Fact Pack: The Masters

By Will GrayApril 9, 2013, 7:12 pm

This week an elite field makes that coveted drive down Magnolia Lane, with 93 players set to participate in the 77th edition of the Masters. The nuances of Augusta National Golf Club have long been discussed and analyzed, but the players vying for the season's first major will need to pair accurate tee-to-green play with deft touch around the greens. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• Among the last players to earn an invite into the event, Henrik Stenson is now one of the more popular 'sleeper' picks in the field. Coming off a runner-up finish at the Shell Houston Open in his last start, the Swede would lead the PGA Tour in both scrambling and greens in regulation percentage had he played enough rounds to qualify, while sitting second in driving accuracy. Last year, Stenson held sole possession of the lead for much of the opening round before a quadruple-bogey 8 on the home hole derailed his round.

• Though he has played sparingly in 2013, Adam Scott returns to Augusta this week with the distinction of being the only player to finish inside the top 10 each of the last two years. The Aussie, who nearly won the British Open last summer, was a runner-up to Charl Schwartzel in 2011 and tied for eighth last year. Overall, Scott has four top-10 finishes in majors since 2011, and was inside the top 15 at each of golf's four biggest events last season. 

• For players hoping to don a green jacket at week's end, capitalizing on the four par-5 holes at Augusta National will be of the utmost importance. Since 2006, six of the seven champions have played the par-5s in 8 under or better for the week, with Phil Mickelson playing the holes in 13 under and 12 under for the week en route to titles in 2006 and 2010, respectively. The lone exception during that stretch was Trevor Immelman, who played the longest holes at 3 under for the week amid difficult conditions in 2008 that saw 8 under serve as the winning score overall.

• While the appearance of several past champions will be largely ceremonial in nature, two former Masters winners that could contend deep into the weekend are Fred Couples and Angel Cabrera. Couples, who won here 21 years ago, has finished inside the top 15 each of the last three years, including a sixth-place showing in 2010. Cabrera, who won in 2009, has four other top-10 finishes at Augusta since 2001 and has amassed more than $2.4 million in 13 career Masters starts.

• Though the Masters is often defined by play on and around the greens at Augusta National, recent history places an even greater importance on reaching those treacherous surfaces in regulation. Of the past 13 Masters winners, 10 were ranked T-4 or better for the week in GIR percentage, with nine of those 10 hitting at least 50/72 greens in regulation. That could bode well for a player like Bill Haas, who currently leads the PGA Tour in GIR percentage but has yet to crack the top 25 in three career Masters appearances.

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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.