Plenty of blame to go around in Woods penalty

By Randall MellApril 13, 2013, 5:41 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods was wrong.

Augusta National Golf Club was wrong.

Two wrongs aren’t made right by the Masters leadership invoking Rule 33-7 and waiving Woods’ disqualification so he can continue to pursue a 15th major championship title this weekend.

A foul odor hung over Augusta National on Friday when Tianlang Guan was penalized one shot for slow play. The club had discretion in the matter, and it decided not to cut the kid a break. Because while Guan clearly was in violation of the tournament’s slow-play policy, it’s difficult to believe he is the first player in 77 years of the Masters to be in violation. The air here freshened a bit when Guan made the cut, becoming the youngest player to make a cut in major championship history.

Now, with Augusta National using its discretion in the Woods ruling by waiving a DQ for signing an incorrect scorecard, this Masters doesn’t smell right again.

Photos: Woods' illegal drop on 15

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Woods believes “Winning fixes everything.”

Woods said that a long time ago, he has repeated it over the years, and he took some heat when Nike resurrected the quote after he won the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few weeks ago.

How curious the timing of Nike’s commercial feels now.

Winning fixes everything?

Woods’ conviction will be put to the test if he wins this Masters.

We’ll see if winning fixes everying because a legion of folks believes if he wins now, this Masters victory will be tainted, that it will deserve an asterisk.

If Woods wins this weekend, if he goes on to win one more major championship than Jack Nicklaus won, how will that record be regarded?

Woods, it’s pretty clear, did not know he was breaking a rule at the 15th hole Friday. It sounds like he mixed up two rules regarding the procedure for taking a drop after hitting a ball into a hazard. Clearly, Woods did give himself an advantage by failing to drop from the spot where he originally played when he caromed a shot off the flagstick and into the water. Woods dropped about two yards behind the spot he originally played. He broke the rules doing so, requiring a two-shot penalty. He signed an incorrect scorecard in failing to apply the penalty.

Augusta National’s mistake was that after being advised by a television viewer that Woods took an improper drop, the rules committee reviewed Woods’ drop. It did so while Woods was playing the 18th hole. The committee determined Woods complied with the rules. Later, after Woods signed his scorecard, he explained to media that he was trying to drop two yards behind his original lie to give himself more room to land his shot in front of the flag. Upon hearing that Woods intentionally dropped away from his original lie, the committee reversed itself and determined Woods did drop in violation of the rules.

Augusta National’s mistake was not discussing the drop with Woods after its rules committee reviewed the replay and before Woods signed his scorecard. By doing so, the committee could have applied the penalty before Woods signed an incorrect scorecard.

Fred Ridley, the Masters competition committee chairman, said Saturday morning that waiving disqualification was warranted because the committee waited until after Woods signed his scorecard before reversing its original ruling that there was no penalty.

“We made a decision before he signed his scorecard, and we think he’s entitled to be protected,” Ridley said.

The bottom line is that Woods violated the Rules of Golf taking an improper drop. Whether he intentionally did so doesn’t matter. He should have known the rules, and he signed for an incorrect scorecard.

No matter what the Augusta National’s rules committee says now, it doesn’t change that.

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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

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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

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Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

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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