Who To Watch in 2002

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 8, 2002, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)Tiger Woods acts; we react. He travels; we follow. He performs; we stand in awe. He grows facial hair; we write about it.
Every move Tiger Woods makes, were watching. So needless to say, well always have one eye fixated on the games greatest player. But as 2002 comes about, there are a host of other players worth keeping in our peripheral.
There are big names like Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, who combined for 15 top-five finishes on the PGA Tour and nearly $6 million in official earnings, but no victories in 2001.
There are David Toms and Retief Goosen ' should they face major expectations in 2002?
Phil Mickelson and Davis Love III ' will they be able to finish what they so often start? Will their titles outnumber their excuses?
Love won Pebble Beach; Mickelson won the Buick Invitational and the Greater Hartford Open. Love finished fifth on the money list; Mickelson finished second. Yet both men could have accomplished so much more in 2001.
Neither won a major championship; Love went 0-for-6 when playing in the final group on Sunday; and Lefty was 2-for-9 when entering the final round within at least two strokes of the lead ' that record includes the Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
There are questions to be asked of each and every Tour member; questions only they can answer.
How will 17-year-old Ty Tryon fare in the big leagues? His games unquestioned; his mentality, unchallenged.
On the other hand, Notah Begay III is mentally fresh, but how is his physical being? Begay won twice in 1999 and twice more in 2000. But this past year was a disaster, wrought with injury and frustration. Forget about trophies, he missed eight cuts in 12 tries, broke 70 but three times. His last start was the first week of September.
Fred Couples says he wants to compete again. He wants to be a factor. Does he ' at the age of 42 ' still have the physical capacity to do so? And if so, is it really in his heart?
Perhaps he can draw inspiration from John Daly. Daly rose from outside the top 500 in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2001 to the cusp of the top 50. He even won overseas. Can he now do the same in the States?
At the opposite end of the spectrum this past season was Andrew Magee. The 39-year-old dropped completely off the radar screen, missing 16 of 31 cuts in 2001. He failed to record even a single top-20 finish.
Since joining the Tour in 1985, Magee had never finished outside the top 125 on the money list ' until this year, when he finished 180th. The lone highlight of his year was when he beacme the first player in Tour history to ace a par-4. In the first round of the Phoenix Open Magee (playing in the group behind) flukishly bounced his tee shot off Tom Byrum's putter and into the 17th hole.
He will, however, be exempt in 2002, thanks to his ranking on the Tours career money list. The four-time Tour winner is 51st in career earnings, but because Payne Stewart is still inside the top 50 Magee will be able to use his one-time top-50 exemption. Though, another season like this past one and Magee will be back to the Qualifying Tournament for the first time since turning professional in 1984.
Speaking of Q-School, for the second time in three years Gary Nicklaus made his way onto the premiere circuit through the Tours torture test. His father says hell never ' after 10 overall attempts ' have to qualifying again. He says his 32-year-old son is now fully prepared to compete with the elite. Fatherly pride - or an honest appraisal from the Greatest of All Time?
These are just some of the many questions just waiting to be answered on the PGA Tour in 2002.
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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."

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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