Sixty Hellish Days

By Randall MellDecember 1, 2009, 6:41 am
WINDERMERE, Fla. – When will Tiger Woods play next now that he has withdrawn from the Chevron World Challenge?

That wasn’t the compelling question after the news broke Monday.

With his tournament news conference now canceled, the question is when will Woods next speak publicly and what will he say?
Tiger Woods is facing a challenge unlike any on the golf course. (Getty Images)
That’s how upside down golf has turned since Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree outside his Isleworth mansion early Friday morning. For the first time more of us will be hanging on how straight and true his words ring than his tee shots fly.

He likely won’t play a tournament until the Century Club of San Diego Invitational, which begins on Jan. 28.

That’s 60 days.

Check that. That’s 60 hellish days if Woods doesn’t address the mysterious circumstances surrounding his crash.

You know who will relish those two months if Woods remains silent about the events that night of the crash? TMZ, National Enquirer, Star Magazine, People and other celebrity news and tabloid journalism outlets. They’ll be more than delighted to try to fill in the missing details Woods won’t provide.

In a bygone era, it might not have mattered, but celebrity news publications, supermarket tabloids and their Web sites are flourishing in a time when newspapers are going out of business and television news departments are slashing their staffs. People are getting their news in different ways now. It may be problematic, but it’s a fact of life.

Woods, 33, has been an exemplary role model in the more than decade that he’s ruled over his sport. Outside some cursing over bad shots and a few angrily tossed clubs, he’s avoided the pitfalls that have tarnished the images of so many stars of other sports.

An important question mainstream journalists must wrestle with in covering this story is over Woods’ right to privacy.

Even as a public figure, where does Woods’ right to privacy end and our right to know begin?

How much do we really have the right to know about what happened that night?

You can argue that whenever someone uses his popularity for profit, he forfeits a measure of privacy. When you allow your image to be used to sell golf clubs, cars or whatever, you are telling the public that the product is worth buying because of who you are. That opens the door fairly to the question: “Who the hell are you? Are you who we think you are?”

You can argue that when you use your popularity to profit, you’re making shareholders of the public who buy into you. They’re investing in you when they cheer for you or buy the products you are endorsing. They believe as shareholders they have a right to know you.

For some of us, that sounds good, but it’s also baloney.

It’s rationalizing because we know what’s really driving the demand to know what happened to Woods that night.

There’s an element of human nature that wants to know the most intimate details about our neighbors. “Hey, did you hear what happened to Johnny Doe’s wife?” It’s that simple. It’s what fuels celebrity sites and tabloid journalism. They wouldn’t be in business if people weren’t so eager to buy what they’re selling.

Woods’ determination to protect his family and personal life has always seemed noble, but even that’s being twisted in this maelstrom. The harder he fights to protect his privacy through this, the more he appears to be hiding something that’s less than noble.

For such a fiercely private man, this has to be agonizing. His wife, his two young children, they’re affected by all this, too.

The longer Woods goes without giving an explanation, the more painful the innuendo. Of course, there could be more pain explaining.

That’s the agonizing dilemma Woods faces between now and the 60 days before he tees it up in his next tournament.
Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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