Players Still Value Tour Championship

By Mercer BaggsOctober 30, 2001, 5:00 pm
The Tour Championship offers golfs most reduced field battling for one the sports biggest prizes. It is officially the season finale on the PGA Tour.
But its not the Super Bowl of golf.
With the addition of the three individual World Golf Championship events ' not to mention the four majors ' it would appear that the Tour Championship is just another lucrative event. In fact, its $5 million purse isnt even the biggest cash prize on the circuit (Players Championship - $6 million).
Four years ago, the Tour Championship was the only tournament with a $4 million purse. This year, 17 tournaments offered at least that much in prize money.
Yet, as 1996 Tour Championship winner Tom Lehman said, You cant measure a tournaments importance by its purse.
There are 29 players in this weeks field at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, TX ' 2000 champion Phil Mickelson pulled out of the event after the birth of his second daughter last week.
Most have been here before, and almost all have been around long enough to know the importance of this tournament, even by todays standards.
Its really one of the premiere events, said Hal Sutton. We all view it as a prestigious event ' always will view it as a prestigious event.
Sutton has an affinity for not only the Tour Championship, but also its location.
Sutton won this event in 1998 at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga. And earlier in the year, he captured the Shell Houston Open.
I love coming back here, Sutton said. I love Houston and I love this course.
When David Duval won this tournament here in 1997, there were no $1 million first-place paydays; though, he did cash a check for $720,000.
Over the past few years, golf has rapidly become saturated with big-money tournaments. Tournaments designed to increase exposure ' and wealth. Still, many of the players in the field dont believe that such events have diminished the value of the Tour Championship.
I dont think it takes anything away, said Duval. (This event) is a great celebration of a whole year.
If anything, it makes it more important, added Brad Faxon. 'The money title measures a players year, whether thats right or wrong. And this is the final tournament. It could determine Player of the Year or the money title. Its still a very big deal.
Of course, Tiger Woods has recently made such debates non-issues. Yet, Faxons words are correct. Being the years final event, the Tour Championship could carry a lot of collateral weight.
Thats one reason why players were infuriated when the tour decided to make the Tour Championship the seasons penultimate event in 1999, in favor of the new World Golf Championships ' American Express Championship.
1999 was also the last time the Tour Championship was held at the Champions Golf Club. Woods was the victor, finishing four shots clear of Davis Love III.
(The Tour Championship) is a big event. Its not a major, but its one of the biggest events we play all year, said Woods.
'I think the fact that you have the best players of the year here assembled, that generally makes it a little bit more special.'
This is the 15th playing of the tournament, and the fourth time it has been held here in Houston. Jodie Mudd beat Billy Mayfair in a playoff in 1990, the first time Champions hosted the event.
Champions was also the venue of five Houston Opens, the 1967 Ryder Cup (winner, United States), the 1969 U.S. Open (Orville Moody), the 1993 U.S. Amateur (John Harris) and the 1998 U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur (Virginia Derby-Grimes).
Of the players in this weeks field, Sergio Garcia, Joe Durant and Frank Lickliter are making their maiden appearances. And the event's magnitude isn't lost upon them.
For sure its one of our biggest events of the year, said Garcia, who won the MasterCard Colonial in Ft. Worth. It was one of my goals this year (to qualify for the tournament). Its great to be able to be here.
Kenny Perry earned the final qualifying spot. Perry, who last played this event in 1996, edged out Jesper Parnevik for 30th place on the money list by shooting a final-round 66 in last week's Buick Challenge.
The winner at Callaway Gardens, Chris DiMarco, is making his second consecutive appearance in the Tour Championship. He considers it a goal achieved.
'It's the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,' he said. 'It validates your year.
'I want to be a fixture in the top 30 (on the money list). It's one of my goals to make (this tournament) each year.'
Woods has played in this event ever since his rookie year of 1996. He currently leads the absentee Mickelson by over a $1 million on the 2001 money list. Even with the $900,000 first-place prize, no one can catch him in the earnings department. And thanks to his five victories ' which include the Masters Tournament, The Players Championship, Bay Hill, the Memorial Tournament and the WGC-NEC Invitational ' Woods has all but wrapped up his third straight PGA Tour Player of the Year Award.
Nonetheless, this is still a big week for Tiger, as it is for many; including David Toms.
Toms has already won three times this year and ranks third on the money list. And though the PGA champion will likely finish behind Woods in the Player of the Year voting ' regardless of a win this week ' Toms looks at this tournament as both the cap to a spectacular season, and a kick start to 2002.
Its always important for me to finish (the season) strong, said Toms. I feel it gives me a lot of confidence going into the upcoming year.
'It's a big event.'
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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.