Tiger Woods sets sail to save season

By Rex HoggardJuly 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
Not even Tiger Woods, the games ' if not all of sports ' top drawing card, could have saved the Buick Open. Those cosmic tumblers fell into place long before the world No. 1 made his return to Michigan. Truth is it would have taken four Beatles, Elvis, a free Kid Rock concert and SUVs that run on grass clippings to revive the 51-year-old grand dame of Grand Blanc.
 
There may have been a hint of nostalgia when Woods, a longtime Buick endorser, signed on for this weeks event, but the more likely motivation was a desire to save his major championship season ' not a tournament on life support.
 
I would have played no matter what, Woods said Wednesday when asked if he would have teed it up this week at the Buick had he not been wind-whipped into an early exit two weeks ago at Turnberry.
 
The sky is not falling at Isleworth and if by some act of nature Glorys Last Shot comes and goes without a Woods photo op with the Wanamaker Trophy, the season, not to mention the financial markets, will somehow shoulder on.
 
Under the best of circumstances majors are tough to win, just ask Lee Westwood. Major knee surgery and 10 months of near inactivity make the major mountain that much steeper.
 
Rebuilding year ' like mulligan and lag putting ' is not a term Woods is likely familiar with. But if ever there was a year when he deserves a break from our unrealistic expectations, this is it.
 
And somewhere deep within that steely psyche Woods understands that, which is probably part and parcel with the master plan that is unfolding this week in Michigan. He rarely, if ever, plays two weeks before a major, but then hes never found himself in catch up mode so late in the year.
 
If things didnt seem quite right at Augusta National and Bethpage, Turnberry was an out-of-body experience. And the chorus of questions predictably followed.
 
One bold scribe on Wednesday went so far as to ask Woods if Hank Haney was still his swing coach.
 
Oh yeah, Woods laughed.
 
With apologies to the writer, the question was laughable. Among the things Woods simply doesnt do ' mail in tournaments, show up unprepared, give up 54-hole leads ' is panic, and it will take much more than an 0-for-3 major record to change that.
 
Instead, he took the long view on his major card in 2009.
 
I just got to put it together at the right time. That's the whole idea. You can't win majors playing poorly. You got to play well, said Woods, who has gone 0-for-4 on the Grand Slam leaderboard just three times in his career and not since 2004.
 
Woods has never been pegged as one of the most sentimental guys on Tour, and for good reason. You dont set sail for 18 majors being soft in the middle. But, like the rest of his fellow card holders, economic headwinds have made marketing mice out of the circuits meanest men.
 
As commissioner Tim Finchem has stressed, these guys need to be good schmoozers, and maybe that sentiment helped pry Woods from his mid-summer slumber and onto Warwick Hills rolling fairways.
 
It would be unfortunate (to lose the Buick). Obviously this area's been struggling a bit, and all the players have really enjoyed playing in front of the fans here, said Woods, whose last five starts at Warwick Hills are a study in simply-perfect math ' 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st.
 
Buick's been a huge sponsor of the Tour. Not only the four tournaments they used to be a part of, but just an overall partner of the Tour, I think they've been great. Unfortunately, things have worked out the way they have, and it's unfortunate they've lost a few events.
 
Woods wants to be a team player, but a safer bet would be that he simply wanted the extra reps heading into the PGA Championship. Or maybe it was that pro-am pairing with rock legend Bob Seger.
 
As Woods stepped to the 16th tee his group could hear Old Time Rock and Roll wafting from a house adjacent the fairway.
 
I already had in mind if I would have hit the driver off the fairway, I would have blamed it on him, Woods said. So I hit a good one, so he got the credit.
 
As Woods rounds into shape for the final leg of his most testing season, another Seger classic comes to mind.
 
Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass.
Waves rolling in with the tide.
Dreams die hard and we watch them erode.
But we cannot be denied.
The fire inside.'

'The Fire Inside, Bob Seger
 

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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