Charl charges, ties Westwood in Sun City

By Associated PressDecember 1, 2011, 3:09 pm

SUN CITY, South Africa – Defending champion Lee Westwood birdied the last hole to shoot a 4-under 68 and share the first-round lead with Masters winner Charl Schwartzel at the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Thursday.

The third-ranked Westwood holed a putt from 20 feet on No. 18 for his fourth birdie. The Englishman also had an eagle-3 on No. 9 and two bogeys.

Schwartzel unleashed a birdie blitz on the back nine at Gary Player Country Club, picking up five shots over seven holes coming home.


Photos: Nedbank Golf Challenge

Video: Round 1 highlights from Sun City


Top-ranked Luke Donald was the early leader on his return to competition after a five-week break, but a double-bogey-6 on No. 17 gave him a 70 and a tie for fourth. Robert Karlsson was alone in third after shooting a 69.

Simon Dyson, fourth-ranked Martin Kaymer, South Korea’s Kyung-Tae Kim, Graeme McDowell and Jason Dufner were tied with Donald at 2 under.

Most of the 12-man field at the $5 million invitational event struggled through the second nine after a brief rain shower, but Westwood and Schwartzel made late rallies to top the leaderboard.

Westwood set up a strong finish when he landed a 5-iron within 6 feet on the par-5 ninth and rolled in his eagle putt. He followed with birdies on Nos. 10, 15 and 18.

“It was nice to hole that one at the last,” Westwood said. “I had it in the back of my mind that Charl was on 4 under and I wanted to be in the last group.

“I played lovely. Nice to make one putt at the last from about 18 feet because I hadn’t made any all day. But tee to green was brilliant.”

Schwartzel double-bogeyed No. 9, pushing his tee shot into the right rough and then sending his third into the water in front of the green. But he had birdies at Nos. 10, 12, 13, 14 and 16 to come home in just 31 strokes.

“Turning 1 over, I wasn’t happy with myself,” Schwartzel said. “I felt like I was playing better than that. And sometimes that’s what you need to kick on. I just started firing at the flags. I probably got fearless.”

Playing for the first time since his blistering finish at Disney World to clinch the PGA Tour’s money list title, the top-ranked Donald had five birdies and a single bogey in a solid round through 16 holes.

But he put his tee shot on No. 17 into the water on the left of the fairway and emerged with a 6 to drop to 70 in his first competitive round in more than a month.

Dufner, the PGA Championship runner-up, had five birdies and three bogeys in his Sun City debut.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari chipped in for an eagle-3 on No. 2 but faded with four bogeys for a 72 and a tie for 10th with Denmark’s Anders Hansen.

British Open champion Darren Clarke was the only player over par with a 74.

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: