Champion Golfer of the Year

By Mercer BaggsJuly 16, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipDid you know that the asterisk comes in many forms? Theres the six-pronged star, the 16-pronged star, the Arabic star, the Japanese rice star, and so on and so on.
 
Its good to have these many symbols, because the asterisk has many meanings. According to Wikipedia ' the worlds foremost authority on asterisks and everything else (for those of us too lazy to actually do research) ' it was originally intended to indicate ones date of birth. You can now use it to:
 
*Call out a footnote ' Abraham Lincoln loved going to Fords Theatre*
*Avoid offending people (can I write jerk face or do I need to do it j**k face?)
*Offer anonymity ' Mr. ***** Woods (James Woods?)
*Provide emphasis ' I *love* monkeys
*To list silly items like these
 
Justin Rose
Justin Rose is one player who believes this week's winner should have an asterisk by his name. (Getty Images)
'When we think about an asterisk today, however, one thing comes to mind: ignominy. We cant help but associate an * the size of Barry Bonds bulbous head with his 762 home runs. Ford Frick wanted one for Roger Maris 61 in 61. I want one for the entire Ron Zook era at Florida.
 
And now, people ' fans, media, and even some players ' are saying that the winner of this weeks Open Championship should have a * after his name.
 
Two words: total c**p.
 
Now, if youre saying this tournament deserves an asterisk as a footnote, because it was played without Tiger Woods, I can buy that. It will be impossible for us not to remember the fact that this major, as well as the upcoming PGA Championship, will be contested without the greatest player who ever lived, particularly a guy who has finished first or second in seven of the last eight major championships played.
 
But, if youre saying the winner isnt legit, because Woods didnt compete, and therefore is not a worthy champion, again: total c**p.
 
The Champion Golfer for 2008 deserves to hold the claret jug high and chug whatever he wants to out of it without reserve. The player with the lowest score over four rounds (or more) deserves to be regarded as a true major champion, not someone who won only because Woods wasnt present.
 
A debate, however, will persist regardless of who wins as to whether or not a * should be attached to his name.
 
If that name is Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els or some other proven major champion, some will say they wouldnt have been able to add to their major tally had Tiger been in contention. But whos to say that Tiger would have been in contention anyway? He may well have been, but there arent any guarantees.
 
If that name is Peter Hansen or Soren Hanson or some other shocking victor, some will say thats what you get when Tigers not around. Tiger played in 2003 when Ben Curtis won. And Im pretty sure he was there in 2004 when Todd Hamilton prevailed.
 
If that name is Sergio Garcia or Adam Scott or some other player fans have been waiting to claim a maiden major title, some will say theyre not truly major winners until they beat a field which includes Tiger.
 
Hunter Mahan feels this way.
 
Think of Adam Scott and Sergio, said Mahan. But if they do win, there will be an asterisk because Tiger wasn't there. They're going to be the Houston Rockets of the mid-90s when they won back-to-back titles after Michael Jordan retired.
 
Justin Rose shares that attitude.
 
If I was to win the British Open thered be an asterisk next to it: Tiger Woods not in field. You know what I mean? Rose has said.
 
Obviously, Tiger affects a field when he competes, particularly in a major championship. The fact that he wont be at Royal Birkdale means that no one has to search to find his name on the yellow score board, and maybe it frees up certain players to focus on their own games and not worry about what hes doing (see Els).
 
But a major win is a major win, and a major champion should be regarded as such without attaching a big but .
 
Upon winning THE PLAYERS Championship, Sergio Garcia said that he wanted to thank Tiger for not being there. There might have been some truth to that, but the statement was made mostly in jest.
 
Does anyone diminish Garcias victory because he didnt have to beat Tiger? Does it ever cross your mind that Garcia won a Tiger-less PLAYERS?
 
It shouldnt. And it shouldnt cross your mind when you talk about the eventual 2008 Open champion. Tiger not playing is a footnote for the tournament; not an asterisk of Scarlet Letter proportions made to wear by the winner.
 
As for contestants at Royal Birkdale worried that a possible triumph might forever be tainted by Tigers absence, here are two more words for you:
 
Go home.
 
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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

    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