Power Rankings: 2014 Sony Open

By Will GrayJanuary 7, 2014, 7:36 pm

This week marks the eighth event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, but the first full-field event of the new year at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Waialae Country Club plays host to 144 players this week, each hoping to get their season on track before leaving for the mainland.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Charlie Rymer. For more fantasy assistance, check out John Antonini's "Stat attack!" and our expert picks.

Russell Henley returns to defend the title he won last year by three shots over Tim Clark in his first start as a PGA Tour member. Here are 10 players to this week in Honolulu:

1. Charles Howell III: Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Howell's T-3 here last year was his fourth top-five finish in the last five years at Waialae, and his seventh such finish since 2002. Expect a similar result from the veteran this week as he again looks to earn WGC-Accenture and Masters invites by climbing the world rankings.

2. Zach Johnson: Johnson had no issue taking apart the Plantation Course last week, and now finds a venue more suited to his game. A winner here in 2009, Johnson was one of the hottest players to end 2013 and appears ready to pick up right where he left off.

3. Tim Clark: The South African was a runner-up here a year ago to go along with a tie for second in 2011. Clark has made four career starts at Waialae and has yet to finish outside the top 25

4. Jordan Spieth: So much for a sophomore slump. Spieth came within a shot of claiming his second career win last week at Kapalua, ultimately notching his fourth career runner-up. The 20-year-old has shown an ability to contend against any field on virtually any course.

5. Brian Gay: The veteran stumbled out of the gates in Maui but recovered quickly, shooting 65-70 over the weekend. Equipped with one of the best short games in the game, Gay has recorded three top-15 finishes in his last five Sony starts.

6. Adam Scott: The Masters champ was consistent in his 2014 debut, ultimately tying for sixth on the Plantation Course. As the highest-ranked player in this week's field, he remains a threat on a course where he tied for second in 2009.

7. Matt Kuchar: Like Scott, Kuchar got his year off to a solid start with a T-6 in Maui. The former Players champ has been feast or famine at Waialae - only four made cuts in 10 starts, but he's turned three of those weekend appearances into top-five finishes, including a T-5 last year.

8. Hideki Matsuyama: The Japanese phenom has yet to make the Sony cut in three prior tries, but his game has transformed since turning pro in April. Matsuyama's withdrawal at the WGC-HSBC Champions interrupted a streak of eight straight top-25 finishes in PGA Tour starts, one he is likely to resume this week.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman made a name for himself in some of golf's biggest events in 2013, but he's also had considerable success at Waialae. The Aussie tied for ninth here a year ago in his fourth Sony start and has yet to finish worse than T-27.

10: Harris English: Twice a winner in 2013, English tied for 11th in Maui last week and tied for ninth here a year ago. He continues to serve as one of golf's rising stars and finished 15th on Tour last season in birdie average.

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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.