(L-R) Xinjun Zhang, Chinese player; Jay Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner; Zhang Xiaoning, China Golf Association president; and Zecheng Dou, Chinese player. (courtesy: Getty Images)

PGA Tour China to resume with full schedule in 2018

By Doug FergusonOctober 25, 2017, 1:34 pm

SHANGHAI – The PGA Tour has its first Chinese members, and now has reason to believe they won't be the last.

After a one-year hiatus, the PGA Tour China Series resumes in 2018 under a four-year agreement between the PGA Tour and the China Golf Association in which the prize money and number of tournaments will increase.

''These will be brand new tournaments, providing players with more opportunity to participate, as well as to establish a route for China golfers to get through and into the world stage of golf,'' said Zhang Xiaoning, president of the CGA. ''The development of golf tournaments here is not only helping the tour itself, but also to help China develop better and more professional golfers and to raise the interest of our citizens to the sport of golf.''

The announcement Wednesday was at the HSBC Champions, the only World Golf Championships event in Asia. It was at the HSBC Champions four years ago that the tour first launched the PGA Tour China Series.

The start of the 2017 season was delayed during discussions, and eventually scrapped.

Even in three years, it had a strong influence on developing Chinese golfers. Zecheng Dou won four times and was the China Player of the Year in 2016, while Xinjun Zhang finished fifth on the money list. The top five players earn status on the Web.com Tour.

Dou won on the Web.com this year, while Zhang was twice a runner-up. Both finished among the top 25 on the money list to earn full PGA Tour cards.

Haotong Li played the China Series in 2014, and a year later he was one shot out of the lead going into the final round of the HSBC Champions. Under enormous pressure from the home crowd, he didn't make a par until the seventh hole while playing alongside Jordan Spieth. He tied for seventh.

''As soon as I walked onto the first tee, everyone was speaking Mandarin to me – 'Haotong, play well, good luck' – my mind was lost,'' he said Tuesday night from the roof of a hotel in downtown Shanghai, where he took part in a promotion with Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and Hideki Matsuyama. ''I learned a lot from that.''

Li won the Volvo China Open last year, and this summer he closed with a 63 to finish third in the British Open. Li chose to stay on the European Tour instead of trying to get a PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour Finals. He is No. 66 in the world, the highest-ranked of all Chinese players.

''We are looking forward to strengthen the development of the sport of golf in China and to hopefully provide them with not only a better platform to develop but also to gain more opportunity to strengthen their skills to have better performances in major international sporting events,'' Zhang said.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said the tournaments in 2018 would have a minimum purse of 1.5 million Chinese yuan (roughly $225,000), an increase from 2016. He sees success through Dou and Zhang already reaching the PGA Tour after just three years of the China series, and a handful of others on the Web.com.

''They followed the path from PGA Tour China to the Web.com Tour to the PGA Tour, and they are ideal examples of what you can do when you have immense talent, you dream big and you play on PGA Tour China,'' Monahan said.

The HSBC Champions sets aside six spots for Chinese players, and this year has a record seven players in the 78-man field because Li qualified on his own from being among the top 30 on the European Tour money list.

''PGA Tour China was really important for me,'' Li said. ''I grew up from nothing to playing the Web.com. It's a really good tour. It's helpful for China golf.''

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

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.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


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

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:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

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: