Black Jack

By Mercer BaggsAugust 27, 2000, 4:00 pm
Under the cover of darkness, Tiger Woods birdied the 72nd hole at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio to win the $5 million NEC Invitational - by 11 shots.
At 21-under-par, Woods more than doubled the score of Justin Leonard and Phillip Price, who tied for 2nd at 10-under. Hal Sutton, who played in the final group with Woods, tied for 4th with Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk.
Sunday's final round was suspended for nearly three hours due to rain and lightning. When play was called, Woods and Sutton had yet to complete the first hole.
Having taken a nine-shot lead into the final round, Woods could have played left-handed and still won the $1 million dollar first prize. The battle was for the $540,000 second place check.
Sutton got off to a great start by birdying three of his first five holes, but bogeyed the 8th, 9th, 10th and 13th to fall out of runner-up contention.
Down the stretch, Price had the best chance of earning the more-than-half-million dollar check. At 13-under, Price was two shots clear of Leonard. But in a race against the impending darkness, Price bogeyed the 15th and 16th to fall to 11-under. Entering the home hole - with camera flashes providing the lone source of light - Price still maintained a one-shot advantage over Leonard, who had bogeyed the 18th and posted a 10-under score.
Needing to get up and down from the greenside bunker, Price splashed out 10 feet past the hole. With the cup barely in sight, Price missed his par save and slipped into a tie for second with the 1997 British Open champion.
'I'm disappointed that I did not finish off,' said Price, who collected $437,500. 'I'll probably stew on that one a little bit. But I think there were so many good things that came out of it, I'm not going to try to dismiss the tied-second.'
It didn't appear as if the final round was going to be completed on Sunday. And it wouldn't have had Tiger not held such a commanding lead.
'If it had been tied or a one or two-shot lead, we would have probably stopped it on about the 15th,' said Woods.
Completing the tournament benefited Woods the most. Monday, he is scheduled to play Sergio Garcia in the $1.5 million made-for-television 'Battle at Bighorn' at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, Calf.
'(I'll host) a clinic from 8:00 to 9:00,' Woods said of his Monday schedule. 'I'll be in the air by 10:00 and out there by about 12:30; tee up at 4:45 and then drive home to L.A.'
Battling the flu, Woods shot rounds of 67-67 on the weekend. Not comparable to his first two rounds of 64-61, but still impressive. With an aggregate of 259, Tiger fell two shots short of the all-time PGA TOUR 72-hole scoring record set by Mike Souchak at the 1955 Texas Open.
Though he missed Souchak's mark he reached the number set by caddie Steve Williams.
'(Steve) was grinding harder on that number than he has on most numbers. He wanted to get to 21 pretty bad,' Woods said.
'I don't know why. It has always been his favorite number,' Woods said of his 21-under total. 'He runs in 21-minute intervals and swims that way. Whatever it is, it has to do with 21. That's always been his favorite number.'
This is Tiger's third successful title defense in 2000. He becomes the first player since Johnny Miller in 1975 to accomplish that feat.
Last week Tiger defended the PGA Championship. He also captured the Memorial Tournament in May for the second straight season.
Woods' 8th PGA TOUR victory in 2000 pushes him over the $7.6 million mark in season earnings.
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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.