Hooks and Cuts: Hair of the (under)dog

By Rich LernerJanuary 30, 2012, 9:19 pm

Bobby Rock, aka Robert Rock, doesn’t get haircuts, just trims. He’s never in a state of growth, just maintenance. Because that soap opera hair, that “Dynasty” hair, that Lee Majors hair requires constant care. And it does not do well under a hat. I mean, who says no to a lid in the Arabian Desert? Who plays ice hockey without a helmet? Bobby Rock.

• Golf’s the great equalizer. Kyle Stanley’s breezing across Torrey Pines in all his Camilo-ness, like a movie star – trim, fit and cool as if in an Esquire fashion shoot – and then in five agonizing minutes he’s a 15 handicap making triple. What a brutal game.

• My dad is almost 85, fighting through a tough year health wise. Last week, he finally sounded upbeat. Why? He had hit a few golf balls for the first time in months, telling me, “I was hittin’ ‘em pretty good, not like you guys but 150 yards or so.” What a beautiful game.

• I love Rory. I really think he’s special. But in terms of star power, he simply can’t match Tiger. Rory sells some tickets, sure, but Tiger has a line around the block at Times Square.

• Lydia Ko, a 14-year-old amateur, won a women’s professional event in Australia. It’s getting to the point where if your 15-year-old can’t break 75, they’re a chop.

• Tiger admitted he went to Abu Dhabi for the seven-figure appearance fee. Can you imagine Tom Brady bowing out of a Patriots’ regular season game to go play in China because a bank threw $2 million at him? 

• Stanley’s third shot to 18 in regulation looked lovely, didn’t it? Being a little long in two looks better, a fact that is of no help now to Stanley but should be to all future leaders playing Torrey’s 72nd.

• A pudgy overachiever nicknamed “The Grip,” a South Korean power-lifter, and now an English driving range pro. Alongside the likes of Ed Fiori and Y.E. Yang, Rock assumes his place in the odd assemblage of men who’ve taken down a 54-hole, front-running Tiger.

• Rory’s clearly improved his conditioning, but paired with Tiger he looks like Wes Welker next to Ray Lewis.

• In the triple bogey-to-blow-a-tournament club that should never admit any more members, Jean Van de Velde and Robert Garrigus have company in Stanley. Did I mention that this can be a brutal game? Absolutely brutal.

• Tiger swung it poorly down the stretch and his ability to stay in the moment while fine tuning his new move remains questionable, but he is coming back. To argue otherwise would not be a sensible position. And when he’s hitting that squeeze 3-wood with a slight peel, 290 yards off the left side as he did for three days, you get a glimpse of what he’s after.

• Turns out that golf’s not unlike football. Prevent defenses never seem to work when you’re trying to protect a lead.

• Tiger used to run through, walk over and occasionally trample people. Now he’s older, with a few demons of his own and up against fields that are significantly better and deeper. He used to be The One.  At the moment, he’s one of many competitive and capable players.

• The best football players in the world always play in the NFL. The best basketball players in the world always play in the NBA. The best golfers in the world don’t always play The PGA Tour. And it diminishes, if only slightly, the Tour’s brand while confusing fans. Fans don’t have eight hours to watch two tournaments in the same day. They make choices. If history’s a guide, Tiger was the popular choice this past weekend.

• The football may be over after Brady and Manning settle their Super Bowl score this weekend, but there’ll still be a great passer worth watching over the next few months. Ricky Rubio’s as good as I’ve seen in years.

• Why go for the Tudor clubhouse or the Mediterranean style when you can unleash the Falcon? Nothing says “oil’s flowing” quite like the Falcon clubhouse in Abu Dhabi.

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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