Turning Down Tiger

By Brian HewittJanuary 14, 2004, 5:00 pm
If you were a violinist, and Stradivarius asked you if you wanted to play his violin, would you politely decline? If you were a guitarist and Eric Clapton asked you if you wanted to play his guitar, would you say thanks but no thanks?
If Tiger Woods handed you his driver and asked you if you wanted to try a few drives, could you possibly refuse?
Michelle Wie did.
It happened last Wednesday in Hawaii during the Pro-Am at the Plantation Course the day before the Mercedes Championships began. Woods was in the middle of his round. Wie, who would tee off later in the tee with another group, had been driven in a cart onto the course to meet Tiger.
It was the first meeting between the two and will almost certainly turn out to be an historic one. Woods, quite probably, will be remembered as the greatest player who ever lived by the time his playing days have concluded. The 14-year-old Wie, according to most experts, has a terrific opportunity to become the greatest woman player who ever lived.
The latter statement, by the way, is not meant to put undue pressure on a player who hasnt yet finished her freshman year in high school. Fact is, Wie herself will be unhappy with anything but becoming the best female golfer of all time.
Anyway, here was Wie meeting her idol. And here was that idol asking her to have a few swings with his driver. The temptation must have been a sore one. But Wie is as smart as she is good. So she said, no.
The reason, according to her father B.J., was because she knew the shaft in Woods driver was too stiff. She didnt want to look bad in front of Woods.
Wie, according to Pat McCoy, the manager of technical services at Fujikura, uses an extra stiff 46-inch shaft in her driver. Its a Fujikura Speeder. It weighs 71 grams. Its tip is flexible. Its composition is graphite carbon fiber.
Woods, according to sources, uses a 44 inch shaft in his driver. Its a steel prototype. It weighs approximately 120 grams. Its tip is very rigid. Its composition is steel.
Two very different weapons. Wies specs are the way they are because her best launch angle is different. Its more important for her to get the ball in the air faster. If she had tried Woods driver, McCoy said, it would have been difficult for her.
She probably could have made it work, McCoy said, but it probably wouldnt have been optimum for her.
Part of the problem is that even though both play shafts labeled extra stiff, there are varying degrees of extra stiff. Tigers driver is probably four times stiffer than Michelles, McCoy said. McCoy also said Woods swing speed is about 18 miles per hour faster than Wies.
The interesting thing about this is that Wie knew all these differences were significant. She knew it would be difficult to impress him without her own club.
This is the kind of precocity we got from Woods at the same age. Woods played in his first PGA Tour event as an amateur when he was 16. Wie will play in her first PGA Tour event this week at the Sony Open. To repeat, she is just 14, half Woods current age. Tuesday she played a practice round with Ernie Els.
All of which begs this question: Who hit the ball farther when they were 14 years old, Woods or Wie. Thats the virtual reality competition Id like to see.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt

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:

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.