Woods Comes Calling to Europe

By Associated PressSeptember 13, 2006, 4:00 pm
HSBC World Mach Play ChampionshipsVIRGINIA WATER, England -- Tiger Woods wasn't about to fall for the $1 million question this time.
 
The last time the Ryder Cup was held in Europe, Woods played the week before the matches and gave tabloids plenty of headline material when asked which event he would rather win. He chose the American Express Championship at Mount Juliet and its $1 million prize.
 
'Why? I can think of a million reasons,' Woods said that day.
 
Woods' three-week tour of England and Ireland begins Thursday at the World Match Play Championship, which has the richest official prize money in the world with 1 million pounds (about $1.87 million) going to the winner. It ends with the American Express Championship outside London, a World Golf Championship that pays $1.3 million for first place.
 
In between is that exhibition over in Ireland that offers only a 17-inch gold cup.
 
The question inevitably came up again this week. Would he rather win a million pounds or the Ryder Cup?
 
'All three events I play in,' Woods said.
 
It was a diplomatic answer, for sure. And the way he has been playing, it's not hard to imagine.
 
Woods will try to win his sixth consecutive tournament at the HSBC World Match Play Championship, a streak that began with his British Open victory at Hoylake in July and continued with his victory outside Boston two weeks ago, when he closed with a 63 to rally from three shots down to Vijay Singh.
 
'I would say he's favored to win every event he enters, this being no different,' Colin Montgomerie said Wednesday. 'But match play is a strange game. It's a different game, and over 36 holes, the cream usually rises to the top. I would expect for Tiger to be in the final, wouldn't you?'
 
Woods is the No. 2 seed in the 16-man field at Wentworth and will face former PGA champion Shaun Micheel in the first round. Defending champion Michael Campbell is the No. 1 seed and plays Simon Khan of England. Also in the field is Ernie Els, a six-time winner of the World Match Play who missed last year while recovering from knee surgery.
 
The only other time Woods has played this tournament was in 1998, when good friend Mark O'Meara beat him in the final match. That was at the tail end of his least productive year in golf when Woods was in the middle of overhauling his swing.
 
Now, everything is aligned for another big run.
 
'He's an unbelievable talent,' Els said. 'I think the British Open was the biggest win, and I think it gave him the belief that his swing is where he wants it to be and he's totally trusting what he's doing now. He's got all the belief he wants in his game and he's got a lot of ability there. So at the moment, he's on a pretty nice roll. And it's for us to step up and try to play better.'
 
Els is coming off a playoff loss to Adam Scott last week in Singapore, but the Big Easy has home advantage at Wentworth. Not only does he live off the 16th fairway, he recently helped redesign the West Course.
 
Plus, no one has won the World Match Play Championship more times since it began in 1964.
 
'I've got as good a chance as ever to beat him because I've got a good record here. I've played some good golf around the course,' said Els, who has finished runner-up seven times to Woods in his career, more than any other player.
 
David Howell must like his chances, too. He will try to join Montgomerie as the only players with the 'Wentworth Double,' having won the BMW Championship in May by five shots.
 
Even so, it will be tall order to claim the big prize.
 
This is the purest form of match play, 36 holes a day, reducing some of the fluke results that often happen at the Accenture Match Play Championship in the United States, which are 18-hole matches until the final round.
 
Woods has been wearing out his opponents with all facets of his game -- his iron play at the British Open, his putting at the PGA Championship, his scrambling at Firestone, his driving at the Deutsche Bank Championship and a little bit of everything at the Buick Open.
 
Campbell isn't the least bit daunted. He already has shown his mettle against Woods when he ignored a charge at Pinehurst No. 2 last year to win the U.S. Open.
 
The Kiwi told about a lesson from his father from when Campbell played rugby as a kid.
 
'I was quite a slender builder and my opponents were bigger than me,' Campbell said. 'He said to me, 'The bigger they are, the harder they fall.' So I'm going to take the attitude this week if I do come across him that he's a bigger steak right now.
 
'Put it this way,' he added. 'There's no way that there will be 15 guys lying down and saying, 'Tiger, you take the title.' I'm sure the other guys who do play Tiger will definitely try their best. It makes us more motivated to beat him.'
 
The 16-man field includes seven players who will play in the Ryder Cup next week -- Woods and Jim Furyk from the U.S. team, Montgomerie, Howell, Luke Donald, Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson.
 
The two weeks are nothing alike -- the Ryder Cup matches feature partners and no prize money -- but Montgomerie said it would be worth paying attention to how those seven players fare.
 
'We'd like as many Europeans to do as well as possible for next week,' he said. 'If anyone has the opportunity to beat Tiger and manages to beat him, that would give the whole team a lift.'
 
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  • 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: