Notes Many LPGA Events Will Vie for Wie Sweepstakes
``I've been told they're going to work to get her in,'' said her agent, Ross Berlin.
Wie almost certainly will be joined at Mission Hills by Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang, all of whom are otherwise eligible because of high finishes in the majors.
The problem was language in the contract that required them to be LPGA Tour members. Pressel cannot join the tour until her 18th birthday in May, while Wie has no intentions of joining for two years.
But LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens said last week that the Kraft Nabisco contract is 20 years old and needs to be updated, adding that ``I'm fairly certain'' Wie will be allowed to play.
Tour officials looked closely at the spirit of the contract, and realized there was some flexibility in the exemptions Kraft Nabisco typically doles out in the limited-field tournament. Rob Neal, vice president of tournament business affairs, said the Kraft contract won't be changed but will be updated to accommodate Wie and Pressel.
``This is an unprecedented situation,'' Neal said, referring to qualified teenagers who have turned pro without being LPGA members. ``The intention is they would love for these players to get in. It's really sitting down and making sure the spirit of the contract is met as we define the criteria into 2006.''
The rest of Wie's schedule might not be so simple to figure out.
She is allowed six LPGA Tour exemptions -- that doesn't include the U.S. Women's Open or the Women's British Open -- which could turn into a sweepstakes because of Wie's popularity.
Tiger Woods brought financial gain to PGA Tour events he played when he was living off sponsor exemptions, but he was trying to make enough money to get his card without going to Q-school. Woods needed those tournaments as much as they needed him.
That's not the case with Wie, who doesn't plan to join the LPGA Tour until she's 18.
Does she stay loyal to tournaments that have given her exemptions, such as the Wendy's Championship, Safeway International and Kingsmill? Or does she look at tournaments with the best fields and biggest purses that fit around a complicated schedule?
``We have close relationships with a lot of sponsors that have helped her before,'' said her father, B.J. Wie. ``It will be a tough decision. Her school schedule comes first, but sometimes we will feel obligated. She only has six choices.''
One casualty could be the Safeway International, which will be played March 16-19 and is the week before Wie goes on spring break. The week after her break is the Kraft Nabisco.
As for the rest of the year? Berlin said they have not decided where she is playing on any of the tours, although he expects her to play between 11 and 15 events.
Ryan Moore tied for 16th in Las Vegas and now has $598,249, which would be equivalent to 120th place on the PGA Tour. His earnings need to be at least equal to No. 125 at the end of the year to become the first player since Tiger Woods to earn his card without going to Q-school.
There are only three tournaments left in the season -- the Funai Classic at Disney this week, the Chrysler Championship near Tampa, Fla., and the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, which was delayed by Hurricane Katrina.
Moore wasn't the only one who made up ground in Las Vegas.
Nick Watney shot 66 Sunday for a career-best tie for sixth, moving him from 143rd to 118th on the money list. Briny Baird was 7-under 29 on the back nine Sunday to tie for eighth and move from No. 132 to No. 116, where he should be safe. Harrison Frazar secured his card with a tie for third, moving from No. 122 to No. 96.
Up the food chain, Charles Howell III was fifth in Las Vegas and moved up 12 spots to No. 30 on the money list as he tries to qualify for the Tour Championship. If nothing else, it probably secured Howell a spot in the Masters next year.
WOMEN'S WORLD CUP
Moving up to No. 2 on the LPGA Tour money list gave Paula Creamer the first shot at representing the United States in the Women's World Cup next year in South Africa.
The 19-year-old rookie doubts she will make up her mind until the season-ending ADT Championship next month -- not only whether she plays, but who would be her partner. If she declines, the choice goes to Cristie Kerr.
Annika Sorenstam confirmed she would play, taking Liselotte Neumann as her partner.
Chris DiMarco was the star of the show at the Presidents Cup. Not only did he go 4-0-1 and sink the winning putt. He was the best American player in the all-important table tennis tournament.
All the talk is usually who wins between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
But Woods wrote on his Web site last week that DiMarco beat him in the finals of the round-robin tournament.
``Chris might have a second career in table tennis, he's that good,'' Woods said. ``His hand-eye coordination is amazing, and he puts a lot of spin on the ball.''
As for Woods vs. Mickelson?
One person in the room said Woods won the first game, then the second. Mickelson asked to make it best three-out-of-five and won the third game, at which point Woods put down the paddle and said, ``I win, 2-1.''
Nike Golf has entered the women's golf ball category with ``Super Lady,'' designed to produce higher trajectory shots. ... Jay Haas and Bill Haas are on their respective bubbles. Jay Haas is 30th on the Champions Tour money list and needs to stay there to qualify for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Bill Haas is 21st on the Nationwide Tour money list, with PGA Tour cards going to the top 21 players. ... The European tour will try to keep weekends uncluttered by reducing the number of players who make the 36-hole cut to the top 65 and ties. ... Sergio Garcia of Spain is the only player from the top 10 in the world ranking who will play in the World Cup next month in Portugal.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Jay Haas has earned $512,153 playing eight times on the Champions Tour. He has made $485,109 in twice as many starts on the PGA Tour.
``I was only there for two days, so it's tough for me to tell.'' -- Annika Sorenstam, when asked what it takes for a woman to succeed on the PGA Tour.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
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.’’
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
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
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
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.”
Best Greg story: coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes “Yep, caddied for her, her, her and her” Legend— Matthew Galloway (@matthewgalloway) November 23, 2017
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.”
The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time Tour caddie, Greg Sheridan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QKy0YdK249— LPGA (@LPGA) November 22, 2017
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:
Sad to hear the passning of Greg Sheridan. This photo brings back many memories. Always respected his caddy skills and devotion to womens golf. @natalie_gulbis @LPGA #RIPGreg pic.twitter.com/lHU3Ixz9Vk— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) November 23, 2017
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:
Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:
Professional caddies are often overlooked and underrated. But they're just as often the unsung MVP of a player's success. We just lost a great one. RIP Greg Sheridan. He was the 1st to welcome me to my LPGA assignment years ago. He will be missed eternally.— Jerry Foltz (@JerryFoltzGC) November 22, 2017
Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan. ❤️— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:
RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.— Shaun Clews (@shaunclews1973) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:
Sad to here that long time tour caddy Greg Sheridan has passed away! RIP Greg, you will be missed. — Jonny Scott (@stixy76) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:
The world is a sadder place today without our buddy Greg Sheridan, a caddy and a friend for lifetimes...Godspeed buddy— Kevin Casas (@TheKevinCasas) November 23, 2017
LPGA pro Jennie Lee:
So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I️ remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the US Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you @natalie_gulbis ❤️— Jennie Lee (@JennieLeeGolf) November 23, 2017