Tiger Tracks - A Tale of Two Seasons
For nearly every tournament won there was a singular shot that stamped victory.
A 40-foot birdie putt ' complete with back-pedaling fist pump ' on the 2nd extra hole to defeat Ernie Els for his fifth straight PGA Tour title.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Next start. A 97-yard hole-out on the 15th hole Monday to punctuate a seven-shot comeback at the expense of Matt Gogel. Another shot worthy of an air-splitting uppercut.
U.S. Open Championship
Friday, a 7-iron, 202 yards from the rough at No. 6. A furious lash. The ball rises, climbs a cypress tree, covers the ocean and lands 15 feet from the hole. He two-putts for birdie, takes a two-shot lead and never looks back.
A 3-wood from 262 yards Saturday on No. 14 at St. Andrews. The ball never leaves its target, rolls up perfectly to 45 feet. It looks like just another mighty swing. He calls it his best of the year.
First playoff hole. He putts. He points. He pierces the hole. The image is forever cemented in highlight history.
72nd hole. Darkness. You hear the swing. He must like it, hes staring. Wheres the ball? It lands a foot from the hole. Crowd erupts.
Bell Canadian Open
Caution be damned. A 6-iron from 218 yards. Out of a bunker. Over the water. Dead on the flag. Tiger wins No. 9 in 2000.
As Woods prepares to defend his title in Canada, we find theres quite a bit of difference between this season and last. One major championship compared to three. Five PGA Tour wins to eight.
But the biggest difference isnt on paper, but in the mind.
Its the imagery - when a mere mention of the tournament revives the moment.
Tiger hasnt reproduced his 2000 theatrics. Aside from a 7-iron hole-out en route to winning the Deutsche-Bank SAP Open in Germany, most of his 2001 triumphs ' on the PGA Tour ' cant be associated with individual moments of greatness.
Bay Hill Invitational
Woods holds off a late charging Phil Mickelson by birdieing the final hole. Yet it's Mickelson's miraculous approach shot on 18 that first comes to mind.
The Players Championship
Perhaps the lone exception this year. His 60-foot downhill, double-breaking birdie putt at the 17th Saturday is as vivid now as when it actually occurred.
Not a shot, but a moment. Realizing he has completed the Grand Slam (or whatever you want to call it) Woods holds his cap in front of his face to hide his tears.
A handful of impressive strokes on Sunday, but nothing that earmarked an eight-shot victory.
Another stuffed shot on 18 to end the tournament. But this time, far less illuminating. A trio of missed putts and a hole-out bunker shot ' all by Jim Furyk ' stand out the most in a seven-hole playoff.
This isnt to criticize. What Tiger has accomplished thus far this season is nonetheless impressive. Its just not as bodacious.
Earl Woods once said that every tournament his son won would be defined by at least one shot. One shot that would forever be remembered.
As it is ' not every tournament. Most tournaments. But not every tournament.
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
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."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
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.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“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
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.
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.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18