Ko succeeds in winning and losing

By Randall MellJuly 26, 2016, 6:36 pm

WOBURN, England – Lydia Ko can wear a trophy as if it’s an accessory.

She really knows how to tote sterling silver cups and other prizes.

But she wears black and blue well, too.

At 19, with a staggering 14 LPGA titles, two of them majors, Ko doesn’t really have any competitive scars, but she has sported her share of bruises.

This remarkable journey she is on as she prepares for this week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open hasn’t been without its share of hard blows in tough losses.

Ko isn’t just showing she knows how to win more than any teenager we’ve ever seen in the game. She knows how to lose, too.

Nobody in contention as often as she is today rebounds as quickly or effectively.

Take this year alone.

Ko has won five times around the world this season, rebounding from some gut-wrenching losses on her way to each of them.

At the LPGA season opener, Ko blew a share of the final-round lead at the Coates Golf Championship, unraveling as Ha Na Jang pulled away from her. Jang later said that Ko began encouraging her, cheering her on even as Ko slipped back in the pack.

Ko won her next start at the New Zealand Women’s Open.

At the Women’s Australian Open in February, Ko blitzed the difficult Grange Golf Club in the final round, shooting 67, but Haru Nomura played better, shooting 65 to win their duel. Ko hung around after her hard charge came up short and giddily helped douse Nomura in a celebratory shower on the 18th green.

A month later, Ko won the Kia Classic and the ANA Inspiration in back-to-back starts.

At the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in early June, Ko took the 54-hole lead into the final round in a bid to win her third consecutive major, but Brooke Henderson chased her down, catching her in regulation and beating her in a playoff.

Three weeks later, Ko won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.


Ricoh Women’s British Open: Articles, photos and videos


At the U.S. Women’s Open last month, Ko took yet another 54-hole lead into the final round, but she squandered it after chunking a shot from deep rough into a hazard midway through her round.

In Ko’s very next start, she won the Marathon Classic.

What’s her secret to rebounding?

“I think you just can’t punish yourself so much about those bad ones,” Ko said. “You’ve got to think, 'Hey, what have I learned from this?'

“I feel like every failure, every loss, there's meaning at the end of it. You're always learning from it. Even if you do win, I always feel like at the end of the week, there is a key thing that I learn from my game, or that I learned more about myself, or I learned more about advantages or disadvantages and things I need to work on. I always say every day is a new day. Every round is a new round.”

David Leadbetter, Ko’s swing coach, went to dinner with Lydia after that season opening loss at the Coates, where she faltered in the final pairing.

“You wouldn’t even have known she lost,” Leadbetter said of the dinner conversation. “She didn’t really talk about losing. She didn’t dwell on it. She doesn’t beat herself up when things don’t go her way. She recognizes other players work hard, too, and she understands she isn’t going to be perfect.”

Leadbetter says Ko has the ability to move on quickly, to process a loss in the healthiest way possible.

“She has the perfect temperament for this game,” Leadbetter said. “She plays with joy, a genuine joy for the game.”

Karen Stupples, the 2004 Women’s British Open champion, says that may be Ko’s real secret.

“When you watch her play, it's almost as if there really isn't any pressure,” Stupples said. “She just seems to enjoy the moment and just enjoys playing golf no matter whether it's for the win or for the loss. She's just playing to the best that she can possibly play for.

“She’s a psychologist’s dream. How she talks, it’s exactly how a sports psychologist talks to players, and she does it very naturally.”

Hall of Famer Judy Rankin thinks Ko chooses her thoughts well.

“She’s excellent at not looking back,” Rankin said.

Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz has probably watched Ko hit more shots in competition than anyone outside Ko’s caddie, Jason Hamilton, Ko’s parents or Leadbetter.

“Absolutely nothing seems to faze her and her positive attitude toward the game,” Foltz said.

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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