Prayad Marksaeng making a name at Doral

By Associated PressMarch 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' Until he made a triple bogey on the final hole, Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand saw his name atop the leaderboard Friday in the CA Championship. No other player at Doral has climbed higher to get there.
 
He grew up in poverty, sleeping with his 10 or 11 siblings in the upper room of a two-story house in Hua Hin. Prayad is not sure how many brothers and sisters he had, only that three of them died ' one before he was born, another in a car accident, a third drowned.
 
Prayad Marksaeng
Prayad Marksaeng was in contention until trouble late Friday. (Getty Images)
His daily routine was to drive a three-wheel taxi from 4 a.m. until 10 a.m., before going to Royal Hua Hin Golf Club to caddie. When he finished 18 holes, Prayad headed to the train station to sell vegetables.
 
The highlight of his day came late in the afternoon, when the club manager allowed caddies to chip and putt.
 
Prayad made his first golf club himself ' a piece of metal attached to a bamboo stick, with a used bicycle tire that he wrapped around the stick for a grip.
 
I could use that one club for a month, he said through his translator and manager, Pimporn Rojsattarat.
 
Prayad, a 43-year-old father of two, looked like a regular golfer on the Blue Monster. He was dressed in white pants and an orange shirt, with the Singha Beer logo on his chest and the Callaway logo on his shirt and cap. Indeed, those Callaway clubs work a little better than that bamboo stick.
 
He stands out in these World Golf Championships because no one is familiar with his name, but he has been hard to miss for two days. He shot 30 on his back nine Thursday to share the 18-hole lead, then came out Friday with an eagle on the opening hole, and two more birdies to take the lead.
 
Prayad was running even with Phil Mickelson until the 18th hole.
 
He hit his approach well right of the green into thick rough, and dumped a delicate pitch into the bunker. He blasted out to 20 feet, ran that 4 feet by the hole and three-putted for a triple bogey and a 70.
 
That left him at 9-under 135, four shots out of the lead, but still in the running for a $1.4 million prize. Even now, such a prize is hard to fathom for a kid who made $3 a round as a caddie.
 
The pressure of competing against a world-class field? Thats nothing compared with earning money to live.
 
I came from a poor family, and so many members are in my family, so I had to work and make money for survival, he said. I worked many kind of work, like bicycle taxi and selling food at a railway station. I was a caddie and boxer, also. So many things I have done because I need some money for survival and for my family.
 
Boxing didnt quite work out.
 
I got in a competition two times, but I lost, he said. Very painful.
 
Golf has worked out better than anyone could have imagined. Prayad turned pro in 1991 and made it to the Asian Tour four years later. He has won six times on the Asian Tour, and became the first Thai to qualify for the British Open in 1999. He also has three victories on the Japan Golf Tour.
 
Is it too much to dream for a victory in America?
 
I never thought that I would come up here this day, he said. I thought I would only be able to play the Asian Tour. But now I can come up at this stage. Golf changed my life.
 
He has earned more than $2 million for his career on the Asian Tour alone, and he has been the best player of Thai heritage on the Blue Monster this week. The other would be Tiger Woods, whose mother is from Thailand.
 
Prayad played with Woods the first two rounds of the Asian Honda Classic in 1997, and beat him in the first round.
 
But not on Sunday, he said with a laugh, recalling Woods finishing 64-66-68 to win by 10 shots.
 
Woods doesnt recall his round at the Asian Honda with Prayad, but he knew plenty about him. In his trips to Asia, he said Prayad usually was in the group ahead of him or behind him.
 
I tell you what, what hes done from where hes come from and what he means to all of the people in Thailand obviously, my mom talks highly of him, Woods said. Its pretty incredible that hes been as successful as he has been, considering his starting point.
 
Prayad wasnt about to dwell on his triple bogey to finish his second round, his mind already on the weekend. This is his third World Golf Championship, and he didnt do enough to get noticed in the other two. He tied for 68 last year at the Bridgestone Invitational, and was eliminated in the first round at the Accenture Match Play Championship two weeks ago.
 
Kenny Perry was asked if he had ever seen Prayad.
 
Only on the Golf Channel, he said. Its a global game, and theres great players all over the world. Its nice to have them here.
 
If he only knew how Prayad got here, Perry might be simply amazed.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - WGC-CA Championship
  • Full Coverage - WGC-CA Championship
  • 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: