European Tour Report Cards
Birdies, Pars and Bogeys ' thats how were rating performances this year on the European Tour.
The European Ryder Cup team rebounded from the heart-breaking loss in Brookline in 1999 to defeat the stronger-on-paper USA team at The Belfry. The squad was led by aging wonders Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer as well as some fearless play by some of the rookies in the Sunday singles matches. It was the Euros third victory in the last four Ryder Cups. Underdogs no more.
Though Retief Goosen won the Order of Merit title, it was Ernie Els who had the tours best year. He won three official events and also the Cisco World Match Play tournament, where he defeated Sergio Garcia, Vijay Singh and the red-hot Montgomerie in successive days. One of his official wins was, of course, the 131st Open Championship, the third major of his career. Ring up a Birdie for the Big Easy.
Sam Torrance captained the European Ryder Cup team to a resounding victory. Enough said.
Padraig Harrington continues to improve and is on the verge of becoming one of golfs superstars. Finishing a close second to Goosen on the Order of Merit, Harrington won the Dunhill Links Championship, which had one of the strongest fields of the season. He also played well and showed consistency in the majors with high finishes in each, setting the stage for a truly break-out year for 2003.
A record 14 golfers won their maiden European titles this season, compared to the previous high of 13 in both 1996 and 2000.
Justin Rose is now in full bloom, winning four events worldwide ' two on the European Tour ' and also finishing in the top-10 on the Order of Merit. He was one of only four players on tour to have multiple wins in 2002.
Aside from Rose, Adam Scott and Luke Donald also enjoyed wins this year. The trio will look to make things far more difficult for the older European stars in the future.
It's hard to imagine Goosen getting a Par on his report card, but when you win a major and are ranked only behind guys named Woods, Mickelson and Els in the entire world, more things of are expected of you. Yes, he won the Order of Merit, but he did that the year before. Only one victory, in what others would call a career year, is the reason here for Goosens mark. Superstardom doesnt come easy. Great Par, though.
Montgomerie also posted a Par even though a late-season rally would have you believing otherwise. His exceptional and dominant play at the Ryder Cup may have earned a lesser player a sure fire Birdie, but this is Monty. His streak of consecutive years with at least one win came down to the final sunset of the season, with darkness giving the Scotsman a shared first place with Bernhard Langer. Though he had a strong showing of top-10s, Monty came up rather empty in the majors ' two missed cuts, a dismal 82nd in the Open Championship and a tie for 14th at the Masters. Hes happy to make Par.
Sergio Garcia began the year with talk of leading both the PGA Tour and the European Tour in winnings, and looked the part by snatching the PGA Tours season-opening Mercedes Championship. He ultimately finished sixth on the Order of Merit and 12th on the PGA Tour money list. Good stuff, but much like Goosen, wins are what counts for a player like Garcia, and with just one on each tour, a Par is the score.
Jose Marie Olazabal, Nick Faldo and Langer all showed flashes of their old selves but Father Time, longer courses, and the strength of the youngsters is making it undoubtedly ever more difficult to find the winners circle for the Hall-of'Famers. But make no doubt, there is still some get up and go in these thoroughbreds.
2002 has come and gone, and marks yet another year in which no European player was able to captured one of the four majors. The 1999 Masters with Spains Olazabal sporting a green jacket continues to get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror. Up to the young guns to turn this Bogey back into an easy Birdie.
Lee Westwood. Again. Hes now gone Bogey-Bogey the last two years.
The leaping celebration of Paul McGinley as he sank the winning putt for the Europeans. Its painful to watch replays of it. And its a great argument as to why many people dont think of golfers as athletes.
Paul Naylor and Freddy Valenti. Who? Exactly. These two finished last on the official Volvo Order of Merit, tied for 341st, each bringing in a whopping $117.21. Selling their clubs would have brought in more cash.
Darren Clarke, like his good buddy Westwood, could seemingly go through the motions and do better than his results in 2002. No top-15s in majors, and just one win with a grand total of three top-10s overall.
Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
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.’’
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
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
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
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.”
Best Greg story: coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes “Yep, caddied for her, her, her and her” Legend— Matthew Galloway (@matthewgalloway) November 23, 2017
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.”
The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time Tour caddie, Greg Sheridan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QKy0YdK249— LPGA (@LPGA) November 22, 2017
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:
Sad to hear the passning of Greg Sheridan. This photo brings back many memories. Always respected his caddy skills and devotion to womens golf. @natalie_gulbis @LPGA #RIPGreg pic.twitter.com/lHU3Ixz9Vk— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) November 23, 2017
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:
Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:
Professional caddies are often overlooked and underrated. But they're just as often the unsung MVP of a player's success. We just lost a great one. RIP Greg Sheridan. He was the 1st to welcome me to my LPGA assignment years ago. He will be missed eternally.— Jerry Foltz (@JerryFoltzGC) November 22, 2017
Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan. ❤️— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:
RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.— Shaun Clews (@shaunclews1973) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:
Sad to here that long time tour caddy Greg Sheridan has passed away! RIP Greg, you will be missed. — Jonny Scott (@stixy76) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:
The world is a sadder place today without our buddy Greg Sheridan, a caddy and a friend for lifetimes...Godspeed buddy— Kevin Casas (@TheKevinCasas) November 23, 2017
LPGA pro Jennie Lee:
So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I️ remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the US Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you @natalie_gulbis ❤️— Jennie Lee (@JennieLeeGolf) November 23, 2017