Stock Watch: Open top 2 elevate; Big 4 depreciate

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2016, 1:25 pm

Each week on, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Henrik Stenson (+9%): His two-bogey 63 Sunday will be immortalized, but it was his second and third rounds – a best-of-the-day 65 and 68, respectively – that won him The Open. From start to finish, it was links perfection.  

Phil (+7%): Of the 11 career runners-up in majors, Troon might be the hardest for Mickelson to accept, for it was a loss without a mistake. The good news? He illustrated yet again that his window of opportunity is far from closing.  

Troon Open (+5%): Hope you enjoyed the show, because it’ll be decades before we witness another display of golf like that. It was the “Duel in the Sun,” only better.

Beef (+4%): One of the enduring images from the week will be eighth-place finisher Andrew Johnston, wearing a Scottish cap, guzzling a Heineken on the front lawn of the clubhouse, taking pictures and whooping it up with fans on Sunday evening. His cult-like following grew even larger after his breakthrough performance at The Open.

J.B. Holmes (+3): Only three players in the OWGR top 50 have a pair of major top-fives this season: Holmes, Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia. The titanium-denting Holmes, now a lock for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, should be a trendy pick for next week’s PGA.

Steve Stricker (+2%): The 49-year-old usually skips the year’s third major because it conflicts with his wedding anniversary, but the missus green-lighted his trip overseas this year. Good thing, because Stricker finished fourth (his best result in a major since 1998) and punched his ticket to three majors, including the 2017 Masters.


Bill Haas (-1%): Sure, he deserves credit for notching his first major top-10 in 28 tries, but instead of applying pressure on the leaders he faded badly during a Sunday 75, the worst score of anyone in the top 45.

Billy Horschel (-2%): Speaking of bad finishes … his 67-85 line at Troon instantly belongs on the list of all-time skids.

Golf gods (-3%): It’s the only explanation, really, for how Mickelson was robbed twice on the greens: (1) His putt for 62, which somehow caught the right edge and spun out; and (2) his eagle putt on 16 Sunday, which crossed the front of the cup and would have lifted him into a share of the lead.

Big 4 Bust (-4%): Rory McIlroy (T-5) and Dustin Johnson (T-9) backdoored top-10s, but it was a collective, and rare, off-week for the game’s biggest stars. Here’s guessing that won’t be the case at Baltusrol.

Olympic cutoff (-8%): Are travel arrangements and uniform fittings really that complicated? Had the International Olympic Committee pushed back the deadline to announce the teams one more week, after The Open (a freakin’ major!), then Mickelson would be on the American squad, restoring some of the luster to the much-maligned event.

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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