Wie chasing Lewis for year-end honors

By Randall MellOctober 22, 2014, 4:56 pm

Michelle Wie held off Stacy Lewis to win her first major championship at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst.

As the LPGA season winds down, Wie would like nothing better than to see if she can mount a late charge at Lewis for some prestigious season-long awards.

Wie, 25, walked away with the first substantial award of the year in the women’s game, claiming the Rolex Annika Major Award at the Evian Championship last month. The new award is a valued prize as it honors the best player in the year’s five most important events, the major championships. Wie won it on the strength of her U.S. Women’s Open victory and second-place finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Coming back from a summer injury, Wie is in position to make a run at the Race to the CME Globe and the $1 million jackpot that goes with it, and she’s still in the hunt for Rolex Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, though she’ll need a dynamic finish to grab those.

“I think it’s definitely in the back of my mind,” Wie told LPGA media Wednesday as she prepares to play the Blue Bay in China this week. “It’s something I’m not consciously thinking of. I feel like if I play good golf and keep playing well and shooting low scores, that will take care of itself.”

The challenge is prying Lewis’ fingers off the big prizes.

With five events remaining on the LPGA schedule, Lewis is threatening to haul away the most meaningful awards left to win. Lewis has a firm grip on the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy and the official money title with leads in all three statistical categories.

She is trying to become the first American to claim all three in the same year since Betsy King in 1993.

These are prizes Lewis makes no secret she covets.

“The goal the rest of the year is looking at those year-end awards,” Lewis said at the start of the fall Asian swing.

This is a week for challengers to make their moves on Lewis, who is taking the second of a two-week break before finishing out the season. Lewis isn’t in the field in China but will return to the Fubon Taiwan Championship next week with plans to play the final four events of the year. Rolex world No. 2 Inbee Park is also taking off this week.

Lewis leads the Race to the CME Globe points standings with Wie fourth, leads the Rolex POY standings with Wie third and leads the Vare Trophy race with Wie second.

Wie was asked if she valued the Race to the CME Globe or Player of the Year award more.

“I think it’d be really cool to win the inaugural Race to the CME Globe,” Wie said. “Not because of the money, but just because of how the point system works all year . . . But I’ve never won Player of the Year before, and it’s something that I’ve always worked towards. So I can’t really choose.”

With her victory at the Lotte Championship and then the U.S. Women’s Open, Wie has climbed to No. 6 in the world rankings. She was No. 103 just 18 months ago.

If not for a finger injury that kept her out of competition for most of the last three months, Wie could be making an even harder challenge for the game’s big awards.

“The last three months I did drop a couple of spots on all the rankings, so I really want to finish the year strong and climb back up,” Wie said.

Wie, who suffered a “stress reaction” to her right index finger hitting out of a divot at the Marathon Classic in late July, looked good despite a sluggish start last week at the KEB-HanaBank Championship in South Korea, where she finished her first event since Marathon. She tied for fifth after opening with a 76 in high winds.

It was her first start since she re-injured herself and withdrew after 13 holes of the Evian Championship last month.

“I was going to play China and Malaysia [earlier this month], but my doctors told me not to,” Wie said. “I felt really good [in South Korea]. I got to the point where I could play 18 holes without much pain, which is really good. I didn’t think about it. I strengthened it.”

Wie is hoping she knocked off enough rust to make another run this week.

“Every day I felt a little less rusty,” Wie said. “Definitely, some of the mistakes I made on Saturday and Sunday, I don’t think I would’ve made in the heat of the season. I still feel like I’m working on my touch – my wedge game, my short game. I still need to shake some rust off, but everyday feels a little bit better.”

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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
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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.