Tigers Nightmare

By Randall MellNovember 29, 2009, 7:49 am

WINDERMERE, Fla. – Corporal Irvin Murr was grilled with questions late Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Windermere Police Department as he prepared to depart for his rounds.

The inquisition didn’t come from media trying to pry details about what led Tiger Woods to crash his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree near his mansion in the early morning hours Friday, but from an irate citizen upset that up to 10 TV trucks were camped along the street outside the gates of the Isleworth community where Woods lives.

Thirty or so vehicles belonging to reporters, photographers and camera crews were squeezed between signs that marked the area as a tow-away zone.

Golf Channel and ESPN were there, but the sports crews were outnumbered by the news crews. CNN, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS and their local news affiliates all had reporters there doing remote reports.

“Why don’t you tow them away?” the citizen barked more than asked.

“We’re not enforcing that today,” Murr said.

Where’s Stevie Williams when you need him? Woods’ caddie, who disdains cameras nearly as much as his boss, wouldn’t have liked the spectacle outside Isleworth in the two days after Woods’ crash. Never have the walls Woods has worked so hard to build around his personal life come so close to being breached.

This is Woods’ nightmare.

No matter how innocent his explanation as to what happened early Friday morning may be, he’s enduring a media onslaught the likes of which he’s never seen. In fact, it rivals anything golf has ever seen.

Black Friday took on a different meaning in the world of golf this week.

It was a momentous day because it marked the first time the sport’s protective barrier has been breached by celebrity, gossip and supermarket tabloid journalism.

It may be remembered as the day the paparazzi discovered golf.

TMZ, People and the National Enquirer are all digging into this story.

Actually, their breach of the golf world started two days before the accident, when the National Enquirer featured a story alleging Woods has been having an extramarital affair with a New York night club hostess. Rachel Uchitel, the woman named, denied the accusation when contacted by the Associated Press.

TMZ.com reported that Woods told a friend that an argument between himself and his wife, Elin, preceded the accident. There were other details about a domestic dispute.

Windermere police chief Daniel Saylor told media that Woods’ wife said she broke the window after she heard the accident and “supposedly got him out and laid him on the ground.” Saylor said Woods was in and out of consciousness when his officers got there.

Saylor said his officers heard nothing about an alleged domestic dispute.

The nature of our information age has changed, and nobody in golf is enduring the troubling repercussions of that more than Woods. People are getting their news long before their newspaper hits the driveway or even before the nightly TV news airs before their bedtime, and they aren’t getting it all from traditional outlets.

Celebrity journalism, and the intrusion it brings into the private lives of public figures, is flourishing on the airwaves and on the Web. It’s getting impossible to ignore.

Golf always seemed exempt from that, but not anymore.

Woods, 33, has been married five years. He and his wife have two children. Through more than a decade at the top of his sport, at the top of the sporting world, Woods has lived an exemplary public life. Outside some tossed clubs and some angry cursing over bad shots, he’s avoided the problems that have plagued so many NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball stars.

Woods may have an innocent explanation about what happened, but his declining to meet with Florida Highway Patrol officers for a second consecutive day on Saturday only fuels speculation that does Woods no service. It doesn’t serve the sport, either. Woods is human, and never have more searing eyes waited to see just how human.

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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