Cut Line South Beach Special

By Rex HoggardMarch 13, 2010, 1:50 am

DORAL, Fla. – Maybe it was a less-than-encouraging forecast, or a field that looked more “who’s this?” than “who’s who.” Either way, the buzz about Doral heading into the weekend was something just south of a Heat vs. Knicks matinee.

Good news, however. The answer to golf’s stupor seems at hand, what with the powers that be hammering out a “Groovegate” Détente and one superstar committing to Bay Hill while another plays coy.

Made Cut

John Solheim. The Ping peacemaker had no compelling reason to let the U.S. Golf Association, and the PGA Tour, off the hook, but he did, and the game is better for it.

The word is Solheim’s “Get out of jail free card” came with the stipulation that before the USGA shakes anymore equipment rollback bushes that the manufacturers are brought into the loop earlier and their voices are heard.

No word what this is going to do to the Ping Eye 2 after-market, but we hear Phil Mickelson has a few left-handed versions of the pre-1990 club that can be had for cheap.

Phil Mickelson. Virtually fresh off a plane from Houston, where his wife is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Lefty stood at 4 under par following his second round at the WGC-CA Championship.

Although his scorecard was hardly press-stopping stuff, Mickelson’s start was an encouraging triumph of mind over things that matter at a time when golf needs Lefty more than he needs golf.

On Thursday Lefty also delivered on a promise to add an event to his schedule, announcing he will play the Arnold Palmer Invitational later this month to make up for skipping the WGC-Match Play.

Not a bad trade for Bay Hill, but Accenture must feel like they just dished Michael Jordan for Kevin Duckworth and a player to be named later.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Offense. If reports are correct and Tiger Woods has hired former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer the move would be a strong indication that Camp Tiger has stopped playing defense and started moving north and south.

Fleischer was the architect of shamed-slugger Mark McGwire’s reentry plan to baseball this year and you may not have liked Big Mac’s message but you had to respect the delivery.

How much influence Fleischer has remains to be seen. So far this week reports have surfaced that Woods will make his Tour debut at the unofficial Tavistock Cup, Bay Hill, the Masters and the Isleworth member-member . . . or, something like that.

With Woods it’s probably best to throw a dart at a board, because it doesn’t matter if George W. Bush is barking orders, when it comes to all things golf Tiger only listens to Tiger.

Mickelson II. Lefty get’s the double nod this week for his decision to go with two drivers in the bag at Doral. We’ve seen this movie before at the 2008 U.S. Open and didn’t much care for it then either.

It does, however, prompt a few ideas for other players. Perhaps Ben Crane could play with two stopwatches because one would probably not be enough, Jean Van de Velde could go with two caddies because the first one couldn’t get the job done at Carnoustie a few years back and Ryan Moore could pack away a second wardrobe because the first one never works.

Missed Cut

Monty’s API freebie. Officials announced this week that European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie had been given a sponsor exemption into the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Among the litany of questionable exemptions this year this one takes the taco. Monty certainly has had a wonderful career, but Bay Hill is an important event for many up-and-coming players who will likely need the spot.

Besides, the Tour already has enough grumpy. There’s no need to import it.

Stupid questions. Contrary to our journalism school professor, there are such things as stupid questions. Exhibit A came on Wednesday at Doral when the infinitely-tolerant Padraig Harrington was asked whether a victory this week would be a triumph for Ireland or Britain.

“By asking that question you haven’t shown very much insight into anything so I’ll let you go do your homework,” Harrington said. “I’m not from Britain. I’m Irish. I’m from the other side of the Republic – green, white and orange.”

Color the misguided scribe red with embarrassment.

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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