Great Scot and Aussie Too

By Mike RitzJune 3, 2001, 4:00 pm
The story of this U.S. Womens Open Championship boiled down to two people: The defending champion, Karrie Webb, and a brilliant golf course architect, the late Donald Ross.
The Scot came to the United States early in the 20th century to show us unsophisticated Yanks how the game should be played. He did so by designing some of the most challenging courses in the world. Mr. Ross was hired to build a golf resort in the Sand Hills of North Carolina. Pinehurst was born. His famous No. 2 course at Pinehurst, where Payne Stewart won the mens U.S. Open two years ago, is just around the corner from Pine Needles, the home of this years womens Open.

When the 150 women in the field arrived last Monday, they realized that Mr. Ross had laid before them the ultimate test. Player after player walked off the course after their practice rounds and exclaimed, he makes you hit every club in your bag. As a par-70, Pine Needles might be the longest 6,250 yard track youve ever seen. Add in Mr. Rosss trademark crowned greens and voila, the recipe for the perfect test of golf is complete.
Pinehurst and Pine Needles are exactly the kind of courses the United States Golf Association loves for its most important championships. The USGA uses its championships to identify the best golfer. Donald Ross and Pine Needles made that possible.
Five years ago, Annika Sorenstam won the Open here by a breathtaking six shots. Only she and Kris Tschetter were able to break par. Sorenstams total of 272 was a new Open record.
This time it was Karrie Webb who took all of the mystery out of the competition. After just two rounds it was clear who would win. The Aussie was spectacularly unspectacular. Her approach to playing Pine Needles was businesslike and meticulous. She didnt attack the course, she simply played it as Donald Ross intended.
The greens at Pine Needles are so devilish, to hit them in regulation, you usually must hit your approaches to the safe spots. Anything slightly off-line or barely long or short will tumble off the putting surface, leaving the player with a next-to-impossible shot to save par. In order to hit those precise approaches, not only must one be smart, but also the player must be hitting from the fairway.
For the week, Webb was third in the field in hitting fairways and first in hitting greens in regulation. And if that were not enough, Karrie was also eleventh in putting. In 72 holes, she made all of eight bogeys. Just two bogeys per round!
Yes, this time it was 26-year-old Karrie Webb who blew away the competition. Not one other player in this field of the best players in the game could even match par for the week. Webbs worst round was her opening even-par 70. Add on a course record 65 and then consecutive 69s and the recipe for a run-away was complete. Karrie would end up 7-under par, eight strokes better than runner-up Se Ri Pak. Her 273 total just one shy of that Open record.
The best player has been identified. Donald Ross would be proud.
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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
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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.