Scott moving to No. 1 without playing is OWGR nightmare

By Doug FergusonMay 13, 2014, 5:05 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Here's a suggestion for how Adam Scott should spend Sunday afternoon in the Bahamas.

Go out to the practice green and throw a ball down about 10 feet from the cup, maybe longer if he wants to add some drama. And then whisper to himself, as so many young golfers have done over the years, with one minor change in the wording.

''This putt to go to No. 1 in the world.''

The alternative is to follow what Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Lee Westwood did the first time they reached the top of the world ranking.

Nothing.

This is the official nightmare of the Official World Golf Ranking.

Scott had four mathematical chances over the last two months to replace Tiger Woods at No. 1 in the world. His best chance was to win at Bay Hill, only he couldn't hold a seven-shot lead on the weekend. His most recent opportunity was The Players Championship, where he would have needed a 68 on Sunday. He closed with a 73.

And now that he has a week off, Scott will go to No. 1.

It won't be official until next week, but here's what we know. Woods keeps losing points without being able to replace them because he is recovering from back surgery and has not played a tournament in more than two months. Scott will move past Woods this week, and the field at the Byron Nelson Championship is not strong enough that Matt Kuchar could surpass them even if he were to win.

Is it awkward? Sure.

Unprecedented? Not even close.

Of the 17 players who reached No. 1 for the first time, Scott will be the fifth who did not play that week. The list includes Bernhard Langer, who was No. 1 in the inaugural world ranking on April 6, 1986.

This will be the 57th change at the top, and the 13th time that a new No. 1 didn't play the week before he got there. That includes Woods – twice.

Faldo won the Masters and British Open, and tied for third in the U.S. Open in 1990. He still didn't get to No. 1, back when the formula was different and the ranking moved at the speed of Kevin Na. Faldo injured his wrist at the PGA Championship, where he shot 80 in the third round and tied for 19th. He took off three weeks to let it heal, and when he showed up at the European Open, he was No. 1.

And don't forget about Westwood. He completed only two tournaments in a three-month stretch in 2010 because of a calf injury. Coming off the Ryder Cup, he took off three weeks and went to No. 1 while watching TV at home in England.

The most confounding of all was in 1999, the summer when Woods and David Duval were the best two players in golf. They were so good that IMG created a made-for-TV exhibition on Monday night called the ''Showdown at Sherwood,'' a battle between No. 1 and No. 2.

Woods was ranked No. 1 and on the course, closed out Duval on the 17th hole. Both took the rest of the week off, and thanks to the mathematical wonder of the world ranking, Duval went back to No. 1.

Not that Duval cared how he got there.

''I guess that's the story right there,'' he said Monday on his way to Dallas. ''I don't remember.''

He remembers the first time he got to No. 1. In front of a hometown crowd, and on the same day his father won on the Champions Tour, Duval won The Players Championship to replace Woods atop the ranking.

That's a lot more fun than being at home.

Rory McIlroy reached No. 1 for the first time by winning the Honda Classic. Luke Donald made his debut at No. 1 when he won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in a playoff over Westwood, whom he replaced at No. 1. Donald has gone to No. 1 four times, three of them by winning.

Greg Norman won five times out of the 11 occasions he got to No. 1 – with four of those wins on different continents. Woods won six times to get to No. 1, including two majors, the ideal way to reach the top of the ranking. Then again, he first reached No. 1 with a tie for 19th in the 1997 U.S. Open. Pretty riveting.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how a player gets to No. 1.

And ultimately, all of them would just as soon win a major than be No. 1. Scott, a former Masters champion, said as much before leaving the TPC Sawgrass.

''I think it's a nice feather in the cap,'' Scott said. ''I mean, if I was never world No. 1 when I'm this close, I'd be disappointed. But I'd also much rather win the U.S. Open and not be No. 1 at all this year. That's what it comes down to.''

Even so, being No. 1 should not be dismissed. It doesn't define the best player in the world, rather who has performed the best over the most recent two-year period. And as Westwood correctly noted when he got to No. 1, ''It's a fairly elite list.''

So lace up your shoes, grab a putter and head to the practice green, Adam. Make a putt. Pretend it's to be No. 1 in the world.

And then take a bow.

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: