The End of an Era

By Rich LernerDecember 4, 2009, 1:39 am

Not long ago we talked about Tiger Woods in the same breath as Jack Nicklaus. Now, it’s Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, John Edwards, Bill Clinton and Kobe Bryant.


There is grieving for the end of an era, the end of Tiger as heroic and untouchable. He’s simply human now, like us. Most of us have a sack of rocks we carry around.

There’s anger in the grieving period, too, from people feeling deceived and disappointed.

It’s difficult to separate Tiger the golfer from Tiger the man. President Clinton may have done some laudable work, but his time in office will forever be colored by the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Now Tiger’s remarkable record and rise to No. 1 – perhaps the best ever – will always be shaded by this fall from grace, the demolished SUV and the well documented “transgressions.”

Understandably, people want answers because they’re tired of being manipulated by the PR driven, media driven, Madison Ave. driven machine that spins images of famous figures without revealing who they are.

Do people have a right to know what happened? Tiger as a public figure has an obligation to acknowledge the situation and to apologize for his behavior.

And consider that Tiger is not the only person affected by this. Elin is the one who must hold her head high in the wake of her husband’s indiscretions. Elin is the one who one day will have to explain it all to her children, even as she grieves the life she thought she had herself. She will put her own feelings aside while she tries to repair the damage and raise two young children.

The only way this family can begin to pick up the pieces is if they are allowed to do so in private. But that will be impossible.

Just as we’ve seen every great Tiger moment for 15 years in slow motion, we’re likely now to be fed every tawdry tidbit until the well is dry.

Every Tiger victory has been like a movie, homage to his greatness. He has lorded over this sport. He was Presidential – with much better approval numbers – reaping the enormous benefits of a sophisticated Internet and global media convergence. It was all branded and specific.

So it will be with the teardown. Now he’s on the other side.

Shine you up like the Hope Diamond. Take you apart piece by piece, in painstaking detail.

When his facial wounds heal, expect a mea culpa with Oprah, Larry King, Matt Lauer or any of the other network heavyweights who are pushing to land the big interview. When that happens, we almost always forgive and ultimately embrace, as long as people feel that there is genuine remorse. Kobe Bryant and President Clinton enjoy widespread popularity today.

Questions remain. Is Tiger willing to do the work necessary to repair the damage and will Elin go down that road with him? Has he bottomed out? Has he fallen far enough to be truly humbled?

Tiger Woods can still claim the mantle of greatest golfer of all time. Kobe Bryant is making his own case on the basketball court with his transgressions a distant memory.

The harder task for Tiger may be reclaiming his dignity.

And his family.

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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