Obama starts Hawaii vacation with round of golf

By Associated PressDecember 22, 2013, 10:08 pm

HONOLULU — An ocean away from Washington worries, President Barack Obama opened his annual Hawaii vacation Saturday on a quiet note — and hoped it would stay that way for the next two weeks.

Every year, Obama and his family prepare to return to his birth state here on the sun-scorched shores of Oahu. And every year — until now — congressional squabbling has forced the Obamas to delay their trip.

This year, Obama was cleared for an on-time departure by Congress, which defied pessimistic expectations last week by passing a bipartisan budget deal, all but ensuring the government won't shut down over the next two years. It was a far cry from presaging a new era of cooperation, to be sure, but a silver lining for Obama a day earlier as he acknowledged a year of frustrating "ups and downs" in an end-of-year news conference.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama, daughters Sasha and Malia, and first dogs Sunny and Bo hopped an overnight flight Friday aboard Air Force One to Honolulu, where they were whisked by motorcade to a beachside home in Kailua, a sleepy suburb with a five-mile stretch of beach popular among windsurfers and tourists.

The next morning Obama, typically an early riser, got a late start, staying at the home until early afternoon, when he headed to the golf course at a nearby Marine Corps base. Joining Obama for the round of golf were Sam Kass, the White House chef; Marvin Nicholson, Obama's trip director; and presidential friend Bobby Titcomb, the White House said.

Obama, in white golf shirt, hat and sunglasses, was all smiles as he drove past reporters accompanying him to the coastal golf course.

The president has no public events scheduled during his vacation, which is expected to last through Jan. 5. In previous years, frequent golf outings have accompanied trips to local restaurants and other island outings.

A few weeks of low-key rest and relaxation would be a welcome change of pace for Obama, who reflected on a high-stakes year of brinkmanship and health care woes as he packed his bags for Hawaii.

"The end of the year is always a good time to reflect and see what can you do better next year," Obama said Friday. "I'm sure that I will have even better ideas after a couple days of sleep and sun."

Last year, Obama had to temporarily abandon his vacation to fly home amid a congressional standoff over the so-called fiscal cliff. The year before, a showdown over payroll tax cuts forced him to delay the start of his Hawaii hiatus. In 2010, it was congressional wrangling over repeal of the ban on gays in the military and other issues that delayed the trip. And in 2009, Senate deliberations over Obama's signature health care law meant that Honolulu had to wait another few days.

Conditions seem ripe this year for a few weeks of interrupted family time. Obama did spend part of Saturday morning conferring with top national security aides about the situation in South Sudan, where U.S. military aircraft evacuating Americans from the violence-plagued African nation came under gunfire and had to divert to Uganda. The White House said four U.S. troops were injured in that incident.

Throughout his vacation Obama will continue to get regular briefings from advisers traveling with him, White House officials said. Obama and his supporters were hoping those routine updates wouldn't interfere with regular rounds of golf and family outings for shave ice, the Hawaii version of a snow cone.

"I don't want any interruptions. He deserves a vacation," Brian Pritchett, an assistant principal visiting from Mount Vernon, N.Y., said as he sipped a rum-infused drink dubbed the "Obama Mama" at a Honolulu hotel. "He puts in too many hours to not have his vacation with his family. I know that's what I would do."

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: