Expert Picks: WGC-Accenture Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 18, 2013, 7:45 pm

This week the PGA Tour heads to Dove Mountain Golf Club in Marana, Ariz. for the season's first WGC event. Hunter Mahan defends his title against 63 of the world's best in single-elimination match play format. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Randall Mell

Jones Bracket: Charl Schwartzel: Liking his form after following up a 2nd at the Joburg Open with a T-3 showing at Riviera.

Hogan Bracket: Matt Kuchar: Match play brings out his best, and it will again this week.

Player Bracket: Tiger Woods: Looked formidable winning at Torrey Pines, and all the pieces appear to be coming together.

Snead Bracket: Luke Donald: That wonderful short game will wear out his opponents.

Final Prediction: Donald over Kuchar


Jason Sobel

Jones: Ryan Moore: Former U.S. Amateur champion is obviously proficient in the match play format, and has been playing some very good golf so far this season.

Hogan: Nicolas Colaserts: My bracket has a Colsaerts-Garrigus matchup on Saturday morning. If it happens, bring your binoculars.

Player: Tiger Woods: Truth be told, I don't love him in this event - but I really don't love his bracket. Easily the weakest of the four.

Snead: Scott Piercy: Sure, Ian Poulter is the popular pick, but Piercy hits bombs and plays his best golf in the desert. Watch out.

Final Prediction: Moore over Woods


Win McMurry

Jones: Charl Schwartzel: He has finished in the top-five in all of his last five worldwide starts, including winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship in mid-December. He’s 5-4 at Dove Mountain, yet all four of his losses went at least 18 holes. The toughest match before the semi-finals could be Ryan Moore in the third round. His best recent match play result was making it to the quarter-finals in 2011 Volvo World Match Play.

Hogan: Justin Rose: He tied for second at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and has stayed hot now for months contending at big events, including a T3 at the PGA Championship and T5 at the Bridgestone Invitational last year. He was knocked out in the first round last year, but has made it to the quarterfinals before, back in 2007. He went 2-2-0 at Medinah closing Sunday with three consecutive birdies to beat Phil Mickelson. I believe he’ll channel those feelings this week.

Player: Tiger Woods: Tiger has struggled here recently without making it past round two since he won in 2008. Tiger is back in form, coming off his win at Torrey Pines and he has the best record here, 33-9. Despite not winning a full point for the Americans at the Ryder Cup (0-3-1), he comes into the week after playing golf with the President. If he needs any confidence boost, or reminder of who he is, he has it.

Snead: Luke Donald: He’ll put Michael Jordan’s mind-game techniques to work this week as he tries to capture his second match play title here in three years. Last year as the top seed he went out in the first round, but the year before he won it all. He’s 16-7 in the event. His toughest opponent may be Ian Poulter.

Final Prediction: Woods over Rose  


Ryan Lavner

Jones: Charl Schwartzel: It'd be foolish to ignore his scalding-hot record over the last seven worldwide starts: T3-2-1-1-2-T3-5. With Rory out of the way early - I have him losing to Fowler in the second round - Schwartzel will have little resistance in reaching the Final Four.

Hogan: Justin Rose: This is one of the deepest brackets, so the road to the semis could be an arduous one for Rose. But I see the Englishman squeaking by Keegan Bradley to set up a date in the Final Four.

Player: Tiger Woods: Yes, Tiger is in great form, as he showed at Torrey Pines and, reportedly, in an 18-hole duel with the Leader of the Free World. But Tiger has a relatively easy path to the semis, and I see him only needing to get past Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan to reach it.

Snead: Ian Poulter: Can't bail on the match-play maven, at least not yet. Even with the extended layoff, I expect Poults to be sharp at Dove Mountain, where he won in 2010. He'll take down Luke Donald in the quarterfinals to reach the Final Four.

Final Prediction: Woods over Schwartzel 

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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