Sun Rises and Falls on Woods

By Mercer BaggsOctober 16, 2002, 4:00 pm
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. ' Tiger Woods loves the serenity of a pre-dawn practice round. Its his sanctuary.
Peace of mind, he said Wednesday at the Disney Golf Classic. Im able to play in peace and not be hounded for autographs and pictures when Im getting ready to play a tournament.
The prospect of beating fans, media and even the sun to the course stemmed from Woods tour mentor Mark OMeara. The elder statesman took Woods, in his first full season on the PGA Tour in 1997, out early at Bay Hill. Ever since, Tigers afternoons have been filled with workouts, rest and practice sessions ' not practice rounds.
But what about waking up consistently at 5 in the morning?
I dont sleep very much, he said. Everything changed in college. I used to be a big, heavy sleeper, but when I went to college, I pulled all-nighters without any problem.
He also doesnt have any problem getting loose in the mornings. He said he doesnt stretch, doesnt hit range balls, doesnt warm up. But hes not yet ready to take that approach into an official round.
I should do that, he quipped. Ive thought about doing a (Carlos) Franco. I just dont have the guts to do it, Woods said in reference to the practice-deficient Paraguayan noted for his ability to pick up and play.
Of course, its never that easy for the worlds No. 1. Some feel inconvienced by his self-accommodation.
Such was the case at the Ryder Cup, Woods most recent appearance on a golf course. After three days of following protocol, U.S. captain Curtis Strange told Tiger and the rest of the team to prepare like they would for a major championship on Thursday, the day before the matches were to start.
He did just that, going out at 6:30 AM alongside Mark Calcavecchia. That created hullabaloo with the foreign press, who was furious over the fact that many spectators, who had paid 45 pounds ($60) for a one-day pass, didnt get to see the games best.
If youre one of the top players, you are going to get criticized a little more than the other guys. Thats whats transpired this year, Woods said. People forget that Calc played with me during the practice round, and he didnt get criticized at all. Just Curtis and myself. It was unfair.
Thats the way it is for Woods. On and off the course, hes got a target on his back. If an issue arises, petty or prominent, Woods can be assured hell somehow be in the mix.
Aside from his A.M. incident at The Belfry, he was taken to task for not being a team player, wearing a different outfit than most of his teammates on Day 1. He said the players were given a choice of what they wanted to wear each day, and he simply chose to wear a white turtle neck and red sweater vest instead of the red polo and blue sweater vest.
He also said the players had discussions with the PGA of America in order to try to make the Ryder Cup, which is a week-long workload outined in strict regimen, more fun for the players. The PGAs response said Woods: Well get back to you.
Woods isnt all-powerful, but his opinion carries the bulk of the Hulk.
As a three-time Masters champion he was forced to speak out on the fact that Augusta National Golf Club has no female members.
I said it a long time ago and I stick by what I said. Everybody has a right to do what they want. Is it unfair? Yes, its unfair. Do I want to see a female member? Yes. But, its our right to have any club set up the way we want to.
That was not a satisfactory answer for some.
Everyone wants to have someone (else) say what they believe in. Thats human nature, Woods said.
Woods further elaborated on the subject Wednesday, saying if the two sides, primarily Augusta Chairman Hootie Johnson and National Council of Womens Organization Chairperson Martha Burk, would just sit down and talk, the issue might finally be resolved.
Hootie is right and Martha is right. Thats the problem. They are both right but are going about it the wrong way, Woods said. There is no substitute in sitting down and having a face-to-face conversation about it. There is no substitute for looking someone in the eye.'
Oh, the inner-sanctuary of being inside the ropes. Where Tiger only has to hit high draws and low fades and make putts,' and doesn't have to concern himself with bureaucracy.
In his two weeks off following the Ryder Cup, where he played the second day with a 102-degree fever, Woods rested, recovered, and didnt pick up a club until a couple of days ago.
Now, hes anxious to shake off the rust and make a final sprint to the finish line of another phenomenal season.
One of the best Ive ever had. Won two majors, won six events worldwide, he said. Im making one more run at the end of the year. Thats why I did shut it down and didnt do anything. I tried to make sure I was physically ready for this long stretch coming up.
While stating that this was one of his best years outside the otherworldly 2000 campaign, Woods said it wasnt necessarily his most enjoyable season.
You have to look at two different things. What I do on the golf course, performance-wise - thats me, and what I do for a living. Thats my passion. The other stuff is my opinion, and I get crushed for giving my opinion when asked, he said.
Woods, a two-time Disney winner, still has the season finale at the Tour Championship, the Dunlop Phoenix Open in Japan, the PGA Grand Slam of Golf and Skins Game in the same week, and his own Target World Challenge.
And if you want to see him preparing for these events, set your alarm.
Full field and tee times for the Disney Golf Classic
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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.