Big names cramming on eve of PGA

By Doug FergusonAugust 8, 2012, 11:29 pm

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - The final major of the year, and everyone was cramming for their last big exam.

Ernie Els and Adam Scott walked up to the 18th green at Kiawah Island on Wednesday evening about the time most people in the low country would be going out for a dinner of shrimp and grits. Behind them on the Ocean Course was Ian Poulter, facing the prospect of missing out on the Ryder Cup team, and Graeme McDowell, in Sunday contention at the last two majors and hopeful the outcome at the PGA Championship will be different.

The major that bills itself as 'Glory's Last Shot' felt more like a pop quiz.

Rain has pounded Kiawah Island throughout the week, and it got so bad Wednesday that play was suspended because of storms before anyone teed off. It has led to limited practice time on the one course where players really need it.

This is the first time South Carolina has hosted a major championship. Kiawah Island had the Ryder Cup in 1991, so long ago that Jose Maria Olazabal is the only player at the PGA Championship who played in the matches. And he's only in the field as the European captain.

McDowell, Scott and Tiger Woods were among those who came to Kiawah last week for a look at the Pete Dye design, though all of them remarked that 2 inches of rain had fallen the night before and it was soft. Not much has changed a week later.

'The last couple of days have been very difficult from a preparation standpoint,' McDowell said. 'The golf course has taken a lot of rain. It seems to drain extremely well, though. But there's no doubt, this golf course is a long course, and this little bit of rain is going to make it play longer, and certainly is changing the dynamic of it as we speak.'

Then, he headed out for an emergency nine, one last chance to see the stretch of holes that could determine the winner.

'It's going to be busy this afternoon,' he said. 'Guys are scrambling around to get their preparation done. Thankfully, I feel like I have done enough so far.'

At most majors, practice rounds are busy Monday and Tuesday, with mostly work on the practice range on the eve of the championship, perhaps nine holes in the morning.

'It was a little strange to prepare - not your typical week leading up to a major,' Stewart Cink said late Wednesday afternoon. 'But it was fine. We could get enough work in. Everybody is in the same boat, so it will be all right.'

No one is sure what to expect at Kiawah, the longest course in major championship history at 7,676 yards, depending on how they set it up.

The nines on the Ocean Course are divided by the clubhouse and practice range - the front nine is to the north and cuts through marshes, the back nine to the south, about a mile away from the ninth green, and featuring majestic views of the Atlantic Ocean beyond the dunes and sea oats.

The course looks wide open, although typical of a Dye design, it forces players to look at trouble without realizing there's more room than meets the eye. The last time Kiawah was in a major spotlight - the `91 Ryder Cup - the course was new and ragged around the edges, the wind picked up and it was pure survival. Hale Irwin had a 41 on the back nine and still won the decisive point for a U.S. victory, but only after Bernhard Langer missed a 6-foot par putt. That anguish on his face epitomized the emotions of the Ryder Cup.

The question is whether it becomes a product of Kiawah Island.

The hazards are plenty - 27 of the 86 acres that make up the Ocean Course are sandy areas, not to mention the water, the oppressive heat and humidity and mosquitos that do most of their damage in the morning. Darren Clarke was among those who got in a quick nine Wednesday morning, before a burst of showers. Walking off the 18th green, he wiped a small streak of blood from his wrist where he had killed a mosquito.

The last time the PGA Championship was held on a course hardly anyone knew was 2004 at Whistling Straits. It was big and intimidating, another Dye design, and several players said they would be happy to take even par for the week and wait in the clubhouse. Then, Clarke opened with a 65.

What to expect from Kiawah?

'Without meaning to state the blind obvious,' Clarke said, 'it all depends how strong the wind blows.'

The gusts reached 20 mph Tuesday morning before the storms arrived, and when the course was open for a play again, what little wind there was came from the opposition direction. It was stifling Wednesday afternoon, with not much of a breeze.

'There are still shots to be hit,' Clarke said. 'Guys will shoot some scores. The wind only needs to pick up to 10 mph and it changes completely. We shall see. It looks like a course that says, `Come on and play golf. Come feel it. Hit it high, high it low.' It looks like fun to me. And if the wind blows, it's more fun. You've got to have a challenge. You've got to ask questions of yourself, and have fun doing it.'

As the season's last major, it's not all fun.

Woods is trying to avoid going a fourth consecutive year without a major. He has been close in the last two, at least for a while. He was co-leader through 36 holes at Olympic Club, then tumbled out of the top 20 on the weekend. He was in the penultimate group at the British Open, only for his hopes to die while squatting on the precipice of a pot bunker on his way to a triple bogey on the sixth hole.

He says he is a fan of Pete Dye courses, though Whistling Straits was never terribly kind to him.

'Pete will give you a couple easy holes, and then he'll just hammer you with a few hard ones,' Woods said. 'Then he'll give you a break, and it's kind of the ebb and flow of most of Pete's designs. ... This is a golf course where it's going to test our short games a lot. The guy who can chip and putt really well this week is going to have a great chance.'

The way the majors have gone, that could be anybody.

Els won the British Open last month to become the 16th player to win the last 16 majors, the longest streak in 25 years. Such is the parity in golf that the streak could be extended if the PGA Championship is won by the No. 1 player in the world (Luke Donald) or the betting favorite (Woods).

The sentimental favorite figures to be Scott, who had a four-shot lead with four holes to play at Royal Lytham and closed with four straight bogeys. At least he gets another chance for redemption without having to wait another year.

'I'm lucky that just three weeks later, I'm going to have another go at it,' he said.

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.