A Quick Round with Henrik Stenson

By Randall MellMarch 12, 2010, 1:10 am

DORAL, Fla. – Henrik Stenson hit the shot heard around the world in the first round of the WGC-CA Championship at Doral last year.

Actually, it was the shot shown around the world.

Rarely has such a meaningless shot revealed more about a man.

Few folks remember Stenson’s actual play, his slapping a 7-iron some 30 yards out of the muddy shoreline along the third fairway of the Blue Monster. Few who saw it will forget his striptease down to his boxer briefs to hit the shot from ankle-deep muck. He made more than bogey on his way to finishing next to last (tie for 77th). He made fans around the world.

Stenson, 33, a two-time PGA Tour winner from Sweden with eight international titles, took time out before the WGC-CA Championship for a Quick Round . . . 

Welcome back to Doral, which begs the question, have you hit any shots in your underwear lately?

Maybe a few practice swings in the hotel room, but there have been no public appearances in my underwear.

Golfers choose their clothes so carefully. Do you now think about the underwear you pick out in the morning, just in case?

No. Unless you’re wearing a white pair of pants, then you do. You don’t want to be wearing black underwear with white pants.

How much do people still remember you for that almost naked moment?

To 95 percent of the fans, it was a positive thing. I know I’ve had fun with it. I’ve had to sign that picture more than once.

Henrik StensonNinety-five percent? What about the other 5 percent? Was there any backlash, any great aunt or something lecturing you?

No, there was little bit, but nobody close to me. You have to have fun in life. It’s not like I did something horrendous, at least I hope not.

Did you get fined or reprimanded by the PGA Tour?

No. I wasn’t a member of the PGA Tour, so I don’t know if they were able to fine me.

You’ve won some big events against impressive fields, the Accenture Match Play Championship and Dubai Desert Classic three years ago, the Players Championship last year. Do you believe you’re prepared to win a major championship?

I’ve been improving in the majors the last couple years. I’ve been up in contention a few times. I’ve had some really good finishes with a third at the (British) Open two years ago, a tie for sixth at the PGA Championship last year and tie for fourth two years ago. I feel like after winning The Players, beating the best players in the world on a tough Sunday afternoon, I feel like if I could do it there, I don’t see why I can’t win a major.

Which major fits you best?

I’ve improved every year at Augusta National. This is my fifth year in the Masters coming up. I’m getting more comfortable there every year. I feel like my chances should improve there as time goes on.

What’s the most important shot you’ve ever hit?

One that stands out is the year I won the Accenture Match Play. It was the (quarterfinals). I played Nick O’Hern. I won 16 and lost 17 and we were all square coming up to the 18th. I hit it in the bushes on the left. He hit it in decent position, and I had to take a penalty drop and then I stiffed a wedge to about 2½ feet. He couldn’t get up and down, and I made the putt to win the hole with a penalty and went on to win the tournament. There was a similar moment that stands out when I won my first European Tour event at The Belfry (in 2001). I made a double coming up the ninth the last round, went for the green at 10 and chipped in for eagle and went on to win. There are always a couple key breaks that help you along your way and those are two of them.

What one shot in your career would you most like to play over again?

Can’t think of one shot, but there’s one round I would like over again. It was the last round at Dubai in ’08. I was the defending champion, one behind Ernie Els the last day. I had a great chance to win it and just couldn’t pull it off. I played poorly on my home course in Dubai. I would like that over.

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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