Game on: Captains, players arrive in Chicago

By Doug FergusonSeptember 24, 2012, 11:54 pm

MEDINAH, Ill. – Jose Maria Olazabal stepped off the plane carrying the Ryder Cup, a familiar sight considering that Europe has won six of the past eight times.

It was who followed the captain off the plane that showed how much the dynamics of this event have changed over the years.

Olazabal flew over from London with only three of his 12 players – Paul Lawrie, Francesco Molinari and Ryder Cup rookie Nicolas Colsaerts.

Everyone else was already here.

Five of the Europeans – Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Peter Hanson, Graeme McDowell and Sergio Garcia – have homes at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla.

Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, among four players who were in Atlanta on Sunday for the Tour Championship, are moving to south Florida. Luke Donald lives about 45 minutes away on the north side of Chicago.

It wasn't that long ago that Team Europe came over together because that's where so many lived and played – Howard Clark and David Gilford, Sam Torrance and Mark James, Ian Woosnam and Colin Montgomerie.

Olazabal didn't see that as a problem.

''Obviously, when you look at some of the European players, they have their home base here,'' he said. ''They play the Tour over here. They are very familiar with the golf courses around here, with their opponents, and in that regard, I think they feel really more comfortable with the whole situation of coming here to the States to play the Ryder Cup. It has changed in that respect and also that they have realized through the years that they have been able to compete against the players here.

''And that somehow boosts your confidence, and that is a very important part when you are playing match play.''

Still, there was a certain charm about having the team arrive as one.

U.S. captain Davis Love III remembers his first Ryder Cup in 1993 at The Belfry, when Tom Watson assembled his group in New York and spoke of a grand adventure to Europe with the sole purpose of bringing back the cup.

Golf is different now.

''I miss that a little bit,'' Love said. ''We all gather and fly over. They fly over here. That was a really cool thing. But I think what we have got now is a much bigger event.''

Noting that so many of the world's best players are at Medinah Country Club, Love said that golf has become ''incredibly better.''

''What we have in our team rooms now and the camaraderie between the two teams is just incredible, and it's amazing how much it's changed over the years,'' Love said. ''And we're playing against our friends, but it's still as intense – maybe even more – because we are more familiar with them.''

One thing hasn't changed.

Both teams desperately want that 17-inch gold trophy.

Europe is coming off a 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 win two years ago in Wales, a week of slogging through the rain that forced a Monday finish that made everything worth the extra day when it came down to the final match, with Graeme McDowell delivering the winning point.

Medinah, the tree-lined course that has hosted five major championships, doesn't look anything like those events. Love has asked for the rough to be virtually eliminated and the greens to be slick as ever, hopeful that's an advantage to a U.S. team that he tried to stock with good putters.

Even though Europe seems to have owned this event, The Americans have lost only once at home in the past 15 years – at Oakland Hills in 2004.

''We are playing here against a very strong team,'' Olazabal said. ''We are playing away. The crowds are going to be rooting for the home team really strong, so in that regard, we have to be prepared for that. I think I've said it all along, I think both teams are pretty much even, and it's going to be a close match. From that point of view, I don't see any favorites, and it will have to be decided, obviously, on the golf course.''

The golf course was relatively quiet on a sunny, breezy day in the Chicago suburbs, which began with temperatures in the 40s and warmed beautifully by late afternoon.

Steve Stricker drove from his home in Wisconsin straight to Medinah, dressed in shorts as he worked on his chipping and putting. Keegan Bradley, one of four Americans making their Ryder Cup debut this week, also was practicing along with Matt Kuchar. Assistant captain Fred Couples took four players to the movies.

Tiger Woods, FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker and Jason Dufner were due to arrive Monday night.

The first official practice day is Tuesday, along with the team photos. Love said his pairings for the opening day on Friday were close to being finished, and the Tuesday practice sessions would offer a strong hint whom he has in mind as partners.

Both sides have been busy.

The entire U.S. team and five of Europe's team members reached the FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship. Snedeker has had only one week off dating to the British Open, while Kuchar has missed only two weeks.

Love jokingly said Snedeker would have been at Medinah earlier except that he had to go to the bank and deposit the $11.44 million he won Sunday at East Lake from his victory in the Tour Championship that gave him the FedEx Cup title.

''Brandt doesn't ever need a week off. He's perpetual energy,'' Love said. ''But I've been stressing to them to make sure that they get some rest and that they are prepared. We have four guys at the movies with Freddie this afternoon, four guys out chipping and putting and we've got another four coming in all during the afternoon. I think they are taking it easy today, and they will be ready to go.''

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.