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Defending champ Steele shares Safeway lead

By Will GrayOctober 6, 2017, 1:03 am

After an all-too-brief off-season, the PGA Tour is once again up and running. Here's how things look after the opening round of the Safeway Open, where the defending champ is in a familiar spot:

Leaderboard: Brendan Steele (-7), Tyler Duncan (-7), Tom Hoge (-7), Emiliano Grillo (-5), Lucas Glover (-5), Jamie Lovemark (-5), Chez Reavie (-5)

What it means: While this tournament was deluged by heavy rains a year ago, Silverado's North Course is back to playing firm and fast this time around. With relatively calm conditions, players were able to take advantage including Steele, who won this tournament by a shot last year and is once again holding a share of the pole position after the first round of the season.

Round of the day: Steele narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Tour Championship last month, but he showed no signs of a slowdown during a 7-under 65 to take the early lead before he was caught by Duncan and Hoge. Steele hit all 18 greens in regulation, with his lone hiccup coming when he three-putted the sixth hole.

Best of the rest: Hoge didn't know he had a PGA Tour card until Monday's conclusion of the Web.com Tour Championship, but he quickly put his new credentials to work with a bogey-free 65. That included a torrid back nine, one in which Hoge birdied six holes in an eight-hole stretch from Nos. 11-18.

Biggest disappointment: While many big names got off to sub-par starts, Bryson DeChambeau wasn't among that group. DeChambeau played alongside Mickelson in the opening round but he made only two birdies en route to a 1-over 73 that left him eight shots back. DeChambeau hit 13 of 18 greens but lost nearly two shots to the field with a putter in his hand.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Given his quick start and course history, Steele is certainly the player to watch heading into the second round. But don't discount Grillo, who sits just two shots back on a course where he won as a rookie in 2015, or Phil Mickelson, who trails by only four shots after he turned two fairways hit into a 3-under 69.

Shot of the day: Steele admitted that he thought he had pulled his 200-yard approach to the par-5 fifth hole, but he was pleasantly surprised to watch the ball catch a slope near the back of the green and funnel toward the hole. It ended up just 2 feet away, leading to a kick-in eagle.

Quote of the day: "This place just makes sense to me." - Steele

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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.