BMW Still in Suspense

By Rex HoggardSeptember 13, 2009, 4:34 am
BMW Championship 2007 LogoLEMONT, Ill. – They stopped handing out PGA Tour hardware on Saturday a few weeks back. Call it the Y.E. Yang exception. Or the Heath Slocum accord.

As automatic as Tiger Woods is with 54-hole leads, to say nothing of that cool touchdown head start he’ll enjoy to begin Round 3 at the BMW Championship, the year of Anything Can Happen has narrowed the list of life’s certainties to death and taxes.

That’s not to say we wouldn’t wager the GDP of a small Caribbean country on the world No. 1 landing his second BMW crown in three years, but recent history demands we go the whole 72 even when common sense and expediency screams for a slaughter rule.

Brandt Snedeker
Brandt Snedeker will play alongside Tiger Woods in the final round. (Getty Images)
No disrespect to Brandt Snedeker or Marc Leishman, the only players within the same area code as Woods entering the final lap at Cog Hill, but Woods’ third round may be the best 18-hole card he’s ever posted and the most compelling reason to date to reaffirm his status as sports' best closer.

“Maybe he could have a heart attack out there for me to have a chance,” said Snedeker, and he was serious as a heart attack. “Paul Goydos said it best, ‘He’s the most underrated player of all time.’”

No, Tour officials resisted the urge to dole out the big check early and get a jump on a scheduled bye week, but it wasn’t easy. Not after the “Monster of the Midway” blitzed the Rees-ed up Cog Hill layout to the tune of 9-under 62, a round Woods called his best – post-knee surgery division. Not when he’s converted at least a share of a 54-hole lead 47 times out of 51 attempts. Not when he manhandled the much-feared Dubsdread track on Saturday with a combination of power, precision and not a putt over 26 feet, and just three over 10 feet.

“I was just doing what I always do, and that's kind of plodding along and playing shot after shot,” said Woods, who only has three rounds on Tour better than his Saturday symphony.

“Certain rounds, if you can get off to a quick enough start and you see some easier holes coming up, you might entertain the fact that you might have an opportunity to go near 60 or somewhere near 50. But you've got to have the right golf course for that. This golf course is a little bit more difficult than that.”

If golf fans ever needed a “secondary event” to carry a storyline, Sunday is it.

Barring a heart attack or a traffic jam on Archer Avenue, a very real possibility that should keep Cog Hill officials awake all night, Woods should be on cruise control before the NFL pre-game shows come on.

That’s not to say, however, there will be no compelling TV coming out of the southside on Sunday.

Scoff at the convoluted points and playoff hype all you want, but the reality is there will be more than one player headed out of Chicago with a smile on their face.

According to the mathematicians, Luke Donald is headed for some Tour Championship redemption. The Chicago native via Hemel Hempstead, England, played his way into the top 30 with his Saturday 68.

Two years ago Donald closed with a 65 at Cog Hill but missed punching his East Lake ticket by one stroke. And the soft-spoken Northwestern grad knows how close he is. It’s impossible to miss.

“It’s hard not to watch the points,” said Donald, who began the week 32nd in points. “You make a bogey and they show you dropping to 34th. It seems every shot means a little more.”

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  • Event: BMW Championship
Matt Kuchar made a similar move, shooting a third-round 66 on the same layout he won the 1997 U.S. Amateur and the slide rule says he’s currently 26th and headed to his first Tour Championship on a course he grew fond of during his days at Georgia Tech.

And then there is Stewart Cink. The man who broke Scotland’s heart at Turnberry hasn’t broken 70 all week and needs a big finish to play at East Lake, where he is a member.

Ditto for Anthony Kim (projected 37th) and Mark Wilson (31st) and all manner of players who measure success by wins and how many Tour Championships they play.

It will not be the media or the Tour-driven hype that will give the playoffs legs. It will be the players, and if nervous glances and anxious faces are any indication, getting to East Lake counts.

“I am eyeing the computer every day,” said Kevin Na, whose Round 3 65 gave him reason to watch the proceedings carefully.

Woods will likely make Sunday’s final lap a formality, having gone 3-for-3 with at least a share of the 54-hole at the BMW, but the Bears-Packers tilt won’t be the only sporting news of note late Sunday. Not with a contrived reset of the FedEx Cup points waiting on Monday that will guarantee suspense at East Lake.

The playoffs aren’t perfect. May never be. But they’ve given us life where Woods has left only a scorched earth and little hope for a Hazeltine National-like rally from the rank-and-file, and that’s not easy to do.
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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.