Expert Picks: 2015 Valspar Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 10, 2015, 7:57 pm

This week marks the 18th event of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, as the Tour remains in Florida for the Valspar Championship. 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; editorial director Jay Coffin; associate editor Will Gray; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Jim Furyk: Tough call here. Adam Scott was solid in his 2015 debut last week at Doral but didn’t hit enough fairways. Furyk, on the other hand, is a machine off the tee and has won at Innisbrook before (2010).

Group 2: Brandt Snedeker: His work with Butch Harmon is starting to pay off and the Copperhead course is perfect for Sned’s game.

Group 3: Scott Langley: He’s been playing well the last few weeks and he posted his best PGA Tour finish last season (third) at the Valspar Championship.

Group 4: Steve Wheatcroft: Consider this a karma deal. Within a span of 24 hours on Sunday Wheatcroft was in the field at Innisbrook, than he was out and, finally, he was back in.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Jim Furyk: This place suits Furyk, with his three top 10s over the last five years, including a victory. Seems like a place he could break that jinx of his with a 54-hole lead.

Group 2: Luke Donald: A promising showing at Honda two weeks ago, now a return to place he always plays well. Donald has been no worse than T-6 in his last four tries at Innisbrook, with a win in there.

Group 3: Will MacKenzie: That T-4 last year at Innisbrook looks like something to build on given MacKenzie is also coming off a T-6 in Puerto Rico.

Group 4: Rod Pampling: Banking that a couple top 10s this year portend something even better this week.

Will Gray

Group 1: Jim Furyk: Since his win here in 2010, Furyk hasn't finished outside the top 20. Three starts this season have led to three top-15 finishes, and Furyk shows no signs of slowing down after a stellar campaign last season.

Group 2: Luke Donald: The Englishman is nearly automatic at Innisbrook, having gone Win, T-4, T-4 the last three years. He's been slow out of the gates this year but his T-7 finish two weeks ago at PGA National is reason for hope.

Group 3: Will MacKenzie: He came close to a win at Sea Island earlier this summer, then after a brief layoff to nurse an injury returned to the leaderboards last week in Puerto Rico. MacKenzie finished T-4 here last year and currently ranks second on Tour in total strokes gained and third in GIR percentage.

Group 4: Will Wilcox: Wilcox hasn't played much this year, but he's made the most of his opportunities. Top-20 results in each of his last three starts, including a T-6 finish last week in Puerto Rico. Admittedly based on a small sample size, Wilcox actually leads the Tour in the ball-striking category this 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.