Its a Date

By Mercer BaggsJune 29, 2003, 4:00 pm
Much has been made of THE date. May 12, 1970. Its the day on which Masters champion Mike Weir was born. Its the day on which U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk was born.
Scotsman Andrew Coltart shares the same date of birth. Could he win the 132nd Open Championship? Probably not; he has never finished inside the top 10 in an Open in 11 tries. But aside from THE date, there has been little rhyme or reason to the season.
Theres been Annikas appearance, Tigers knee, Ernies wrist and Vijays mouth. Woods rested, Els reigned. Woods returned, Els feigned. Both have dominated. Both haveslipped.
Davis Love III experienced triumph three times over, and tragedy second time familial.
A left-hander not named Mickelson won a major, while Phil ' now ranked ninth in the world, by the way ' has yet to win a thing.
Theres been an elderly revival and a bad boys redemption. Drivers are a hot topic, while Augustas discrimination has been put on the back burner ' for now.
This year, to predict is to be foolish.
And now those inconsistencies shift to the unpredictable winds that blow off the southeast coast of the United Kingdom. Sandwich, England to be precise.
Similarly to Olympia Fields, familiarity will not run rampant on this Open layout.
For the 13th time, Royal St. Georges will play host. It last did so in 1993, when Greg Norman won his second Open, and final Grand Slam title.
That means many in the field will not introduce themselves to the course until Open week. And even those who have played it before ' like Els, Singh and Love ' will have to rely on a decade-old recollection.
Royal St. Georges is 7,106 yards with a par of 71. It was the first course outside of Scotland to stage an Open Championship. John H. Taylor never broke 80 there in 1894, but still went on to claim his second consecutive Open victory. His 326 total is still the highest in championship history.
The course was a part of the regular rotation until the second half of the 20th century. Bobby Locke won at RSG in 1949; it wasnt used again until American Bill Rogers prevailed in 1981.
The Open made an expedient return four years later, when Sandy Lyle won. That was RSGs penultimate showcase until 2003.
In British Open history, all 131 years of it, there have been seven rounds of 63, and none lower. Two of those were recorded at RSG in 1993 (Nick Faldo, Payne Stewart). Norman also set the 72-hole championship scoring record with his 267 performance in 93.
Defending champion Ernie Els tied for sixth a decade ago, in what was just his second Open appearance. Steve Elkington, who along with Stuart Appleby and Thomas Levet lost to Els in a four-hole playoff in 2002, also competed 10 years prior. He made the cut, tying for 48th.
Last years playoff was the third contested in the last five years. Only two extra sessions have been needed to determine a winner at Royal St. Georges
Harry Vardon defeated Arnaud Massey over 35 holes in 1911. Bobby Locke beat Harry Bradshaw over 36 holes in 1949.
This year's Open will conclude on July 20. The last time it did that was 1997, when Justin Leonard won. Leonard was born June 15, 1972. What does all this mean? Nothing. They're just dates, just like May 20, 1970. It's all random. Just like this season.
Unless, of course, Andrew Coltart wins.
Related Links:
  • Full coverage of the 132nd Open Championship
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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