Tseng looking for 12th win of the 2011 season

By Randall MellNovember 9, 2011, 9:40 pm

Yani Tseng is building an advantage that can’t be measured by any statistical category.

At 22, she’s already constructing an asset the game’s great players have enjoyed.

Brick by brick, with every win this year, she’s building an aura, an intimidating presence.

It’s a growing asset with Tseng going for her 12th worldwide title of the year at this week’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

If Tseng wins again, it will give her eight LPGA titles this year. That would put her among legends. Only Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright, Kathy Whitworth, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam have won more titles in a single season.

“With her physical strength, Yani’s intimidating,” said Hall of Famer Judy Rankin, a Golf Channel analyst who is taking time off from her television duties to care for her husband, Yippy, who’s battling serious health problems. “As her coach, Gary Gilchrist has refined her golf swing. Her weaknesses are less and less, and the icing on the cake is that she apparently has unbelievable confidence going.”

Players feel that.

Cindy LaCrosse said as much after Tseng beat her in their final-round pairing at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in June. Tseng wobbled LaCrosse slamming a tee shot 60 yards past her at the third hole.

“I was like, `Oh man, this is going to be a long day,’” LaCrosse said. “That was kind of embarrassing.”

Tseng wobbled the entire field winning the LPGA Championship in a 10-shot runaway.

Stacy Lewis stood up to Tseng to beat her in a final-round pairing at the Kraft Nabisco in April, but even she acknowledged the advantages Tseng was building after the LPGA Championship rout.

“We’ve got to get better,” Lewis said.

Tseng’s competition isn’t getting better fast enough.

The LPGA Championship runaway was just the beginning of Tseng’s torrid run. She’s winning every other time she tees it up now. She has won six of her last 12 LPGA starts dating back to the LPGA Championship. She has won two of the last four major championships, three of her last four starts worldwide.

In the year’s last major, Tseng’s presence seemed to have a large effect on Caroline Masson, who blew a final-round lead playing in Tseng’s shadow. Tseng’s victory at the Ricoh Women’s British Open gave her five major championship titles in her career, making her the youngest man or woman to win so many.

“When you get increased confidence, there’s a psychological peace that comes with that, with knowing you can perform and win, and other players can feel that in you,” Gilchrist said.

When Tseng first seized the Rolex No. 1 world ranking in February, she wasn’t comfortable with it. She was a bit flummoxed seeing her caddie don the Rolex No. 1 bib for the first time when they teed it up at the Kia Classic.

“The more confidence you have, the more you can handle pressure,” Gilchrist said. “A lot of players, when they get in a position they haven’t been in, with the extreme pressure that comes in a final round, it’s very hard to handle the emotions. There are no short cuts to learning how to handle it. You have to go through it, and you have to embrace it.”

A lot of Gilchrist’s work with Tseng this year has been about embracing her place atop the game and all that comes with it.

The Rolex World Rankings show how much Tseng has relished doing so.

Winning the Ladies European Tour event in China in her last start, No. 1 Tseng built her world rankings point total to double No. 2 Suzann Pettersen. Tseng’s run atop the Rolex rankings is now 39 consecutive weeks. Nobody is going to be catching her for awhile.

“I don’t know if Yani will break all the game’s records, but she’s going to keep breaking more records,” Rankin said.

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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