Woods-Garcia feud takes center stage on Sunday

By Rex HoggardMay 12, 2013, 1:46 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – It’s only apropos that a week that began under a contentious cloud will end that way.

A parade of thunderstorms cut short Saturday’s third round at The Players Championship, but it was an increasingly blustery relationship between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia that will continue to dominate the conversation heading into Sunday’s Mother’s Day Marathon.

When play resumes early Sunday, Woods and Garcia will have four holes to play in Round 3, which may be four too many for both players after the duo’s already chilly relationship took an even cooler turn.

Lost in the contentiousness of Saturday – tension born from what Garcia suggested was an ill-timed club selection by Woods on the second hole – was a crowded leaderboard that featured Henrik Stenson (10 under), Garcia (10 under), Woods (10 under) and Hunter Mahan (8 under).

All total, 16 players were within five shots of the lead when play was halted by darkness. But – with respect to little-known rookie frontrunner David Lingmerth – it will be Woods and Garcia that will dominate the conversation on Sunday following an incident that only expanded the rift between the two.

Video: Tiger-Sergio feud takes center stage

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Before Saturday’s storms arrived, a fast-moving system that delayed play for about two hours, Garcia was distracted while hitting his second shot into the par-5 second hole when Woods, who had missed his drive in the trees, pulled a club and caused the crowd to react.

 “I think he must have pulled a 5-wood or 3-wood out and obviously everybody started screaming, so that didn’t help very much. It was unfortunate,” Garcia told Golf Channel’s Steve Sands. “I try to respect everyone as much as possible out there. I try to be careful what I do to make sure it doesn’t bother the other players.”

As darkness descended on TPC Sawgrass, Woods had a vastly different, and even more pointed, take on the incident.

“He doesn’t know all the facts,” said Woods, who is tied with Garcia at 10 under par and two strokes behind Lingmerth. “The marshal said he’d already hit and I pulled the club . . . I heard his comments afterwards. It’s not surprising he’s complaining about something.”

When told of Woods’ comments, Garcia replied: “That’s fine, at least I’m true to myself. I know what I’m doing. He can do what he wants.”

Where’s Vijay Singh when you need him?

The Fijian began the week at TPC Snipe & Squabble by filing a lawsuit against the Tour as a result of his run in with the circuit’s anti-doping policy. Woods and Garcia seem inclined to end it with a war of words.

But at least we have the golf, which will resume at 7:10 a.m. (ET) with Woods and Garcia facing approach shots at the 15th hole and what promises to be an eventful Mother’s Day if Saturday’s happenings were any indication.

Garcia began the day with a one-stroke lead, but less than 20 minutes into the “Bout at Ponte Vedra Beach” Woods pulled clear of Garcia, the byproduct of the surreal birdie-bogey exchange at the second hole.

It was the start of a give-and-take day with TPC Sawgrass doing most of the taking.

“It's a tough golf course, and if you do the right things you get the reward, and otherwise you've got to have a short game, and I just like this golf course,” said Stenson, the 2009 Players champion who held a share of the lead until he bogeyed the 15th hole.

At least for Lingmerth the Woods-Garcia row will likely take much of the attention off of him, although it will likely do little for the pressure.

The rookie eagled the 16th hole and birdied the 17th to move to 12 under par. It’s a dramatic change of fortune for the rookie who lost a playoff at the Humana Challenge but has missed five consecutive cuts coming into The Players.

“I don't know if I could predict that this was going to happen, but my game was feeling a lot better than missing five cuts in a row; I can promise you that,” Lingmerth said. “It was kind of frustrating because I couldn't get anything out of my game really. But now this week I've been able to score, which obviously helped.”

Joining Woods, Garcia and Stenson in pursuit of the Lingmerth is senior-in-waiting Jeff Maggert (9 under).

TPC Sawgrass has produced an eclectic list of champions, from Fred Funk to Phil Mickelson, but it has likely been a lifetime since someone won the Tour’s flagship event with pleats.

Yet there was the 49-year-old just three strokes back after a round-of-the-day 66 playing in his 586 Tour event. By comparison, Lingmerth is making his 13th career start in the Big Leagues.

When asked his expectations for this week Maggert embraced the elephant in the room, “To make the cut,” he said.

Woods had much loftier expectations, although given his record around the Pete Dye design in recent years, making the cut was a good start. He has just one professional victory on the Stadium Course and a single top-10 finish in the last decade, which explained his upbeat appraisal of his game following the suspension of play.

“I’m happy with the way I played. We had a long day and the conditions changed pretty dramatically. It was a day of patience,” he said.

Sunday promises to be more of the same, both competitively and from a compatibility standpoint when he sets out with Garcia just past sunrise. Asked if he and the Spaniard talked about the episode, Woods seemed to sum up the atmosphere with his response.

“We didn’t do a lot of talking,” Woods said.

Seems like a good rule to follow on Mother’s Day, if you don’t have anything nice to say . . .

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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

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Green jacket tour

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Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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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