Golf Business Stories That Will Define 2003

By Adam BarrNovember 27, 2002, 5:00 pm
The year is careening to a close. But before we take a look back at 2002 (that will be my next column), lets have a look at some of the stories that will linger ' and probably come to a head ' in 2003.
 
The Masters Controversy. Rely on it: Unless Augusta National Golf Club capitulates soon ' and thats as unlikely as moderate eating on Thanksgiving ' there will be a ruckus of some sort on Washington Road next April. Nothing will look unusual inside the gates, mind you. But like her or not, Martha Burk walks the walk. If she says there will be protests, there will be.
 
Whatever you believe about the issue ' that its a legal matter and that privacy rights should prevail, or that it transcends law and that morality demands the invitation of a woman to join ' the primary effect may be outside golf, and it wont be good.
 
Much of the general public still perceives American golf as an elitist game, long after the balance of public versus private clubs has shifted heavily toward the populist. Heck, many people still believe loud plaid pants are hallmark of the game.
 
The fact is, the facts rarely get in the way of gross perception in this over-speedy, media-driven world, and nuance doesnt matter at all. Right or wrong, all mainstream America will see is golf excluding people. Thats not what a stagnant game needs.
 
The U.S. Golf Association and Equipment. Whipsaw changes in rulings on spring-like effect off the face of drivers damaged any fragile credibility golfs co-ruling body had with manufacturers. In May, the USGA and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews reached a compromise that would have allowed so-called hot drivers (those with a coefficient of restitution of .86 or higher) to be used by recreational players for five years. Then, the whole world would return to the old limit, .83 COR.
 
But in August, amid reports that Japanese tournament authorities had complained to the R&A about expected enforcement problems, the seas changed. The ruling bodies admitted they never wanted a compromise anyway, so things went back to so-called normal: .83 for U.S. drivers, no limit in the R&As jurisdiction.
 
Trouble is, manufacturers were preparing to hit the ground running with hot drivers for the U.S. market the moment the 2003 Rose Bowl Parade started. A lot of marketing plans got thrown off, and a lot of anger got thrown around.
 
The ruling bodies see the matter as settled, and the manufacturers see that as a signal to watch out for golf ball regulation. Elder statesmen in the game on the level of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have said loudly and often that the modern ball is skewing the game.
 
The question is, will the Overall Distance Standard in the Rules of Golf, which is said to be under review, be changed? Can it be curtailed without provoking a hail of lawsuits? Or will the USGA simply raise it to a level it can live with and draw the line there? Legally, Option 2 only delays the inevitable. Either way, watch for possible pyrotechnics in 2003.
 
Golf Ball World War II. Now that Nike and Callaway have worked their way into the market, they feel ready to challenge Titleist for dominance. Even the attackers know theyre in for a long siege ' and its not clear yet whether or if they can overwhelm Fort Fairhaven ' so this is a story that will continue past next year.
 
But if Pro V1 has taught the industry anything, it is this: Word of mouth is still the best advertising, but the word comes first. A well-planned public relations campaign that attacks the mainstream can work wonders. Remember the Pro V1 on the front page of USA Today?
 
Nike has Tiger, Titleist has the market, Callaway has money and a new, aggressive tour strategy ' should be a blast.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: