Woods looks to stay hot at Greenbrier Classic

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2012, 7:50 pm

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – A short ride to Sam Snead's playground is what Tiger Woods considers a good way to get ready for the British Open.

Woods traveled 250 miles for his debut in The Greenbrier Classic on Thursday, a week after his two-shot win at the AT&T National he hosts in Bethesda, Md.

The quick trip to the Old White TPC Course, along with memories of the late Snead's stories about his 47-year association with the historic Greenbrier resort, helped make Woods' decision to compete in the 3-year-old tournament an easy one.

''This tournament since its inception has been absolutely incredible,'' Woods said. ''I knew about the history of (the resort) from Sam and how much he loved coming here and loved being here.''

The place might grow on Woods, too, if he can get his fourth victory this season and moves within seven of Snead's record 82 PGA Tour wins.

Despite their age difference, Woods and Snead struck up a friendship, which was born at a golf outing near Los Angeles when Woods was 5. Snead played with a new group every two holes and Woods happened to be in the final one, making a pair of bogeys to Snead's two pars.

''I still have the card at home,'' Woods said.

Throughout the years, Woods and Snead had ''countless dinners and conversations, and he was always so funny to be around and the stories he would tell and the needling – the needling was nonstop,'' Woods said. ''That was one of the neat things about Sam.''

It was at The Greenbrier where Snead got his first professional job in the mid-1930s. He was the resort's golf pro until 1974 and returned as pro emeritus in 1993. Five years later he realized a lifelong dream of establishing a golf academy.

Snead died in 2002, leaving behind a clubhouse filled with his trophies, photos and other treasures.

Like Snead, Tom Watson has a long-lasting relationship with The Greenbrier. Watson's began at the 1979 Ryder Cup, but his stay was shortened by the birth of his first child. He liked the place so much that the next year, he started bringing sponsors and business associates to the resort.

Watson was named pro emeritus in 2005. He'll be playing in his second PGA event of the year, the other being the Masters.

The 1994 Solheim Cup was the last major event held at the resort until Jim Justice bought it out of bankruptcy in 2009 and started the Greenbrier Classic the following year.

Once a gathering place for royalty and presidents, the resort is advertised to players as a family friend atmosphere with everything they'd need on site - a 721-room hotel, a spa, restaurants and dozens of other amenities from bowling to falconry.

''I think what sold it to me was watching it on TV and then seeing how much the players really enjoyed it,'' Woods said. ''I wanted to play in it last year because it fit in my schedule, but I was hurt. That was disappointing, but this year again it worked out perfectly.

''It's close to D.C. A lot of guys are driving here from D.C. On top of that, you get a week off after this to get ready for the British. Some guys may go over there to play the week before the British. At least we have that option. I think that's one reason why the field is so strong here.''

The British Open will be played in two weeks at Royal Lytham and St. Annes.

Six golfers ranked in the top 20 in the world are at The Greenbrier, compared to two last year.

Woods will play alongside U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson and Steve Stricker in the first two rounds. Simpson led last year's Greenbrier Classic with nine holes left before fading to a tie for ninth.

Stricker's wife, Nicki, will carry his bag just as she did early in his career before having children. His regular caddie was given the week off because Stricker was a late addition to the Greenbrier field. Stricker is 14th in Ryder Cup points and hopes to make the U.S. team that will compete against Europe on Sept. 28-30 at Medinah. Stricker will go after his fourth straight John Deere Classic title next week in Silvis, Ill.

Phil Mickelson, who called conditions on Old White ''brutally difficult'' last year and missed the cut, will play Thursday and Friday alongside 2011 winner Scott Stallings and 2010 champion Stuart Appleby, who shot 59 in the final round to beat Jeff Overton by a stroke.

Last week's powerful wind storm damaged as many as 80 trees on Old White. One of them fell onto the back edge of the 16th green and knocked down a set of bleachers.

Volunteers and resort staff helped clear debris over the weekend.

''Just the amount of time and manpower it took to clean it up was amazing, absolutely amazing,'' Watson said. ''Sunday, it looked like it always has looked.''

The Greenbrier is known for its once-secret underground bunker built for Congress in case of nuclear attack during the Cold War. Justice said the bunker's vast emergency power system came in handy after the storm.

More than 680,000 customers in West Virginia lost power. Those outages were cut in half by midweek and Justice applauded utility company efforts to restore service to businesses catering to golf fans this week.

''You could have had an incredible disaster,'' Justice said. ''If you had had 300,000 people here and they couldn't get gas and they couldn't move and everything, and 100 degrees outside, you would have had a super disaster.

''So in a lot of ways, we have been very blessed.''

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: