Lost in the Woods

By Randall MellAugust 12, 2011, 1:00 pm
Tiger Woods lost more than consciousness after hitting that fire hydrant and tree in his neighbor’s yard a year ago.

The scandal the accident exposed, the tales of marital infidelity it shook loose, led to one staggering loss after another. The accident led to losses of treasures both tangible and intangible.

It will be remembered as the year the greatest winner of this generation was humbled by all he lost.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods has had a rough year both on and off the course. (Getty Images)
Woods lost his No. 1 world ranking and a 14-year streak of winning at least one PGA Tour title.

He lost his swing and his clutch putting stroke.

He lost millions of dollars in endorsements.

He lost the favor of much of sports fandom. His Sports Q Score as measured by the research firm Marketing Evaluations showed his fall from the top of its list of most “likable” athletes for the first time in a decade. Woods plummeted to 25th in the rankings.

Woods also lost his wife and his marriage in a divorce.

“I feel for him, I really do,” three-time PGA Tour winner Chris DiMarco said. “What he did, I’m disappointed. From a moral aspect, I feel disappointed. But for him to have to go through it like he’s going through it in the public eye, it’s tough. I don’t think anyone deserves that. He’s a great asset to the PGA Tour. He kept this train rolling for years and years. He’s made a lot of us a lot of money. There’s no doubt that when he’s at his best, he drives everything, ticket sales, TV network ratings, everything.”

Woods’ losses didn’t just change his life, they changed golf.

At his best, Woods left little room for the opposition to thrive.

His giant shadow darkened the careers of so many of his foes, stunting growth and choking possibilities.

Woods didn’t just beat his would-be rivals. He beat them down. He won majors by 15, 12 and eight shots. Where might Sergio Garcia be today if Woods wasn’t there blocking so many pathways to major championships? How many more majors might Ernie Els have won?

Nobody since Jack Nicklaus possessed a game as intimidating as Woods.

That’s changed, dramatically.

While Woods appears to have lost the confidence that made him so formidable, his competition’s gaining it.

We’ve heard it in the boldest terms the last few months.

“I would love to face Tiger,” Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy said in the weeks leading up to the Ryder Cup. “Unless his game rapidly improves, I think anyone in the European team would fancy his chances against him.”

While expecting Woods will come back and win more majors, PGA Tour veteran Scott Verplank followed up last week on the bravado he’s sensing from fellow tour pros.
 
“All I know is that the world’s a lot different than it used to be,” Verplank said. “As talented as Tiger is, I would suspect he’s going to find his golf game. But I think his shield of invincibility has been dissolved. I think it’s been dissolved some on the golf course, too. I don’t think guys are really all that worried about him.”
 
This Thanksgiving holiday will mark the one-year anniversary of Tiger Woods' SUV accident and when his personal and professional lives unraveled. We take a look back on the past year in this photo timeline:  Tiger's Year in Review
DiMarco, Els and others say they fully expect Woods will regain his winning form, but he’ll have to beat an emboldened opposition to do so.
 
When Woods veered into his neighbor’s yard a year ago, he was No. 1 in the world with a ranking of 15.937 average points. Phil Mickelson was a distant second, almost seven points behind. The point differential between Woods and Mickelson back then was the same as between Mickelson and the 70th ranked player in the world.

What Woods lost, others are lining up to gain. The territory Woods once occupied is now open to the challenge of new dominions.

England’s Lee Westwood took over at No. 1 in the world rankings last month with Woods’ latest streak at the top ending after a record 281 consecutive weeks.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (U.S. Open), South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen (British Open) and Germany’s Martin Kaymer (PGA Championship) won the last three majors of the year.

Without Woods carrying the banner for the PGA Tour, the European Tour is thriving on the verge of what could be its new golden era.

Westwood, McDowell, Oosthuizen and Kaymer all helped the European Tour raise its stature.

At the start of the 2008 season, just two Europeans ranked among the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking, Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and England’s Justin Rose. Today, six of the top 10 hail from Europe.

A new youth movement in Europe, Asia and the United States is poised to make its mark without Woods there to squash it.

Kaymer just won his major at 25, Oosthuizen at 27. American Dustin Johnson looks like he could join them before turning 26 next year. The popularity of 21-year-olds McIlroy and American Rickie Fowler is growing swiftly. Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa (19) and Italy’s Matteo Manassero (17) may find more room to be major factors with Woods failing to challenge.

Matt Kuchar enjoyed a career year and is a candidate to win PGA Tour Player of the Year despite winning just once this season.

Jim Furyk won three times this year and claimed the FedEx Cup and will be the PGA Tour’. Player of the Year if Kuchar isn’t.

There was so much more to be won this last year without Woods appearing to win everything, but it’s a year that will be remembered for what was lost. More than anything, it’s a year defined by what Woods lost.
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
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.