Weir a Winner Hensby a Puzzle

By Brian HewittOctober 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
Mike Weir had been away from victory for three and a half long years. All of Canada waited. The pressure built. And Sunday at the Frys Electronics Open in Arizona the wait ended.
 
Weirs short game was better than Mark Hensbys when it counted. Weirs off-season, replete with memories of a singles conquest in Montreal over Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup and now the win at Frys, will be a sweet one.
 
Its been a long time coming, Weir said afterward.
 
And for Mark Hensby, its been a long time gone. His story is a very different one from Weirs. But it is one worth examination.
 
Of all the professional golfers Ive ever covered and written about, Mark Hensby is one of them.
 
And, yes, if you missed the nuance, its hard not to damn Hensby with faint praise.
 
And thats because this enigmatic and hardscrabble Aussie is so difficult to figure.
 
Stoic? Hensby repeated after finishing second and being asked about his demeanor. I have no idea what that means. Do you have a dictionary?
 
Is Hensby the sometimes brilliant player who fired a sizzling 61 at the Frys Friday in Arizona? Or is Hensby the bubblehead who forgot to file his application and missed the deadline for gaining entry into this years Q-school?
 
Was Hensby dead-on or a loose cannon two years ago when he slung mud at the figurative shrine of Greg Norman, the patriarch of modern Australian golf?
 
I cant see why Greg Norman isnt doing anything, Hensby said of the man voted Australias Golfer of the Century. To me, he should be doing a little bit more to make sure it (the Australasian PGA Tour) doesnt go downhill.
 
Among other Aussies, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby'were quick to defend Norman against Hensbys attack. Allenby characterized Hensbys comments as pretty sad.
 
This is the same Hensby who regularly slept in a car in the parking lot one winter near Chicagos Cog Hill No. 4 so he could practice at that facilitys heated hitting bays when they opened.
 
There is no questioning Hensbys heart. And much of what rolls around inside his head is worth listening to if, for no other reason, than his voice is so ... well ... different.
 
Hensby arrived at Grayhawk Golf Club this week ranked No. 151 on the money list. By the time he made the turn Sunday, he held a share of the lead with Weir.
 
By the end of the day of the day he had earned $540,000 and secured his playing privileges for 2008. No Q-school necessary after all.
 
Almost forgotten now is the incident at Bay Hill two years ago when Hensby ran out of golf balls.
 
It was embarrassing, Hensby said at the time, after pumping the last Titleist in his bag out of play on the last hole of his first round. What was I going to do?
 
Because his caddie hadnt replenished his supply overnight when the first round bled into Friday because of a rain delay, he found himself out of ammo. And because the partners in his grouping used different golf balls than his, he couldnt borrow one.
 
The media treated his withdrawal as an amusing development. But privately, many of Hensbys fellow players considered his faux-pas to be inexcusable.
 
Meanwhile, Hensbys lone visit to Grayhawk before this week was to attend fellow Aussie Geoff Ogilvys wedding there. On Thursday, by his own account, he didnt hit a fairway until his 10th hole.
 
Going into this week Hensby was still looking for his first top 10 of the year and had seen his world ranking drop to No. 345. This from a player who had climbed into the top 30 in those rankings and won $2.7 million as recently as 2004 to finish No. 15 on the money list. The highlight was a victory at the John Deere Classic. In 2005 he played on the International side in the Presidents Cup.
 
Injuries slowed his progress after that and when he missed half the cuts of the events he entered last year he basically disappeared from most peoples golf radar screens.
 
To me it doesnt matter, Hensby said bravely Saturday when pressed about his Q-school blunder. If I play well, I dont have to worry about it. If I dont, Im not going to go to Q-School.
 
Sunday, Hensby played better than everybody except Weir. They will be dancing in the streets north of the border at golf courses all across Canada this week. But down under, its hard to know if many people took very much notice of the guy who came second and now safely ranks No. 99 on the U.S, money.
 
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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”