Stat attack!: OHL Classic at Mayakoba review

By John AntoniniNovember 17, 2014, 12:43 am

Charley Hoffman’s third PGA Tour victory – a one-stroke win over Shawn Stefani at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba – was forged on the opening nine holes of the El Camaleon Course. With 14 birdies on Nos. 1-9, Hoffman's scoring average on the front was 32.50, trailing only Danny Lee, who turned in a 29 on the front Sunday. Hoffman hit 32 of 36 greens and didn’t have a three-putt on the front nine all week. 

Entering the week, he was averaging 34.67 on the starting holes this season, but he improved upon that mark, making at least three straight birdies on the front nine every day; he birdied holes 4-6 on each of the last three days of the tournament.

Hoffman was fifth in driving distance (295.1 yards) and fourth in greens in regulation (77.78 percent) at Mayakoba, a double dip of importance. In the last calendar year, Hoffman is one of five players to win on the PGA Tour while finishing fifth or better in distance and GIR.

Front-nine scoring leaders at the Mayakoba Classic

 Player Score Finish
 Danny Lee 32.25 T-3
 Charley Hoffman 32.50 Won
 Fabian Gomez 33.00 T-23
 Carlos Ortiz 33.25 T-9
 Andres Gonzales 33.50 T-3
 Shawn Stefani 33.50 2
 Ken Duke 33.50 T-9

PGA Tour winners since 2014 who were top five in distance and GIR

 Player Tournament Distance rank GIR rank
 Charley Hoffman 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba 5 4
 Rory McIlroy 2014 WGC-Bridgestone 1 T-1
 Seung-Yul Noh 2014 Zurich Classic T-3 T-4
 Bubba Watson 2014 Masters 1 T-5
 Bubba Watson 2014 Northern Trust 1 T-3

Playoff preview?

The OHL Classic trophy wasn’t just a belated birthday present for Hoffman’s daughter, Claire, who turned five on Monday of Mayakoba week. And even the prospect of taking his girls - the Hoffman family also numbers wife Stacy and daughter Katelyn - to Hawaii for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions the week after New Year’s might play second fiddle to one small fact.

Hoffman is one of three Fall Series winners who have made the FedEX Cup playoffs in every year of their existence. (Ryan Moore and Bubba Watson are the others.) All three have likely cemented their ninth consecutive postseason appearance.

Hoffman’s win was worth 500 points, and last year’s final playoff qualifier earned 438 points over the entire season. In addition, all six players who won in the 2013 Fall Series went deep into the postseason, every one advancing to the third event, the BMW Championship. Only Moore (39th in points) and Harris English (32nd) did not advance to the Tour Championship.

2014-15 PGA Tour winners in the Playoffs

 Player 2014-15 win Playoff
2014-15 pts. rank
 Charley Hoffman OHL Classic/Mayakoba 2007-2014 6
 Bubba Watson WGC-HSBC Champions 2007-2014 4
 Nick Taylor* Sanderson Farms None 12
 Ryan Moore CIMB Classic 2007-2014 5
 Robert Streb McGladrey Classic 2014 1
 Ben Martin Shriners/Las Vegas 2014 3
 Sang-Moon Bae Open 2012-2014 2

*As an opposite-field event, the Sanderson Farms Championship allotted only 300 FedEx Points to Taylor.

Classic comeback

Hoffman was the third straight winner at Mayakoba to come from behind in the final round. Hoffman shot 66 Sunday to go from T-3 to first, catching third-round leader Jason Bohn, who shot a final-round 74 to fall to T-7. In the first five years of the tournament, the winner came from behind just one time.

The average Sunday score for the last three OHL Classic winners is 64.66, with John Huh shooting 63 in 2012 and Harris English shooting 65 a year ago.

Final-round scores for the OHL Classic winner

 Year Player Score 54-hole position
 2014 Charley Hoffman 66 T-3
 2013  Harris English 65 T-2
 2012 John Huh 63 T-13
 2011 Harris Wagner 67 1
 2010 Cameron Beckman 67 T-4
 2009 Mark Wilson 68 T-1
 2008 Brian Gay 69 1
 2007 Fred Funk 71 1

Time of their lives

Led by runner-up Shawn Stefani, seven players who finished in the top 10 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba matched or set personal bests in the tournament. Stefani matched his performance set at the 2014 Quicken Loans Championship, when he lost a playoff to Justin Rose.  

Top-10 finishers with their career best finish at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba

 Player Finish Previous best
 Shawn Stefani 2 2, 2014 Quicken Loans
 Andres Gonzales T-3 T-8, 2013 Wyndham Champ.
 Brice Garnett 6 T-7, 2014 Shell Houston Open
 Tony Finau T-7 T-7, 2014 Shriners/Las Vegas
 Oscar Fraustro T-9 T-43, 2014 Sanderson Farms
 Carlos Ortiz T-9 T-18, 2014 Shriners/Las Vegas
 Blayne Barber T-9 T-9, 2014 Sanderson Farms

Ageless wonder

Kudos go out to 58-year-old Fred Funk, who shot 70 Sunday to finish T-9 at 11-under 273. It was the first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour for Funk since the 2008 Sony Open. Funk is the oldest of five Champions Tour players who have finished in the top 10 of a PGA Tour event since the start of the 2013-14 season. He is the oldest player to finish in the top 10 on Tour since 59-year-old Tom Watson was second at the 2009 British Open. 

Players over age 50 with top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour since the start of the 2013-14 season

 Player Tournament Finish Age
 Fred Funk 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba T-9 58
 Bernhard Langer 2014 Masters 8 56
 Jeff Maggert 2014 Travelers Championship T-7 50
 Miguel A. Jimenez 2014 Masters 4 50
Vijay Singh 2013 2 50
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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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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