Putting Things into Perspective

By Brian HewittAugust 25, 2006, 4:00 pm
You can never have too much putting in the Ryder Cup.
 
Pause, for effect.
 
You can never have too much putting in the Ryder Cup.
 
Which is to say, its not the economy, stupid. Its the flat stick.
 
The fact that Loren Roberts is a vice-captain for American skipper Tom Lehmans team is not an accident.
 
Roberts may have the best transition'from back swing to forward swing'with the putter, in all of golf. He shot 67 Thursday in Oregon to share the first-round lead at the JELD-WEN Tradition. And afterward, I asked him if he would be prepared to help American players with their putting at the Ryder Cup matches in Ireland next month if they asked him.
 
Roberts said PGA TOUR players are a proud bunch and that he rarely gets asked for a tip. But, he said, he is prepared to help in any way he can. And if that means fixing somebody elses balky stroke, hell be glad to try.
 
Heres my unsolicited advice to Lehman: When the players get to Ireland for the matches, gather them around the putting green on the first day. Hand Roberts a putter. And make your players watch him for 30 minutes. Let them soak in the tempo, feel the rhythm and sniff the quiet confidence. They will need it.
 
Its no accident, by the way, that Corey Pavin, one of the best clutch putters of the late 20th century, is also a Lehman assistant.
 
Its no accident that Stewart Cink, who once led the TOUR in putting, was a captains pick Monday. Its no accident that Scott Verplank, who never saw a putt that scared him, was the other captains pick.
 
Nobody should be above getting help on putting. Tom Kite, who has struggled with the putter for much of his Champions Tour career, recently got a tip from Mark McNulty and another one from Lee Trevino. They both helped him to a wildly successful Champions Tour week in Seattle that concluded last Sunday with a playoff victory over Keith Fergus.
 
Kite needed just 72 putts for the three-round event. Thats an average of 24 a day. When Im putting good, Kite told me after a Thursday 68 at the JELD-WEN, I cant wait to get to the golf course in the morning.
 
Kites 68 included a tidy 26 putts.
 
You can never have too much putting anywhere.
 
The Europeans know this has been the key to their dominance over the Americans in the last five Ryder Cups, of which they have won four.
 
Lehman knows it, too.
 
Knowing it and figuring out how to make it happen are two different things. So far, Lehman is making all the right moves.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - JELD-WEN Tradition
  • Full Coverage - 36th Ryder 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: