Walker bests Day by one to win PGA Championship

By Nick MentaJuly 31, 2016, 11:23 pm

With a bogey-free round of 3-under 67 and a nervy par at the 72nd hole, Jimmy Walker edged a charging Jason Day by a shot to win the PGA Championship and claim his first major title. Here's what went down on a marathon day at Baltusrol, where Walker went 36 holes on Sunday to take the title.

Leaderboard: Walker (-14), Day (-13), Daniel Summerhays (-10), Branden Grace (-9), Hideki Matsuyama (-9), Brooks Koepka (-9)

What it means: It took Walker nine years and 188 starts to win his first PGA Tour title at the Frys.com Open in 2013. Now, less than three years later, he’s a six-time Tour victor and a major champion. Up one to start the final round thanks to four back-nine birdies in Sunday morning's third round, Walker opened his round with nine straight pars before holing out from the greenside bunker for birdie at 10. He immediately followed with a birdie at 11 to reach 13 under. A third and final birdie at No. 17 gave him the slim cushion he needed when Day capped his round with an eagle at the par-5 18th. After a highly questionable decision to go for the 18th green in two, Walker pitched onto the green and two-putted for par from 34 feet to take the title. In a testament to the strength of major championships, at 48th in the Official World Golf Ranking, Walker is the lowest-ranked major winner since Keegan Bradley won the PGA at Atlanta Athletic Club in 2011. He’s also now only the third wire-to-wire PGA champion in the last 20 years, joining Tiger Woods (2000) and Phil Mickelson (2005), who also did it at Baltusrol. Walker’s win also makes 2016 only the fifth year in the modern era to boast four first-time major winners, with Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson, Stenson, and – finally – Walker.

PGA Championship: Full-field scores | Live blog: Day 4 | Photo gallery

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Biggest disappointments: The defending champion and the No. 1 player in the world, Day got off to a poor start with bogeys at Nos. 1 and 3 and they proved to be his downfall. Thereafter, he played the rest of the round in a spotless 5 under par and nearly forced a playoff with a dramatic eagle on 18. Unfortunately, two wayward drives in his first three holes came back to bite him. Separately, Stenson, the reigning Champion Golfer of the Year, got himself to one back of Walker with a birdie at the sixth and followed that with eight straight pars before taking himself out of contention with a mess of a double bogey from over the back of the 15th green. Another challenger who faded away, Koepka, playing 36 holes on an injured ankle, opened with 10 straight pars and had himself just two back before he whacked a tree on an attempted punch into the fairway at 11. He traded two birdies and two bogeys on his last eight holes.

Round of the day: Playing their final rounds while the leaders were still working through Round 3, Joost Luiten and Soren Kjeldsen posted matching 5-under 65s to finish 3 under for the week, tied for 33rd. Those were the best scores, but Walker's 68-67 Sunday was most impressive.

Best of the rest: Summerhays headlined a group of five players – including Martin Kaymer, Kevin Na, Kyle Reifers and Bradley – who turned in 4-under 66. With his third-place finish, Summerhays (89th in the world) earned a spot in the next year’s Masters. It will be his first trip to Augusta National.

Shot of the day: Walker’s birdie from the bunker (as seen above) at the par-4 10th to spark his 3-under par back nine.

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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.