Medinah a Beast That Can be Tamed

By Mercer BaggsAugust 14, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill ' The clouds began to step aside around 2:00 p.m. local time, adding a little light to what had been an otherwise overcast and breezy day about 30 miles northwest of the Windy City.
 
The sun showed up at Medinah Country Club, as players filed in, making their way to the course to prepare for the seasons final major championship.
 
Monday at the 88th PGA Championship was a day to acquire some familiarity for most of the 156 men in the field. There are 131 touring professionals and 25 club professionals in the mix, and many this week are either seeing the course for the first time in seven years or seeing it for the first time period.
 
Tiger Woods, however, is not among that group. He got in a practice round last week, before doing so again this morning.
 
Woods, who won the 1999 PGA Championship at Medinah, the last time the course hosted a major, played early Monday morning, signed a few autographs and then hightailed it out of Dodge.
 
A winner of his last two events, the Open Championship and the Buick Open, Woods is scheduled to give a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
 
Woods and his fellow returnees from the 99 PGA found the par-72 layout extended by 160 yards. Back then, the 7,401-yard layout was the second longest in major championship history. Now, at 7,561 yards, its the longest.
 
But that number, according to some of the early practitioners, appears gaudier than it does intimidating.
 
It doesnt play that long, said Zach Johnson, who held the 54-hole lead at last weeks International before slipping into a tie for 13th. I dont know why, but it just doesnt.
 
Jeff Sluman agreed almost word-for-word with Johnsons assessment. The 1988 PGA champion resides in nearby Hinsdale and is staying at home this week. He got a chance last week to play the No. 3 course and had nothing but positive remarks to share.
 
The golf course is in terrific shape. Its a set-up that doesnt really surprise anybody, he said. You just really need to drive it straight.
 
Unlike at Winged Foot, site of this years U.S. Open, the rough at Medinah will make its biggest impact just off the fairway.
 
USGA officials implemented a graduated rough, which became more penal the further offline a wayward ball traveled.
 
This week, however, a slightly inaccurate drive may prove much more costly.
 
If youre going to miss it, maybe miss it by about 10 yards, said Sluman. You might have a chance, because the rough just off the first cut is as bad as Ive seen, and I dont think youre going to see many shots getting up on the green from that kind of rough.
 
One of the biggest and most noticeable alterations to the venue is at the par-3 17th, the one on which Woods made a tournament-saving par en route to winning in 99.
 
There is a new back tee, but the hole will actually play a bit shorter than the 206 yards it did when Woods held off Sergio Garcia. Thats because the green has been lowered from off the hill, creating a more steeply downward approach to a green that is front-guarded by water. The penultimate hole is now listed at 197 yards on the card and should create an amphitheatre ' and even a little more excitement.
 
I think its a better hole, and there is more ' certainly more risk-reward to it, Sluman said.
 
I would imagine the pin is going to be cut on that back right on Sunday. Youre going to have to hit a very, very solidly struck shot to have a chance for birdie on that hole. It might not be extremely difficult to par it, but to make birdie, youre going to have to hit a great shot, which is what major championships are all about.
 
The back right pin placement (will be) very difficult, concurred Jim Furyk, who tied for eighth the last time Medinah hosted the PGA.
 
Furyk only played 15 holes Monday, but that included the 17th. He played all par-4s with the exception of No. 16, and said that he didnt hit anything longer than a 5-iron into the greens.
 
Length, said the 2003 U.S. Open champion, isnt always measured in raw numbers, but sometimes in the way a course is set up.
 
I think you can play a golf course thats 7,300 (yards) that can feel long, and you can play a golf course that plays at 7,400, 7,500 that doesnt feel long at all, he said, further explaining, theres lots of times where youre forced to play back on a tee shot and hit 5-iron into a green, where if you could have hit driver, you could have hit 8-iron in.
 
It all depends on the situation.
 
(This course) is still long, he made sure to clarify. Ill wait and see how long the golf course plays during the tournament. Its not short. Its not even average. Its long ' but we hit the ball a lot further than we used to, and its manageable.
 
'It reminds me of '99 quite a bit. Some of the holes are a little longer. But then again, I guess, so are we.'
 
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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

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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.