Pressure no problem for Holmes

By Associated PressSeptember 17, 2008, 4:00 pm
Ryder CupLOUISVILLE, Ky. ' J.B. Holmes is a Ryder Cup rookie, but hes practically a Ph.D. at handling pressure.
Even though the 26-year-old from Campbellsville wont make his debut on golfs biggest stage until later this week, something about it will seem familiar. As a precocious 8-year-old, Holmes played on the varsity golf team at his high school ' nervous as a kid can be, but never scared. He proved that by boldly calling a penalty on an opposing player who was double his age and three times his size.
J.B. Holmes
J.B. Holmes tees off Wednesday at Valhalla. (Getty Images)
David Parsons, Holmes coach at Taylor County High, recalled pulling the youngster aside at the time. I told John, if you let them get away with something, theyll try to get away with everything, Parsons said. I told him Youve got to stand up for yourself.
Holmes hasnt had much trouble holding his own ever since.
He admits to being nervous at the thought of teeing it up in front of home-state fans with sky-high expectations when the matches begin Friday. But scared? Not a chance. Holmes just doesnt do fear.
It doesnt really matter who youre playing, he said. If you play well and do the best of your ability, you can win.
He was a high school star on full scholarship at the University of Kentucky, but had always been more comfortable on the golf course than in the classroom. It wasnt until Holmes was diagnosed with the learning disability dyslexia that he understood why. And once he channeled his focus and ferocious work ethic toward school, he became an academic All-American.
You dont have to have everything be perfect to be able to be successful, he said.
That single-mindedness has led Holmes to Valhalla, two hours north and a world away from Campbellsville Country Club, where he honed his game playing 54 holes a day during the summer.
He joined the Taylor County High team as a kid because Parsons needed a player to help fill out the roster. Holmes shot a 56 on that first nine, so small he had to reach up to grab the handle of the pull cart he used to make his way around the course.
Yet his new teammates didnt exactly adopt Holmes as a little brother. During a post-tournament trip to McDonalds that first year, the older players piled out of the team van and dashed to the counter while Holmes stayed behind, intimidated by the idea of ordering food by himself for the first time.
The only place Holmes felt like an equal was on the course. So he dedicated himself to the game.
It was rough, being in the third grade and everything, everybody being older than me, Holmes said. I got picked on for a little while. In fifth and sixth grade, I started beating them and they stopped picking on me.
The easiest way to get somebody to be quiet, he added, is to just beat them.
He did plenty of that in subsequent years. Holmes was the teams best player by the time he was in middle school, and by the time he reached high school, his talent and the long drives his large forearms cranked out were already creating a stir.
During a fundraising tournament at the country club as a freshman, Holmes stood on the fourth tee and for a $25 donation, teams could wager whether he could rifle his tee shot onto a green 365 yards away.
He made it more than he missed, said Parsons, whose son Brandon is Holmes caddie. Its a God-given talent. It amazes me. It amazes everyone.
Holmes won the state championship as a sophomore, but an armful of varsity letters and junior titles did little to impress new Kentucky golf coach Brian Craig. Craig took an inventory of his players his first day on the job in 2001 and wondered why Holmes was on 100 percent scholarship in a sport where full-time rides are rare.
I think I told my wife, I dont think hes going to like me too much. Hes not going to be on a full scholarship after his freshman year, Craig said.
It took Holmes all of two shots to change Craigs mind. Yet all that talent was almost derailed by Holmes academic struggles. He was in danger of flunking out after his first semester until testing revealed he suffered from dyslexia.
He probably had to work twice as hard as students who dont have these weaknesses, especially when youre just really learning how to adjust, said Amy Craiglow, Holmes academic adviser at Kentucky.
With tutoring and extra time to complete his exams, Holmes was zeroing in on a degree when he decided to turn pro in 2005.
He validated that decision by taking medalist honors at Q-School to earn his card, then needed just five starts to earn his first victory, capturing the FBR Open in 2006. An up-and-down 2007 followed, but with the Ryder Cup in his sights, Holmes won the FBR again this February, then matched Tiger Woods nearly shot for shot before losing 1-up at the Match Play championship.
A strong showing through three rounds at this years PGA Championship had Holmes poised to play his way onto the Ryder Cup team. Then he made a triple-bogey on the opening hole Sunday. But that didnt stop U.S. captain Paul Azinger from selecting Holmes with one of his wild-card picks, and if fellow Kentuckian Kenny Perrys lobbying effort is successful, he and Holmes could wind up going off together in the first round of foursomes.
Azinger refused to tip his hand, but he did say this: I want everybody to get comfortable on the golf course, and Kenny and J.B. know it better than anybody.
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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

    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 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.