Expert Picks: Humana Challenge

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 14, 2014, 4:16 pm

This week marks the ninth event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season as players return to the continental U.S. for the Humana Challenge. It's also the first two-event week for fantasy in 2014, as experts' picks for the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship can be seen HERE. 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; contributor John Hawkins; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; staff writer Ryan Lavner and defending fantasy champion Charlie Rymer.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Zach Johnson: He has finished first, first and tied for eighth in his last three starts dating back to last year's World Challenge. Always go with the hot hand.

Group 2: Gary Woodland: The big hitter finished runner-up in the Coachella Valley in 2011 and was steady in his 2014 opener in Maui with a tie for 13th.

Group 3: Jerry Kelly: Golf in a dome, as they say at the old Bob Hope, is a perfect fit for the resurgent 47-year-old, and following last week's tie for third it's clear the veteran is not content to coast into his Champions Tour years.

Group 4: Johnson Wagner: A bit of a flier pick following consecutive missed cuts, but he's played well at the Humana in the past (T-2 in 2012) and is always a contender when there is a premium on putting.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Webb Simpson: Not a great record at PGA West, but when you have five consecutive top-seven finishes, it probably doesn't matter.

Group 2: Charles Howell III: Lost here in a playoff last year, and he has a Tour-best four top 10s in this new wraparound season.

Group 3: Brian Stuard: Three top 15s this season, including a solo sixth result last week at Waialae.

Group 4: Hudson Swafford: High-powered rookie was T-8 last week, which is reason enough to pick him in a weak group.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Keegan Bradley: When I last spoke with Bradley a month ago, he seemed very excited to get his season under way in the desert.

Group 2: Gary Woodland: Got the sense he felt like he played better than his T-13 result at Kapalua showed.

Group 3: Jason Kokrak: With three top-20 finishes in four starts this season, it's only a matter of time before this long bomber seriously contends.

Group 4: Jamie Lovemark: SoCal product still has the talent; we may soon see it start coming to fruition.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Brandt Snedeker: Looking for Snedeker to get hot again on the West Coast.

Group 2: Brian Gay: Tough not to go with a defending champ who putts like Gay does.

Group 3: Brian Stuard: Stars seem to be aligning for Stuard, coming off a sixth-place finish at Sony and a T-10 result at Humana last year.

Group 4: Will Wilcox: Taking a flier, hoping his T-8 at Sony keeps him soaring.

John Antonini

Group 1: Zach Johnson: The highest-ranked player in the field has three top-25 finishes in three Humana starts.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: He's only made five cuts in nine starts here, but when he does, he's a hit. Fourth in 2011, tied for sixth last year.

Group 3: Jason Kokrak: Tied for eighth a year ago, and his power game should make mincemeat of these courses.

Group 4: Peter Malnati: Every year a rookie does well here. I'm taking a flier that this time it's the Missouri grad.

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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