Jason Sobel - February 17, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamFebruary 17, 2012, 1:24 pm

When asked about what impresses him the most about Phil Mickelson, Jason said that it is the fact that one week ago, it seemed as though Phil was lost with his game. He came to Pebble Beach feeling confused and anything but confident and after winning on Sunday, he is confident in everything that he is doing right now.

The only reason that J.B. Holmes would not get the 2012 Comeback Player of the Year award would be if the PGA TOUR decided to repeat what they did in 2011 and simply not give out a Comeback Player of the Year. If Holmes wins after having brain surgery the year, he wins the award. Case closed.

Paul Casey has decided to withdraw from the WGC-Accenture Match Play which gets George Coetzee into the field. Casey is a very good Match Play competitor and lives in Arizona so it is easy to assume that he is very disappointed to not be playing this year as he is still recovering from an offseason shoulder injury. Coetzee will be making his first U.S. professional start next week and it was a good thing that Casey withdrew a week early because as a result, Coetzee knows for certain that he is playing.

Now that Casey will miss the WGC-Accenture Match Play, his efforts to make the European Ryder Cup team have been hurt because next week would have been free points for both the World Points and the European Points Lists. There are a lot of players who are playing well and winning on the European Tour and now Casey has more work to do to make a case to be on the team.

Sobel was particularly interested in the pair of pants that Ryo Ishikawa wore in the first round at Riviera. They looked like a checkered tablecloth and someone at Golf Channel remarked on Thursday that those pants made her think of having a picnic.

In his second visit to Morning Drive on Friday, Sobel began by saying that when it comes to John Daly, many people are reminded of the Boy Who Cried Wolf and it appears that this time, he really is injured as he was pictured in a cast. The fact that Daly has done this so many times makes him as well as many other people very cynical. He is more inclined to doubt Daly when it comes to this latest injury.

On the question of whether or not Phil Mickelson is the favorite at The Masters in April, he started by saying that picking a favorite and picking a winner are two different things. You could say that he is the favorite based on his play right now and his history at Augusta National but he is not prepared to say that he will be the winner. He thinks that Luke Donald will play very well at Augusta National this year and at this moment, would say that Luke Donald is his pick to win the 2012 Masters. Augusta National is a second shot golf course that also requires creativity around the greens and Luke Donald has both of those characteristics.

The scoring at Riviera in the morning on Thursday was much more difficult than in the afternoon and in the spirit of evening things out for the weekend, Sobel hopes that the wind blows again this morning which would impact the players who had the easier first round when they played in less wind. It is always the luck of the draw when it comes to the weather in tournaments and sometimes you benefit from the draw while other times you are hurt by the draw.

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 Web.com 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.