Despite drama, Guthrie leads Honda Classic

By Doug FergusonMarch 2, 2013, 12:48 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rory McIlroy left before his round was even over. Tiger Woods had to rally just to stick around.

And with all that drama Friday in the Honda Classic, hardly anyone noticed that Luke Guthrie showed off his potential in a big way with a 7-under 63 to take a one-shot lead going into the weekend at PGA National.

Guthrie, pegged by many of his peers as a rookie worth watching going into the year, played bogey-free on another cool, cloudy day.

Of his seven birdies, perhaps the most impressive for the Big Ten champion from Illinois came on the sixth hole when he had mud on the side of his ball and was able to work the shot in from the right to about 10 feet.

After finishing his round, he walked into an interview room when someone mentioned that McIlroy walked off the course after being 7-over par through eight holes.

''I had no clue,'' Guthrie said. ''I was just kind of going about my business out there.''

He was at 9-under 131 and had a one-shot lead over Michael Thompson.

McIlroy, who missed the cut in Abu Dhabi and lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship in his previous two starts, made a double bogey on his second hole and rinsed two balls in the water on the 16th hole on his way to a triple bogey.

He hit his approach to the 18th in the water and never finished the hole.

He shook hands with Ernie Els and Mark Wilson and was on his way, but not before conflicting messages.

McIlroy told three reporters who followed him to his car that it was nothing physical but that he was ''not in a good place mentally.''

An hour later, he released a statement through his management company that he couldn't concentrate because of a sore wisdom tooth.

Woods looked as if he might join him. After mixing birdies with bogeys, Woods went bunker-to-bunker, over the green, short of the green and wound up with a double bogey on the 13th hole that put him one shot under the cut line with five holes to play.

Instead of the second straight week when No. 1 and No. 2 were gone early, Woods answered with a shot into 5 feet for birdie, a 6-foot par putt on the 16th hole, a par save from the back bunker on the 17th that was easier than it looked, and a par save from near the grandstand by the 18th green that was harder than it looked.

He wound up with another 70 to make the cut on the number, nine shots out of the lead.

''I didn't quite have my game like I did yesterday,'' Woods said. ''I hit it much better yesterday, but I putted better today, so it all evened out.''

Also having a tough time was tennis star Serena Williams, following in Woods' large gallery. She took a picture of the 14-time major champion after his tee shot on the 17th and was scolded by security. The PGA Tour does not allow photos on competition days.

''Apparently u can't take pics. This security ... yelled at me,'' she tweeted.

A few minutes later, she posted the photo. And she finished with one last tweet: ''In my Defense peeps always take pics of tennis players.''

There was no reason to get a snapshot of Camilo Villegas, who joined a dubious list of PGA Tour players who went from first-to-worst. Villegas, playing primarily on sponsor exemptions this year because he lost his full status, opened with a 64 for his best start in more than a year.

The Colombian was 13 shots worse on Friday in a round of 77 that caused him to miss the cut. The last player to do that was Jim Renner at the Travelers Championship in 2011.

Thompson had a 65 and will play in the final group with Guthrie, the first time all year the PGA Tour will have twosomes on the weekend.

Boo Weekley held it together for another day and shot 67 to finish two shots behind at 133, along with Graham DeLaet of Canada.

Behind them was an impressive collection of players.

Geoff Ogilvy finally began holing some putts and shot 66 to go into the weekend three shots behind, along with Lee Westwood (68), Charles Howell III (67), Sean O'Hair (68) and Justin Rose (66). Ogilvy had not made a cut in his past four tournaments, dating to his season opener in the California desert.

''The worst I've hit the ball was today,'' he said. ''You chip in, hole a couple of long putts ... it's amazing how different it is when you hole good putts.''

This is a big weekend for the likes of Ogilvy and Howell, neither of whom is in The Masters. They have to win or move into the top 50 by the end of the month.

For players such as Guthrie, Thompson, DeLaet and Weekley, they are so far down in the ranking that only a win would get them down Magnolia Lane.

The road to the Masters suddenly looks like an uphill climb for McIlroy.

Nike introduced him with blaring music and a laser show in Abu Dhabi, but it's been all downhill from there.

In three tournaments, he has missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship and withdrew after 26 holes at PGA National.

''His demeanor looks a little different,'' said Graeme McDowell, one of his best friends. ''I felt like he was a little off with his golf swing on the range. There were a few moans and groans coming from the bay next to me. It's normally a display. It's normally a clinic. It's superlatives coming from the coach and the caddie. That's the sign of a guy who's lacking a little technique in his swing and a little belief in his game.''

In the parking lot, McIlroy was asked three times if anything was wrong physically and he said no. Golfweek magazine reported he was near tears.

''There's not really much I can say, guys,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm not in a good place mentally, you know?''

Then came the statement that it was his wisdom tooth, an apology to the Honda Classic for withdrawing, and hope that his game is about to turn the corner.

McIlroy, whose manners have been as impeccable as his swing since turning pro, faced criticism for his behavior for the first time in his career.

And while he couldn't wait to get off the course, this much probably didn't cross his mind. By quitting in the middle of a round, he is ineligible for the Vardon Trophy he won last year for having the lowest scoring average of the PGA Tour.

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.