Expert Picks: 2014 RBC Canadian Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 23, 2014, 12:31 am

This week marks the 37th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as players head to Royal Montreal Golf Club for the RBC Canadian Open. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's 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 John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Jim Furyk: The veteran is playing some of his best golf in years and has a stellar record at the Canadian Open, including back-to-back victories in 2006 and ’07 and he tied for ninth place last year.

Group 2: Ben Crane: Make this a karma pick. After schlepping all the way to England from Oregon as the first alternate at last week’s Open Championship, Crane found himself headed home on Friday morning. The golf gods may owe him one.

Group 3: William McGirt: He was solid in his last start (T-23 at the John Deere Classic) and he finished runner-up each of the last two years at the Canadian Open.

Group 4: Patrick Rodgers: The young professional continues his quest for a PGA Tour card but he is running out of time. After Canada he will only have two more events to secure his status.

Will Gray

Group 1: Jim Furyk: A banner year continued last week, as Furyk finished solo fourth at Royal Liverpool. Now with his berth on the U.S. Ryder Cup squad secure, the veteran returns to an event where he went back-to-back with wins in 2006 and 2007.

Group 2: David Hearn: Many expect Graham DeLaet to be the top Canadian threat at Royal Montreal, but Hearn contended at TPC Sawgrass earlier this season and notched a solid T-32 finish at the Open after making the field as an alternate. He has the tee-to-green game to contend this week.

Group 3: Chad Campbell: Believe it or not, the veteran leads the Tour in GIR percentage this season, and Campbell comes off a T-13 finish at the John Deere Classic. It was his second top-15 result in his last three starts, and Campbell cracked the top 25 two of the last three years in Canada.

Group 4: Patrick Rodgers: Rodgers received some deserved hype when he turned pro out of Stanford, but outside of an opening 65 at TPC Deere Run he has yet play to his potential. That may change this week in Canada, and amid a watered-down Group 4 he is a great option with high potential.

John Antonini

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: He leads the PGA Tour in top-10 finishes in 2013-14 and I fully expect him to get to double digits this week at Royal Montreal. He was T-2 a year ago and T-4 in 2010, although neither were held that the course they're playing this season.

Group 2: Hunter Mahan: If fate plays a hand in wins and losses, Mahan should do well this week. A veteran of the 2007 Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal, he was also the 36-hole leader of the Canadian Open a year ago before withdrawing due to the birth of his first child, Zoe. 

Group 3: Aaron Baddeley: The Aussie was T-9 at Glen Abbey a year ago and has been playing well on the PGA Tour this summer with a T-4 in Connecticut in his last start. One of the Tour's better putters, he should have some fun on Royal Montreal's greens but he has to get there in regulation, a stat he has struggling in this season.

Group 4: Woody Austin: He earned the nickname “Aquaman” during the 2007 Presidents Cup when he fell into a lake by the 14th hole at Royal Montreal. Austin should have the fans by his side this week.

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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