Couples keeps share of Schwab lead

By Associated PressNovember 5, 2011, 12:14 am

SAN FRANCISCO – Michael Allen has about as much experience playing at TPC Harding Park as anyone on the Champions Tour. He has needed every bit of it in the season-ending Charles Schwab Championship.

Allen made an 8-foot putt to save par on the final hole Friday after hitting his approach between the grandstands surrounding the green, preserving a 2-under 69 for a share of the second-round lead with Fred Couples and David Frost.

'Got a little lucky,' said Allen, second in the event last year. 'I was trying to punch a 6-iron out to the right, which took off and went back into the stands. I made a great drop, hit a nice shot (then) knocked that one in.'

The 18th hole is one of the signature holes at the coastside course and is playing tough this week. Only two players broke par on the 440-yard, par-4 hole in the second round, while 11 settled for bogey, making Allen's par save critical.

Couples, tied for the first-round lead with Jay Haas after a 68, rallied for a 70 after a double bogey on the opening hole. Frost had a 69 to match Couples and Allen at 4 under at TPC Harding Park.

Mark Calcavecchia, Jay Don Blake, Bernhard Langer and Kenny Perry were a stroke back. Calcavecchia, Blake and Langer had 68s, and Perry shot a 69. Haas was 2 under after a 72.

Charles Schwab Cup points leader Tom Lehman had a 72 to fall four strokes behind the leaders.

Allen hasn't won on the tour since the Senior PGA Championship in May 2009 – the first tournament he played in on the 50-and-over circuit. He's had a handful of top-five finishes since then, including last year at Harding Park when he was two strokes behind John Cook.

The Bay Area native is back in contention again this time despite sputtering on the back nine with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12. That briefly dropped Allen two shots behind the leaders, but he made up for it with birdies on 14 and 16, then made his nice save for par on the 18th.

It wasn't easy.

Allen pushed his 6-iron approach shot wide right and the ball landed in a tight gap between the grandstands. After taking a drop, Allen hit a chip shot that settled softly on the green before making his par putt. That brought a loud roar from the crowd, including a large group of Allen's supporters who followed him throughout the round.

'It starts with the course,' Allen said about his success at Harding. 'I can see the breaks a little better, so it's comfortable for me. It used to be, growing up out here, bumps everywhere. You had to have some nerve to putt them.'

Six players held at least a share of the lead before Frost briefly pulled away.

Frost, winless on the tour this season, made one of his best shots on the 480-yard par-4 12th when he chipped in for birdie from 12 yards out. That got the South African to 6 under but bogeys on 13 and 17 dropped him back to the pack in the clear-but-chilly conditions.

'It was just hard shaping the ball when it's so cold,' Frost said. 'My left-hand grip has been a little weak on the club, which has not enabled me to come back around with the club. I played better the last 10 holes.'

Couples, a two-time winner on tour this year, three-putted the par-4 first, then made eight consecutive pars before three birdies on the back nine gave him a share of the lead. The U.S. Presidents Cup captain is trying to become the first back-to-back winner on tour this year.

Haas aggravated a lower-back injury midway through the round. Haas walked gingerly and winced noticeably over the final seven holes, picking up a double bogey on No. 12 and a bogey on 13 to fall back.

Calcavecchia had an erratic day. He holed out for an eagle on the par-4 seventh and had four birdies, but also had three bogeys. He needs to move up at least two more spots on the leaderboard to have a chance at passing Lehman for the season points title.

'I'm in a good spot,' said Calcavecchia, who played with a new driver after Ping shipped him one overnight. 'I just made no putts today. The good news is I holed out a wedge and had a couple close tap-in birdies.'

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: