Today Was a Good Day

By Randall MellDecember 2, 2009, 7:19 am
WINDERMERE, Fla. – Relatively speaking, it was a good day for Tiger Woods.

If you can call it a good day when your neighbors hire an attorney and he holds a news conference to say that it did not look like your wife had bashed you in the face with a golf club before you drove into a fire hydrant and a tree . . .

If you can call it a good day when the New York Post runs a two-page spread in which a woman you were alleged to have been seeing vehemently denies an extramarital affair with you . . .  

If you can call it a good day when the Florida Highway Patrol calls a news conference to announce they are issuing you a traffic citation for careless driving . . .

The bottom line Tuesday is that Woods’ legal problems appear to be over. That was the good news.

“We are pleased with the outcome,” Woods’ attorney, Mark NeJame told “Other than that, I have no further comment, except that it is over.”

NeJame emphasized the words “it is over.”

The Florida Highway Patrol emphatically stated that the investigation is complete, and they will not pursue any other charges.

Orange County Sheriff’s officials, who also have jurisdiction, said Tuesday that they are not investigating and have no plans to do so.

The penalty Woods will pay for driving his SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree outside his Isleworth mansion early Friday morning amounts to a $164 traffic ticket, four points posted on his driving record and whatever damage and insurance costs he’s liable to pay.

We don’t know the larger price Woods is paying, the frustration of being the focus of such an intense attempt to breach the walls of the personal life he so fiercely guards.

Is it over? The police are done investigating, but the story threatens to linger with so many media outlets that do not normally cover golf still doing their own investigating. Yet another supermarket tabloid is threatening to release a story Wednesday that won’t make Woods look good.

This legal matter is over, but there’s the court of public opinion Woods must contend with as he eventually makes his way back into the limelight.

There’s still the question of what really happened that night and the fiercely divided opinion over what we do and don’t have a right to know.

To be sure, Woods has a wealth of supporters, those who believe nothing about the crash opens a door for our leering into his personal matters. There’s strong sentiment to leave him alone, that what happened between he and his wife is none of anyone’s business.

There are others who wonder whether they would have received the same traffic citation and been investigated the same if they had been found going in and out of consciousness while lying in the road beside an automobile they had crashed at 2:25 a.m.

“Despite the celebrity status of Mr. Woods, the Florida Highway Patrol has completed its investigation in the same professional manner it strives to complete each traffic crash investigation,” FHP Sgt. Kim Montes said. “Although our approach may vary depending on the circumstances, Mr. Woods’ status in no way impacted our investigation results or conclusions.”

Of course, Woods’ celebrity status impacts the media investigation in every way.

If Woods were running for president, for any political office, or if he were benefiting in some way espousing family values, the digging that’s going on into Woods’ domestic life might seem noble, but nothing about the digging here feels noble.

Tom Watson said earlier this year that the responsibilities of starting a family, the contentment money brings and injury were the greatest threats to Woods as he bids to overtake Jack Nicklaus’ record for most professional major championship victories. There’s something else. There’s the burden of fame. It’s growing larger for Woods in all of this. While it seems nothing will stop his quest to be remembered as the greatest player ever, Woods might not linger around long after breaking Nicklaus’ mark. He may disappear more quickly than we ever expected to find the privacy he so relishes.

Now that will probably seem like a really good day to Woods, a great escape with Nicklaus’ record.

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
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.