Michelle Wie says hello while Juli Inkster says goodbye

By Randall MellAugust 23, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Solheim CupSUGAR GROVE, Ill. ' Beth Daniels captains picks left their fingerprints all over this Solheim Cup.
Michelle Wie did so in a spectacular hello; Juli Inkster in a poignant goodbye.
The rookie and the Hall of Famer will be remembered for what they started and what they ended Sunday in helping the Americans defeat Europe, 16-12, at Rich Harvest Farms.
Wie won a hard-fought match with Helen Alfredsson to finish off a nearly perfect start to her Solheim Cup career. She defeated Alfredsson, 1 up, improving her record to 3-0-1, making her the top American point earner (3 ) in these matches.
Juli Inkster
Juli Inkster ended her Solheim Cup playing career on a winning note as a team. (Getty Images)
Its the most fun Ive ever had playing, Wie said. Every hole seemed like we were walking down the 18th hole of a major championship, times 100.
Inkster, 49, said Sunday that she knows this will be her last Solheim Cup as a player. In fact, she said shes hitting the brakes on her LPGA career. Shes withdrawing from the Safeway Classic this coming week. Shell play just three more times before seasons end and plans to cut back to a limited schedule next year.
Im ready to enjoy, whatever they call it, the fruits of life, Inkster said. Im not going to be playing for the money list anymore. Im going to be playing for the camaraderie. I still love being out there, I love being with the girls.
Struggling at 2 down with five holes to go against Gwladys Nocera, Inkster birdied three of the next four holes to take a 1-up lead.
Though she got herself in trouble losing the final hole, she still won an important half point.
Inkster may be done with the Solheim Cup as a player, but shes a lock as a future captain. With the 1 points she won this week, she separated herself from Meg Mallon as the top point earner in U.S. Solheim Cup history with 18.
With Wie off to such a fast start to her Solheim Cup career, Inkster was asked if she was worried Wie would eventually overtake her as the all-time American point winner.
Shes going to have to go through Paula, Inkster said. Those two are going to fight it out.
There will be a lot of girls who will pass me like Im a red-headed stepchild.
Inkster would relish seeing them try as their Solheim Cup captain. Shes a strong possibility for one of the next two Solheim Cups. Mallon and Rosie Jones also appear locks.
Wie laid the foundation this week for a long and promising Solheim Cup career. In fact, this Solheim Cup may be remembered as the launching pad that elevated Wie to another level.
Wie, 19, played with a fire and passion that shes never exhibited before. Inkster believes it will carry over into the rest of Wies career.
I would bet a large amount of money she is going to win before this year is out, Inkster said.
Wie played fabulously all week, and she started hot Sunday. At the second hole, she watched Alfredsson laser a long iron to 4 feet, setting up an eagle. It looked like an early momentum changer, but Wie trumped her. With a 5-iron from 197 yards, she carved her second shot inside Alfredssons, to 3 feet. After Alfredsson missed her eagle putt, Wie electrified the gallery, dropping her putt dead center.
Racing 3 up through six holes, Wie looked as if she were going to rout Alfredsson, but the veteran Swede fought back to square the match.
Wie has been scrutinized for the inability to close on Sundays, but she showed something fighting back to win.
At the 15th hole, she reached the par 5 with a driver and an 8-iron, hammering her drive 305 yards, leaving her just 153 yards to the pin. She took back the lead with a birdie there.
Nothing was given, Wie said of the Solheim Cup experience. We had to fight hard. The intensity, Ive never felt anything like it before. It was definitely the highlight of my career.
Wie has been accused of being given too much in life, of not having to fight hard enough in golf, but she showed the fight that's inside her all week.
She showed Mallon, an assistant captain, something special when she made it through LPGA Q-School last winter. Mallon, who has known Wie since she was 12, sent a congratulatory text message.
I wanted Michelle to know I was genuinely happy she made it through qualifying school, and she shot me back a text message, Mallon said. Her message was, 'Thank you, and I really want to make the Solheim Cup team. I thought that was neat. I thought, 'She gets it already.
As captains picks go, Wie and Inkster will go down as two of the most memorable in Solheim Cup history.
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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.

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    Victory at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm