All-World Nice

By Rex HoggardMay 20, 2009, 4:00 pm
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The 109th U.S. Open just became a bit less interesting. Not because Phil Mickelson, the worlds second-ranked player and the beaming bridesmaid the last time the Open was played on the most blue-collar of all major ball parks, probably wont make the trip to Long Island.
No, the national marathon lost a bit of its luster on Wednesday because Amy Mickelson, the circuits eternally beaming bride, probably wont attend Bethpages Black Course for next months championship.
Amy and Phil Mickelson
Amy and Phil Mickelson at the 2008 Ryder Cup in Louisville. (Getty Images)
A pall settled in over the practice range at this weeks Byron Nelson Championship on Wednesday as news spread that Amy Mickelson has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
More tests are scheduled, but according to Phil Mickelsons management firm, the treatment process is expected to begin with major surgery, possibly within the next two weeks.
Mickelson, who was in the field for this weeks Byron Nelson and next week at Colonial, has suspended his Tour schedule indefinitely, a blow to any marquee, particularly a U.S. Open at Bethpage. But thats not why the national championship lost some of its shine.
Amy Mickelson has never hit a golf shot that mattered, never lost a major championship with a meltdown on the 72nd hole or won a minor outing with a miracle at the last. But she has always been there. For most of her husband's 36 victories and a good number of his 358 losses.
Shes a Tour staple, like scoreboards and surly caddies. Amy Mickelson, 37, is always there with a friendly smile and a kind word, no matter how deep the rough or high her husbands scores.
Some Tour players are defined by their score for the day, but the former Phoenix Suns cheerleader is immune to it all. She proved to always be above the psychology of a game that can drag down even the most free spirits, and thats why the Open took a hit.
Phil Mickelsons name may not end up on the Open marquee, but it will be Amy Mickelsons mug in the gallery that will be missed the most. The harsh reality of the real world always trumps golfs contrived between-the-ropes existence, no matter the major or the moment.
It happened in 1999 when Amy Mickelson ' who met Phil in 1992 when he was a senior at Arizona State ' was back home in California expecting the couples first child, a girl they would name Amanda, and Phil was vying for his first major at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Mickelson carried a beeper and said hed walk off the Donald Ross gem if called. Real world 1, golf 0.
Simply put, family and health and happiness have a way of putting a game, even a game as great as golf, in its place, particularly when the volume is turned up at a major championship.
No, the U.S. Open ' and every event that will be played until Amy Mickelsons return ' will lose a step because one of the circuits genuine gems is locked in a battle much more important than Grand Slam hardware.
Its a telling sign that one of the first statements released on a gloomy Orlando, Fla., afternoon came from Tiger Woods. Mickelsons spoiler the last time the U.S. Open was played at Bethpage and a regular Lefty antagonist was quick to offer the family his support.
Elin and I are deeply saddened to hear the news about Amy, Woods said. Our thoughts and prayers are with her, Phil, the children and the entire Mickelson family.
The Tour is filled with good people ' which is why covering golf is so much better than baseball or basketball ' but Amy Mickelson is all-world nice. The neighbor you always say hello, to, or the office worker you want to have lunch with, and Wednesdays news falls under the bad things happening to good people, banner.
During one of those scorching afternoons at The Players, we spotted Amy Mickelson behind the clubhouse. We exchanged hurried greetings before she paused to ask about my children.
As I raced on toward the 18th hole I couldnt remember where or when Id mentioned my three little tax deductions to Mickelson, and on Wednesday it really didnt matter. All that mattered was that shed remembered and taken the time to ask. Its why Amy Mickelson is special. Its why the U.S. Open just became a bit less interesting.
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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