Arnold Palmer - March 22, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamMarch 22, 2012, 1:16 pm

When he wakes up on a tournament day when he is the host, Mr. Palmer said that he feels really good and the weather is great and he hopes for some great golf. The best part about being the host of the Arnold Palmer Invitational is how the event helps the hospitals in the Orlando area and all of the great things at Bay Hill although there are certainly some things that do not rank as high on his list. He also wishes that he were still competing so he could play in his tournament.

30 additional beds have been added to the neonatal unit of the Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, Florida and Mr. Palmer said that he cannot put into words how proud he feels about that and it is wonderful that everyone at the tournament is well aware of the work that the hospital does and the fact that no one is turned away. Annika Sorenstam is just one example of someone who has been helped by Winnie Palmer Hospital and he has enjoyed getting to meet and spend time with her two kids who were both born at that hospital.

He knows that Ernie Els is on the outside looking in for the 2012 Masters and he was very hopeful that Els would win last week at Innisbrook. It was very disappointing that he did not close as well as he would have liked. He is sure that the Augusta National is rooting for Els to earn an invitation to this year’s Masters but at the same time, they cannot invite everyone and he is sure that Els understands that.

Mr. Palmer’s first trip to Bay Hill was for an exhibition in the mid-1960’s with Jack Nicklaus. From the moment he saw the natural lakes and the orange groves on the property, he fell in love with Bay Hill and everything was so attractive to him. Eventually, he decided to buy the property and it took five years to complete the purchase. He played a lot of golf in the early days at Bay Hill and those rounds gave him more reasons to love the property.

Bay Hill has hosted this event for over 30 years and in that time they have had great moments and great champions but most importantly they have been able to see hospitals be built and grow and being able to participate in that is one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. A friend of his recommended that he lend his name and time to the hospitals if he wanted to improve them and he is proud to say that the hospitals today are in wonderful shape.

A couple of years ago he changed the 16th hole back to a par 5 and the players have reacted very positively because it gives them an opportunity to make a late eagle or birdie in an effort to win a tournament. Both 16 and 4 have been changed back to par 5s from difficult par 4s. For a while, there was a great concern about having scores that were too low but those concerns do not exist anymore. There have been plenty of missed putts and missed shots on a par 72 Bay Hill as well as made putts and great moments. 16, 17, and 18 are all a lot of fun and a great way to close a tournament.

Something else that makes him very happy is the fact that MasterCard has extended its deal to sponsor his event until 2016. He is also pleased about the support that Hertz has given to his event over the years.

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