One of Golfs Great Upsets

By Randall MellDecember 3, 2009, 1:17 am

Golf was witness today to one of its great upsets.

A giant was toppled in the saddest manner.

Who would have thought Y.E. Yang’s PGA Championship victory wouldn’t be remembered as the greatest takedown of Woods this year?

Who would have guessed that it would be Us Weekly taking him down?

It’s a sad day in golf on so many levels.

The gentleman’s game doesn’t seem so gentlemanly with the No. 1 player in the world admitting Wednesday to “transgressions” after Us Weekly published a salacious story about Woods and his relationship with a Los Angeles cocktail waitress. The magazine promotes the story as detailing Jaimee Grubbs’ “31-month fling” with Woods.

“I have let my family down, and I regret those transgressions with all my heart,” Woods said in his statement. “I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults, and I am far short of perfect.”

Woods released the statement on his Web site Wednesday morning after the magazine was scheduled to hit newsstands and after Us Weekly posted a recording on its Web site. The magazine states the recording is a voice mail Woods left for Grubbs three days before Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree in the early morning hours outside his Isleworth mansion last week.

The man in the recording, who sounds like Woods, complains that “my wife went through my phone” and asks the person he is calling “to take your name off your phone . . . just have it as your telephone number.” There’s an unmistakably desperate tone in the caller’s voice.

It’s sad that Woods got himself into this kind of mess. It’s sad that his wife and family will be hurt by it. It’s sad that we’re all leering into their lives through a supermarket celebrity news publication’s expose.

It’s sad for golf, too.

There’s no more grievous sin in golf than cheating.

It’s sad that the player who may one day be remembered as the greatest player ever will also be remembered for cheating in the larger game of life.

It’s sad that we’re reminded in this way that none of us is without sin.

There’s no telling what similar sins the game’s greatest players of the past might have committed because they were spared the probing examinations of today’s highly evolved celebrity news market.

It’s sad also that so many of us are willing to forgive Woods but still aren’t quite sure what we are supposed to forgive.

We know Woods messed up, but the whole episode is such a mess we’re left to believe the Us Weekly story is true because Woods admits to “transgressions” in the wake of the story.

With the National Enquirer making a move last week, and Us Weekly advancing this week, we’re left feeling like Woods only acknowledged “personal sins” because the tabloid press maneuvered him into checkmate.

As mea culpa’s go, Woods falls short, resonates as reluctant, and even contentious.

Americans are quick to accuse, but they’re just as quick to forgive.

The key to that equation is our sense that those who have sinned are remorseful and want our forgiveness.

Woods, though, doesn’t seem interested in forgiveness outside his family. That’s the message that pierces through the five-paragraph statement he released on his Web site. Three of the paragraphs are a defense of his right to privacy and reads like a lashing out at media who exposed his transgressions.

There’s a contentiousness to the message that won’t serve Woods well in his bid to rebuild his image.

Woods makes an argument for the “virtue of privacy” and defends the “important and deep principle” of privacy.

It doesn’t serve Woods well to make arguments for virtue and principles now.

It doesn’t serve him, either, that he makes the acknowledgments in a statement released on his Web site.

Moving on will be easier if we have a moment to move from and that requires more than a statement.

As painful as it can be, there’s a purpose in public men making public acknowledgments of even private mistakes.

As awkward as the David Letterman and Kobe Bryant moments were, they felt like endings, the repentance that precedes forgiveness and a second chance.

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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