Eaks Tops Haas for Second Champions Win

By Associated PressSeptember 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
Greater Hickory Classic 2007 LogoCONOVER, North Carolina -- R.W. Eaks won his second Champions Tour title of the year Sunday, closing with a 2-under 70 to hold off Jay Haas and Rod Spittle by two strokes in the Greater Hickory Classic.
 
Eaks finished with a 17-under 199 total to break the tournament record of 16-under 200 set by Haas in 2005.
 
'That's the hardest thing I've ever had to do,' said Eaks, who rallied from a five-stroke deficit to force a playoff with eventual winner Andy Bean last year at Rock Barn Golf and Spa. 'I always told myself that if I ever had that kind of a lead, it'd be the easiest thing to do to keep it, but it's not. ... I'll never do that again -- at least not intentionally.'
 
Eaks, who held a three-shot lead over Spittle entering Sunday's final round, extended his margin to six strokes with three birdies on the front nine at Rock Barn's Jones course. But Eaks bogeyed Nos. 11 and 15, and was forced to salvage par on Nos. 14, 16 and 17 after hitting into the rough.
 
'I just started playing too safe,' said Eaks, whose first Champions Tour win came in Endicott, N.Y., on July 15. 'As well as I was playing, I didn't think anybody could catch me. I probably did a couple things out there that I'd normally wouldn't do.'
 
That opened the door for Haas, who made six birdies Sunday for a final-round 66 to finish at 15-under 201. He had a chance for an eagle on the par-5 18th, but left a chip shot 3 feet short.
 
'I figured I needed something really, really special to catch R.W. ... but it just wasn't enough,' said Haas, whose 13th top-five finish this season pushed his lead in the Charles Schwab Cup standings to 386 over Brad Bryant, who tie for 15th. 'Still, it was nice to give him a little bit of a push.'
 
Eaks finished out his round by getting to the edge of the 18th green in two shots, then two-putted for birdie to close out the round.
 
'It's kind of hard to get out of that comfort zone and get back in it again,' Eaks said. 'Winning earlier this year, I still didn't believe I could win. Now that I've won twice, I can't wait to win a third time.'
 
Spittle, from Canada, birdied three of the last five holes to close with a 69 and tie Haas for second, his best Champions Tour finish in 13 career starts. His previous best was a tie for sixth in Birmingham, Ala., on May 20.
 
'It was great to have a chance to get in the last group ... and it was nice to birdie those last couple holes and sneak up on the board a couple spots,' said Spittle, who climbed from 61st to 48th in earnings this season.
 
Scott Simpson (69) was four strokes back at 13 under, and Des Smyth (67) and Gil Morgan (68) followed at 11 under. Nick Price (68), Keith Fergus (69) and Denis Watson (69) finished at 9 under. Jeff Sluman (70) tied for 15th at 7 under in his tour debut.
 
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  • 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: