Power Rankings: Zurich Classic

By Will GrayApril 23, 2013, 3:50 pm

After a windy weekend along the South Carolina coast, the PGA Tour heads to the bayou this week for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Several of the game's best will look to go low at TPC Louisiana, with two of the Tour's marquee events now on deck.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Jason Dufner returns to defend the title he won a year ago in a playoff voer Ernie Els, marking his first career PGA Tour victory. Here are 10 players to watch this week in the Crescent City:

1. Jason Dufner: His 2013 campaign has been solid though unspectacular, with six top-35 finishes in nine starts, but no top 10s. That may change in New Orleans, where he capped a streak of four straight years inside the top 10 with his victory last year.

2. Justin Rose: The highest-ranked player in this week's field, Rose has notched top-25 finishes in each of his five PGA Tour starts this year, including a runner-up at Bay Hill. The Englishman is making his fifth straight appearance at TPC Louisiana, having tied for 10th a year ago.

Fantasy Challenge: Sobel, McMurry with Zurich Classic picks

3. Bubba Watson: The 2011 champion tied for 18th last year in defense of his title, and this season has five top-20 finishes in seven starts. On a course where birdies will fly early and often, Watson leads the Tour in par-4 birdie or better percentage.

4. Freddie Jacobson: It's been nearly three months since the Swede missed the cut in Phoenix, and since then he hasn't finished outside the top 25. Making his first start at TPC Louisiana, Jacobson enters the week fifth on Tour in total putting and seventh in scoring average.

5. Billy Horschel: Still arguably the hottest player in golf, Horschel is now riding a streak of three straight top-10 finishes after his tie for ninth at Harbour Town. The active leader in made cuts (22) is showing no signs of giving up that streak anytime soon.

6. Rickie Fowler: Fowler tied for 26th in his Zurich debut in 2011, then improved to a tie for 10th last year. His missed cut in Phoenix marks the only week he's been outside the top 40 this year, and Fowler currently sits 15th on Tour in the all-around ranking and 20th in par breakers.

7. Keegan Bradley: Though he struggled over the weekend at Augusta National, Bradley had four straight top-10 finishes prior to the Masters. He tied for 26th here in 2011, and enters this week sixth on Tour in total driving and seventh in scoring average.

8. Charles Howell III: Still reeling from his unsuccessful marathon attempt to make the Masters field this spring, Howell missed the cut last week in Hilton Head. He should bounce back this week, though, with a pair of top-15 finishes at TPC Louisiana in the last four years, including a tie for second in 2009.

9. Cameron Tringale: Perhaps not among the household names expected to contend this week, Tringale has gotten increasingly better each year at Zurich: T-28 in 2010, T-18 in 2011, T-7 in 2012. He also has three top-25 finishes in his last seven overall starts, including a third-place finish in Tampa last month.

10. John Rollins: Despite a missed cut at Harbour Town, Rollins has been one of the more consistent players in 2013, with six top-25 finishes in 10 starts. His record in New Orleans is equally consistent: T-13, T-21, T-26 and T-7 each of the last four years at TPC Louisiana.

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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