Two Cups Too Many for All the Presidents Men

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- One cup is over. Another cup is about to begin.
 
The question is whether a world-class collection of players at Royal Montreal have enough left to fill the Presidents Cup with the kind of golf that has made these matches so compelling over the last few years.
 
Tiger Woods, who plays fewer golf tournaments than any other star, will be competing for the sixth time in nine weeks. Ditto for Phil Mickelson, who usually shuts it down this time of year. Even an ironman like Vijay Singh has spent an awful lot of time inside the ropes, skipping only two weeks since August.
 
Mike Weir
Mike Weir practices Tuesday before the home country crowd. (WireImage)
Blame that on the FedExCup, a four-week bonanza that ended only nine days ago for 16 players in the Presidents Cup. It only figures to get tougher next year, with the Ryder Cup scheduled for the week after the TOUR Championship.
 
As much as players are cursing the schedule, it could turn out to be a blessing.
 
'You would think that you're pretty prepared to be here, maybe more so than years past, because of playing so much golf recently,' David Toms said Tuesday. 'I think that's something they need to take a look in the future, how much golf is being played at this particular time. For us this year, I know we have a lot of guys who are coming in and playing well, and it should be an advantage for us.'
 
Indeed, the FedExCup could be a good barometer for these matches when they get under way Thursday.
 
Woods is playing a lot of golf, but playing well. He has won four of the five tournaments he has played dating to the Bridgestone Invitational, including his last two to easily win the FedExCup. The other two playoff events were won by Phil Mickelson (Deutsche Bank) and Steve Stricker (Barclays).
 
Since all 24 players from the United States and International teams are PGA TOUR members, an even better barometer might be the 30-man field at the TOUR Championship.
 
Ten Americans were at East Lake, the exception being Toms (No. 32) and Lucas Glover (No. 35). The International team had only six players in the Tour Championship, and two of the players -- Mike Weir and Retief Goosen -- didn't even qualify for the 70-man field the previous week at the BMW Championship.
 
'Our team has been really playing well,' U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus said. 'I think they are well prepared.'
 
Nicklaus tried to make the case the International team is stronger on paper, which is usually the norm. Comprised of players from all but European countries, the team has an average world ranking of 18.5, with Weir the lowest at No. 46. The United States has an average ranking of 21.9, with Glover the lowest at No. 61.
 
International captain Gary Player, however, was quick to point out the United States was top-heavy in the world ranking with Woods, Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Stricker the new 'Big Four.' It is believed to be the first time in the 21-year history of the world ranking Americans have occupied the top four spots.
 
While the International team looks good on paper, it hasn't looked good in competition lately. The most recent winner is K.J. Choi at the AT&T National in July. Angel Cabrera hasn't done much since his U.S. Open victory in June, and Singh played five consecutive tournaments over par until finishing 10 under at easy East Lake.
 
Even so, Player had reason to believe 'the stage is set for another great match.'
 
The last two have been so close they essentially were decided by one shot -- Chris DiMarco's 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the final match in 2005 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia. The matches ended in a tie in South Africa in 2003.
 
'I think that the whole 'on paper' is kind of a farce,' Furyk said. 'If we have a tour that's deep enough where 100 guys can go out on any week and win a tournament, then 12 of the best players from any side can go out and win that week. A lot of it is momentum. Obviously, you don't want to get behind early.'
 
Closing out matches is equally important, as the International team learned last time.
 
Of the 12 matches that went to the 18th hole in 2005, the Americans won five and halved seven. That included DiMarco's match against Stuart Appleby that set off a rare but wild celebration with Nicklaus at the center.
 
'To be on the losing end, it was pretty gutting,' Appleby said. 'The entire team felt like I did.'
 
Appleby is one of only three players on the International team who have known the feeling of winning the Presidents Cup. The others are Ernie Els and Singh, the three of them on the 1998 that whipped the United States in Australia.
 
Appleby looks at that '98 team and wonders how it did so well. It featured Frank Nobilo, who was nearing the end of his career, and Carlos Franco, who was making his way through Q-school.
 
'We've come a long way as an International team, and we need to start winning,' he said. 'We have the desire. We all want to be here. But we have to taste victory. It's been a while.'
 
Related Links:
  • United States Report Card
  • International Report Card
  • Full Coverage - Presidents Cup
  • 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: