Notes Leftys Wild Idea Tigers Dog Taz

By Associated PressApril 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Masters is bringing out the metal in just about everyone.
 
For Phil Mickelson, that means two drivers.

With an eye on Augusta National, Mickelson put two drivers in his bag during the BellSouth Classic. It worked so well, he said he would try it at the Masters.
 
'It's a big promo Callaway and I are doing now -- the only thing better than one FT-3 is two FT-3s,' Mickelson said with a laugh.
 
But it's not quite the same club.
 
One driver is an inch longer, and allows him to hit a power draw that moves from left to right. At the BellSouth Classic, he flew the green on the 13th hole, a short par, which he had never been able to do. The other driver allows him to hit a controlled fade, the shot Mickelson relied heavily on when he won the Masters two years ago.
 
'There are a number of holes where you can move the ball left-to-right and have it be very effective,' Mickelson said. 'I can hit a little controlled cut on the holes where distance isn't as big of a factor. And I can use the draw driver and get a little extra pop on some holes. It's nice having that little extra punch.'
 
Mickelson began experimenting with a longer club during the West Coast Swing, but he could only hit the draw. He tinkered with the internal weighting of the club, and found a unique solution.
 
'I used the internal weighting to take the left side out of play so it draws, and I use the other driver to take the right side out of play,' Mickelson said. 'So now I just play with half the trouble.'
 
With a 14-club limit, that means he'll have to take another club out of the bag.
 
Mickelson says the sand wedge is out of the rotation -- he still has a lob wedge, gap wedge and pitching wedge. With the extra driver, he said he would take out the 3-iron or 4-iron, or perhaps the 7-iron or 8-iron, depending on the conditions.
 
Tiger Woods was asked if he ever carried two drivers.
 
'Well, one driver in two pieces, but that's about it,' he said.
 
Ernie Els, meanwhile, is using a 5-wood for the 240-yard fourth hole. Els usually carries a 2-iron, and he was asked the last time he used a 5-wood in competition.
 
'I think I was in junior golf,' Els said.
 
He has been working on a 5-wood from Titleist for the last week, realizing the extra height will come in handy.
 
'Ever since I played here three or four weeks ago, I could see a 5-wood
 
A DOG'S DAY
Tiger Woods' father is battling cancer. He is the defending champion. The course has been changed again, with six holes playing longer. And the first question presented to Woods at his press conference was?
 
Why did his wife buy him a border collie for Christmas?
 
Woods named the dog Taz, short for Tasmania, and he brought it with him to The Players Championship.
 
'As everyone knows, I'm a pretty active guy,' Woods said. 'Taking my little buddy out there on runs is awfully fun. Unfortunately, his pace is a little bit faster than mine, so I've had to learn how to pick it up. He just loves to run all day. Sometimes it can be a bit annoying. But most of the time, it's pretty cool.'
 
ON THE MEND
Chris DiMarco skipped The Players Championship because of a rib injury suffered while skiing, but says he is about 90 percent healthy and expects no problems this week.
 
DiMarco had his sunglasses and cell phone in a back pack, making his last run, when a couple of skiers emerged out of the trees and were headed in his direction. He tried to avoid them, rolled on his back, and one of the items in his pack gouged into his side.
 
He missed the cut last week in Atlanta, attributing that more to rust.
 
'My foot started hurting because I was not putting much pressure on that side of my body,' he said. 'I feel like I'm 90 percent, 95 percent, and hopefully by Thursday, I'll be 100 percent.'
 
Any more skiing vacations in his future?
 
'Golf is my job, but I'm going to live my life,' he said. 'It was a very fluky thing. I could have walked out of my garage and tripped over my kid's baseball helmet and banged up my knee. I'm going to keep going skiing.'
 
ARNIE'S VIEW
Arnold Palmer is not wild about the changes to Augusta National, particularly the par-4 11th. What bothers him more than the additional 15 yards that puts it at 505 yards, is the 50 or so pine trees planted down the right side of the fairway.
 
And not because of the penalty, but the gallery.
 
Palmer believes the trees restrict the view of the fans who want to follow the flight of the ball to the green, which is guarded by a pond on the left. And it reminded him of one year when he won the Masters.
 
'I drove it to the left-center of the fairway, and I had to go to the bathroom,' he said. 'I walked down (to the left) into the woods and took a leak. And when I came out of the woods, the gallery gave me a standing ovation. They all clapped and raised hell. 'Everything came out all right, Arnie?' They were having fun. And I was playing good.'
 
He noticed a different kind of change the next year.
 
'There was an outhouse,' Palmer said. 'Cliff Roberts built a john, which is still there.'
 
AUGUSTA NEWCOMER
The 23-year-old man was making his first trip to Augusta National, and a special badge allowed him on the course a few minutes before everyone else, giving him enough time to watch Tiger Woods without fighting the masses.
 
'This place is beautiful,' he said with wonder in his voice.
 
There are thousands like him at Augusta National, but what made this remarkable was the name on his badge.
 
Michael Watson, the son of two-time Masters champion Tom Watson.
 
'There was always a conflict,' he said when asked why he never made it to the Masters until this week. 'I've been to the British Open a lot, and a couple of U.S. Opens. I love the British Open.'
 
And he was quickly falling in love with the Masters, where his dad won in 1977 and 1981.
 
His father gave him the full treatment, inviting Michael to play a practice round with him on Sunday, the final day members could play before the tournament.
 
DIVOTS
The longest line of the week is not for the merchandise tent. The gates open at 7 a.m., but spectators are not allowed on the golf course until 8 a.m. There were some 2,000 people crammed behind a wooden barricade at 7:45 a.m., watching Tiger Woods go up the first fairway, looking at their watches. Fifteen minutes later, from a distance, they looked like ants streaming across the course, heading in Woods' direction. ... Callaway Golf is having its staff players use a special golf bag in green and white, with yellow trim.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
The 21 countries represented in the field is a record for the Masters.
 
FINAL WORD
'A lot more confident than had I missed the cut.' -- Phil Mickelson, asked how confident he was about the Masters after winning in Atlanta by 13 shots.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 70th Masters Tournament
     
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • 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: