Nobody Leads at Pebble Beach

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 1, 2002, 5:00 pm
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Pat Perez is a nobody. Just ask him.
But if the 25-year-old Q-School medalist can continue to dominate the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the way he has the first two days, hell be somebody quite soon.
Perez shot a 7-under 65 at Pebble Beach Friday to grab a four-shot lead heading into the weekend. Perez stands at 13-under 131. Lee Janzen, who shot 67 at Spyglass Hill, is alone in second place at 9-under.
Its the largest 36-hole lead at this event since 1973.
This isnt the first time Perez has held such an advantage on the Monterey Peninsula. He led by four shots with eight holes remaining in the Buy.Com Monterey Open, held on the Bayonet Course at nearby Fort Ord two years ago, but couldnt hold on.
He held a similar lead in Q-School that fall and failed to advance.
Those are the ones Id like to forget, he said.
You might be surprised Perez is leading such a prominent event by such a large margin, but not as much as he.
Perez battled a 103-degree fever earlier in the week, complaining to his practice partner, Charles Howell III, that he was so miserable he just wanted to go home.
I couldnt even move on Wednesday night, he said. I couldnt turn my neck, my whole body hurtI thought it was going to be a horrible week; the first two days would be a nightmare.
Instead, theyve proven to be fairytale.
Thanks to a heavy dosage of Nyquil, Perez was a new man Thursday morning. But even though hes now feeling better, hes not about to toss aside the sleep-inducing medicine.
I just popped two (Nyquil pills) on (hole) eight, actually, he said.
This is Perezs debut in the pro-am. But growing up at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, hes comfortable in his surroundings, especially on the rugged poa anna putting terrain.
These are actually better than what I grew up on, Perez said. Everybody complains about these greens and I guess Im just used to them.
I like coming up here, I just think the whole place is awesome.
He even enjoys the format.
Its a little different playing with amateurs, he said. Its kind of fun to talk with the amateurs and have fun out there and just kind of laugh around.
That ease translated into fantastic scoring for the second straight day. Coming off a 66 at Poppy Hills, Perez shot 6-under 30 on the front nine ' his final nine holes ' at Pebble Beach.
He recorded eight birdies to one bogey, and ended his day with a 35-foot bomb at the par-4 ninth.
Today, I woke up feeling pretty well, said Perez, who will next play Spyglass. I have been playing well, and it just feels great.
Now if he could just get a little recognition.
Perez played alongside 17-year-old media darling Ty Tryon over the first two rounds of last weeks Phoenix Open.
It was a circus, he said. You have 5,000, 6,000 people rooting for him. I would make birdie and you could hear the wind blow.
He didnt even get any love from the Arizona State University faithful.
I guess they dont know I went there, said Perez, who was a member of the 1996 NCAA national championship team. I figured it would be a little more, you know, ASU chanting and all that stuff because I went there, but thats okay.
Now that hes the leader through 36 holes at Pebble Beach, does he feel like somebody?
No. Still no, he said. I never feel like the favorite or the guy that everyone is looking at.
Thanks to his exploits this week, on and off the course, Perez is starting to gain a little notoriety.
I know he was the medalist at tour school. And hes faking a fever this week. Actually, I have a 104 degree fever, too, Janzen joked.
Janzen has plenty of recognition, but still yearns for the reputation deserving a two-time U.S. Open champion.
Winless since his last Open triumph at the Olympic Club in San Francisco in 1998, Janzen has taken numerous steps to better his game.
He switched in mid-December to MacGregor clubs. He says that, combined with his use of Callaways red ball, is adding 10 to 15 yards off the tee. Hes also toning up, having been on a fitness regimen over the past eight weeks.
His current physical appearance is a departure from that of several months ago, when, due to an intestinal virus, he dropped down to 165 lbs.
Ive gained a lot of weight back and feel better. Most of it I gained through working out, so Im in a lot better shape now, he said.
Unlike Perez, Janzens name atop the leaderboard doesnt come as a surprise. But the fact that hes here at all, does.
The reason Im playing is because I didnt want to have to make two trips to the west coast from Florida, said Janzen, who is making his second appearance in the last seven years because he doesn't like the weather and course conditions.
I just figured Id come out, play four tournaments and go home and get ready for Florida.
This is Janzens third start of the year. He missed the cut at the Bob Hope, but shot 64-64 on the weekend in Phoenix to tie for fourth.
Playing the toughest course in the rotation Friday, Janzen made five birdies and no bogeys. His final birdie of the day came at the par-4 second, his 11th hole of the day, with a 20-foot chip-in.
Full-field scores from the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
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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.