Lots at stake in Wyndham finale

By Will GrayAugust 20, 2016, 11:58 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The final round of the Wyndham Championship is B.Y.O.A. As in, Bring Your Own Abacus.

The PGA Tour’s annual number-crunch nears its conclusion, as players of varying abilities scramble in the summer heat to make it inside whatever particular cutoff point most applies to them.

For some, Sunday’s final round will determine where they play their golf for the next 10 months. For others, it’s a tantalizing opportunity to nudge toward a more patriotic incentive.

The bubble is always the place to watch at the Wyndham, and this year is no exception – largely because Si Woo Kim has taken command of the actual tournament over the past two days.

The Korean prospect notably earned his PGA Tour card at age 17 back in 2012, becoming the youngest ever to do so. Now a seasoned veteran at 21, he has made a habit of feasting on the Tour’s cozier confines. Kim contended at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, then finished fourth at the Sony Open. He added top-25 finishes at both the RBC Heritage and Travelers Championship, sandwiched around a playoff loss to Aaron Baddeley at the Barbasol Championship.

Kim used the disappointing loss last month as an opportunity to reach out to countryman K.J. Choi, who offered notes of encouragement that Kim quickly put to use.

“He talked to me after Barbasol, [said] that’s all right, next time you have a chance, you have a lot of chances because, you know, you can do it,” Kim said. “I said yes.”

It turns out, Kim’s next chance arrived this week in the form of Sedgefield Country Club, an old-school Donald Ross layout that the Korean has turned into his personal playground. After a 10-under 60 that set the tournament scoring record, Kim shook off the pressure of Saturday’s final pairing to post a 64 that grew his lead over Rafael Cabrera-Bello to four shots.

“I never play like this this week, almost first time for me,” he said. “I missed a lot of iron shots before but I keep trying last week, keep trying short iron, mid-irons, lot of practice. This week very much better.”

While the drama may be lacking near the top of the leaderboard, there is still plenty to monitor further down the list. Kyle Stanley appears to have played his way into The Barclays with his scores this week (apologies, Whee Kim), while Shawn Stefani enters the final round squarely on the bubble.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Stefani made a move up the leaderboard thanks in large part to a hole-in-one during the third round, and after starting the week at No. 133 he is now projected to knock Matt Jones out of the 125th and final spot by a single point. It’s an improvement, sure, but Stefani knows there’s work yet to be done.

“Obviously we all know I’ve got to play good. That’s all it boils down to,” Stefani said. “Obviously there’s stress and pressure out there. I try not to focus on that. I’m trying to hit the shot, each shot the best I can every time and just be patient.”

Then, of course, there’s the cutoff that still looms a week away.

The eight automatic qualifiers for the U.S. Ryder Cup team won’t be determined until after The Barclays, but Sunday’s results at Sedgefield could go a long way toward shuffling the order. J.B. Holmes entered the week at No. 7 but missed the cut, and now could be passed in the standings by both Patrick Reed and Brandt Snedeker.

Reed birdied his final three holes Friday to make the cut on the number and followed with a 64, while Snedeker is T-6 after a third-round 65 on a course where he annually contends.

“I’m going to need a perfect round tomorrow,” said Snedeker, who trails by six shots. “My putting is there, the rest of the game is there. If I can think well for 18 holes, I’ll have a chance.”

The last variable to track during the final round is Jim Furyk, who won’t qualify automatically for Hazeltine but who continues to make a strong case for his inclusion as one of Davis Love III’s four selections. In his first start since breaking the Tour’s all-time scoring mark, Furyk is T-3 and looking to build on his momentum to ensure his truncated season extends beyond Bethpage.

“I’m in next week but need to play well to get to Boston. You know, that’s in the back of my mind, but that’s not a goal, I guess, by any stretch,” Furyk said. “My goal would be to go out and play a good round of golf tomorrow, shoot a good number, hopefully have a chance to win the golf tournament down the stretch.”

From the top of the leaderboard all the way down, there are races to watch and bubbles to monitor. Inevitably, some dreams will be dashed while other last-ditch pleas will ring true, as the Tour’s various standings endure one final re-calculation before the books close on another marathon regular season.

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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
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.