Power Rankings: 2016 Wells Fargo Championship

By Will GrayMay 3, 2016, 3:04 pm

The 2016 fantasy golf season rolls right along, as the PGA Tour heads to North Carolina this week for the Wells Fargo Championship. A field of 144 players will tackle Quail Hollow Golf Club, which will host the PGA Championship next year.

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Rory McIlroy won this event last year by seven shots over Patrick Rodgers and Webb Simpson. Here are 10 players to watch in the Charlotte:

1. Rory McIlroy: The defending champ is a clear No. 1 in this field, having earned his maiden PGA Tour victory here in 2010 and having won last year by a whopping seven shots. In between, McIlroy lost in a playoff in 2012 and added two other top-10 finishes, turning Quail Hollow into one of his favorite venues.

2. Rickie Fowler: Fowler has cooled somewhat since his torrid start to the year, but now he returns to the site of his breakthrough win back in 2012. He managed a T-20 finish last week in New Orleans and has four top-10 finishes over his last seven starts dating back to a playoff loss in Phoenix.

3. Phil Mickelson: This event is turning into U.S. Open Light for Lefty - a bevy of close calls, but no hardware. Mickelson has six top-5 finishes at Quail Hollow, including a runner-up in 2010 and a T-4 finish last year, but he has yet to find the winner's circle and now returns in search of momentum after missed cuts in both Augusta and San Antonio.

4. J.B. Holmes: The 2014 winner has been hit-or-miss at this event, but he tends to play well on big ballparks and he brings plenty of momentum with him to Charlotte. Holmes finished T-13 at Valero on the heels of a T-4 result at the Masters, and he has now strung together six top-15 finishes across his last eight starts dating back to Torrey Pines.

5. Daniel Berger: The reigning Rookie of the Year remains in search of his first victory, but he may find it soon. Berger finished T-20 at Zurich despite a lackluster closing round, his fourth straight top-20 in stroke-play events. Berger's ball flight and length off the tee should be conducive for Quail Hollow, where he finished T-28 in his debut last year.

6. Patrick Reed: Reed enters off a near-miss in San Antonio, a result that continued a run of four top-20 finishes over his last five starts. While he hasn't won in more than a year, Reed continues to put himself in contention on a consistent basis and has made the cut in each of his three prior starts at Quail Hollow - a clean sheet that few in the field can boast.

7. Justin Rose: The Englishman comes in off a surprising missed cut in defense of his Zurich title, but before that he had a stretch of five straight stroke-play results of T-17 or better. Rose has only played this event once in the last four years, but that appearance led to a T-5 finish in 2014.

8. Adam Scott: Scott is still in search of his first top-10 finish since back-to-back wins in Florida, but his ball-striking prowess merits a spot on this list for most events. Scott has a pair of top-10 finishes at Quail Hollow, but he has missed his last three cuts and hasn't played the weekend in Charlotte since a T-8 finish in 2008.

9. Henrik Stenson: While Stenson came close to victory in both Orlando and Houston, his worldwide victory drought now approaches 18 months. He has the tee-to-green game to end it on a burly track like Quail, but last year's T-58 finish was his first made cut in Charlotte since 2007.

10. Hideki Matsuyama: A winner earlier this year at TPC Scottsdale, Matsuyama has three finishes of T-11 or better in his six starts since. That includes a T-7 finish at the Masters in his most recent start, and his record at Quail Hollow shows signs of progress: T-38 in 2014 followed by a T-20 finish last year.

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
Getty Images

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.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.