Garcia Gaffe Gives Harrington Order of Merit

By Sports NetworkOctober 29, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 Volvo MastersSOTOGRANDE, Spain -- Jeev Milkha Singh and Padraig Harrington were both winners on Sunday at Valderrama.
 
Singh held on to win the Volvo Masters for his second victory of the season, shooting a 1-over 72 to edge Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald by one shot at 2-under-par 282.
 
Harrington, meanwhile, pushed past Paul Casey for the yearlong Order of Merit title as the European Tour's leading money winner -- parlaying his almost implausible 30th career second-place finish in Europe into his first Harry Vardon Trophy.
 
'It's great to finish second, and yet win,' said Harrington, the second Irishman to win the Order of Merit after Christy O'Connor went back-to-back in 1961-62.
 
'It's something I've always wanted to do. As a goal at the start of the year, I always want to win the Order of Merit.'
 
Harrington closed with a 2-under 69, tying his best score of the weekend after making three birdies on the back nine and two crucial up-and-down pars at the 17th and 18th holes.
 
He then sat for more than an hour in the clubhouse, watching as the scenario that would award him the Order of Merit unfolded.
 
'It's very hard when you can't do anything about it,' Harrington admitted. 'I never like watching golf that I'm involved in because I don't like wishing people bad, but I obviously don't want to be sitting there watching people make birdies, either.
 
'So, I found it very difficult sitting there for the last hour and watching the scoring.'
 
Garcia was tied with Singh on the back nine, but he knocked his approach into the sand at 18 and couldn't get up-and-down for par. The closing bogey gave him a 1-over 72 and his third runner-up finish at this event.
 
Behind Garcia, Singh was doing his best to make sure the Spaniard's score wouldn't matter anyway.
 
After sitting over his ball for a long time in the 17th fairway, Singh knocked his second shot within 12 feet, then two-putted for a birdie.
 
Admitting afterward that he didn't look at the scoreboard until the last hole, Singh believed he might be trailing when he finally lined up for his fairway shot at the par-five 17th.
 
'I was thinking somebody was at three or 4 under,' Singh said. 'I thought I needed to eagle [17] or birdie it at least to have a chance on the last hole.'
 
At 3 under par himself, Singh only needed to make a bogey at the par-4 18th for the win -- which he did after pushing his tee shot into the right rough at Valderrama's tough closing hole.
 
'The last hole, I'm happy the way it finished,' said Singh.
 
Singh, the first Indian golfer to qualify for the European Tour when he won his card in 1997, also won the Volvo China Open in April. Sunday's victory was his first on European soil.
 
'I was calm and a little tentative, too, on a few holes,' Singh said of his final round. 'But I just told myself to focus on the process, and I think that helped me.'
 
Donald had a 2-under 69 to end alongside Harrington and Garcia at 1-under 283. Among the remaining pack, three other Order of Merit hopefuls saw their chances dashed.
 
David Howell, once hopeful to become the first wire-to-wire Order of Merit champion before a shoulder injury and Casey got in his way, closed with a 71 and tied for fifth place with Niclas Fasth (71) at even-par 284.
 
Robert Karlsson -- who entered the tournament ranked fourth behind Casey, Harrington and Howell -- stumbled to a 4-over 75 and fell from a tie for eighth place into a tie for 21st at 4-over 288.
 
As for Casey, he never could recover from a flu-induced 76 in the opening round. Sunday, he finished with his best score of the tournament, a 2-under 69 that moved him into a tie for 21st place alongside Karlsson.
 
In the end, Harrington won the Order of Merit with just around 35,000 euros more than Casey.
 
'I feel sorry for Paul Casey,' Harrington sighed. 'Obviously, everything went against him.'
 
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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.


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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