Nationwide Tour Two Words that Rile the Euros

By Associated PressSeptember 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
36th Ryder Cup MatchesSTRAFFAN, Ireland -- They might be the two dirtiest words at this Ryder Cup.
 
Nationwide Tour.
 
One sure way to rally the Europeans is to mention a tour that riles them. They don't have anything against the PGA Tour's minor leagues, and some of them -- Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey -- even played there when they were starting out.
 
It's this idea that the Nationwide is the second-best tour in golf that makes them seethe.
 
'From a European standpoint, it's disappointing to hear that because of our results in the Ryder Cup the last few years,' Luke Donald said Tuesday. 'We've dominated, really, in the last five Ryder Cups. To say that the Nationwide is stronger than the European Tour ... I'm not sure who's saying it. I'm not sure whether these guys have played in Europe.'
 
Go to any search engine and type in the words 'Nationwide Tour' and 'second-best,' and there is no shortage of bulletin-board material, even if you might have a hard time recognizing the names.
 
'There's no doubt whatsoever in my mind that it's the second-best tour in the world,' said someone named Fran Quinn Jr., who has spent the better part of a dozen years on the Nationwide Tour.
 
Fueling the debate this week at The K Club is the U.S. roster. Nine of the 12 players on the American team have won Nationwide Tour events, and three of them -- Stewart Cink (1996), Chad Campbell (2001) and Zach Johnson (2003) -- were Nationwide player of the year.
 
'I think that's very cool,' U.S. captain Tom Lehman said. 'I'm proud of that.'
 
And well he should be.
 
Lehman was bouncing between South Africa and the California mini-tours when the PGA Tour created this feeder system in 1990. It was called the Hogan Tour back then, but Lehman was player of the year and went on to do great things -- British Open champion, PGA Tour money title and No. 1 in the world.
 
'It's a tremendous tour, no doubt about that,' Lehman said.
 
But better than Europe?
 
'All over the world, there's great golf being played,' Lehman said. 'I think whoever said that was probably a little over-exuberant.'
 
The only American team members who never played on the Nationwide Tour are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Scott Verplank. Woods was playing on sponsors' exemptions when he won his fifth start as a pro in 1996, and has since added 52 more PGA TOUR titles. Mickelson and Verplank both won PGA Tour events while still in college.
 
If anything, such humble roots might show the grit of this U.S. team. Not many are prone to taking anything for granted.
 
So why does it bug Europe?
 
It started two years ago, when Ryan Palmer held off a late charge by Woods to win the Funai Classic at Disney. He had toiled on smaller tours until earning his PGA Tour card, and he talked about what it took for him to reach the top.
 
'I knew I could win because I won the year before on the Nationwide Tour, which is one of the best tours in the world next to the PGA Tour,' he said that day.
 
One certainly could argue the merits. In this current drought of 29 majors without a European winner, five major champions once played the Nationwide Tour, a list that includes Ernie Els.
 
But it's another example of how the European camp feels it gets no respect from the Americans. And it really stings when the Europeans hear it from players hardly anyone knows.
 
Like someone named Tyler Williamson, now in his sixth straight year in the minors.
 
'The Nationwide Tour is arguably the second-best tour in the world, so it's not like it's a total letdown not playing out there,' Williamson said a few years ago.
 
Or Matt Hendrix.
 
'I feel like this is probably where I should be, spending a year on arguably the second-best tour in the world, getting experience that will help in my preparation when I make the next step.'
 
And he wasn't talking about Europe.
 
Casey tread carefully about the topic last week at Wentworth, in part because of some anti-American comments he made at the World Cup last year. Still, he has heard the comparisons.
 
'I just smile,' Casey said. 'It is a very strong tour. And obviously, the PGA Tour is the strongest in the world. So that doesn't really annoy me. At the end of the day, you just look at the world ranking.'
 
Indeed, that's a good place to start.
 
Europe has eight players in the top 20, half of whom play primarily on the European tour.
 
The Americans only have five in the top 20.
 
Or maybe the Ryder Cup would be a good gauge. Perhaps someone should round up the best 12 players from the Nationwide Tour and let them take on Europe. Then again, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and America's best can't seem to beat the Europeans.
 
And ultimately, that might be one reason why Europe has done so well.
 
It is kicked around as a second-class tour, with small purses and weak fields in tournaments played on shoddy courses in remote corners of the world. The Ryder Cup is its chance to show it's not the kid with hand-me-down clothes from the other side of the tracks.
 
'We're the country cousins,' Padraig Harrington said. 'The European Tour has a chip on its shoulder.'
 
And it only gets bigger whenever someone mentions the Nationwide Tour.
 
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    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:

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    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

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    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.