If You Knew Lara

By Rex HoggardOctober 19, 2010, 12:41 am

SOUTHHAMPTON, Bermuda – They call him the Michael Jordan of cricket, all 5-feet-8 inches of him. They are way off.

Brian Lara may be the athletic equivalent of Jordan, and by every account on this spit of island he is the basketball legend’s equal, but the native of Trinidad and Tobago suffers fools much better than No. 23 ever did.

We should know. We were the fool.

In a quintessential insular American move your correspondent found himself seated next to the Honorable Brian Lara at breakfast a few mornings ago.

Brian Lara and Ernie Els
Brian Lara and Ernie Els play impromptu cricket. (Getty Images)

Familiar conversation: “You look familiar,” he says. “No I don’t play golf,” he says. “You’re on the Golf Channel,” he finally announces. After a few moments of polite conversation we both went back to our eggs and rice with fish.

Later that afternoon we spotted the Honorable Brian Lara walking off the 18th hole at Port Royal Golf Club, site of this week’s PGA Grand Slam of Golf. More polite conversation and he was on his way.

“You know Lara?” one cart barn attendant asked in dismay.

“I don’t know who Lara is, but I had breakfast with that guy,” we shrugged.

It took a good 15 minutes for the attendant, joined by two taxi drivers, an assistant pro and an American caddie, to explain that the Honorable Brian Lara was an international cricket legend. That he holds the record for the highest individual score in test innings, 400 not out against England in 2004. That he etched that record into the books a decade after first doing it as a young man.

“On CNN they tried to describe it as hitting 60 (homeruns),” he laughs before pointing out that he set the record over a three-day test match or roughly 15 hours of at bats.

The irritated locals further explained that the Honorable Brian Lara was in Bermuda by special invitation from the premier and he would be holding a cricket clinic that was much more important than all silly season shenanigans at Port Royal.

At Sunday’s welcoming reception Ernie Els, an avid cricket fan, looked downright flummoxed talking to Lara, a close friend who attended the South African’s wedding years ago, and Premier Ewart Brown introduced him to an adoring crowd as, “the greatest cricket player ever.”

During Monday’s pro-am an impromptu cricket match broke out on the 16th hole, with Els batting, the premier bowling (pitching) and the Honorable Brian Lara in backstop. It was huge hit.

Who needs Phil Mickelson, who needs Louis Oosthuizen when you’ve got the Honorable Brian Lara?

Not that Lara had much interest or use in the pomp and circumstance. He’s a golfer now having been converted in 1994 after losing a four-day test match in two days on an island with only golf as an outlet.

“There was only one plane off the island each day so we had to stay two days and all there was to do was play golf,” Lara said.

The legendary left-handed batsman took up the game as a southpaw at first but didn’t want to hurt his batting swing (“There’s no wrist break in cricket,” he said.), so he switched to right-handed and now plays to a 5 handicap.

“I was hopeless trying to bat right-handed but I could (play golf) right-handed,” Lara said. “I believe cricket is a harder game. If at age six you started both sports you’d excel at golf more.”

At Sunday’s reception we tried to do some damage control, reintroducing ourselves and asking if we could get a picture with His Honorableness, which Lara gladly posed for before asking if we needed anything from the bar.

After his pro-am Els gushed over the chance to play with the Honorable One saying, “He’s a legend in the game of cricket. Top three players of all time.”

No, he’s not the Michael Jordan of cricket. He’s much better. And this fool should know.

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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.