Power Rankings: 2016 Valero Texas Open

By Will GrayApril 19, 2016, 12:14 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to Texas this week for the Valero Texas Open. A field of 156 players will tackle TPC San Antonio, which last season played as the second most difficult track players faced.

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.

Jimmy Walker won this event last year by four shots over Jordan Spieth. Here are 10 players to watch in San Antonio:

1. Jimmy Walker: We start with the defending champ, who lives in nearby Boerne and is playing a de-facto home game this week. Walker also finished T-16 at this event in 2014 and has finished T-29 or better in each of his last three stroke-play starts. Walker also ranks 17th or better this season in scoring average, birdie average and strokes gained tee-to-green.

2. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar remains quietly consistent, as his T-9 finish at Harbour Town was his sixth finish of T-28 or better in his last seven starts. Kuchar's Valero record is equally solid, as the veteran has four straight top-25s here including a T-4 finish in 2014.

3. Charley Hoffman: The ultimate horse for course at TPC San Antonio. Hoffman has finished T-13 or better each of the last six years, including a runner-up in 2011 and a T-3 finish in 2013. Hoffman has contended in recent weeks in both Houston and Hilton Head, but his final-round scoring average (74.75) could prove to be an issue should he once again play his way into contention.

4. J.B. Holmes: Holmes has the power off the tee to handle a big ballpark like TPC San Antonio, and the shoulder injury that led him to withdraw in Houston appeared to be no issue at the Masters, where he finished T-4. Holmes has finished T-11 or better in five of his last seven starts and had top-20s here in 2010 and 2011.

5. Zach Johnson: Any venue that leans heavily on wedge play, as this week's does, plays into the hands of Johnson. He finished T-6 two years ago and followed with a T-20 finish last year, and the reigning Open champ has been predictably solid in recent weeks outside of a missed cut at the Masters where a self-assessed penalty led to an early exit.

6. Branden Grace: Last week's winner will look to build upon his momentum, and at No. 11 Grace is the top-ranked player in this week's field. It marks his third trip to San Antonio, where he finished T-30 last year, and his success at places like Chambers Bay and Whistling Straits proved that he can handle a stern test.

7. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker finished fourth in 2011 in his lone prior trip to TPC San Antonio, and his early season includes a win at Torrey Pines and a top-10 finish two weeks ago at the Masters. Snedeker is known for his prowess on the greens, but he also ranks ninth this season in par-4 scoring average.

8. Phil Mickelson: Mickelson will look to bounce back from his surprising missed cut at the Masters by teeing it up in San Antonio, where he finished T-30 last year. Despite his Masters disappointment, Mickelson is in the midst of a strong season that includes five top-15 finishes in his last nine starts.

9. Bryson DeChambeau: The kid proved last week that he is no joke. DeChambeau led the field at Harbour Town in strokes gained tee-to-green en route to a T-4 finish, and as a result he is a name to watch this week amid a more watered-down field. DeChambeau has finished top-30 finishes in each of his last three PGA Tour starts, and could factor again if his putter heats up.

10. Patrick Reed: Reed makes his home in Houston and has finished T-16 or better in three of his last four starts, including a T-10 finish at the Shell Houston Open. Reed hasn't played this event since 2013, but he has previously shown that he can tame a tough track (think Doral) and is currently sixth on Tour in scrambling.

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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.