Cut Line From Cup to Couples
A decade of majors: Last week's PGA Championship was the last major this decade, 40 Grand Slams that defined a Hall of Fame career (Tiger Woods) and defied logic and conventional wisdom (Y.E. Yang, Rich Beem, Todd Hamilton, et al).
Among Cut Lines personal highlights was the 2005 Masters and Woods chip that still seems perched on the lip of the cup at the 16th hole; 2008 U.S. Open and Rocco Mediates spirited tilt at the games most-imposing windmill; 2009 British Open because Tom Watson made us all believe; and the 2001 PGA where David Toms proved you dont have to hit the ball 320 yards to be a big winner.
Don Hodgskin: He never won a Tour event, doesnt play much golf these days and, truth be told, made his professional way in the world teaching tennis. Yet once a year the energetic fifty-something is every bit the major champion.
Every Aug. 18, Hodgskin can be found running the Veterans Golf Tournament at a central Florida layout, an emotional tribute to Hodgskins brother, James, who died fighting in Vietnam on Aug. 18, 1969.
The golf, lunch and drinks are free for any veteran who can show up and swing a club. Weve got one guy who fought in World War II, Hodgskin smiled last Tuesday at Orlandos Dubsdread Golf Club. I can live on this the rest of the year.
And the 200 or so who participated in the event cant wait until next year.
Made Cut ' Did not finish (MDF)
Solheim Cup: Its impossible not to notice that the LPGAs biggest event tees off this weekend near Chicago missing many of the games biggest stars.
Excluded by geography from the weeks matches are five of the top 10 players in the Rolex Womens World Rankings, including Nos. 1 and 2 Lorena Ochoa (Mexico) and Yani Tseng (Taiwan), respectively.
Its not as though the event has an embarrassment of historical riches, the first Solheim Cup was played in 1990, nor much of a competitive resume, the U.S. is 5-0 at home in the matches. Adding the rest of the world to the mix guarantees the worlds best will play and some competitive balance.
Wanted: Top players, regardless of passport.
Hazeltine National: Maybe Dave Hill was onto something, smiled one player as he walked off the course last week in middle Minnesota.
Hill famously quipped during the 1991 U.S. Open at Hazeltine that, All you need is 80 acres of corn and some cows.
Geoff Ogilvy also joined the fun, Tweeting: I am thinking we should all pool together and buy the PGA a lawn mower for Christmas.
Perhaps the loudest critique came from Tiger Woods, the Tours E.F. Hutton, who mentioned the layouts bumpy poa greens on numerous occasions, particularly after that 33-putt final round.
Were not saying Woods prompted the extreme makeover, but the club plans to tear up all 18 greens and fairways before the 2016 Ryder Cup comes to Hazeltine in an attempt to rid the layout of the poa infestation. A gentle nudge from the world No. 1 never hurts.
Fred Couples: GolfChannel.com colleague Randell Mell nailed this one down over the weekend at Hazeltine National ' the U.S. Presidents Cup captain said Hunter Mahan is a lock and Lucas Glover is likely to make his team as picks.
Hard to argue with that logic, both are team players and fearless competitors, but what if Brian Gay goes on a tear and wins the first two FedEx Cup events? Or Dustin Johnson? Or Steve Flesch, for that matter?
Boom Boom needlessly backed himself into a corner when he should have taken a page from Paul Azingers captains manual: always take the hot hand.
The Barclays: Not that theres anything wrong with the playoff opener and having Woods sign on this year will be a huge boost, it just seems like a bit of a buzz-kill to have the event at Liberty National. Along the same lines as having sporks at a formal dinner.
After years at storied Westchester, the event moved to the classic layout at Ridgewood last year in New Jersey and was a hit among players. Next year the event shifts to the Donald Ross-designed Plainfield, a must-play gem for anyone who enjoys golf.
Liberty may be a fine course, we hear the views of New York City are postcard ready, but an event searching for an identity would do well sticking with Ridgewood and Plainfield, perhaps the best one-two punch on Tour non-major flight.
Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
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."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
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.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“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
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.
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.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18