Bunker Shots

By Randall MellJune 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
Michael Jackson left this world last week, but his music is still with us.
Some of his lyrics help tell the stories waiting to unfold this week:
(An Ode to Anthony Kim)
Cause this is a thriller, thriller night
And no ones gonna save you from the beast about to strike
You know its a thriller, thriller night
Youre fighting for life inside a killer, thriller tonight

Anthony Kim is the defending champion at the AT&T National, but the big question isnt whether he will repeat. Its whether he will finally finish ahead of Tiger Woods in a tournament.
In two-and-a-half seasons on the PGA Tour, Kim has never played in a PGA Tour event with Woods and finished higher than Woods.
Kims 0 for 16.
When Kim won a year ago at Congressional Country Club, Woods was in his first year as tournament host, but Woods wasnt even on the grounds. He was at home recovering from reconstructive knee surgery. Woods leads a field this season that includes four of the top 10 players in the world rankings. Paul Casey (No. 3), Vijay Singh (No. 9) and Jim Furyk (No. 10) are the only other top-10 players in the field.

I Cant Help It
(Lorena Ochoas Refrain)
Looking in my mirror
Took me by surprise
I cant help but see you
Running often through my mind

Lorena Ochoa returns to the LPGA at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic outside Toledo, Ohio, after being bumped from atop the Rolex Player of the Year standings.
With her victory Sunday at the Wegmans LPGA, rookie Jiyai Shin moved to the top of the standings. Ochoa didnt play last week. Shin also leads the Rookie of the Year race with a real chance to join Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win top rookie and top player honors in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Shins also atop the LPGA money list.
With 13 victories around the world over the last 18 months, five of them LPGA titles, Shin is more than a victory machine. Shes a legitimate threat to Ochoas No. 1 world ranking. Shin moved up a spot to No. 3 this week with Yani Tseng holding on at No. 2.
With South Koreas rise to power in the womens game, it seems just a matter of time until a player from that country seizes the top ranking. Shin, as humble and sweet off the course as Ochoa is, looks like the odds-on-favorite to eventually be that South Korean player.

Cant Let Her Get Away
(USGAs Ode to Paula Creamer)
If I let her get away
Though Im begging
On my knees
Ill be crying everyday
Knowing the girl
That got away

The U.S. Golf Association has to be watching with intense interest to see how Paula Creamers left hand holds up this week in her title defense at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic.
Losing Creamer for next weeks U.S. Womens Open would be another blow to that event.
Creamers bid to win her first major championship will be one of the top storylines going into a week that needs some good tales to tell.
Unless Michelle Wie or Natalie Gulbis win the Jamie Farr on Sunday, the U.S. Womens Open will be played without two of the biggest attractions in golf. Wie and Gulbis didnt meet U.S. Womens Open exemption standards and neither made it through sectional qualifying. Their last chance to qualify for the U.S. Womens Open is by winning on Sunday.
Creamer injured her left thumb in the middle of the second round of the Wegmans LPGA and withdrew. She was diagnosed with inflammation and tendinitis of the thumbs joint capsule and received a cortisone shot on Monday. A hand and wrist sports specialist cleared her to play, but shell be tested by the pounding that thumb will endure this week.

Wanna Be Startin Somethin
(John Dalys theme song)
I said you wanna be startin somethin
You got to be startin somethin
Its too high to get over (yeah, yeah)
Too low to get under (yeah, yeah)
Youre stuck in the middle (yeah, yeah)
And the pain is thunder

John Daly will tee it up in Europe again this week at the Open de France.
Though he missed the cut at the BMW International Open in Germany last week, he has to believe even more strongly that the European Tour is the best place for him to rebuild his life and his game.
After tying for 59th at the St. Jude Championship, where his estranged wife complained about the restraining order he issued to keep her off the course, the negative news didnt slow in the states. There was that accident where he tore off part of the roof of his RV driving through a tunnel in Mobile, Ala. And last week, there was the news from a judge ordering Daly to pay almost $272,000 in legal fees for his unsuccessful libel lawsuit against the Florida Times-Union.
Dalys made the cut in three of six events on the European Tour since heading over to play the Spanish Open in late April. Hes looking for some momentum as he gears up for the British Open, one of two major championship titles he has claimed.

Beat It
(The path to the British Open)
Just beat it, beat it, beat it
No one wants to be defeated
Showin how funky and strong is your fight
It doesnt matter whos wrong or right
Just beat it, beat it

The AT&T National offers a last chance to qualify for the British Open.
The top two players off a special PGA Tour money list who arent already exempt to the British Open earn a trip to Turnberry. The money list is created from a six-tournament series (The Players Championship, the Memorial, St. Jude, U.S. Open, Travelers and AT&T National).
Paul Goydos leaped to No. 1 on the list with his tie for second at the Travelers last weekend with Ricky Barnes moving up a spot to No. 2.
Also still in the running are No. 3 John Mallinger, No. 4 Kevin Na, No. 5 Bryce Molder, No. 7 Ryan Moore and No. 8 Matt Bettencourt.
Ben Cranes No. 6, but he isnt playing this week.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - AT&T National
  • Full Coverage - Jamie Farr
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
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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."

    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