Couples stumbles; Blake takes charge

By Associated PressNovember 5, 2011, 11:25 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – A 20-year winless streak and a history of back pain behind him, Jay Don Blake finally feels comfortable on the Champions Tour.

He's playing like it, too.

Blake emerged from a pack of contenders and shot a 5-under 66 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead after the third round of the season-ending Charles Schwab Championship.

'It's given me quite a bit of confidence, knowing that I feel like I belong and I can win out here,' Blake said. 'I just think a lot of us want it so bad ... that we probably get in our own way sometimes trying to make things happen instead of just being patient. That's what I've tried to do, just be patient with myself.'

Jay Haas shot a 67 to join Michael Allen (69) and David Frost (69) at 6 under. Loren Roberts was another stroke back after a 65, the best round of the tournament.

A day after limping through the final seven holes because of nagging lower-back pains, Haas looked fine while moving back into contention.

'It doesn't seem to hurt when I swing,' Haas said. 'It's funny, when I'm standing around it bothers me. With the adrenaline, I'm able to hit.'

Charles Schwab Cup points leader Tom Lehman was tied for 16th at 1 over after a 72. Mark Calcavecchia, 382 points behind Lehman, had a 70 that left him tied for sixth at 4 under. He needs to finish at least second to win the season title

Fred Couples, tied with Allen for the second-round lead, shot a 74 to drop into a tie for 12th at 1 under.

Blake, who went 424 consecutive tournaments without a win until capturing the Songdo IBD Championship in South Korea earlier this season, had five birdies in his bogey-free round at TPC Harding Park. He pulled ahead with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 and finished at 8 under.

Not bad for someone who hadn't played this course before and who began the season playing on partial-exemption status while needing to play Monday qualifiers in some of the events.

The victory in South Korea in September – Blake's first on any tour since the PGA Tour's 1991 Shearson Lehman Brothers Open – gave him full status through next year.

Blake also is free from the back pain that hindered him earlier in his career and forced him to step away from the PGA Tour earlier than he wanted.

Though he still has to do stretching exercises before each round to keep his back loose, Blake is making up for lost time playing at Harding for the first time.

While Frost and Allen both took sole possession of the lead and then lost it, Blake quietly worked his way up the leaderboard with birdies on Nos. 2, 8 and 9. He got to 7 under with another birdie on 16, then made a 30-foot putt from the fringe on 17.

'When I hit it I thought it was going to come about 3 feet short,' Blake said. 'I think the spectators in the bleachers cheered it in. They were saying, 'Roll, roll, roll.''

Haas also closed strong to get back in contention. The U.S. Presidents Cup assistant captain had three birdies on the front, bogeyed No. 11 then birdied the final two holes.

Frost and Allen stayed within range of the leaders despite both struggling down the stretch with two bogeys apiece over the final six holes.

Allen was at 7 under until his bogey at par-4 18th dropped him back.

'Definitely a cooler, difficult day,' Allen said. 'I'm struggling to hit the ball. I'm not quite on my game right now.'

Roberts, the points champion in 2007 and '09, had seven birdies and a bogey after going 1 over through the first two rounds.

Couples dropped well off the pace after double bogeys on 12 and 18. He also had a bogey on No. 8, a par 3.

Earlier, Couples and Calcavecchia were greeted on the first tee by Hall of Fame baseball great Willie Mays. Mays laughed with the two players and joked with their caddies while fans looked on.

This isn't the first time Couples and Mays have talked, either. The two first met at the Presidents Cup here in 2009, and earlier this week Couples fondly recalled spending two hours then with Mays.

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: