Tim Finchem - January 4, 2012

By Morning Drive TeamJanuary 4, 2012, 1:16 pm

Tim Finchem is in his 18th year as the 3rd Commissioner of the PGA TOUR. Reflecting on the passing of Jim Huber, Finchem said that in the game of golf, 99.9% of everyone involved in golf are great people and the loss of Jim Huber is a particularly tough one because he was such a great person and his thoughts are with Huber’s family right now.

The Hyundai Tournament of Champions has a Monday finish this year and he said that the PGA TOUR will be watching to see how this schedule works this week to determine any future Monday finishes. Going up against the NFL is always difficult but fortunately, because Golf Channel has a relationship with NBC Sports, the Monday finish works because the tournament will be able to be promoted on NBC during coverage of the NFL playoff games this weekend. The PGA TOUR is looking for many new ways to reach more viewers and 2012 will be a year in which they try a lot of new ideas.

There are many different factors to Monday finishes and TV ratings are not the only factor. A lot of the success of PGA TOUR events involves the ability of a tournament to draw galleries as well as corporate hospitality sponsors which often results in large charitable donations back into the respective communities. Finchem plans to look at all of these factors.

For the PGA TOUR, things are going very well in almost every way in 2012. Many different young players have risen into prominence over the past couple of years which have greatly helped the PGA TOUR along with the fact that there are a lot of really good veterans, namely folks like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. He does not like to look at a year in terms of problems. Instead, he looks at a year in terms of challenges. Starting the implementation of the new TV contract including expanded online and broadcast coverage is a challenge but it is also a great opportunity. Other great opportunities including growing the game worldwide through the 2016 Olympics as well as the new PGA TOUR Latinoamerica in South America.

There is a goal to raise $100 million this year for The First Tee program which will allow them to reach 10 million new young players and if we are successful, these 10 million new young players will in the future literally change the face of the game of golf which is a great opportunity.

On the news of no changes to the FedExCup format, Finchem said that the top discussion about the FedExCup has been the amount of volatility in the Playoffs. After varying results in 2007 and 2008 which caused some concern, the policy was changed in 2009 to success. The question is what is the right balance because you want the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to mean something in September but you still want the Playoffs have a good deal of significance as well which will result in rewarding strong performance in the postseason. The popularity of the current system of the FedExCup has played a big role in bringing players like Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy back to the PGA TOUR in 2012 so they can compete in the PGA TOUR Playoffs. He views it as a good thing that the FedExCup is being talked about whether it is positive or negative, noting that a lot of people do not like the BCS but they are still talking about it.

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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