Fantasy Island: Valero Texas Open

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 13, 2011, 5:13 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the the Valero Texas Open. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three 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 consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell; contributors John Hawkins and Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for NBCSports.com's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton.


You can battle the experts and play along as well. Just click here to get into the game.

Valero Texas Open

*Ranking among the 16 GolfChannel.com experts

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Group A:
Adam Scott

Group B:
Chris Kirk

Group C:
Garth Mulroy

Because the golf gods have a grudge against belly putters only at major championships, not off-the-shelf PGA Tour events, and there is no better competitive comeback in golf right now, non-Tiger Woods division, than the Australian.

Kirk played as well as one can without winning the last time the circuit stopped in the Lone Star State (T-2 at Houston Open) and after watching the Masters at home he’s looking not to miss next year’s show.

The second-year Tour player is a flier in a weak field, but he’d done virtually nothing last year before posting a year’s best tie for sixth, and he’s on a similar path this year with just a missed cut on his 2011 card.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell

Group A:
Ryan Palmer

Group B:
Jimmy Walker

Group C:
Steve Flesch
Nice little run at the Masters gets him going in Texas.
 
Good vibes from last year's run in the event gets him going this week.
 
See Jimmy Walker pick above from Group B ...

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer

Group A:
Adam Scott

Group B:
Angel Cabrera

Group C:
Blake Adams
Two kinds of momentum working here: Great Masters and defending champion.

Even though it's not a major, Cabrera is close to being on form based on his getting into the mix at Augusta.  

I'm going with Adams here, mostly because he's a really nice guy and I've got a bit of a hunch.
John Hawkins

John Hawkins

Group A:
Adam Scott

Group B:
Justin Leonard

Group C:
Rocco Mediate



Everyone will be picking him this week as he is riding the Masters wave.

Seems like he wins this thing every other year.

Tough group to choose from this week and Rocco pops up on the leaderboard a couple of times a year.

Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Group A:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group B:
Fredrik Jacobson

Group C:
Kyle Stanley

A bunch of people will jump on Adam Scott, which is precisely why I'm going with the other Aussie. Ogilvy was in the mix last week, and I'm betting he wants to be there again soon.

The other Freddie has consecutive top-5 finishes in San Antonio and has three top-20 finishes in his last five PGA Tour events.

The pick is only a hunch. Stanley is a good young player and he makes birdies in bunches. He's only missed one cut in 10 events this year.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams

Group A:
Ryan Palmer

Group B:
Spencer Levin

Group C:
Garrett Willis
He may have just two top-10s in 2011, but one of them was 10th place last week in the Masters. He shot a final-round 64 at TPC San Antonio last year to finish T-9.
 
He has three top-10 finishes in 2011 – at Pebble Beach, Mayakoba, and Bay Hill – and is seeking his first PGA Tour win. Also finished T-9 at TPC San Antonio in 2010.
 
Finished T-15 at Innisbrook this year and he would have been higher if not for a final-round 74. Had a solid T-13 in San Antonio last year.

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias

Group A:
Bo Van Pelt

Group B:
Jimmy Walker

Group C:
Rocco Mediate


After a slow start to the 2011 PGA Tour season, he is showing signs of life, including his best finish of the year last week – a tie for eighth place at the Masters. Finished T-28 at TPC San Antonio last year.
 
Had three top-10 finishes in his first five starts in 2011 and is showing signs of good play again. He opened with a 63 in the first round in Houston and returns to a course where he finished T-3 in 2010.
 
Taking a bit of a flier with this one. He has not played well in 2011 and missed the cut here in 2010. But I like the guy and I think he will play well.

Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Group A:
Geoff Ogilvy

Group B:
Chris Kirk

Group C:
Chris Stroud
Had a good showing at the Masters, and Australians seem to play well in Texas.
 
He played well two weeks ago in Houston so I'm hoping he can continue with Texas magic.
 
I'll go with a guy that has Texas roots. He was born in Texas and went to school at Lamaroard.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee

Group A:
Adam Scott

Group B:
Jhonattan Vegas

Group C:
Nate Smith
Though I may be risking the same thing I did by selecting Phil Mickelson the week after his win in Houston, Adam Scott is the defending champion on this second-year site and played beautifully at Augusta.

It's a home game for the University of Texas product. Sure, San Antonio isn't quite Austin, but Vegas should have a significant amount of Longhorn support. And the course should fit his power game.

Call it a hunch, but I think he learned quite a bit from the weekend in Houston two weeks ago.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton


Group A:
Ryan Palmer

Group B:
Jimmy Walker

Group C:
Kyle Stanley
I need to make something happen, and suspect Adam Scott will be the majority pick. Palmer closed out a T-9 here last year with a bogey-free 64. He also placed 10th at the Masters.
 
Cooled since posting top-10s in three of his first five starts, but lives locally and shared third in the debut of TPC San Antonio last year.
 
Rookie ranks 15th on the PGA Tour in the all-around, including 12th in distance off the tee and 24th in greens hit. Also fifth in par-5 performance. Has cashed in nine of 10 starts.


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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