Power outage: 'Supergroup' doesn't generate electricity

By Rex HoggardMarch 3, 2016, 11:53 pm

DORAL, Fla. – Jason Day won’t show up at Doral on Friday putting cross-handed, but given how things played out on Thursday it would be hard to blame him if he did.

The Australian is comfortable with his standard putting grip that produced so many magical moments last year, and one day on the wrong side of the cross-handed ledger against Jordan Spieth and recent convert Rory McIlroy isn’t going to prompt that kind of transition.

For the record, Spieth took low needle-mover honors with a 3-under 69, followed by McIlroy at 1 under and Day at even par on Thursday. It should also be noted all three trailed front-runners Scott Piercy and Marcus Fraser on the Doral big board.

But then the “Big 3” have won four out of the last five majors, and Frazer and Piercy are a combined 3-for-4 in cuts made at those same majors. So, they’ve got that going for them.

The unvarnished takeaway from Day 1 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship was that it was a relatively quiet affair for the marquee with the most.

The world’s top three players were paired together for the first time since last year’s Players Championship, yet even after the three-ball all birdied the day’s first hole (No. 10) it wasn’t as if Doral came alive with buzz.

“It was good at the start and then it kind of declined coming in. And I was the first one to go,” said Day, who went from billabong (No. 16) to the Bermuda rough (No. 18) to get things moving in the wrong direction with two quick bogeys just before the turn and never looked comfortable on or around the greens.

WGC-Cadillac Championship: Articles, photos and videos

McIlroy looked more at ease tee-to-green but needed 33 putts and, he conceded, more time working out the kinks of the new putting grip.

But it was Jordan Spieth who exited cloudy Doral with some pop in his step after matching his best round on a golf course that’s never seemed to be his cup of cafecito.

Even after a bogey at his final hole, the par-3 ninth, the world No. 1 didn’t have the look or tone of a man searching for answers.

“I could certainly have controlled and finished better,” said Spieth, who in two starts at Doral has finished tied for 17th and 34th. “But I feel I would certainly sign up right now for three more rounds with the same score.”

If all this doesn’t exactly live up to the expectations born from pairing the world’s top-3 ranked players, it shouldn’t. Thursday’s subdued vibe is exactly why this type of contrived grouping never lives up to the hype.

While the math looks good on paper, these types of clashes occur only organically.

In 2005, back before this South Florida stop became an exclusive club with a WGC pedigree, 144 players gathered at Doral but it came down to just two – Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson, who was ranked fourth in the world at the time, began that frenzied final day two strokes clear of then-second-ranked Woods and shot a closing 69. Tiger would go three better (66) in an inspiring duel to take the title by a stroke.

Fate, not a faux pairing, brought the game’s titans together that day, and if that ’05 Ford Championship is any guide a healthy amount of fortune is also required, and fortune always favors the prepared.

Woods arrived at Doral that year two weeks removed from winning at Torrey Pines, Lefty was fresh off two triumphs on the West Coast (FBR Open and Pebble Beach), and the cosmic tumblers delivered a classic mano-a-mano finish.

By contrast, none of the so called “Big 3” appear to be in particularly good form heading into the year’s first World Golf Championship. McIlroy and Spieth both missed the cut in their last starts and Day is playing just his fourth event of 2016 and is understandably rusty.

This is not an indictment of the game’s best, only the unrealistic expectations of an early-week attempt to manufacture something epic.

They tried to make magic.

“We were actually able to feed off each other for a while on a very difficult golf course through the first 12 holes or so, and then each of us had a bit of a slip towards the end, and a little bit of a damper on the round,” Spieth said. “But we'll come back tomorrow and get off to a good start.”

Even the crowds seemed to sense the distinction between a weekend draw that has all the makings of an instant classic, and, well, fabrication.

“I thought there was going to be a few more people out there,” Day said. “It will be better. It's Thursday. Once the weekend comes around, there's going to be a few more people having a drink and it should be a little bit louder.”

And honestly, as entertaining as these Thursday-Friday pairings may be, aren’t things always better on the weekend?

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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.