Tryon Something New

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 23, 2002, 5:00 pm
Mark Calcavecchia turned professional 21 years ago - when the average PGA Tour purse was $315,000, Tom Kite was the tours top player, and Ty Tryon was still four years in the making.
Now, the smallest winners check is $378,000. Tom Kites on the Senior circuit; and Ty Tryon is golfs latest ' and youngest ' tour prodigy.
Tryon makes his card-carrying debut at this weeks Phoenix Open, where Calcavecchia will try and defend the title he won here a year ago in record fashion.
Tuesday, the two met for the first time in a pre-tournament shootout. And as Calcavecchia eyed a bright future, he could see clearly a black-and-white past.
Things are so much different, said the 41-year-old, in recalling a time two years ago when he and Phil Mickelson played with the University of Georgia golf team.
'The athletes are better. They are in better shape. They are way ahead of where we were mentally at that age.
I was impressed with how far they (the Bulldogs) hit it and how straight they drove it. They had a (Ping) TSI driver in their bag, all the latest technology, the 3-woods, the 7-woods, Scottie Cameron putters. When I was in college, almost none of us had a straight shaft in our bag, let alone a $600 driver.
Their locker room was the size of (the TPC at Scottsdale) clubhouse. I mean, each one of them had an oak wood locker, pool table, giant-screen TV, teaching facilities. When I was in college, we had a little tin locker ... where you could get a pair of shoes in it and a pair of sneakers.
Yes, things have changed dramatically since Calcavecchia left the University of Florida prior to his senior season.
Now, many an athlete in many a sport turn professional before their amateur status expires. Primary education is a secondary option.
But in Tryons case, its altogether moot. Hes a 17-year-old professional. And should he ever decide to attend a university, it wont be to play golf competitively.
In turning pro, Tryon has forfeited his collegiate eligibility. And by doing so, hes been a target of much criticism.
I expected some negative opinions, he said Wednesday. But this is what I want to do. I want to play golf for a living, and theres no better place to do it than here.
Now that I have this great place to play, its going to be easier to get better ' great courses, great facilities, great players to play against.
Tryon is a professional golfer. But hes also a 17-year-old high school junior. And many are encouraging him to keep that scale balanced.
Its not a big mistake, Calcavecchia said of Tryons turning pro. I think maybe he should have waited a year or two, maybe even gone to college for a year or two. But, you know, I am not the most patient guy in the world, either. Maybe he just felt he was ready. This is what he wanted to do. Maybe hes got the maturity of a 22-year-old, so why waste five years, because he thinks he is already there.
I am here to tell you, none of us are near as good as he is at 17.
Tryon will be put to the test immediately. Not just physically, but mentally. The Phoenix Open is one of the most popular tournaments on the schedule. The crowds are big, beautiful and boisterous. A party atmosphere resonates in the gallery. Focus is imperative.
Im a little blown away ... and the tournament hasn't even started yet, Tryon said. Im more in awe of the fans and the media (attention) than the players.
Added Calcavecchia, There is no other tournament on the tour like this.
And he would know. Calcavecchia is a three-time champion, winning last year with a 72-hole tour record 256 aggregate. On all three occasions, he reached the 20-under plateau - though, he doesnt see that level being achieved again ' ever.
I honestly dont think anybody will ever shoot 20 and under here again, he said. I will take 18-under and take my chances right now.
The only number Tryon is focused on right now is 10 ' as in the top-10, where he wants to finish this week in order to gain a spot in next weeks AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
I didnt come here to make the cut, he said.
That's the mentallity many of the game's newcomers share - a different take than that of 21 years ago.

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.