The Fun is Gone

By Rex HoggardAugust 8, 2010, 8:27 pm

WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio – Earlier this year during his mass-media mea culpa from TPC Sawgrass Tiger Woods said he intended to clean up his on-course antics and colorful language. On Sunday at Firestone Country Club it was his body language that had a PG-13 look to it.

Less than three and a half hours after he teed off for his final round at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational the world No. 1 was wheeling off property, 18 over par for the tournament and adding up scores like an 18 handicap.

In the span of 15 minutes on Sunday Woods hit a spectator in the mouth (tee shot at the 15th), a tree (16th) and a water hazard (16th). That’s “two” off the sycamore, “three” in the drink, four out, double bogey-7.

Asked if he was having any fun on the golf course these days Woods was direct, “Absolutely not. Shooting 18 over is not fun. I don’t see how it can be fun shooting 18 over, especially since my handicap is supposed to be zero.”

But then he’s supposed to be the No. 1 player in the world, at least for another afternoon if Phil Mickelson can muster a top-4 finish to unseat him, and yet he remains winless through eight Tour starts, the second-longest drought to start a season of his career, his 18-over total was his highest score ever in relation to par and he’s bound for his worst finish as a pro.

On his way to a final-round 77, his highest score at a golf course where he’s won seven times and not finished worse than fourth place, Woods’ swing looked awkward, even painful at times.

Asked after his round if there were any injuries that the media is unaware of, Woods said no. But the question remains: is it a physical or psychological ailment that has Goliath playing like Gilligan?

What is certain is that Woods’ pedestrian play is certainly not for a lack of effort.

“People can say he’s throwing in the towel but that’s just not the case,” said Anthony Kim, who played the final round with Woods. “He’s giving it everything he’s got.”

The AK pairing seemed apropos given the two appeared destined to be a Ryder Cup power tandem a few years back. On Sunday they were competing for low-rehab division honors, with Kim participating in his first event since thumb surgery in the spring.

“We had a good time out there even though we both shot 100 over par, combined and individually,” said Kim, who signed for a 76.

Woods has been here before, in 1998 and ’99 when he overhauled his swing with Butch Harmon, and there were flashes of what we’ve come to expect on summer Sundays from the guy in red.

He played Nos. 11-13 in 2 under, including his longest putt of the week, a 12 ½ footer at the 11th for birdie, but played his next three in 5 over, including double bogeys at Nos. 14 and 16.

Nor did Woods completely loose his sense of humor, although his worst week as a professional tested the boundaries of his patience. When asked if he planned to play a practice round at Whistling Straits, site of next week’s PGA Championship, on Monday Woods almost smiled, “No, not tomorrow. I’m out there today. I could probably play 18 and still watch (the Bridgestone leaders) finish.”

But levity only goes so far. Woods is currently ninth on the Ryder Cup points list and plans to meet with U.S. captain Corey Pavin this week in Wisconsin. Given the state of his game Woods did not seem convinced he should be a captain’s pick if it came to that.

“I wouldn’t help the team if I’m playing like this,” Woods said. “No one would help the team if they’re shooting 18 over par.”

Kim, like Steve Stricker a day earlier, had a much different take on Woods’ Ryder Cup future.

“You can’t not pick the guy,” Kim said. “In match play events it’s about who wants to win more, who can grind through the bad shots and hostile crowds and I know he loves to win.”

Whether love can truly conquer all, however, remains to be seen.

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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