Power Rankings: 2016 The Barclays

By Will GrayAugust 24, 2016, 12:57 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to New York this week for The Barclays. A field of 121 players will tackle Bethpage Black, with the top 100 in the standings advancing to next week's event. 

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including defending champion Ryan Lavner. Click here for full fantasy assistance, including stats and picks.

Jason Day won this event last year at Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey. Here are 10 players to watch on Long Island:

1. Jason Day: When we last saw the world No. 1, he was draining a clutch eagle putt on the 72nd hole at Baltusrol. While that wasn't enough to catch Jimmy Walker, Day has been remarkably consistent all year, including three victories, and should bring his best to this week's burly layout that accentuates many of his advantages.

2. Dustin Johnson: Johnson made a surprising early exit from the PGA Championship, but prior to that he was unquestionably the hottest player of the summer. After wins at Oakmont and Firestone, he should thrive on another U.S. Open course where he finished T-3 back in 2012.

3. Henrik Stenson: Stenson is just a few weeks removed from his stirring performance at Royal Troon, and two weeks ago he earned a silver medal at the Olympics. Like the two players above him, Stenson tends to succeed on difficult layouts and has caught fire during the postseason two of the last three years.

4. Brooks Koepka: Koepka contended at Baltusrol on a bum ankle, then followed it up with another top-10 finish the following week in Hartford. Given two weeks to rest - and with his Ryder Cup spot now secure - Koepka could be in for a big week on a big ballpark.

5. Rory McIlroy: The Ulsterman was T-10 at Bethpage during the 2009 U.S. Open, then finished T-24 there at The Barclays in 2012. His last start included a final-hole meltdown at the PGA, but he should improve on that considerably this week after having three weeks to work on the flaws in his game, most of which are currently found on the greens.

6. Jim Furyk: Mr. 58 kept up the momentum last week at Wyndham, where he was on the first page of the leaderboard until a double bogey on the 72nd hole. Tee-to-green accuracy should prove vital this week, and Furyk will bring plenty of it since, at No. 94 in points, he needs a solid week just to advance to TPC Boston.

7. Jordan Spieth: Spieth is making his first start as a professional on the Black Course, and he enters with three top-30 finishes in his last three starts. Already a winner twice this year, Spieth hasn't played since a T-13 finish at Baltusrol and should be well-rested to begin defense of his FedEx Cup title.

8. Justin Rose: There's inevitably a letdown after an emotional win the likes of which Rose put together in Rio. But the Englishman has the game to back it up, especially on a major championship venue, and his last three results (all T-22 or better) show that the back injury that slowed him earlier this summer is no longer an issue.

9. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama had another superb ball-striking performance at Sedgefield, but as is often the case he lost some ground on the greens. He now has finished T-4 or better in each of his last two starts, and while his tee-to-green proficiency should keep him in the mix, his putter will determine a good portion of his fate at Bethpage.

10. Phil Mickelson: What better way for Mickelson to cap a near-miss season than by contending at Bethpage, where he was a U.S. Open runner-up in both 2002 and 2009. Mickelson showed at Royal Troon that he still has what it takes to compete at a high level, and the New York fans will certainly get behind the southpaw if he gets off to a promising start.

Getty Images

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."

Getty Images

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

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm