Funk Finds Kontaks Quest Ridiculous

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 20, 2003, 5:00 pm
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- You can list Fred Funk as one who scoffs at Brian Kontaks recent admission that he plans to try and qualify for the U.S. Womens Open.
I think that is kind of ridiculous, Funk said. That is crazy.
Kontak told The Golf Channel on Wednesday that he was doing what I need to do in trying to cross the gender barrier.
The 31-year-old is a five-time winner on the Canadian Tour, and has conditional status on this years Nationwide Tour.
Kontaks decision came in the wake of Annika Sorenstams acceptance of an invitation to compete in the Bank of America Colonial, May 22-25.
Suzy Whaley also qualified to play in the Greater Hartford Open in July.
There are no rules outlawing females from competing in PGA Tour events, but LPGA bylaws state one has to be born a female in order to play on their tour. The same hold true for the United States Golf Association, who governs the Womens Open.
Last year's application (for the Women's Open) states that the player must be born female and the USGA has no plans to change that on this year's application. Right now, Brian is not eligible and if he sent in an application it would automatically be rejected on that basis, USGA media relations director Craig Smith told TGC Wednesday.
Kontak responded by saying he had to get my ducks in a row and that he is not doing this for publicity.
Funk disagrees.
I know hes trying to make a statement, he said. It is just a big attention thing. I dont know what good it really does.
Pat Bates played with Kontak during his developmental tour years. He laughed and shook his head when told of Kontaks quest.
I think its funny. We seem to have a double standard that women are allowed to play the PGA Tour, but we cant play the LPGA Tour, he said.
When asked if he would consider playing in a womens event, Bates joked: If I put a skirt on, I could probably pass for (a female), he said in reference to his noted long locks. But, no, I wouldnt.
Bates, in his third season on the PGA Tour, isnt in Colonials field, but said if he does get an invitation, he hopes to finish ahead of at least one person.
I dont know if its right or wrong (that Sorenstam is playing) -- I just hope she doesnt beat me, said the 33-year-old Bates.
Funk will be in Ft. Worth, Texas, competing against Sorenstam. When asked if he hoped to finish ahead of her, he said it didnt really matter, but then stopped and said: Let me be honest. I want a rematch if she beats me.
He added that he would support Sorenstam at the event and wished her well, but didnt fully understand why she was competing.
I read she would like to test herself. What good does that do unless she is going to play full time on the mens tour? Funk said.
I hope when she comes in, that she plays well. I am going to be a big Annika fan that week because I dont want it to hurt the LPGA.
Related Links
  • Kontak Serious About Playing U.S. Women's Open
  • Full-field scores from the Nissan Open
  • Full coverage of the Nissan Open
  • 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