Tiger on Fire Again

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 24, 2000, 4:00 pm
Proving Tiger Woods is the only player who can stop Tiger Woods, the world's #1 finished bogey-birdie-bogey to hold on to a one-shot lead after 18 holes of the WGC - NEC Invitational in Akron, Ohio.

Seven under through 12 holes, Woods carded one birdie, three pars and a pair of bogeys over his final six holes to finish the first round at six under. Woods' 64 on the par-70 Firestone course was good enough to give him a one-shot advantage over Jim Furyk, who shot 65.

Six players are tied for 3rd at four under, including: Darren Clarke, Justin Leonard, Phillip Price, Lee Westwood, Carlos Franco and Phil Mickelson.

Ernie Els is in a 4-way tie for 9th at three under with Stuart Appleby , Loren Roberts and Jose Maria Olazabal.

After successfully defending last week's PGA Championship, Woods began his title defense this week with an eagle three at the par-5 2nd by nearly holing a 6-iron from 206 yards.

Tiger added birdies at the 4th, 5th and 8th - no putts longer than twelve feet - for a front-nine 5-under-par 30; then carded two more red numbers - also birdie putts of twelve feet or less - on the 11th and 12th.

At seven under through twelve holes, Woods was leaving the field in his rearview mirror. However, he slowed down coming home, allowing a host of players to stay within reach.

A six-foot save at the 13th began a run of three straight pars for Tiger, which was ended with his first bogey of the day at the par-5 16th.

Woods' tee shot on the second of the two par fives found the left center of the fairway. From there, Tiger elected to lay-up with a 6-iron. No problem. Woods was just a sand wedge away from the green. Then, inexplicably, Woods flew the green and found the back beach. When he made his way to the bunker, he also found a fried-egg lie.

Tiger's splash out barely made it to the greenside fringe. He two-putted from there for a bogey six.

Tiger regained that lost stroke at the par-4 17th. After catching the rough off the tee, Woods stuck a wedge to six feet. The ensuing birdie moved the 7-time 2000 winner back to seven under par with one hole to play.

Again playing from the rough on the par-4 18th, Woods nearly blew his second shot through a tree. Instead, his ball took a chunk out the tall timber and ricocheted backwards into the fairway.

Tiger's 3rd shot finally found the green. Two putts later, Woods was in the clubhouse signing for his lowest aggregate score since he shot 63 in the second round of the Memorial Tournament - which he won.

Afterwards, Woods went straight to the range to work out some kinks in his driver.

'I didn't drive the ball very well,' said Woods, who hit nine of 14 fairways in the first round. 'I drove it terrible on the back nine.

'I didn't hit the ball very well coming in; and consequently, I didn't shoot the scores I wanted to shoot.'

Fresh off another record-breaking performance at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, many wandered if fatigue - mental more than physical - would be an issue this week. Tiger answered those questions in round one.

'I got some rest on Monday and Tuesday, which was nice,' said Woods. 'Came here and played about six holes yesterday, which was nice. And I got a feel of the golf course. Went out today ready to go, and I was able to play well, for the most part.'

Last week, Tiger became the first man since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors in the same season. Woods defeated Bob May in a three-hole playoff to add the Wannamaker trophy to his U.S. Open trophy and the Claret Jug.

This week, no major hardware is on the line, but a million-dollar first-place check is up for grabs. Should Woods prevail again, he would surpass $7.6 million in season earnings.
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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.