Big Break and Two Dessert Trays Later

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 17, 2012, 9:52 pm

Hi everyone, first off, thank you so much for all of your support on Big Break Atlantis.  My journey in professional golf is just beginning, and I am excited to see what the next chapter has in store for me.  I wanted to take some time here to share with you a little behind-the-scenes on my time in Atlantis competing on Big Break:

The morning of my trip to the Bahamas, I arrived at the Ontario Airport in the AM before the sun came up to board a flight that made two stops before arriving at Atlantis. I noticed Selanee Henderson, but we don't make the the connection until the 2nd flight to Florida, where we also ran into Christina Stockton. Three Californian girls flying to Florida not knowing what to expect.

Running from the opposite side of the airport for our flight to make our connection with one minute to spare, there we met Allison Micheletti and Kelly Villareal. At this point, I was super nervous and didn’t know what to expect from the girls, but so far so good, everyone was nice! We arrived to cameras following us after flying all day into the night. We then met the rest of the competitors to find everyone has their own unique personality and beauty.

The next couple of days we played a practice round and did photo shoots for the Big Break. Shannon Fish and I connected right away and we rode together forthe practice round, playing alongside Natalia and Kelly. In between waiting on holes we practiced flop shots landing just over the cart and landing on the cart.We all hit it off.  I was really nervous being the youngest female competitor.  Some of my competition had up to 10 years of experience.  All the girls were very welcoming and nice. We all got along and separated competition from friendship.  So much was on the line that everyone knew you had to do what you had to do to win because this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The night before the first day of competition I read some key points I highlighted in Zen Golf and I practiced my putting stroke in the hotel room. With many racing thoughts in my head it was hard to sleep. Every time I had a thought I would journal it in a notebook and brought it to the course to remind myself that I can do this! Not knowing what to expect, I arrived at the breakfast table. I didn't talk much at breakfast because I was trying to figure out a game plan in my head even though there was no way you can plan for Big Break.

We arrived at the range being told to practice a punch shot. I started practicing and I was very confident in the punch shot. I found out I was going up against Marcela. It was Marcela's birthday and I think I started psyching myself out with that.  I'm not usually superstitious but when I’m nervous I start thinking of these things. It also was tough knowing I was going up against someone with a lot of experience.  I told myself to not worry and that greater things in life have happened to people who were told they never had a chance.

The breaking glass challenge started and it was super exciting!  When the challenge started I completely forgot about the cameras. It came to my turn and I hit the post right below the glass. I was so bummed because the window was open and all I could do was wait.

Usually when I have to play under pressure I perform much better.  I felt that when I was competing in this challenge, it was happening so fast that I didn't feel enough pressure. It was almost too surreal to be happening that I didn't get myself in the moment. I was thinking of too many different things and not focusing on the shot at hand.

Marcela hit the glass and my heart dropped because it made it real that I don't get to hit the glass. I was so mad at myself at first for not taking more time. The glass break was much different than I thought because I thought I knew my trajectories with my clubs.  When I stepped up to the glass it was like I couldn't judge which club went high or low enough for the glass. This challenge showed me that I need to process my thoughts and visualize the shot in more detail.

The next challenge was from 75 yards. I was 2nd to last to go and I had no idea what everyone else was hitting or doing in the challenge. I felt more tension amongst each other and no one was laughing or smiling at that point.

Before the challenge started I only grabbed my wedges which I later regret. The wind was blowing the ball left about 20-30 yards. I play a draw and I underestimated the power of the wind. What I should have done was do something similar to the breaking glass challenge and hit a low punch shot up onto the green to make easy points. Yet again, I don't believe I put enough pressure on myself to perform. I kept thinking there will be more challenges, but the challenges ran out. My experience with the challenges taught me to take my time with every shot and be even more precise with my target. Now I make my targets so precise that my target is about an inch big. Aim small miss small right!

By the time Big Break became real to me I was already in the Elimination Challenge, so I began to perform. I did all that I could but Selanee just hit an amazing shot. What people don't realize is how great her shot was.  To make that shot in the Big Break is a completely different level compared to a normal round or a normal tournament. Kudos to her.  I made par but she made birdie. One shot made you or broke you. Tears and hugs later I was separated from the group and a contestant all alone.

That night I grabbed two left over dessert trays with a variety of options and I ate them all that night. Ha ha. The next day I was really bummed but then I thought about how lucky I was to have been given the opportunity and it just motivated me to work harder. To succeed you must fail a few times. It's not about today it’s about tomorrow. This will be a process and a transition but I will not give up! Big Break taught me how to deal with a new kind of pressure which has matured my golf game. Since the Big Break I have improved my swing to be mechanically better and learned to live in the present. The Big Break and Two Dessert trays later I am working harder than ever before and my journey is to be continued....

Meghan Hardin

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:

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 Web.com 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.