Notes: Norman slights Donald as world's best

By Doug FergusonNovember 8, 2011, 7:35 pm

SYDNEY – Luke Donald has been No. 1 in the world since the end of May. He has won four times around the world, and he likely will be voted PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Apparently that’s still not enough to get on Greg Norman’s radar screen.

Norman was asked Monday who he thought was the best player in the world regardless of the world ranking.

“I’m going through three or four players right now. That’s how tough it is,” Norman said. “I don’t think there is one guy out there like Tiger used to be out there, and that’s again a testament of the validation of why I think the game of golf is so good right now.”

He mentioned Martin KaymerAdam ScottJason DayRory McIlroy, Ryo Ishikawa.

“I’m going down the list and I’m missing out on guys,” Norman said before going on to mention the swing of PGA champion Keegan Bradley. “You go down this list and all of a sudden now I’m at 10 players.”

He never once mentioned the guy at the top – Donald.


FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The only two continents where the Presidents Cup has not been played are Asia and South America, which is likely to change when the next one goes overseas in 2015. And while Asia appears to have more appeal, South America might be more critical.

A record four Asian players are on this year’s International team – K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang, K.T. Kim and Ishikawa – and PGA Tour commissioner said Asia is “becoming a bigger part of what the Presidents Cup is all about.”

“We are looking hard at Asia,” he said.

But when pressed about which Asian country might be best suited to host the Presidents Cup, Finchem had his eyes on another event – the Olympics in Brazil in 2016.

“When you look at the Olympic date sitting there in ’16, and everybody is gearing toward that, you’ve sort of got to draw some conclusions as to where we’ll be in 2015,” he said.

Golf’s return to the Olympics is not guaranteed to be for long. The sport gets only one chance to shine before the next International Olympic Committee vote on whether to keep golf in the Games, so it’s important that it is received well in Brazil.

There had been some discussion about taking a World Golf Championship to South America ahead of the Olympics, such as the Cadillac Championship at Doral.

“We’ve discussed that a little bit as a possibility,” Finchem said. “There are some other things we could do down there as well. We were hopeful we’ll see some daylight here in terms of when the golf course will be ready so we know we’ll have a place to play, and by ’15. Once we know that’s going to happen, then we can start to work on real options.”

Finchem said if the golf course – the architect is to be chosen in late December – is not ready before 2016, then the first event would be the Olympics. Ideally, it could be ready in time for another event.

“We need it ready by ’15, which means it needs to get going,” he said.


WORLD-CLASS WINNERS: Perhaps no other tournaments in the world offer better odds of getting a high-ranked winner than the World Golf Championships. They usually invited the top 50 in the world, although three of them also have lesser-known players from other tours. Even so, Kaymer strengthened the trend by winning the HSBC Champions.

In the 13-year history of the series, only four players ranked outside the top 50 have won a World Golf Championship.

Steve Stricker was No. 91 when he won the Match Play Championship in 2001 in Australia, the event where some two-dozen top players stayed home. Kevin Sutherland was No. 65 when he won the Match Play a year later at La Costa. Craig Parry is the only player outside the top 100 to win a WGC, at No. 118 when he captured the 2002 NEC Invitational at Sahalee.

The other was Geoff Ogilvy, who was No. 53 when he won the Match Play in 2006 at La Costa.


MATCH PLAY CROWD: The Match Play Championship is trying to give fans a better view of the final match in Arizona by allowing fans to walk in the fairway behind the players.

It’s a practice often seen at the U.S. Amateur, Walker Cup and Curtis Cup matches. When Woods played the Australian Masters, officials allowed the overflow of fans to line the fairways some 75 yards from each green, creating a stadium feeling.

At Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., marshals will hold ropes that keep the fans 40 feet behind the players down the fairway, though they will be kept away from greenside bunkers.


DIVOTS: The Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico, held opposite the Match Play Championship, has extended its title sponsorship through 2018. … Mark Calcavecchia has his own special “cocktail” to deal with an ailing hip. He takes one Celebrex before he leaves his hotel room and one Vicodin on the practice range. That gets him through 15 holes, and he just toughs out the last three. “That’s only on tournament days,” he said. “Pro-ams and practice rounds I tough it out because I don’t want to waste good painkillers.” … With so much success by European players this year, the cover of its media guide will stick to the major champions. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and British Open champion Darren Clarke recently posed for a photo. Left out is Donald, the No. 1 player in the world.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Europeans will have held the No. 1 ranking for an entire season for the first time since Nick Faldo in 1993. Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Donald all have been at No. 1 in the world this year.


FINAL WORD: “Maybe it’s just I’m so used to hitting so many bad shots.” – Tiger Woods, when asked about controlling his temper on the golf course.

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.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.