Golf Channel - Fantasy Centralhttp://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/ en-USCopyright 2013 Golf ChannelWed, 20 Mar 2013 09:24:22 ZBlogsGolf Channel RSS Generatorhttp://www.golfchannel.com/rss?feedID=Blog&ID=1e30f0fc-7087-43b0-b23e-4d85d7917cf11e30f0fc-7087-43b0-b23e-4d85d7917cf1FalseStory:573414480http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/fact-pack-2013-arnold-palmer-invitational/BlogsFact Pack: Arnold Palmer InvitationalTake a look inside the numbers to see who has a chance to contend this week at Bay Hill.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 17:48:00 Z2013-03-19T17:48:00Z573414480http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/fact-pack-2013-arnold-palmer-invitational/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads to the home of The King, Bay Hill, for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. A strong field will tee it up in Orlando, where weekend weather forecasts indicate an already long course could play even longer, with showers expected both Saturday and Sunday. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• With his runner-up finish in Tampa, Boo Weekley has now recorded three straight top-25 finishes, having also played well at both the Honda Classic (T-25) and Puerto Rico Open (T-8) earlier this month. The last time the veteran was able to string together three straight such results was nearly three years ago, when he finished T-25 at Bay Hill in March 2010, followed by a T-12 showing at Hilton Head and a tie for 10th in New Orleans.

• Players have only two more events to make the top 50 in the world ranking in order to qualify for the Masters next month, which is of particular importance to Geoff Ogilvy. The Aussie, who was a runner-up at the Honda Classic earlier this month, was No. 51 in the world at the end of 2012, when a spot in the top 50 would have earned an invite to Augusta. Now Ogilvy is back on the bubble, ranked No. 50 heading into Bay Hill. Others hoping to play their way into Augusta this week and next via the rankings system include Charles Howell III (No. 57) and Henrik Stenson (No. 58).

• With four missed cuts and a withdrawal through seven starts in 2013, Brian Davis may not be on the fantasy radar for many participants. The Englishman has finished inside the top 25 each of the last three years at Bay Hill, though, including just last year. In fact, his 2012 season was off to a similarly slow start - Davis came to Orlando with only one top-30 finish in seven starts - but he managed a tie for fourth, his best career result in this event.

Bud Cauley returns this week to Bay Hill in hopes of ending his sophomore slump on a course where he has had past success. Just a year ago, Cauley was busy finishing tied for fourth, the first of four top-five finishes the former University of Alabama standout would accrue in 2012. This year, though, Cauley has struggled; through seven starts he has made only two cuts, and last week he was forced to withdraw in Tampa due to illness. The issues may be rooted in his short game; after finishing eighth on Tour in scrambling and 83rd in strokes gained putting last year, Cauley has dropped to 89th and 163rd, respectively, in those categories for 2013.

• Over the past two decades, Bob Estes has played sparingly at Bay Hill, but he has certainly made the most of his (relatively) few appearances. The veteran has teed it up just eight times in Orlando since 1994, but he converted five of those starts into top-20 finishes, including a runner-up in 1998 and a tie for fifth the following year. This year the Texan has been quietly consistent, notching four straight top-30 results before a missed cut last week in Tampa.

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Will Gray2e54b474-eadc-4a5f-a04c-3a66a7b7ed75
Story:573409920http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-arnold-palmer-invitational/BlogsExpert Picks: Arnold Palmer InvitationalSee who our experts think will contend for the title this week at the home of The King.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 16:32:00 Z2013-03-19T16:32:00Z573409920http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-arnold-palmer-invitational/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads to Orlando, where a star-studded field will tee it up at Bay Hill with the hopes of notching a key victory as preparation begins to conclude for the season's first major. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; "Morning Drive" host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former "Saturday Night Live" star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Didn't take him at Doral and lost ground. So this week, without shame I'm putting him on my team. How can you not, when you look at past performance (seven wins here) and recent form? He enters after a week off following his latest win, with the relationship secret off his chest and with a chance to regain the No. 1 ranking in the world. 

Group 2: Jim Furyk: He's coming off his season-best finish, a T-7 in Tampa, which is one of three top-25 finishes this year. He has consistently played well here over the last three years, with two T-11s and a tie for ninth.

Group 3: Jimmy Walker: Having four top-25 finishes this season is something to brag about in Group 3. Walker tied for 24th here last year.

Group 4: Trevor Immelman: Not a stellar season for the South African, with two missed cuts in six starts, but he shines when he comes to Bay Hill. Playing in his backyard, he tied for 11th last year, was T-12 the year before and also T-9 in 2007.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Tiger Woods: This one is easy, with two wins in five starts this season and seven wins in 16 starts at Bay Hill. There may not be a clear favorite for this year's NCAA Tournament, but at the API, Woods is the undisputed No. 1 seed.

Group 2: Jason Dufner: Hasn't been at his best this season, but this was about the time he began to heat up last year and Bay Hill is the type of demanding track where Dufner seems to play his best.

Group 3: David Toms: This weekend's wet forecast doesn't exactly favor Toms, but he has played well at the API in the past (T-3 in 2011) and when he's putting well, he has a tendency of surprising people.

Group 4: James Hahn: The rookie has hit a lull since coming east (missing three consecutive cuts), but has the length to contend on a long and wet golf course. 


Randall Mell

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Do we really need to give a reason in an event Woods has won seven times?

Group 2: Webb Simpson: Went to Wake Forest on an Arnold Palmer Scholarship. Need we say more? 

Group 3: Jimmy Walker: Good start to the 2013 season, and good vibes coming back after the birth of his child.

Group 4: Sean O'Hair: Wasn't that long ago that he gave himself a chance to win this event.


Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Don't be cute here. He's a seven-time winner at Bay Hill. He's motivated to get back to world No. 1. And everyone else will pick Tiger - play defense.

Group 2: Webb Simpson: Overlook his poor record at Bay Hill, with only one top-30 finish. Why? Because he has four consecutive top 20s on Tour.

Group 3: Boo Weekley: Quietly, Boo has had a nice season, and last week's runner-up in Tampa was his third consecutive top-25 finish. Those injury woes are behind him.

Group 4: Billy Horschel: Grew up about an hour from Bay Hill, so he should have lots of friends and family in the crowd. But more importantly, he hasn't missed a cut on Tour since last May.

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Golf Channel Digital5c23d718-dcfc-4cd4-8da7-03002b9164cb
Story:573407160http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-arnold-palmer-invitational/BlogsPower Rankings: Arnold Palmer InvitationalSee which players you should keep an eye on this week as the PGA Tour heads to Orlando.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 15:46:00 Z2013-03-19T15:46:00Z573407160http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-arnold-palmer-invitational/#commentsWith the season's first major now only three weeks away, the Florida swing concludes this week with the Arnold Palmer Invitaitional. Bay Hill will play host to a star-studded field, with many of the game's best playing in their final event before taking a trip down Magnolia Lane.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Tiger Woods returns to defend the title he won last year, the seventh time he has won on this course during his career. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Orlando:

1. Tiger Woods: With two wins already under his belt this season, the 7-time Bay Hill champ is a clear-cut favorite. Only two weeks removed from an emphatic win at Doral, there's reason to think his winning ways will continue this week.

2. Graeme McDowell: The Ulsterman is now riding a streak of three straight top-10 finishes dating back to the WGC-Accenture Match Play. Now a resident of nearby Lake Nona, G-Mac was a runner-up to Woods last year in addition to his T-2 finish here in 2005.

3. Jim Furyk: Notched his first top-10 of the season in Tampa, and his strong history at Bay Hill includes top-11 finishes each of the last three years. Furyk has been finding the fairway early and often in 2013, ranking third on Tour in driving accuracy.

4. Sergio Garcia: His strong start to the 2013 season has continued in Florida, where he finished T-3 at Doral and T-7 at Innisbrook. The Spaniard has been remarkably consistent at Bay Hill, finishing inside the top 10 in six of 10 API appearances since 2001, including an eighth-place showing in 2011.

5. Phil Mickelson: A winner last month in Phoenix, Mickelson tied for third at Doral in his last start and has some positive memories at Bay Hill. After winning this event in 1997, Lefty carded three top-five finishes in a four-year stretch from 1999-2002, and he's also finished T-24 each of the past two years.

6. Ian Poulter: Poulter has played Bay Hill as well as just about anyone over the past two years, finishing T-12 in 2011 and third a year ago. Making just his fourth start of the year in the U.S., the Englishman ranks fourth on Tour in scrambling and seventh in strokes gained putting.

7. Justin Rose: Appears to be in good form, having followed his T-4 finish at Honda with a T-8 in defense of his title at Doral. Rose tied for 15th here a year ago and was T-3 at Bay Hill in 2011, showing that he knows how to get around at Arnie's Place. 

8. Brandt Snedeker: The hottest player over the first two months of the season, Snedeker returns to action after being sidelined for more than a month with a rib injury. His form this year has been stellar, but his best finish in six Bay Hill starts is just a tie for 14th in 2008.

9. Lee Westwood: The Englishman has only played here once since 2007, but three of his last four API appearances have resulted in top-20 finishes. He also has three top-25 finishes in four stroke-play starts this year, highlighted by a tie for ninth at PGA National three weeks ago.

10. Keegan Bradley: Bradley was seventh at Doral, his fourth straight top-25 in a stroke-play event. Though he missed the cut in his only prior Bay Hill appearance, he should fare considerably better this year on the heels of 13 straight stroke-play rounds at 71 or better, dating back to Phoenix.

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Will Gray31c67a91-ff0c-41d7-82da-f46be2415ff9
Story:572811120http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/fact-pack-2013-tampa-bay-championship/BlogsFact Pack: Tampa Bay ChampionshipTake a look inside the numbers to see who has a chance to contend this week on the Copperhead Course.Tue, 12 Mar 2013 18:12:00 Z2013-03-12T18:12:00Z572811120http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/fact-pack-2013-tampa-bay-championship/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads to Innisbrook Resort along Florida's Gulf Coast for the Tampa Bay Championship. After rating as the toughest stop along the Florida Swing a few years ago, the Copperhead Course has yielded lower scores in recent years, with each of the last three winners eclipsing 12 under after 8 under and 4 under were the winning totals in 2009 and 2008, respectively. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• After battling the "Bear Trap" two weeks ago at PGA National, players in this week's field will have to navigate the "Snake Pit" on their way to the clubhouse each round at Innisbrook. Comprised of holes 16-18, the stretch played more than a half stroke over par for players last year and is highlighted by the 475-yard, par-4 16th, which has ranked as the event's hardest hole each year since 2010.

• Coming off a tie for fourth in Puerto Rico, Brian Stuard could be the hottest player in this week's field that you've never heard of. With just one career top-10 finish to his credit entering 2013, Stuard has added three more already this season, including a tie for fifth at the Sony Open in his first start. Currently eighth on Tour in both strokes gained putting and scoring average, the Michigan native has finished outside the top 30 just once in six starts thus far this year.

• The Copperhead Course will give players plenty of chances for holes-in-one, as the course features five par-3s, including three across the final six holes. This bodes well for players like Stuard, Richard H. Lee, Josh Teater and Charlie Wi, who all enter this week's event tied for third in par-3 performance, having each played the shortest holes in 8 under cumulatively so far this season.

• Though navigating the tree-lined fairways at Innisbrook is often critical to success at this event, last year Luke Donald rode a hot putter to victory, leading the field in strokes gained putting. Entering this week, Bryce Molder finds his name atop the strokes gained putting category for the 2013 season, which helps explain how the Yellow Jacket has put together four top-25 finishes in six starts this year, highlighted by a tie for 12th at Pebble Beach. Molder also tied for 20th at Innisbrook a year ago.

• In need of a high finish, veteran Justin Leonard returns to a venue where he has had considerable success in seasons past. Leonard, who is playing this season off a one-time career earnings exemption, has yet to crack the top 30 after seven starts in 2013 but now heads to Tampa where he has notched six top-30 finishes in eight starts since 2000, including a tie for 20th in both 2010 and 2011.

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Will Grayc8a5d945-8cae-41a9-84bf-3243e200244c
Story:572805720http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-tampa-bay-championship/BlogsExpert Picks: Tampa Bay ChampionshipSee who our experts think will contend for the title this week at Innisbrook.Tue, 12 Mar 2013 16:42:00 Z2013-03-12T16:42:00Z572805720http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-tampa-bay-championship/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads to Tampa, where the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort will host the Tampa Bay Championship. in two different directions. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; "Morning Drive" host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former "Saturday Night Live" star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Luke Donald: The defending champion wasn't at his best at Doral, and he plans to meet with swing coach Pat Goss in search of a fix this week. But it wasn't Donald's swing that landed him the title in 2012, it was his putting (107 total putts).

Group 2: Martin Kaymer: The former world No. 1 said at the beginning of the season he's ready to take another run at the top spot, and he seems to be finding his old form following top-10 finishes in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and at the WGC Match Play.

Group 3: Martin Laird: The Scot is off to a slow start in 2013, but he's played well at Innisbrook in the past (T-5 in 2011) and he has played some of his best golf in Florida.

Group 4: John Daly: Because you can never write Daly off completely, not with his freakish combination of power and touch. He showed more consistency last week in Puerto Rico (70-70-70-69) than he has in some time.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Jim Furyk: He's the last player listed in Group 1, but he's certainly not an underdog at Innisbrook. Furyk won the event in 2010, lost in sudden death last year and also has a T-13 finish on his Copperhead resume these last three years. This is only the fifth start for Furyk this season, but he has two top 20s and hasn't finished worse than T-35. He's fifth on Tour in driving accuracy and ninth in three-putt avoidance.

Group 2: Scott Piercy: He's been really hot in 2013, with five top-25 finishes including a third-place showing in Phoenix. Against a strong field last week at Doral, he co-led in total driving and was 15th in strokes gained putting. He tied for fifth here a year ago with a 62 on Sunday.

Group 3: Kevin Streelman: He comes in off a missed cut in Puerto Rico, but I'm looking past that and focusing on the five pretty decent paychecks he's made this year, the biggest being from his tie for 10th at the Humana Challenge. He also finished T-10 at the Tampa Bay Championship a year ago.

Group 4: Erik Compton: The Florida native has looked good this year, racking up top 25s in half of his six starts. His best was in the Sunshine State at the Honda Classic a couple weeks ago. He tied for fourth, a career-best finish, which he concluded with an even-par 70 on Sunday, one of only four players to post four rounds of par or better that week.


Randall Mell

Group 1: Jim Furyk: Perfect course for this past winner here to bust out in 2013.

Group 2: Michael Thompson: The guy's on a roll through the state of Florida, and his confidence is high.

Group 3: Martin Laird: Memory of a strong finish here two years ago (T-5) will help the Scot's mojo.

Group 4: Boo Weekley: Still a terrific ball-striker, and the putter is coming around.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Adam Scott: Coming off a torrid final round at Doral, expect him to keep it up this week.

Group 2: Geoff Ogilvy: Nearly broke through for a win two weeks ago; his long-awaited next W could happen soon.

Group 3: Ted Potter, Jr.: Florida legend from Ocala who knows what it takes to play these courses well.

Group 4: Ben Kohles: From Henley to Guthrie to Langley to Spieth to Uihlein, the kids have been alright. Time for Kohles to get his turn in the spotlight.

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Golf Channel Digital70f41e21-c147-4ab3-8365-e9d441f418fe
Story:572790960http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-tampa-bay-championship/BlogsPower Rankings: Tampa Bay ChampionshipSee which players you should keep an eye on this week as the PGA Tour heads to the Gulf Coast of Florida.Tue, 12 Mar 2013 12:36:00 Z2013-03-12T12:36:00Z572790960http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-tampa-bay-championship/#commentsWith the season's second WGC event in the books, the PGA Tour heads north for the third installment of the Florida Swing. The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook plays host to this week's Tampa Bay Championship presented by Everbank, where many of the game's best will look to hone their skills with the season's first major fast approaching.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Luke Donald returns to defend the title he won last year on the first hole of a dramatic four-way playoff. Here are 10 players to watch this week in Tampa:

1. Webb Simpson: The reigning U.S. Open champ has finished inside the top 15 each of the last three years in Tampa, including a runner-up showing in 2011. Five of his seven starts this year have yielded top-20 finishes, and Simpson is currently sixth on Tour in scrambling.

2. Sergio Garcia: The Spaniard is coming off a T-3 finish last week and has been inside the top 20 each of the last two years at Innisbrook. His early-season form has clearly carried over from Europe to the States, as Garcia is currently ninth on Tour in scoring average.

3. Adam Scott: Like Garcia, Scott finished in a tie for third at Doral, firing the lowest score of the week with a closing 64. The Aussie has notched top-10 finishes in both of his stroke-play starts this year and appears to be rounding into form as Augusta approaches.

4. Luke Donald: The defending champ returns still in search of his first top-10 finish of 2013, but his stellar short game makes him an ideal candidate at Innisbrook. The Englishman led the field last year in strokes gained putting en route to victory, and also finished T-6 here in 2010.

5. Matt Kuchar: Kuchar was unable to get going last week at Doral but has still been one of the more consistent players thus far in 2013. Top-12 finishes in each of his last two Tampa starts, including a tie for 10th last year, make him a player to watch this week.

6. Jason Dufner: Having picked up some momentum with a T-12 finish at Doral, Dufner heads to Tampa where he has finished inside the top 30 each of the last four years. That includes a tie for 10th last year, when he led the field by two shots after 36 holes before fading over the weekend.

7. Jim Furyk: A winner here in 2010, Furyk was also among the playoff participants a year ago. Despite a pedantic finish at Doral, the former U.S. Open champ is currently fifth in driving accuracy, which should help him navigate the tree-lined fairways at Innisbrook.

8. Michael Thompson: Followed his maiden win at Honda with a solid T-8 finish at Doral. Thompson certainly has momentum on his side, and now returns to an event where he finished T-16 a year ago.

9. Retief Goosen: A two-time winner of this event (2003 & 2009), Goosen also finished fifth in 2010 and tied for 20th last year. Though he has yet to replicate the form that netted a top-10 finish at Pebble Beach last month, the South African clearly feels comfortable on the Copperhead Course.

10. Geoff Ogilvy: Two weeks after a runner-up finish at Honda, Ogilvy heads to Tampa where he has been inside the top 30 six of the last seven times he's teed it up, dating back to 2003. An all-Aussie pairing with Scott and Jason Day for the first two rounds should help make the first 36 holes especially comfortable. 

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Will Gray0d099b50-abc5-4325-9e8f-2ca1abdca004
Story:572280120http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-puerto-rico-open/BlogsExpert Picks: Puerto Rico OpenSee who our experts think will contend for the title this week on the Isle of Enchantment.Wed, 06 Mar 2013 14:42:00 Z2013-03-06T14:42:00Z572280120http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-puerto-rico-open/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads in two different directions. While many of the game's biggest stars will contest the season's second WGC event at Doral (our picks for that event can be seen here), a full field will also tackle the Trump International Golf Club in Puerto Rico, picks for which are listed below. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; "Morning Drive" host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former "Saturday Night Live" star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Henrik Stenson: We offended Stenson a few weeks back when he didn’t find his way onto our short list of Swedes without a major championship. The look in his eyes suggested he is not happy with that distinction, or us.

Group 2: Paul Casey: The Englishman said in Abu Dhabi earlier this year that he is healthy after a series of injury-plagued seasons, and when he’s close to 100 percent he should still be considered a world-beater.

Group 3: Robert Allenby: One of the game’s top ballstrikers is an easy pick for the Puerto Rico stop which is annually buffeted by gusty winds.

Group 4: Paul D. Haley II: The Web.com Tour graduate is off to a rough start (he’s 0-for-4 in cuts made) but should enjoy a shift to a warmer climate. His best finishes on the secondary circuit last year came in Chile (first) and Mexico (second). It should also be noted he won his only event in 2012 (Chile) 52 weeks ago.


Win McMurry

Group 1: Graham DeLaet: T-9 is his number. He's coming off a T-9 at the Honda Classic, his second T-9 this year, with the same finish at the Farmers Insurance Open, and he finished T-9 last year in Puerto Rico.

Group 2: Robert Streb: He tied for 18th this past week in Palm Beach Gardens and also has a T-16 on his resume this year in the desert.

Group 3: Erik Compton: He was a big story at the Honda with his tie for fourth and while he doesn't have great results in his four previous starts here, he's worth the bet.

Group 4: Vaughn Taylor: This guy has been Monday qualifying to get his PGA Tour starts and maybe this is the week he takes that ability to go low and sustains it throughout tournament week. He's showing good form with a T-25 this past week at the Honda Classic after Monday qualifying to get in.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Graham DeLaet: Starting to play some of the best golf of his career, which should serve him well on this big ballpark.

Group 2: Patrick Cantlay: Fresh off a Web.com win, this wunderkind should have good vibes and a nothing-to-lose attitude.

Group 3: Matt Jones: Played nicely on the weekend at the Honda Classic and could be the first Aussie to win since 2011.

Group 4: Vaughn Taylor: Tempted to go with a young player here, but give me the proven talent in Taylor.


Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Kevin Stadler: Rough weekend at Honda, but his record at Trump International is too much to ignore - two top 10s and a pair of top 20s.

Group 2: Bryce Molder: The best putter on Tour this season, statistically, and has finished in the top 13 in two of his three starts here.

Group 3: Ben Kohles: Up-and-down week kept him out of hte top 40 at Honda, but the kid has a lot of game, as he showed last year on the Web.com circuit.

Group 4: Jordan Spieth: T-22 in his last PGA Tour start, and has a pair of top-7 finishes in two starts on the Web.com Tour this season. Good form.

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Golf Channel Digitala42ce758-8ea4-4389-8b26-f9a2cdbb8f85
Story:572265720http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-wgc-cadillac-championship/BlogsExpert Picks: WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipSee who our experts think will battle for the title this week as players tackle the TPC Blue Monster Course at Doral.Wed, 06 Mar 2013 10:42:00 Z2013-03-06T10:42:00Z572265720http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-wgc-cadillac-championship/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads in two different directions. While a full field will tackle the Trump International Golf Club in Puerto Rico, 65 of the world's best face the TPC Blue Monster Course at Doral for the season's second WGC event. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; "Morning Drive" host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former "Saturday Night Live" star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Barring a dental, or mental, issue this week at Doral, the Ulsterman is assured of four competitive rounds (there's no cut at the WGC). Moreso than anything else, the world No. 1 needs reps - well, that and a good dentist.

Group 2: Ian Poulter: No truth to the rumor the WGC-Cadillac Championship has switched formats to match play, but the Englishman was impressive at Dove Mountain. Now it's time for that solid play to transition to a stroke-play event.

Group 3: Bo Van Pelt: He finished 2012 as well as anyone, but wasn't as sharp on the West Coast. Warm weather and Bermuda grass greens should help turn that around.

Group 4: George Coetzee: The South African has emerged as a player to watch every week following his torrid start to the season (T-9 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, T-2 Qatar Masters, T-3 Joburg Open). 


Win McMurry

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: The owner of the first WGC trophy this year doesn't just have that going for him at Doral. His last three finishes here have been T-3 in 2010, fifth in 2011, and T-8 last year. He's 19th in strokes gained putting (better than Donald and Rose) and 16th in scoring average. 

Group 2: Charl Schwartzel: He's first on the European Tour in GIR and has been solid in stroke play over the last few months. He's finished inside the top-10 in each of his last eight worldwide starts, including a T-9 finish at PGA National. Combine that with the fact he was runner up here in 2010 and finished tied for fourth last year and that's too solid to bet against.

Group 3: Jason Day: He was a winner on Sunday at the last WGC event, winning the consolation match. That third place finish was one of three top-10s this year, which also includes a sixth place finish at Pebble Beach. He hasn't contended in his two previous starts at Doral, but he has progressed following his debut's T-45 with a T-20 last year. He's fourth on Tour in the all-around ranking.

Group 4: Tim Clark: He ranks inside the top 25 on Tour this season in both GIR and scoring average. He was runner-up at Sony and made it to the sweet 16 at the Match Play. He tied for 22nd in 2010, his last start here, and tied for 12th in 2008.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Justin Rose: Last year's champioin should be on the short list of elite palyers who could win again this week.

Group 2: Keegan Bradley: Seems to be rounding into form in time for anotehr title contention at another WGC event.

Group 3: Rickie Fowler: Seriously? I know it's a strong field, but this talented kid mired in the middle of Group 3? Sign me up.

Group 4: Padraig Harrington: If his mind is right and his putter cooperates, Harrington could find himself in the mix come Sunday afternoon.


Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Coming off a Match Play win, with a week to rest, and has a great record at Doral - top 8s in each of his past three starts there. 

Group 2: Charl Schwartzel: Another player with a stout record at the Blue Monster - T-4 and second in his past two starts in Miami.

Group 3: Robert Garrigus: Sleeper pick to win this week, and hasn't finished outside the top 25 all season.

Group 4: Russell Henley: Quiet top-15 finish last week at Honda, and possesses the kind of power game that should bode well at Doral.

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Golf Channel Digitalee9f5618-c58c-418c-aef6-a634734327fb
Story:572192880http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/fact-pack-2013-wgc-cadillac-championship-puerto-rico-open/BlogsFact Pack: WGC-Cadillac Championship, Puerto Rico OpenTake a look inside the numbers to see who has a chance to contend this week, as the Tour's best are split between Miami and Puerto Rico.Tue, 05 Mar 2013 14:28:00 Z2013-03-05T14:28:00Z572192880http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/fact-pack-2013-wgc-cadillac-championship-puerto-rico-open/#commentsThis week, fantasy players once again have two events to contemplate. While many of the world's best head down to Miami for the season's second WGC event, the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, a full-field event will also be contested at Trump International Golf Club, which plays host to the Puerto Rico Open. Both courses should provide players ample opportunities for birdies, as prime scoring conditions are expected at each venue this week. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title(s) and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• While par was often a good score at last week's Honda Classic, those hoping to contend this week at Doral's "Blue Monster" will need to take advantage of the par-5s. Each of the last two years, the eventual winner has played those holes in 11 under for the week, while Ernie Els played holes 1, 8, 10 and 12 in 12 under par for the week en route to victory in 2010.

• If par-5 scoring is key to success at Doral this week, par-4 scoring will be the stat to keep an eye on for the full-field event in Puerto Rico. George McNeill's winning total last year was 16-under 272, but he was a whopping 11 under on the 10 par-4 holes at Trump International. Two years earlier, Derek Lamely led the field in par-4 scoring, playing those holes in 10 under for the week.

• Getting off to a solid start will be imperative this week on the "Blue Monster," as the opening hole presents what statistically will likely be the best birdie opportunity players will encounter all year. In 2012, the hole - which measures 529 yards but often plays significantly downwind - was the single easiest out of 882 holes on the PGA Tour, playing to a stroke average of just 4.16. Last year the hole yielded significantly more eagles (34) than bogeys (6), and those who leave with a par this week will have literally given up nearly a stroke to the field. 

• Taming the Bermuda grass on the greens at Doral will also be important for those looking to hoist the trophy this week at the season's second WGC event. Since 2009, each eventual champion has finished inside the top 10 for the week in putts per round, highlighted by Phil Mickelson, who took only 99 putts en route to his win in 2009. The last player to win without a hot putter was Geoff Ogilvy, who claimed victory in 2008 despite ranking only T-21 in putts per round. It helped, of course, that he led the field with 55/72 greens reached in regulation.

• As the calendar turns to March, golf fans may be surprised to see the name currently atop the PGA Tour's all-around ranking: Robert Garrigus. Garrigus, who finished T-5 at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship and tied for sixth at the Farmers Insurance Open, is also second on Tour in birdie average, second in par breakers, sixth in driving distance and sixth in GIR percentage. He has yet to finish worse than a tie for 22nd in any of his five starts thus far in 2013.

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Will Gray2184483e-6a90-4913-b661-0d5fa537d5f2
Story:572184840http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-puerto-rico-open/BlogsPower Rankings: Puerto Rico OpenSee which players you should keep an eye on this week as the PGA Tour heads to Puerto Rico.Tue, 05 Mar 2013 12:14:00 Z2013-03-05T12:14:00Z572184840http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-puerto-rico-open/#commentsWhile many of the game's best contest the season's second WGC event at Doral this week, the PGA Tour is also hosting a full-field event in Puerto Rico. Power Rankings for the WGC-Cadillac Championship can be found here, but below you'll find rankings for the Puerto Rico Open at Trump International Golf Club.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

George McNeill returns to defend the title he won last year by two shots over Ryo Ishikawa. Here are 10 players to watch this week in the Caribbean:

1. Kevin Stadler: After a successful run through the 2012 FedEx Cup Playoffs, Stadler picked up right where he left off to start 2013, highlighted by a T-3 finish at Pebble. He's also shown an affinity for this course, finishing inside the top 20 in four of five starts in Puerto Rico.

2. Luke Guthrie: Guthrie is receiving more attention after a third-place finish at Honda, but the rookie has now been inside the top 30 in five of seven starts this year. Expect another high finish this week with many of the bigger names playing at Doral.

3. Brendon de Jonge: The Zimbabwean was one of the steadier players in 2012 and notched a pair of top-15 finishes during the West Coast Swing to begin his 2013 campaign. De Jonge was inside the top 15 in two of the last three years in Puerto Rico, including a tie for third in 2010.

4. John Rollins: Another player who has quietly compiled a great start to 2013, with four top-25 finishes in five starts, including a T-16 at Riviera in his last event. Rollins is currently fourth on Tour in birdie average and seventh in the all-around ranking.

5. Bryce Molder: Like Rollins, Molder has finished inside the top 25 in four of five starts this year, highlighted by a tie for 12th at Pebble Beach. He currently leads the Tour in strokes gained putting, and finished inside the top 15 here in both 2009 and 2010.

6. Josh Teater: Teater already has a pair of top-10 finishes to his credit this year, including a T-2 showing at Torrey Pines and a T-6 finish at Riviera in his last start. Since then, the Kentucky native has gotten married, so this week's event may serve as a pseudo-honeymoon for him and his new bride.

7. Jeff Overton: The Hoosier has struggled a bit to get his 2013 season off the ground after a strong close to his 2012 campaign, but his track record at this event is noteworthy. Overton has been inside the top 15 each of his last three starts in Puerto Rico, including a tie for 14th last year.

8. Patrick Cantlay: Cantlay notched his first professional victory last week, winning by four shots at the Web.com Tour event in Colombia. Momentum from his maiden win should help him this week in his first Puerto Rico appearance, having also finished T-9 last month at Pebble Beach.

9. George McNeill: The defending champ also finished fifth here in 2011, and has broken par in each of his eight competitive rounds at Trump International. This year he has made the cut in each of his five starts, with his T-41 result last week at Honda marking the first time all year he's finished outside the top 40.

10. Graham DeLaet: Fresh off a tie for ninth at PGA National, the Canadian heads back to Puerto Rico, where he also finished tied for ninth a year ago. DeLaet is currently 13th in total driving and also had high finishes at Torrey Pines (T-9) and Riviera (T-21) earlier this season.

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Will Gray89d33f90-2eae-4991-87e3-fdb08a7830b3
Story:572180880http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-wgc-cadillac-championship/BlogsPower Rankings: WGC-Cadillac ChampionshipSee which players you should keep an eye on this week in the second World Golf Championship event of 2013.Tue, 05 Mar 2013 11:08:00 Z2013-03-05T11:08:00Z572180880http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-wgc-cadillac-championship/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads farther south down the Florida Turnpike to Miami for the season's second WGC event. Doral plays host to an elite field for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, with most of the top 50 players in the world looking to hone their skills with The Masters just over a month away.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Justin Rose returns to defend the title he won last year by a shot over Bubba Watson. Here are 10 players to watch this week as the game's best try to tame the Blue Monster:

1. Matt Kuchar: Doesn't get any better if trying to combine current form and past history. Kuchar is coming off his Match Play win two weeks ago, and has recorded top-eight finishes each of the last three years at Doral, including a tie for third in 2010.

2. Justin Rose: Rounding into form just in time to defend his Doral title, having notched a T-4 finish at Honda last week in his first stroke-play event of the year in the States. Rose also nearly won in Abu Dhabi earlier this year, finishing T-2 in January behind Jamie Donaldson.

3. Keegan Bradley: Quietly finished in a tie for fourth at PGA National, his third straight top-25 finish in a stroke-play event this year. Bradley has carded 71 or better in 11 of his last 12 stroke-play rounds, and finished T-4 here a year ago.

4. Charl Schwartzel: Bounced back from an early exit at Dove Mountain to finish T-9 at Honda, his second top-10 in as many stroke-play starts. The South African was a runner-up here in 2010 and tied for fourth last year, having broken par in 11 of his last 12 competitive rounds at Doral.

5. Bubba Watson: Last year, Watson used a runner-up finish at Doral to help propel him to a win at Augusta a month later. The southpaw was especially able to capitalize on the par-4s at Doral, playing them in 9 under for the week - three shots better than the next-best player in the field.

6. Robert Garrigus: Garrigus is making his first appearance in this event, but has yet to finish outside the top 25 in any of his five starts in 2013. He brings two factors to the table - long drives and the ability to make birdies in bunches - that make him ideally-suited for this course.

7. Tiger Woods: Last year's unexpected withdrawal was the first time he was outside the top 10 since this event moved to Doral. Last week's T-37 was largely a product of lost balls and penalty shots, both of which Woods should be able to minimize on a course where he's won three times before.

8. Luke Donald: The Englishman has finished T-6 here each of the past two years, and was T-16 at Riviera in his only other stroke-play start on Tour this season. He made only seven bogeys here in 2011, and only three last year (along with a pair of doubles).

9. Graeme McDowell: Backed up his quarterfinal run at Dove Mountain with a tie for ninth at PGA National. Bounced back from an opening 75 to finish T-13 here a year ago, and also tied for sixth in 2010.

10. Rickie Fowler: His T-13 finish at Honda was his third top-15 showing in four stroke-play starts this year. Fowler was solo eighth here in 2011, shooting 68-66 over the weekend, and may receive a boost this week from the release of the latest "Golf Boys" video.

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Will Gray09a2d03f-63c2-47eb-a1e9-839e01db49fc
Story:571617900http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-the-honda-classic/BlogsExpert Picks: Honda ClassicSee who our experts think will battle for the title this week as players tackle the "Bear Trap."Tue, 26 Feb 2013 22:45:00 Z2013-02-26T22:45:00Z571617900http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/expert-picks-2013-the-honda-classic/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. for The Honda Classic. Rory McIlroy returns to defend his title at PGA National, but a strong field will be chasing him, including last year's runner-up, Tiger Woods. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; "Morning Drive" host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former "Saturday Night Live" star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.


Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Rory McIlroy: Forget those 75s to start 2013, forget the wayward iron play at the Match Play and the poor driving in Abu Dhabi, he was downright dominant last year at PGA National and has the look of a new man this week.

Group 2: Peter Hanson: Although off to a slow start in his Tour debuts this year, the Florida Swing is where he started to heat up last year (T-4 at Doral) on his way to a T-3 at The Masters.

Group 3: Geoff Ogilvy: The move back to Scottsdale hasn’t exactly produced the results he’d hoped for but he has a good history at this event (runner-up showings in 2001 and 2006). Besides, when the Australian is on there are few who can control their golf ball in the wind as well as he can.

Group 4: Chad Campbell: Not a lot of great options in this group, but the Texan is used to playing in the wind and has played some of the best golf of his career in Florida (won 2004 Arnold Palmer Invitational).


Win McMurry

Group 1: Tiger Woods: Really tough to pick in this group. I narrowed it down to Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, and local resident Tiger Woods. Ultimately going with Tiger because of this particular statistic thanks to the folks at Shotlink. Instead of looking at him getting knocked out in Round 1 of the Match Play as a negative, I view it as a positive because when you look at the six times it's happened, he's managed to go on and finish inside the top 10 in his next start each time, including last year, when he finished T-2 at Honda.

Group 2: Fredrik Jacobson: The Swede, who makes his home in nearby Hobe Sound, has a great resume at the Honda for a player in this group. He finished T-16 last year, T-6 in 2010 and T-5 in 2009. He has three top 10s this season with a T-3 the best of the year at the Northern Trust Open. He also advanced to the third round last week at the Match Play. He is second on Tour this year in strokes gained putting and second in scoring average, as well as 13th in scrambling.

Group 3: Brian Harman: He tied for 12th last year and has made a paycheck in each of his last four starts. This is what I liked best about him in this group, he is one of only eight players who played the Bear Trap bogey-free last year in all four rounds. He had three birdies and nine pars.

Group 4: Stuart Appleby: The 1997 winner has finished inside the top 25 here the last two years, tying for 10th in 2011. This season he has made a paycheck in three of his four starts.


Jason Sobel

Group 1: Lee Westwood: In a year where it seems like every top player is getting a turn, this ball-striker’s course should suit Westwood’s game well. 

Group 2: Ernie Els: His last three wins in the States have come in Florida; after a T-13 in his last stroke-play event, this could be a big week for the Big Easy. 

Group 3: Ted Potter, Jr.: Trust me on this one: The Florida kid will find a lot of success playing on home turf during this year’s Florida Swing.

Group 4: Patrick Reed: Man, that’s a packed Group 4 filled with players who can contend, but I’ll go with young Reed, who has shown a lot of promise.


Will Gray

Group 1: Justin Rose: A key to success on a difficult course like PGA National is hitting the green in regulation. It was important last year, as 12 of the top 15 on the final leaderboard finished T-10 or better in GIR percentage for the week, and it makes me lean to Rose, who led the Tour in the category in 2012. He is one of many looking to rebound from an early exit at Dove Mountain, but I think he gets his third top-five finish at this event in as many starts. 

Group 2: Ernie Els: A winner here in 2008, Els has notched a pair of top-25 finishes since that victory, including a T-21 showing last year. While he left Dove Mountain earlier than planned, I think his play this week will more closely emulate the form that yielded a T-13 at Riviera the week prior. 

Group 3: Billy Horschel: The Florida grad has now made the cut in 16 consecutive events, one shy of the best active streak (Ian Poulter "made" his 17th in a row at the Match Play). In Group 3 I want solid cash, and Horschel will provide it as he is not the same player that missed the cut here in 2011, his lone prior appearance in this event.

Group 4: Jerry Kelly: The former Players champion has been feast or famine in this event lately. In six starts at PGA National, Kelly has three missed cuts but he also has three top-20 finishes, including a solo third in 2011. With the veteran in decent form of late on some difficult tracks (T-27 at Torrey Pines, T-38 at Riviera), I'll take my chances.

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Golf Channel Digitala3e39d4f-b844-43ff-a31a-e72a7d84ebc7
Story:571596840http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/inside-look-golf-channel-bracket-challenge-winner/BlogsInside Look: Golf Channel Bracket Challenge winnerAndrew Massa, a 20-year-old student, won Golf Channel's Bracket Challenge last week, correctly predicting Matt Kuchar's win along with three of the four semifinalists.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 16:54:00 Z2013-02-26T16:54:00Z571596840http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/inside-look-golf-channel-bracket-challenge-winner/#commentsWith several big names making early exits at last week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, many fantasy participants saw their brackets ruined before the weekend even began. For Andrew Massa, however, the events at Dove Mountain played out just as he predicted.

Massa, 20, was the winner of Golf Channel's Bracket Challenge, correctly predicting that Matt Kuchar would defeat Hunter Mahan in the final match. Massa also had Ian Poulter in the semifinals, his only error in that round being his choice of Zach Johnson from the Jones Bracket instead of Jason Day.

"I've done brackets before, but definitely not as good as this one," said Massa, who is currently a student at Southeastern Louisiana University. As the contest winner, he will receive a trip for two to next year's event in Marana, Ariz.

Massa says that he doesn't participate in fantasy golf on a weekly basis, submitting picks only "every now and then." In addition to predicting the exact outcome of the final match, he also foretold the quarterfinal runs of both Steve Stricker and Graeme McDowell.

Despite the accuracy of his picks, Massa wasn't able to tune in to event coverage until the tournament was nearly over.

"I tried to watch over the weekend, but stuff kept popping up," he added. "Once I checked the bracket and saw who was in the finals, I made sure to watch the whole final match."

Hoping to build upon the momentum of his winning bracket, Massa has already submitted fantasy picks for The Honda Classic this week. His choice from Group 1: Charl Schwartzel.

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Will Gray35ee567f-7274-4275-a0d2-7b1d846c4c66
Story:571585680http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/fact-pack-2013-the-honda-classic/BlogsFact Pack: Honda ClassicTake a look inside the numbers to see who has a chance to contend this week at PGA National.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 13:48:00 Z2013-02-26T13:48:00Z571585680http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/fact-pack-2013-the-honda-classic/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour begins its annual Florida Swing as a strong field tees it up at The Honda Classic. PGA National has hosted majors and the Ryder Cup, and the "Bear Trap" from holes 15-17 presents one of the most difficult stretch players will see on any course this year outside of the four majors. Rory McIlroy returns to defend his title, but three other players inside the top six of the world ranking will be eager to take the trophy from him this week. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• Thus far in 2013, backing up a PGA Tour win hasn't been exactly easy. None of the 2013 champions have cracked the top 20 in a start since hoisting the trophy, though three of the eight winners have yet to play since their victory (Brandt Snedeker, John Merrick and Matt Kuchar). The most precipitous fall belongs to Dustin Johnson, who since winning at Kapalua has made only one cut in four stroke-play starts, a T-51 showing at Torrey Pines, and was bounced in the first round at Dove Mountain. Johnson, Merrick and Tiger Woods will all hope to bring an end to this stat with a high finish this week at PGA National.

• On a course as difficult as PGA National, hitting the greens in regulation is especially important. Last year, 12 of the top 15 names on the leaderboard also finished T-10 or better in GIR percentage for the week. That group was led by Charl Schwartzel, who hit 56/72 greens in regulation - three more than Lee Westwood in second place. They were the only two players to hit more than 50/72 greens last year, while Rory McIlroy found 48 in regulation en route to victory.

• While many golf fans remember Woods' final-round 62 and runner-up finish, the name of his co-runner-up is likely more difficult to recall - Tom Gillis. Along with McIlroy, Gillis was one of two players with all four rounds in the 60s here last year, and his $501,000 paycheck represented more than 40 percent of his official money won during the 2012 season. He has notched only two top-10 finishes since his run at this event last year, highlighted by a tie for ninth at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in November.

• Should a relatively unknown player come from the pack to claim the title this week in Palm Beach Gardens, it may bode well for their chances at the majors later this year. In 2004, Todd Hamilton won the Honda at the Country Club of Mirasol before his shocking win at Royal Troon later that summer, while Y.E. Yang used a victory here four years ago as a springboard for his 2009 season, one that ended with him hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy at Hazeltine in August. 

• While McIlroy will have positive memories upon which to build from last year's win, defending champions have not necessarily fared well in this event. Jack Nicklaus remains the only player to go back-to-back in this event, winning in both 1977 and 1978, and the best finish for a defending champion since the event moved to PGA National in 2007 came from Ernie Els, who finished T-22 in 2009 after winning the year prior. The only other player to even make the cut upon returning to the Champions Course was Rory Sabbatini, who finished T-62 last year in defense of his title.

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Will Gray5cafcab4-bec3-40aa-b4ad-08bc7684967c
Story:571578780http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-the-honda-classic/BlogsPower Rankings: Honda ClassicSee which players you should keep an eye on this week as the Tour begins the Florida Swing.Tue, 26 Feb 2013 11:53:00 Z2013-02-26T11:53:00Z571578780http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/power-rankings-2013-the-honda-classic/#commentsThis week the PGA Tour heads to the Sunshine State, beginning a stretch of four consecutive events in Florida. First up is The Honda Classic, staged at PGA National and once again boasting a strong field that features four of the game's top six in the current rankings.

Be sure to join the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge to test yourself against our panel of experts, including former champion Win McMurry.

Rory McIlroy returns to defend the title he won last year over a hard-charging Tiger Woods, a victory that propelled him to No. 1 in the world. Here are 10 players to watch this week as the game's best try to tame the "Bear Trap" in South Florida:

1. Justin Rose: The Englishman has finished inside the top five each of his last two appearances here, including a third-place result in 2010. Rose led the Tour in GIR percentage in 2012, a metric that will be key this week, and showed an ability to win on Florida courses at Doral a year ago.

2. Graeme McDowell: Unlike many on this list, G-Mac had a solid showing at last week's Match Play, and now heads to Honda where he has been inside the top 10 each of the last two years. Now living in Orlando, the Ulsterman has plenty of experience on the Bermuda greens he'll see this week.

3. Charl Schwartzel: Stubbed his toe against Russell Henley at Dove Mountain, but his track record across the last few months is reason enough to keep him high on the list. Finished T-14 in his first Honda appearance in 2011, and improved upon that with a T-5 showing here last year. 

4. Tiger Woods: His closing 62 last year remains the lowest Sunday round of his career, but prior to that round he was just 18th entering the final round. Woods didn't make a bogey in his first-round loss at the Match Play, but is also making just his second appearance in this event at PGA National.

5. Louis Oosthuizen: Making his third Honda start, but surprisingly still seeking his first result after withdrawing due to illness midway through the event in both 2011 and 2012. Already has a win in South Africa this year to his credit, and is approaching the part of the season where he heated up a year ago.

6. Rory McIlroy: The defending champ returns with more questions than answers after a rough start to 2013. One of only two players last year with all four rounds in the 60s, the Ulsterman may still be getting used to his new equipment, having played only three competitive rounds thus far this year.

7. Fredrik Jacobson: One of the hottest players around, Jacobson parlayed top-10 finishes at both Pebble Beach and Riviera into a third-round showing at Dove Mountain. The Swede has been inside the top 30 here in four straight appearances, including back-to-back top-10 finishes in 2009 and 2010. 

8. Lee Westwood: The Englishman is playing in the States for the fourth week in a row, and has been inside the top 10 at Honda two of the last three years. While overshadowed by Woods' 62 a year ago, Westwood fired a 63 of his own in the final round to finish alone in fourth place.

9. Ernie Els: A winner here in 2008, Els had a solid outing in his last stroke-play event (T-13 at Riviera) before a first-round exit in Arizona. The reigning British Open champion has a pair of top-25 finishes here since 2009, including a T-21 showing last year.

10. Charles Howell III: Buoyed by his upset win over Woods at the Match Play, Howell heads to an event where he sandwiched a T-10 finish in 2011 around T-26s in both 2010 and 2012. Currently No. 64 in the world, Howell needs to crack the top 50 by month's end to make it into The Masters.

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Will Gray59e93028-d102-4497-9274-3b9dfaf4d812
Story:571317000http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/wgc-accenture-round-2-bracket-aftermath/BlogsWGC-Accenture, Round 2: Bracket AftermathThe lower-ranked players continued to impress in Round 2, and fantasy brackets suffered as a result. Take a look at some other stats and figures as the field is now reduced to 16 players.Sat, 23 Feb 2013 11:10:00 Z2013-02-23T11:10:00Z571317000http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/wgc-accenture-round-2-bracket-aftermath/#commentsAfter several shocking first-round upsets Thursday, most of the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge brackets went up in flames. Even fewer remained intact after the second-round matches. Here are some figures to consider in the wake of Friday's surprising results:

• Only four of the remaining 16 players were chosen as the ultimate winner in more than 1 percent of fantasy brackets. Ian Poulter is the most popular pick still standing, having been chosen to win 6.6 percent of brackets, while 1.94 percent of users have Matt Kuchar eventually winning. Hunter Mahan is predicted to win back-to-back titles in 1.48 percent of entries, while 1.39 percent chose reigning U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson.

• For every bracket that saw all four projected semifinalists make the third round, there were 399 entries that were less accurate. Only 0.25 percent still have each of their "Final Four" alive entering Saturday's play, while 32.95 percent of brackets had each of their four semifinalists eliminated by the end of the second round.

• While much was made of the first-round upsets pulled by Shane Lowry and Charles Howell III, the foresight by some fantasy participants to put certain players into the Round of 16 was even more impressive. Only 0.56 percent of brackets had Lowry making it to the third round - and who can fault the rest of us, as his run is unprecedented for the No. 64 seed - while only 0.3 percent of entries had Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano winning each of his first two matches this week, likely due to the fact that most felt his second-round opponent would be Woods instead of Howell. 

• If your overall winner is still in the mix, consider yourself fortunate. While over 70 percent of brackets saw their champion eliminated Thursday, the losses Friday by the likes of Luke Donald, Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Rose cut those numbers even further. Entering the third round, only 14.81 percent of fantasy participants can boast that their overall winner is still standing.

• After pulling off impressive second-round wins over top seeds, both Robert Garrigus and Scott Piercy are in position for a long run at Dove Mountain that could reward a slim portion of fantasy participants. Just 0.09 percent - as in less than 1 in 1,000 - have Garrigus winning their bracket. Even fewer predicted a watershed win for Piercy, who was tabbed to emerge from just 0.06 percent of entries before the week began.

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Will Gray3f356d9e-b52a-489c-bc3f-2f92ce3d891c
Story:571235460http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/wgc-accenture-round-1-bracket-aftermath/BlogsWGC-Accenture, Round 1: Bracket AftermathA majority of Golf Channel fantasy participants saw their overall bracket winner lose in the first round. Take a look at some other stats and figures in the aftermath of the many first-round upsets.Fri, 22 Feb 2013 12:31:00 Z2013-02-22T12:31:00Z571235460http://www.golfchannel.com/news/fantasy-central/wgc-accenture-round-1-bracket-aftermath/#commentsIf your bracket in the Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge went up in flames Thursday night, take solace – you were not alone.

In fact, if your overall winner advanced into the second round, consider yourself lucky. You're among a stark minority of users still able to boast that their predicted champion is alive and well in this week's competition.

Here are some other figures to consider in the wake of Thursday's various first-round upsets:

• A whopping 70.34 percent of bracket participants saw their winner bow out in the opening round. That subset includes 40.66 percent that picked Tiger Woods to win, 10.51 percent whose "sleeper" pick of Charl Schwartzel is now eliminated and 7.36 percent whose choice of overall No. 1 seed Rory McIlroy was ill-fated.

• If you picked both of the top two seeds to lose their opening matches, perhaps you should invest in some lottery tickets this weekend. Only 0.37 percent of fantasy participants picked both first-round shockers in a single bracket; 3.6 percent of users pegged Charles Howell III over Woods while only 2.76 percent correctly predicted Shane Lowry to oust McIlroy.

• With 32 players still alive, last year's Ryder Cup hero is now the most popular pick remaining to win it all. Ian Poulter was chosen as the ultimate winner in 6.6 percent of brackets, while fellow Englishmen Luke Donald and Justin Rose were picked to win in 4.56 percent and 3.72 percent of brackets, respectively. The most popular American still standing is Matt Kuchar, who was tabbed to win it all in 1.94 percent of entries.

• If your Final Four remains intact, consider yourself fortunate. Only 1.5 percent of players still have all four projected semifinalists alive, while 24.31 percent of participants have only one semifinalist left after Thursday's carnage.

• Rory and Tiger were not the only surprising first-round exits Thursday. Only 3.65 percent of participants expected Marcus Fraser to upset Keegan Bradley, while just 3.88 percent picked Rafael Cabrera-Bello to knock out Lee Westwood. Russell Henley and Alexander Noren were expected to advance to the second round in just 5.65 percent and 6.61 percent of brackets, respectively.

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Will Grayf8af7e7c-f654-43df-9873-eb9706e5e8c2