Emotional letdown at TOUR Championship

By Associated PressSeptember 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
THE TOUR Championship by Coke 2007 LogoATLANTA ' Chad Campbell tipped over a small bucket of balls Wednesday and hit 5-irons across the pond on the practice green at East Lake, none quite as true as the one he struck five days ago at Valhalla that earned a crucial point in the Ryder Cup.
 
Campbell, the last player to qualify for the 30-man field at the TOUR Championship, will be the first to tee off Thursday. Hell understand if his game doesnt arrive until sometime later in the week.
 
Its going to take a few days, he said. I think once the tournament gets going, Ill be good to go. But everybody is a little bit worn out. There are some guys here who are fresh. I just dont think you can name any of them who were at the Ryder Cup.
 
Ten Americans who were spraying each other with champagne on Sunday are trying to remind themselves that this, too, is a big week. The TOUR Championship features a $7 million purse, and for many players, their final PGA TOUR event of the year.
 
The only two missing at East Lake from the U.S. team are J.B. Holmes and Boo Weekley. Sergio Garcia is the only Ryder Cup player from Europe who qualified for the TOUR Championship.
 
It is different, said Hunter Mahan, who made his Ryder Cup debut going unbeaten in five matches. Its weird going through that and then having to come to such a big event like this. We get a couple days to kind of fall back to earth and just back to the grind a little bit, so it should be good. It may take a round or two to actually get back into the flow of playing tournament golf again.
 
The Ryder Cup is only one component that has taken the sizzle out of the FedExCup finale.
 
A new points system during the PGA TOUR Playoffs brought the kind of volatility the Tour wanted, but it knocked out several players that otherwise would have had a right to be at East Lake.
 
Padraig Harrington missed the cut in his first two playoff events, and for that he becomes the first PGA TOUR member to win two majors in one year and still not qualify for the TOUR Championship. Also missing is Adam Scott and Geoff Ogilvy, along with the Weekley, who might be the most popular man in golf these days for his antics and shotmaking during the Ryder Cup.
 
As for the drama over who wins the FedExCup and the $10 million prize?
 
They could have started engraving Vijay Singhs name on the trophy two weeks ago. He won the first two playoff events, and now only has to complete four rounds at East Lake to capture the FedExCup. Riveting stuff.
 
Its nice to know that all you need to do is finish the round, Singh said. Its been kind of strange in a way that your friends and your family and your trainer keep saying, Dont over exercise. Well have to just keep it nice and easy this week. Gets in your head a little bit.
 
Its hard to blame the tour for someone as talented as Singh winning two straight tournament, just as Tiger Woods won two straight events last year to take the drama out of the final week.
 
Honestly, if you look back and think about it, every system could have provided a very exciting finish, Jim Furyk said. You just had a player Tiger Woods goes out and wins twice and finishes second. You had a player that separated himself. This year, even though the system was totally different, it could have provided a really exciting finish. It did not.
 
Furyk at least is motivated by trying to pick up his first victory of the year, a goal that applies to 15 other players in the field, such as Steve Stricker, Ben Curtis, Mahan, Campbell and Trevor Immelman.
 
Even someone like Singh, who won the TOUR Championship in 2002, wants to finish off the season with another win.
 
This is a big event for us, he said. Two years ago, three years ago, this was one of the major events on Tour. Thats the way I still look at it.
 
But his comment was telling.
 
Is the TOUR Championship no longer one of the big events on the PGA TOUR? It sure doesnt seem like one now, with one guy assured of the FedExCup simply by showing up, a field that includes first-timers Kevin Sutherland and Ken Duke, and a bunch of Americans suffering from Ryder Cup hangover.
 
What once was considered golfs version of the All-Star game has all the atmosphere of a corporate outing.
 
And just imagine if the Americans had lost the Ryder Cup.
 
Two years ago, a World Golf Championship was held in London a week after the Ryder Cup. Furyk recalls being angry about losing, and after taking a day off, getting back to work to fix what was wrong.
 
Any time Ive had a close call or lost in a playoff, its usually about a day or two and then I get back to work, he said. After you have a big win on tour, its a little bit of a hangover the next week, and emotionally, its tough to get up and get ready.
 
The Tour brought this problem on itself, and for that, 10 Americans are thankful.
 
Remember, the TOUR Championship was supposed to be the week before the Ryder Cup, but PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem agreed to move it back two weeks so the Americans (and some Europeans) would be fresh for the event that doesnt pay a dime.
 
Finchem said he expects a good week and big crowd, and it helps that Saturdays round will be played early, so as not to conflict with the NBC broadcast of Notre Dame football. Thankfully, Georgia plays Alabama on Saturday night.
 
In the meantime, he said changes to the FedExCup appear imminent.
 
Weve got to have a climactic finish, Finchem said. Its going to build to a finish.
 
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  • 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:

    Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

    Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

    ''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

    ''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

    Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

    ''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

    Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

    Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.