Sergio's win popular among peers, catalyst for Westy?

By Rex HoggardApril 11, 2017, 6:17 pm

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Sergio Garcia’s story has always been etched into his expressive face, be it in good times or bad.

When the Spaniard is playing well he exudes an air of confidence that one would expect from arguably the game’s best ball-striker. And when things aren’t going to plan, be it as a result of his own game or the unflinching hand of fortune, the story is there for the world to see in the form of slumped shoulders or a petulant gaze.

Those who know Garcia the best have seen it all, which is what made Sunday’s final round at the Masters so compelling.

“We’ve seen it in the past, he has his head down when something hasn’t gone his way or hit a bad shot and he wasn’t able to recover and get past that,” said Luke Donald of the resilience that finally pushed Garcia over the Grand Slam hurdle. “It just seemed like nothing was going to phase him this time.”

For Donald, the man who overcame a two-stroke deficit early on the back nine to force a playoff against Justin Rose was the best of Garcia. The Englishman should know - he’s had a front-row seat to this show for years as Garcia’s regular partner at the Ryder Cup.

In 2006, the two Europeans paired together to take down American giants Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk, 2 up, in the first foursomes session; and Phil Mickelson and David Toms, 2 and 1, during Saturday’s alternate-shot frame. All total, Garcia and Donald are 5-1-0 as partners at the biennial matches, which made Garcia’s pedestrian record in the majors that much more baffling.

“There’s not too many golfers that I play with that have as much talent as Sergio,” Donald said on Tuesday at the RBC Heritage. “He’s just naturally born and gifted. I was a little surprised it hadn’t happened sooner, but it just shows how tough and fickle this game is.”

But then Donald, who once ascended to No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking but has never won a major, understands as well as anyone how difficult it is to win one of the game’s most coveted titles, even for a player as talented as Garcia.

They may be competitors, but on occasions like Sunday at Augusta National the likes of Donald become fans who understand what it means to a player like Garcia to finally win a major after all these years.

“The game perhaps owed him one, but this game doesn’t pay its debts hardly ever,” Graeme McDowell said. “It was hard not to root for Sergio.”

McDowell listened to Sunday’s round on the radio on his way to this week’s event in South Carolina with a mix of enjoyment and curiosity. Having won his major at the 2010 U.S. Open, McDowell wondered what emotions go through a player’s mind in situations like this when he’d come up short on so many occasions.

“I don’t know how he felt about it having come so close so many times. What does that do to a guy?” McDowell asked. “At what point do you say, this isn’t meant to be for me? It becomes difficult. I guess the monkey becomes bigger and bigger.”

The Masters was Garcia’s 74th major start and he’d finished inside the top 10 on 22 occasions, including runner-up showings at the 2007 and ’14 Opens and ’99 and ’08 PGA Championships. Hard luck doesn’t begin to describe Garcia’s Grand Slam resume, which certainly wouldn’t have gotten any easier had he not delivered on Sunday.

“If he didn’t get it done it would have been really tough, this one,” Carl Pettersson said. “At that age, the door isn’t closed but it’s close when you get toward 40.”

While players like Pettersson and McDowell watched Sunday’s action with the interest of a fan, others probably took a more personal interest in Garcia’s accomplishment. Players like Lee Westwood, who at 43 is still looking to win his first major championship after a similar career in the majors defined by painful near misses.

“I was thinking about Westwood as a I watched and was thinking what this could do to his mentality?” McDowell said. “You see another guy do something, I wouldn’t be surprised if he won at Royal Birkdale [site of the Open] this year. Just that little something that kicks off in the back of your brain – maybe we can do it.”

But most of all, Garcia’s colleagues enjoyed an accomplishment that was nearly two decades in the making. “It meant so much to him, you could see it in his face,” Donald smiled.

You always can.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

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Cart on the green


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Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

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Finances


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Reportedly fake TIME covers


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Pros comment on the president

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm