Top Newsmakers, No 8: The Roaring 20s

By Mercer BaggsDecember 15, 2010, 1:38 pm

Top 10 Newsmakers“To be young is to be sad,” the song goes.

The lyricist obviously didn’t play professional golf in 2010.

Fifteen PGA Tour events were won by players in their 20s this past season, from Rory McIlroy at the Quail Hollow Championship two days before turning 21 to Justin Rose capturing two titles prior to hitting 30.

On the European Tour, Matteo Manassero became the youngest ever winner at 17 years, 188 days. The Italian finished 31st on the season-ending money list with $1.17 million and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

The brothers Molinari, meanwhile, helped Europe reclaim the Ryder Cup. Edoardo (29) also won the Scottish Open and Johnnie Walker Championship, while Francesco (27) took top prize at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Nowhere, however, was 20-something dominance more apparent than on the LPGA, where 20 of the 24 tournaments were won by players born in the ‘80s.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy made noise this year with an impressive win at Quail Hollow. (Getty Images)

In 2010, to be young was to be very happy – and quite wealthy.

Even those yutes (thank you, Joe Pesci), who didn’t win still garnered plenty of notoriety and plenty of cash.

Jeff Overton (27) became the first player to ever qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team without winning an event. He also finished 12th on the money list with over $3.4 million.

Rickie Fowler (21) also made the Ryder Cup team, as a captain’s pick, and made more than $2.8 million without picking up a trophy; though, he did pick up the Tour's Rookie of the Year award.

Both Overton and Fowler made their mark at Celtic Manor as well, with Overton’s enthusiastic, “Boom, baby” performance and Fowler’s gutsy finish in singles.

In a year in which Tiger Woods, soon to be 35, endured hardships both on and off the course, and failed to win for the first time in his professional career, it was the younger set who took advantage.

Players like Anthony Kim (25), Adam Scott (29) and Camilo Villegas (28) continued to show their prowess, adding to their trophy cases, while players like Derek Lamely (29) and Jason Day (23) won for the first time on Tour.

Bill Haas (28) and the aforementioned Rose (29) not only earned their maiden Tour titles in 2010, but added an additional victory for good measure. Haas was the first 20-something to win, at the Bob Hope Classic in January and then garnered win No. 2 at the Viking Classic in October.

Rose, who turned 30 on July 30, exited his 20s in style, winning a pair of prestigious events: the Memorial Tournament and the AT&T National.

Hunter Mahan (28) was also a multiple winner, at the Phoenix Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

And even though a pair of 59s were recorded on Tour this season by a pair of veterans, an 18-year-old, Ryo Ishikawa, fired 58 on the Japan PGA Tour. And the round of the year may well have belonged to a 20-year-old.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy roared to his first PGA Tour victory with a brilliant, eight-birdie, one-eagle, 10-under 62 in the final round of the Quail Hollow Championship. The finish was good enough for a new Quail Hollow course record and a four-stroke triumph over Masters champion Phil Mickelson.

Speaking of major champions, aside from Mickelson, none of the winners was more than 30 years old.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (30) took the U.S. Open, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (27) routed the field in the Open Championship at St. Andrews, and Germany’s Martin Kaymer (26) prevailed in a playoff over Bubba Watson at the PGA Championship.

Watson may have been a relatively old 31 for most of the year, but he also became a first-time winner on Tour at the Traveler’s Championship.

Dustin Johnson won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am for the second consecutive season and nearly won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach while 25, and captured the BMW Championship and nearly the PGA Championship while 26.

Of course, there is always some youthful impact each season, on every tour, but things may be different this time around.

For the remainder of the year, is counting down the Top 10 Newsmakers of 2010. For a list of the complete top 10 and the scheduled release dates, click here.

“I think the takeaway on the competition side of 2010, more than anything else, was the tremendous interest in young players coming up,” Tim Finchem said during his December 'State of the Tour' address. “I’ve never in my tenure seen so much buzz and interest about rookies and young players creating exciting performances.'

On the LPGA, every top-ranked player not named Cristie Kerr is in their 20s. In Europe, many of the world’s best – Kaymer and McIlroy included – have elected to primarily play their home tour. And in the States, there is a obvious lack of presence on the top of leaderboards by Woods.

Kids nowadays don’t seem to be intimidated by Woods, nor do they seem fearful of winning, as evidenced by the multiple multiple champions in their 20s.

It wasn’t long ago that we were trumpeting the triumphs of those in their 40s on Tour, but only three players in that age group won in 2010 – Ernie Els (40), Jim Furyk (40) and Rocco Mediate (47) [Mickelson was 39 when he won the Masters].

Granted, Els won twice and Furyk was the Tour’s Player of the Year, but the year’s biggest stories belonged to those born about the time these two were hitting puberty.

This year was about those who won majors and those who blew them, those who garnered international fame and those who gained a bit of infamy, those who won and those who didn’t on the PGA Tour, and just about everyone with an LPGA card.

The year 2010 was about the Roaring 20s.

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.


Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish


U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)


The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself


PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts



Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret


Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm
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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."