Power Rankings: 2016 Masters

By Will GrayApril 4, 2016, 7:52 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to Georgia this week for the Masters. A field of 89 players will tackle Augusta National Golf Club, all with hopes of becoming the latest player to slip on a coveted green jacket.

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.

Jordan Spieth won this event last year by five shots over Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson. Here are 10 players to watch in Augusta:

1. Bubba Watson: Ride the even-year streak. Watson heads back down Magnolia Lane with plenty of confidence after a win at Riviera and a runner-up at Doral, but he's also largely flying under the radar. It's a perfect combination for a player who has both the power off the tee and the touch around the greens to win a third green jacket.

2. Rickie Fowler: This could be his time. Fowler has been cruising all year long, highlighted by a win in Abu Dhabi, and his normally middling stat line has plenty of pop: second on Tour in greens in regulation and par-5 scoring, third in scoring average and total strokes gained. Fowler has finished T-12 or better each of the last two years at Augusta National and should contend again this week.

3. Jason Day: The world No. 1 enters with unbridled momentum off a pair of wins, and he clearly possesses the game to challenge at Augusta. But can he stay healthy? Day battled a bad back in Austin, then had to delay his arrival this week because of flu-like symptoms. If he's 100 percent, he'll be tough to beat.

4. Rory McIlroy: The Ulsterman gets one chance per year to round out the career Grand Slam among the azaleas. Since blowing the green jacket in 2011, he's been trending in the right direction at Augusta: T-25 in 2013, T-8 in 2014, fourth a year ago. He has displayed the talent to blow away major fields before, and certainly has the game to do so this week.

5. Phil Mickelson: Few players in this week's field have better Augusta National credentials than Lefty. While he hasn't won since the 2013 Open Championship, he is clearly in the midst of a bounceback season that has included three top-10 finishes. Mickelson leads the Tour in scoring average, which typically for him is a harbinger of Masters success.

6. Jordan Spieth: The defending champ has begun his Masters career in unprecedented fashion, but he hasn't quite looked the part since leaving Kapalua. Spieth certainly tends to rise to the occasion regardless of venue, and he could do so again this week. But this marks his ninth start in the last 12 weeks, and his game has been much more erratic in recent weeks than we saw last spring.

7. Adam Scott: The 2013 winner picked up a pair of trophies during the Florida Swing, and he seems resurgent since the anchoring ban went into effect. His Masters chances will be decided on the greens, as his playoff win three years ago capped a run of three straight top-10 finishes at Augusta National.

8. Louis Oosthuizen: The South African nearly slipped on the jacket back in 2012, and he was a runner-up at a pair of majors a year ago. While he has yet to win since that 2010 Open triumph, he has had plenty of close calls in recent weeks and was a runner-up to Day at the WGC-Dell Match Play two weeks ago.

9. Justin Rose: Rose shared second place last year amid a strong season in the majors that didn't yield any hardware. The Englishman hasn't been discussed much as a name to watch in recent weeks, but he has never missed the cut at the Masters and has cracked the top 25 each of the last five years.

10. Patrick Reed: It's been awhile since Reed found the winner's circle, but he has put together some solid results in recent weeks, including a top-10 in Houston after a bogey-free 67 to close. Should he play his way into contention, Reed certainly won't be lacking in confidence as he looks to snag a maiden major on a course where he finished T-22 a year ago.

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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.