Power Rankings: 2016 PGA Championship

By Will GrayJuly 26, 2016, 7:31 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to New Jersey this week for the PGA Championship. A field of 156 players will tackle Baltusrol Golf Club, which hosts the event for the first time since 2005.

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 by two shots over Jordan Spieth. Here are 10 players to watch in the Garden State:

1. Dustin JohnsonHe has topped these rankings for three weeks running now, and for good reason. Johnson remains the hottest player in the game, fresh off a runner-up at the RBC Canadian Open, and as long as his 340-yard power fade is working off the tee, he can be expected to factor.

2. Rory McIlroy: It's an even-numbered year, which means it's time for McIlroy to win another Wanamaker. While he has seemingly been passed in recent months by the likes of Johnson and Jason Day, McIlroy has still compiled an impressive run of eight top-10 finishes in his last 11 major starts and his record in this championship in particular is nearly unrivaled.

3. Jason Day: The defending champ has already won three times this year, including the Players and a WGC, and could become the first to successfully defend at this event since Tiger Woods in 2006-07. Day still leads the Tour this season in strokes gained putting, and if his work on the greens is anything close to how he putted at Whistling Straits, he'll be on the leaderboard come Sunday.

4. Henrik Stenson: It's been less than two weeks since the Swede played the round of his life en route to a breakthrough victory, and he brings plenty of momentum with him to New Jersey - not to mention the claret jug. Few can match his tee-to-green work, so Stenson's fate will be determined by how well the putter cooperates.

5. Sergio Garcia: After Johnson and Stenson, could it be Garcia's turn to capture that elusive major title? The Spaniard won earlier this year in Texas and has finished T-5 in three straight worldwide starts since, including the U.S. Open and Open Championship.

6. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson won this event the last time it was held at Baltusrol, and were it not for Stenson's brilliance he would have captured a sixth major earlier this month at Royal Troon. While it's been more than three years since his last victory, he's likely buoyed from his strong performance in Scotland and has shown flashes of brilliance throughout this season.

7. Jordan Spieth: Spieth nearly won this event a year ago, and while he has two victories to his credit this season he has struggled to live up to his own lofty expectations at each of the last two majors. Baltusrol is an exacting venue, so while Spieth's short game could keep him in it, his erratic iron play over the last several weeks make it difficult to envision him winning.

8. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar's T-9 finish in Canada quietly extended his recent run of form, one that includes top-10 finishes in six of his last eight starts overall. Kuchar is now seventh this season in total strokes gained and eighth in scoring average, demonstrating a trademark consistency that could help him contend this week on a demanding layout.

9. Adam Scott: It seems like ages have passed since the Aussie won back-to-back starts this spring, but he remains a threat anytime a course requires tee-to-green precision. Such is the case this week, and Scott finished T-10 a few weeks back at Firestone, a course that has many similar traits to Baltusrol.

10. Patrick Reed: Reed hasn't gotten much attention this year, but he has been quietly consistent while racking up nine top-10 finishes in addition to an Olympic bid. He also finished T-12 at the Open in his most recent start and could use this week to put an exclamation point on his season before heading to Rio in two weeks' time.

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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.