western Open might actually be a bigger win for his career than the improbable, yet spectacular, accomplishment among the games best at Royal St. Georges.
 
Curtis actually paused before giving his answer. Which tells me hes thought about the importance of validation. Curtis said, No. And he should have. The British Open is the biggest win he could have dreamed of as a PGA Tour rookie in 2003. The Cialis Western Open would have been huge, but it shouldnt be bigger than the British.
 
To me, though, Hewitts question was a darned good one. People have and might never stop thinking of Bens win asdare I saya fluke.
 
Expecting Curtis or Micheel to play with the consistency of a Woods or a Singh or a Mickelson is absurd for either. Micheel put the notion of it in great perspective and put Woods in his proper place among the PGA Tour members. Theres only one Tiger, according to Micheel.
 
Just like in basketball, every team has a franchise player, Shaun said. The people around them make em great.
 
True. Very true.
 
If I finish 20th every week, I wont be in any World Golf Hall of Fame, Micheel added. But I will make a good living. Isnt that what Im supposed to do?
 
Amen, Shaun.
 
Professional golf is a business. And the Tiger Woods of the world or the Vijay Singhs or the Phil Mickelsons have to beat somebody. A 20th place Shaun Micheel or a 20th place Ben Curtis makes them quite competitive in todays PGA Tour landscape. It also makes them a whole lot of money at years end. Figure about $80,000 a week at perhaps 30 events if they made every cut. That would equal $2.4 million at years end, which would have a whole lot of people ultimately talking about them and their games.
 
Following up a major championship isnt easy. But winning one isnt easy either. Go ahead and say Ben Curtis backed into his if you want. But he got some help and he played his way into contention to have the chance to get that help.
 
Shaun Micheels 7-iron was one of the greatest clutch shots in major championship history. Rich Beem had his great fairway wood, and Todd Hamilton had the great hybrid chip/putt around the green last year at the British Open.
 
So Micheels message isnt meant to garner support. He and Curtis both told us on the Sprint Post Game that they feel they owe no apologies.
 
For both, I wish them a victory in the near future. I wish them a week like Bart Bryant had at the Memorial.
 
If you dont want to give the accolades or the support to the likes of Curtis or Micheel, then pass it toward Tiger Woods.
 
Woods might not win each week these days. But a win at the Masters, a third at Memorial, a second at the U.S. Open and a second to Jim Furyk at the Cialis Western Open after an opening round of 2-over 73 proves just how great he is.
 
Woods and Singh, Mickelson and Els are as consistent as they come. Not everybody can be like them. Thats why they are dubbed 'superstars.'
 
Woods is the best of the best. Seemingly always in it, and hardly ever believed out of it. Applaud the greatness that is. Were lucky to see it.
 
Micheel counts himself lucky to be a part of a PGA Tour with the likes of Woods, and seems just fine with a career goal of consistent contention, a few wins here and there andby gosha major championship if hes fortunate to somehow find one or two.
 
Think about it. Golf is a business. Tiger Woods is big business. Thats just the way it is.
 
Role players are a way of life in sports. And if all goes well, sometimes theyll play a bigger role than others. All that the likes of Micheel and Curtis are looking for is a stage from which to play a role.
 
Go for it guys, and dont worry about the critics.
 
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