Power Rankings: 2017 Masters

By Will GrayApril 4, 2017, 7:35 pm

The 2017 fantasy golf season heads down Magnolia Lane this week, as the focus of the golf world shifts to the season's first major with the Masters. A field of 94 players will tackle Augusta National Golf Club, with the winner leaving with a green jacket.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Danny Willett won this event last year by three shots over Jordan Spieth and Lee Westwood. Here are 10 players to watch in Augusta:

1. Dustin Johnson: Any list this week should probably start with Johnson, who enters on as big of a heater as we've seen from any player in recent years. Brimming with confidence after three straight victories, Johnson will look to improve on his T-4 finish at Augusta National from a year ago. His drives will give him a leg up, but Johnson's key to victory will be from 125 yards and in.

2. Jordan Spieth: Through his first three trips to Augusta, Spieth has rewritten large portions of the club's storied record books. It's difficult to fathom that he might string together a fourth straight top-2 finish at this event, but he authored a dominating performance a few weeks ago at Pebble Beach and clearly transforms his game upon stepping back onto the grounds.

3. Justin Rose: An established player that doesn't seem to be receiving his fair share of the pre-tournament discussion. Rose has finished T-15 or better in five of his last seven starts, including a runner-up finish in Hawaii and T-4 finishes at both Torrey Pines and Riviera. His putter is coming around, and his 2015 performance would have been good enough to win all but a handful of Masters tournaments.

4. Rory McIlroy: McIlroy takes his latest crack at snagging the final leg of the career Grand Slam. While a rib injury slowed his spring, he logged top-10 finishes in Mexico and at Bay Hill in his lead-up to Augusta. McIlroy's game appears tailor-made for what Augusta National requires, but he hasn't truly put himself into contention during the final round since his 2011 debacle.

5. Phil Mickelson: When it comes to Augusta National, don't count out Lefty. Mickelson hasn't won a tournament since The Open in 2013, but Mickelson has a pair of top-10 finishes in his last three starts. Over the last five years, he has missed the cut twice but also cracked the top three on two other occasions including a T-2 finish in 2015.

6. Jason Day: The Aussie has been a perennial Masters contender in recent years, with three top-10 finishes since 2011 including a runner-up finish to Charl Schwartzel. His game has taken a back seat with his mother's recent cancer diagnosis, but few can challenge Day from tee to green and he wouldn't be the first to make an emotional charge up the leaderboard at this course.

7. Rickie Fowler: Fowler missed the cut last year, but he is arguably entering the season's first major better than ever. A win at the Honda Classic was validated with a charge into contention last week in Houston, and Fowler's ball-striking has been recently complemented by a strong short game that has him ranked third on Tour this season in scrambling.

8. Adam Scott: This was the site of Scott's biggest victory, as he outlasted Angel Cabrera in a playoff four years ago. He hasn't cracked the top 10 since, but he enters relatively fresh and with a pair of top-15 finishes in his last four starts. While he missed the cut in Houston, an opening-round 68 showed plenty of promise.

9. Jon Rahm: Rahm is clearly the most hotly-discussed Masters rookie this week, and he is unquestionably one of the hottest players in the world not named Dustin Johnson. Rahm hasn't slowed down since his breakthrough win in San Diego, with four straight top-10 finishes leading into the Masters, and he has the best chance to end the first-timer's victory drought that dates back to Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979.

10. Paul Casey: Casey will look to continue England's good fortune at this event, and there's reason to think he can pull it off. A T-6 finish in 2015 was followed by a T-4 finish last year, and Casey has three top-20 finishes in his last four worldwide starts. Casey has plenty of experience around Augusta National and, at age 39, could be poised for a breakthrough.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm