Notes Harrington Can Handle Woods

By Associated PressJanuary 9, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 Sony OpenHONOLULU -- Padraig Harrington can claim a unique distinction in golf. He is the only player to have been in the same group with Tiger Woods at least five times and has outscored him.
 
In the most comprehensive study published in January issue of Golf Digest, the magazine analyzed every round Woods has played to find out who has performed the best while playing with him.
 
Harrington has a 68.83 average in six rounds, compared with Woods' average score of 69.50.
 
Mark O'Meara has played the most times with Woods (30), which isn't terribly surprising considering they often played together at Pebble Beach and Disney, two pro-am formats.
 
Ernie Els is second with 24 rounds, and that's not surprising, either. Els and Woods have battled more than any other of Woods' rivals, and the Big Easy's seven runner-up finishes to Woods are more than anyone.
 
And while Harrington is the only player with a better head-to-head scoring average, the closest anyone else came to Woods was Vijay Singh. The Fijian's average score playing with Woods is 70.14, compared with 69.48 for Woods. Against everyone else, Woods has a scoring advantage of at least one stroke.
 
One other side note to the research. The first time Harrington was in weekend contention at a major was the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, when he played in the final group with Woods in the third round. Trailing by three, Harrington shot 73 to Woods' 70.
 
FIRST CRACK
Because of the shorter season with the FedExCup, there was some concern that Q-school and Nationwide Tour grads would get squeezed out of tournaments early in the year because they are at the bottom of the list for eligibility.
 
So far, so good.
 
Forty-two players from that category made it into the Sony Open, compared with 39 last year and 36 in 2005.
 
The Q-school/Nationwide players usually get limited starts early in the season when the fields are smaller, having to wait until Pebble Beach (180 players) or the tournament in Mexico, which is opposite a World Golf Championship.
 
Cameron Beckman tied for fourth at Q-school and said he already was in the Bob Hope Classic with 18 players ranked behind him also in the tournament.
 
'I wasn't expecting that,' Beckman said.
 
A NEW TRICK
Jesper Parnevik was hitting balls on the practice range with a club at his feet for alignment, and an umbrella sticking out of the ground about 2 feet away from where he hit the ball.
 
'Can you tell I've been hanging out with Vijay (Singh)?' Parnevik said.
 
The Swede noticed he was rotating his hips too quickly, which caused him to push the ball to the right. The umbrella forces him to correct this mistake by turning his upper body. If Parnevik doesn't swing properly, a ball coming off the club at about 175 mph would strike the umbrella, and no telling what happens then.
 
There were a few close calls Tuesday afternoon, and caddie Lance Ten Broeck was caught inching backward a couple of times when his boss lined up over the ball.
 
'If it rains,' Ten Broeck said, 'this is our only umbrella.'
 
WEIR SIGN
Not everyone in Mike Weir's hometown thinks highly of the former Masters champion.
 
For the second time in two years, vandals damaged an expensive sign honoring him at Mike Weir Park in Bright's Grove, Ontario. It had been called Huronview Park until he became the first Canadian to win the Masters.
 
This time, vandals used the decorative stones to smash several pieces of the sign and destroy a pair of lights used to illuminate it. A few weeks after the park was dedicated to Weir in 2004, vandals stole the sign by cutting off its posts.
 
'It just boggles my mind,' said Dave Beatty, who created the sign. 'It's unreal what they did. It took a lot of effort to smash it up. I don't know what would possess somebody to be so stupid.'
 
Beatty said he will speak to the police before figuring out what to do with the sign.
 
'People in this town love Mike Weir,' he said.
 
DIVOTS
FedExCup standings will be used to help set the field for invitationals such as Colonial, Bay Hill and the Memorial this year. The money list previously was the criteria, and that will still be used in 2007. Starting next year, those tournaments are expected to exclusively using FedExCup points. ... Wie's father, B.J. Wie, will be caddying for her at the Sony Open. The Wie family fired Greg Johnston in August and has not found a permanent replacement. ... Among players who have switched equipment companies this year are Lucas Glover (Nike) and D.J. Trahan (Wilson). Both were under contract with Titleist last year. ... Suncoast Golf raised $2.4 million for Tampa Bay charities through its PGA TOUR event. The Tampa Bay Championship remains without a title sponsor this year, but PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said the tour is in talks with a prospect and he was confident a deal would be done.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Of the 28 players classified as rookies on the PGA TOUR, 23 of them are in their 20s.
 
FINAL WORD
'When I became commissioner, 100 percent of the players on the Champions Tour were older than I was. And now, 65 percent of them are younger than me. So I'm no longer in a position where I'm eager for any year to be over.' -- PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem.

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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.