Watson Wins PGA Senior Style

By Mercer BaggsMay 27, 2001, 4:00 pm
The Senior PGA Tour offers players a second chance. A chance to accomplish the things they never did, or never got a chance to do, in their first professional lives.

Sunday, Tom Watson attained something he could never realize in 30 Hall-of-Fame seasons on the PGA Tour.
Watson held off Jim Thorpe to capture his first Senior major at the Senior PGA Championship at the Ridgewood Country Club in Parmaus, N.J.
Watsons no stranger to major victories; he won eight of them on the regular tour ' five British Opens, two Masters and one U.S. Open. However, he never captured the PGA Championship.
Free Video - Registration Required Watson comments on his win at the PGA Seniors
Now he has ' on the 50-and-over circuit.
You dont know how grateful I am. The PGA (trophy) now has the name Watson on it, after all these years, said the exuberant 51-year-old.
Watson fired a final-round 5-under-par 67 to finish the tournament at 14-under, one shot clear of Jim Thorpe, who carded a Sunday 68.
The contest was as narrow as the margin of victory would indicate.
Watson led by three shots entering the par-4 14th, the hole where he recorded the first of five consecutive birdies in the third round.
This time, however, the tide turned. Watson three-putted for bogey, while Thorpe birdied from six feet. The two-shot swing cut Thorpes deficit to a single stroke.
Following a pair of pars at No. 15, both men placed their approaches on the par-4 16th along similar lines. Thorpe was 18 feet from the cup, Watson just 12.
Earlier in the day, Thorpe was ready to break his putter into 19 pieces. But for the second time in three holes, Thorpe converted the birdie putt to momentarily tie for the top spot.
Watson, with impure putting thoughts of his own, promptly stepped up and reclaimed sole possession of the lead by drilling his 12-footer.
After successfully finding the fairway off the tee on the par-5 17th, Thorpe, a gambler by nature, went for the green.
Thorpe took driver off the deck and double-crossed himself. His ball made a beeline for the trees.
Fortunately for Thorpe, his ball stayed in bounds. He pitched out into the fairway and then spun his fourth shot to within 10 feet of the hole.
Needing a reprieve from his putter, the flatstick responded positively. Thorpe sunk the par save and entered the final hole trailing Watson by one.
At the par-4 18th, Thorpe again took the aggressive route. He blasted his tee shot over the right trees. His ball clipped a limb coming down, but still found the fairway ' 293 yards from the tee box.
Just 134 yards from the hole, Thorpe spun a short iron to eight feet.
After watching Watson successfully two-putt for par, Thorpe had one last chance to force a playoff. But this time his putter didnt oblige.
Thorpe missed on the low side.
I didnt make enough putts to win, said Thorpe. I played well enough tee to green, hit a lot of good shots. I just didnt make the putts.
The 62nd PGA Championship began with nostalgia - Arnold Palmer shot his age, 71, in the first round, while Jack Nicklaus was just one shot off the 18-hole lead.
Watson furthered the feeling by birdieing his final five holes in the third round for a tournament best 66.
And for once, for Watson, nostalgia proved to be more than just a yearning for an irrecoverable past.
Full-field scores and prize money from the 62nd Senior PGA Championship
Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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