Woods battling more than just Augusta this week

By Randall MellApril 5, 2011, 11:12 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Tiger Woods is battling doubts.

Betting houses have dropped him as the Masters’ favorite this week.

His fall in the world rankings continues with his slide to No. 7.

Ian Poulter, the world’s No. 16 ranked player, went on record at Augusta National on Monday saying he doesn’t believe Woods will even finish among the top five at this week’s Masters.

The doubts, it should be noted, are coming from the outside, and Woods sounded determined not to let them penetrate his psyche.

Woods said Tuesday at his Masters’ news conference that he believes he’s ready to win.

Without a victory in almost 17 months, with the state of his confidence a question, Woods was asked point blank if he believes he can win the Masters.

“Hmm-hmmm,” he said with a nod and a smile.

Asked what elements of his game make him believe he’s ready to win, Woods didn’t hesitate.

Tiger Woods
Woods has finished no worse than T-6 at Augusta since he won in 2005. (Getty Images)

“Everything,” Woods said.

On the topic of setbacks he’s endured while undergoing a swing change, Woods was asked if golf has yet to see the best he has to offer.

“No,” Woods said. “I believe in myself. There’s nothing wrong with believing in myself.

“God, I hope you guys feel the same way about yourselves. That’s the whole idea, that you can always become better.”

Poulter told reporters Monday that you can never rule out Woods, but . . .

“I don’t think he’ll finish in the top five,” Poulter said. “I think, at the minute, there are a couple of inconsistent shots. The shots he was hitting at Doral, they were very inconsistent. You can't afford to hit shots like that round this golf course and get away with it.”

What does Woods think of Poulter’s observations?

“Well, Poulter is always right, isn’t he?” Woods said.

Woods was asked if he liked his chances of finishing in the top five better than Poulter’s chances.

“My whole idea is to try to win the golf tournament, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Woods said. “My whole idea is to prepare. I’ve prepared all year to peak four times a year, and that has not changed. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

After his Shell Houston Open victory, Phil Mickelson was bumped to Masters' favorite, upgraded to 7-to-1 by Ladbrokes in the wake of his Shell Houston Open victory, with Woods at 10-to-1.

Woods has won four Masters titles, but none since 2005.

Still, Woods hasn’t exactly disappeared on the weekends at Augusta National. He’s finished T-3, T-2, 2, T-6 and T-4 since winning his last green jacket.

It was at last year’s Masters that Woods made his return to golf, his first public appearance in the wake of scandal over marital infidelities. He sat through his first post-scandal news conference at Augusta National, where he fielded numerous questions about his personal life. In Tuesday's news conference, Woods quickly steered the few personal questions back to golf.

Asked how far he thinks he’s progressed in his personal life over the last year, Woods said: “I’m just looking forward to this week. Last year was last year, and this year is this year. My main focus is to get ready and be prepared and come the first tee shot, be all cylinders go. As far as being a better person, I try to do that each and every day. That will always be the case.”


Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

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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