An Old Mans Game

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 8, 2002, 5:00 pm
At a venue revamped to combat golfs growing legion of young, technologically advanced players, its a group of 40-somethings out front midway through the 50th Buick Invitational in San Diego, Calif.
Forty-one-year-old J.L. Lewis shot 5-under-par 67 on the 7,568-yard South Course at Torrey Pines to tie Kent Jones for the 36-hole lead at 9-under-par 135.
Jones, 35, is a relative youngster compared to those near him on the leaderboard. Jay Haas, 48, and Mark OMeara, 45, are one shot off the lead. Haas shot 68 on the North Course, while OMeara shot 69.
In this game, experience always helps, said Jones.
Especially at this event. Haas won here 24 years ago, in 1978; O'Meara won in 1997.
Also in the mix is 25-year-old Rory Sabbatini, who shot 6-under 66 on the North Course to finish two rounds at 8-under.
Meanwhile, 1999 champion Tiger Woods, the man for whom many a course has been altered, had to birdie the final hole in order to make the cut at 1-under 143.
Woods started the day at 6-under, but shot 5-over 77 on the South Course ' his worst score since a 78 in the third round of the 1999 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Woods kept alive his consecutive cuts streak ' which now stands at 81 ' but barely. The top 70 players and ties made the cut. Tiger finished tied for 69th.
Tiger played his first five holes in 4-over. He stood at 2-under for the tournament entering the par-4 17th, only to card a double-bogey 6.
Woods pushed his approach shot right of the green, then chunked his chip shot. He ran his next chip five feet past the hole and pulled the bogey putt.
Needing a birdie in order to play the weekend, Woods laid up with his second shot on the par-5 18th and spun his approach six feet past the hole. He made the putt, and then blew past the media without comment.
Woods has never finished worse than tied for fourth in four prior starts at this event. When he won in 1999, Woods made the cut by two strokes and shot 62-65 on the weekend to win by two shots.
Such scores are highly unlikely this week.
Overnight leader Mathew Goggin fared only slightly better than Woods on Friday. The Australian was 12 shots higher in Round 2 than in his opening 64. He was 7-over through his first seven holes on the South Course in the second round, only to fight his way back for a 4-over 76. He stands at 4-under for the event.
Lewis problems werent as major; he struggled a bit off the tee, but still recorded six birdies to a lone bogey.
I scored well, said Lewis. I didnt strike the ball as well as I would have liked. I managed to make a few putts, but overall I wasnt that pleased with my driving, so Im going to have to get that going if Im going to continue doing well.
While Lewis is coming off back-to-back missed cuts, Jones is fresh off his career best finish on tour ' a tie for eighth at Pebble Beach.
Friday, he shot a bogey-free 67 on the South Course.
Theres two long, hard days ahead, Jones said.
OMeara seconded that motion.
I've done this for too long, you can't, after two rounds, think that, oh, its' going to be a piece of cake,' he said.
News and Notes from Round 2
Full-field scores from the Buick Invitational
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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