The Numbers Dont Lie

By Randall MellAugust 15, 2010, 5:25 am

2010 PGA ChampionshipSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Tiger Woods closed the third round with a pair of birdies Saturday at the PGA Championship.

There was good medicine in that, with yet another major championship out of his reach.

You could see the healing effect when Woods was asked in a roundabout way how he would approach a Sunday with no chance to win.

“Well, people have shot in the 50s before this year,” he said.

Woods was smiling when he made the remark.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods last won a major at the '08 U.S. Open (Getty Images).

This is an encouraging sign as he continues to try to play himself out of the first genuine slump of his career.

“Things are starting to solidify,” Woods said of an even-par 72. “That’s a good thing. That’s what I’m pleased about. It’s not like I’m working on eight different things. It’s just a couple key things, and it feels a lot better.”

That might also be an encouraging sign for Sean Foley, the swing coach who’s been working with Woods this week in an apparent tryout.

Still, Woods is 10 shots back. He’s never won a major coming from behind on Sunday. If he puts together a miracle and wins Sunday, he’ll match Paul Lawrie’s comeback at the 1999 British Open as the largest in major championship history.

Woods’ winless streak in majors is all but certain to extend to 10 majors, though he missed two of them due to injury. A run of 10 majors without a Woods victory will match the longest since he joined the PGA Tour in 1996, equaling his major-less run between his 1997 Masters’ title and his ’99 PGA Championship title.

The possibility that Woods is looking at the first winless year of his 15-year professional career looms.

If you’re a Woods’ fan, you’ll find comfort in his attitude afterward. He’s beginning to see building blocks instead of stumbling blocks in his swing.

If you’re not a Woods fan, you’ll see his hope as denial.

Because Woods struggled on a day when it seemed like everyone was mounting a charge.

Everyone but Woods.

“The course is the easiest I’ve seen it,” Paul Casey said with one roar after another rolling over the course. “It is there for the taking.”

Forty of the 72 players who made the cut broke par.

Nineteen players shot in the 60s.

Numbers don’t smile at Woods anymore.

They snarl at him.

If he was looking at the leaderboard at the 12th hole Saturday at the PGA Championship, he noticed that.

Five off the lead when the third round began, he was already 10 down plugging his ball at the tee box there.

He shot 39 on the front side.

Still, in the end, Woods sounded like a man hooked up to an IV of positive momentum.

Woods had to like the wonderful arc of the draw he coaxed to a foot for birdie at the 17th hole. He had to like the big drive he launched in the middle of the fairway at the 18th, and he had to like the 25-foot putt he died into the hole for birdie there. Actually, he birdied three of his final five holes.

“I hit the ball better than I did the first two days,” Woods said. “I made nothing. You have to putt. I stuffed it in there early on the first few holes and made nothing. No matter how good you hit it, you still have to make putts.”

Apparently, the good medicine in that finish killed the memory of so many bad shots, because Woods put himself in one bad spot after another with errant drives. While he put the giant blame for his day’s struggles on his putting, his driving remains terrifically erratic. He hit just five fairways. Over the last two rounds, he’s hit just 10 of 28 fairways.

Woods did need 29 putts in the third round, the most he’s taken this championship, but his tee shots put him in deep fescue too often to make him a factor in a major.

Asked if he was more encouraged than discouraged, Woods didn’t hesitate.

“Actually, far more closer to encouraged,” he said. “Far more.”

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.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.