What's new on Kauai golf scene

By Erik PetersonJanuary 19, 2011, 9:33 pm

LIHUE, Hawaii – Despite a sluggish U.S. economy that has lambasted golf tourism in Hawaii, several golf courses on Kauai have undertaken major renovation projects. When visiting the island in late December I discovered that Kauai has a bright future and thus should be given serious consideration as your next Hawaii golf vacation destination.

On April 1, 2010 Poipu Bay Golf Course, host of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf from 1994-2006, closed for renovations which included a reseeding of its greens to the popular new Seashore Paspalum. It reopened Dec. 16 and already is in fantastic shape.

I played it the day after a significant rainstorm, but my ball still rolled in most fairways and the greens were, in a word, buttery. It was a huge surprise to see a new course in such mature condition. I can’t wait to see how it plays a year from now once the turf has had a chance to grow in and really tighten up.

The adjoining Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is putting the finishing touches on a renovation to all its guest rooms. Marble counter tops, rain style showers and marble tile flooring are being combined with rich mahoganies to give the hotel an authentic Kauai feel. Upon arrival you’ll be blown away by the hotel’s open-air lobby, and when you leave, you’ll simply feel sad.

The Prince Course at Princeville Golf Club, regarded by most media as the No. 1 golf course in Hawaii, is also undergoing significant renovations.

Minor bunker work began in September, but due to the clay-based soil and rainy climate, conditions have become problematic, and on Jan. 28 the course is closing for five months for a more thorough renovation. The majority of the work centers around improving drainage, but sharpening bunker edges and changing bunker sand from red to white is also part of the plan.

While the course is closed, the vast pro shop will remain open, as will the newly opened Tavern Restaurant by Roy Yamaguchi.

Seated next to the Prince is another RTJ Jr. design, the newly reopened Makai Golf Club at The St. Regis Princeville Resort. Like Poipu Bay, Makai is enjoying superb conditions as a result of its conversion to Seashore Paspalum. But while the new surface is indeed a major change, it's not the extent of the renovation – Jones also oversaw a reconfiguration of green complexes, new bunkers, new white bunker sand, new tee boxes and an expanded practice facility.

For the first time, Makai has emerged from the shadow of its esteemed sibling, the Prince. When both are open and at full strength, expect it to be known as the finest golf duo in Hawaii.

From the north side of the island back down to the south, renovations to the Kiele nine at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Kauai Lagoons Golf Club are nearing completion. At a standstill for several years due to financial tie-ups, the project is finally well underway and the former 36-hole facility will become a 27-hole layout.

Nicklaus himself has directed the renovation project, which includes new drainage, new greens and new bunkers. Most notable, however, is the addition of a new ocean hole on the Kiele Ocean nine, the par-4 6th. The hole combines with Nos. 5 and 7 to give Kauai Lagoons the longest stretch of consecutive ocean holes on Kauai.

Though 18 holes are open now, Kauai Lagoons plans to reopen the much-anticipated Kiele Ocean nine in May.

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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