Furyk Fights Way to Mercedes Title

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 14, 2001, 5:00 pm
Rory Sabbatini missed a two-foot birdie putt to force a playoff, thus giving Jim Furyk his sixth career PGA Tour title at the Mercedes Championships in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.
 
Furyk comments on his Mercedes Championships win.
 
Playing in the group in front of Sabbatini's, Furyk made a 10-foot birdie putt to take a one-shot lead at 18-under-par, and then watched in surprise as Sabbatini failed to convert a birdie putt of his own from less than half that distance.
 

'I feel bad for him,' said Furyk, who shot a 5-under-par 67 to overcome a four-stroke deficit as the day began. 'It was a tricky putt. It's not the way you want to see things happen, but I'm also happy for myself.'
 
This is Furyk's second win in the Aloha State. He also captured the 1996 United Airlines Hawaiian Open. Furyk claims the $630,000 first-place check in his first event since injuring his wrist late last year.
 
Winning in the wind and coming from behind seem to be Furyk's forte. In addition to his pair of Hawaiian victories, the 30-year-old has won three times in Las Vegas and made up a six-shot deficit over the final seven holes to win last year's Doral-Ryder Open.
 
Sunday's comeback wasn't as dramatic, but it was impressive.
 
After a bogey at the third thwarted his early momentum, Furyk sank a 60-foot eagle putt at the par-5 6th to move into contention. Clutch par saves at the 15th and 16th holes kept alive his chances, allowing him the opportunity to win the tournament on the 72nd hole.
 
Sabbatini played admirably in the final round, recording four birdies and three bogeys for a 1-under-par 72. He finished second alone, one shot clear of his Sunday playing companion, Vijay Singh, and fellow South African Ernie Els.
 
Singh was just two shots back of Sabbatini as the day began, but bogeyed his first two holes and never contended. Singh managed a final-round 71, two shots higher than that posted by Els. The leader through two rounds, Els fought his way back to within one of the lead by birdying the 15th, yet parred his way into the clubhouse to fall two shots short.
 
Several players contended on Sunday, including '99 champion David Duval and David Toms. Both men were within striking distance before each carded a double bogey. Duval shot 70 to finish seventh at 13-under, while Toms shot 72 to tie Justin Leonard (71), Michael Clark II (69) and defending champion Tiger Woods (69) for eighth place at 12-under.
 
Sabbatini only trailed twice all day. The first occasion came when he missed a six-foot par putt at the 13th, though he regained sole possession of the lead with back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15.
 
Leading by one with three holes to play, Sabbatini, who won the 2000 Air Canada Championship to qualify for this week's event, found trouble at the short par-4 16th.
 
Ironically, it was at the 16th where Sabbatini holed a 96-yard wedge shot in the second round. That eagle gave the South African his first lead of the tournament.
 
This time, Sabbatini's wedge shot came up short of the flag and rolled off the front of the green. He then chipped to five feet, where he failed to save par.
 

Both Sabbatini and Furyk, each of whom attended the University of Arizona, narrowly missed birdie putts at the 17th. Furyk then came up short of the green in two at the 663-yard par-5 18th. He pitched to ten feet. Of course, he made the putt.
 
Sabbatini hit the green on his second shot, and then lagged a 50-foot eagle putt to within three feet of the cup. Of course, he missed.
 
'I played a good last hole,' said Sabbatini, who collected $380,000. 'Unfortunately, I just hit a bad second putt - I pulled it. Obviously I'm a little disappointed. But everything happens for a reason. We'll tee it up and try to do it again.'
 
MORE on The Mercedes Championships:
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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.