How will Spieth heal? Players share tales of recovery

By Rex HoggardApril 13, 2016, 8:23 pm

"Don't let a win get to your head, or a loss to your heart.”

- Chuck D (Public Enemy)

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The subtle nuances of competition can only lead to open-ended conclusions.

Did Jordan Spieth lose the Masters?

Did Danny Willett win the 80th edition?

For each, these types of esoteric debates are likely irrelevant. Willett has a green jacket, however he arrived at his major crossroads, and Spieth has a hole that will take some time to fill.

He said as much on Sunday following the most dramatic collapse in Masters history.

“This one will hurt,” said Spieth on Sunday, his face etched with emotion. “It’s going to take awhile.”

How long it will take Spieth to embrace a competitive and cognitive reset is up to the 22-year-old; history suggests the amount of time it takes a player to recover from collapse varies wildly.

“I forgot about it straight away,” said Jason Day when asked how long it took him to recover from his biggest loss (the 2013 Masters). “That night sitting around and thinking, ‘I just lost the Masters,’ was tough. But I also started thinking, what can I do to learn and get better and change that around the next time?”

Day tied for the lead briefly on Sunday back in ’13 at Augusta National thanks to three consecutive birdies starting at the 13th hole. The Australian stumbled, however, with back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17 to finish two strokes out of a playoff that was won by Adam Scott.

That’s not to say there weren’t difficult moments for Day in the wake of his Masters loss.

“I was so angry that night, but the next week it was time to move on,” the world No. 1 said.

For Davis Love III, who turned 52 on Wednesday, reclamation was not so swift.

In 1996, Love began the final round of the U.S. Open at Oakland Hills two strokes back, but he charged into the lead with birdies at Nos. 11, 12 and 15 to move atop the leaderboard. The implosion was just as abrupt as Spieth’s on Sunday, with back-to-back bogeys to close his day and lose to Steve Jones by a stroke.

RBC Heritage: Articles, photos and videos

“I had a putt to win and then I had a putt to get in the playoff and then I made the putt to not be in the playoff. I'll never forget it,” Love said.

Twenty years after his brush with disaster Love still seems somehow stung by that loss, a likely byproduct of the harsh realities of age and rapidly diminishing opportunities.

“Maybe you think you're never going to have another chance,” Love said. “At 22, you're going to have a lot more chances. I'm sure [Spieth] is looking at it differently. [But] it doesn't matter if he wins five Masters, he's still going to look back and go, I could have won that one. He'll never get over it.”

Although it wasn’t on the glaring stage of a major, Kevin Kisner endured his fill of missed opportunities last year on the PGA Tour, a run that began at the 2015 RBC Heritage when he lost a birdie exchange to Jim Furyk in extra frames.

Kisner’s is a tale of perspective.

Some will say he lost the Heritage, Players Championship and Greenbrier Classic, which were all three playoff decisions that didn’t go the South Carolina native’s way.

“I wouldn't say any of them I left feeling probably the way Jordan felt on Sunday,” Kisner said. “I felt like I never really gave one away, I just didn't win. I hit good shots coming down the stretch here. The Players I really thought I had that thing won, even on 17, the fourth [playoff] hole.

“But I can't be upset over the way I played; he played better.”

It’s always a delicate distinction for those in defeat. With the line between winning and losing so fine, the internal dialogue a player encounters after such a defeat can be complicated.

History will likely remember the 2016 Masters as the one that got away from Spieth, just as the 1999 Open Championship will always be the claret jug that Jean Van de Velde lost.

That, of course, ignores Willett’s flawless Sunday 67 that included a clutch birdie at the 16th hole after he realized Spieth had made a quadruple-bogey-7 at the 12th hole.

It also brushes over Spieth’s unflinching comeback attempt that included birdies at Nos. 13 and 15 after he’d deposited two golf balls in Rae’s Creek at the 12th.

Did Spieth lose the Masters?

Did Willett win?

For a player like Kisner it’s best to simplify such abstract concepts down to a much more personal option.

“When it’s ‘could have won,’ it’s like, yeah, we need to improve on that and win. ‘Should have won,’ it’s a kick in the gut,” Kisner explained.

Which mindset Spieth chooses to cling to remains unknown, but given his penchant for self-improvement you would expect him to embrace the former. But it may take some time.

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

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.