Fact Pack: RBC Heritage

By Will GrayApril 16, 2013, 9:26 pm

With the first major of the year in the books, the PGA Tour heads up the road to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage. A field of 144 players will tackle Harbour Town Golf Links, where driving distance is essentially irrelevant and a strong emphasis is placed upon the ability to accurately shape approach shots. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• Few players on the PGA Tour have an affinity for a single course the likes of which Boo Weekley holds for Harbour Town. Weekley possesses just two career PGA Tour victories, with both coming at Hilton Head - in consecutive years, no less - and he currently ranks third on the event's all-time money list, having amassed nearly $2.4 million. Weekley, who was a runner-up earlier this year in Tampa, also has three top-15 finishes here since 2009, including a tie for sixth last year.

• With Harbour Town offering some of the smallest greens players will face all year, it's not surprising that this tournament has provided some of the lowest putt-per-round totals in PGA Tour history. Kenny Knox set a Tour record when he took only 93 putts here in 1989, a mark that David Frost bettered by one in 2005 (though it should be noted that neither went on to win the event). In recent years, six of the last seven Heritage champions have taken less than 104 putts for the week (an average of 26 putts per round), with the lone exception coming when Weekley won in 2008 despite taking 107 putts.

• Along with small targets, Harbour Town is known for its narrow, tree-lined fairways, which puts a premium on finding the fairway off the tee. Three of the last four winners have finished the week in the top 10 in driving accuracy, with Carl Pettersson serving as an outlier last year (it helped that he led the field in GIR percentage despite hitting only 37 fairways). This bodes well for players like Ken Duke, Jeff Maggert and Tim Clark, all of whom rank among the top five on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy and have found the short grass off the tee more than 72 percent of the time in 2013.

• If the golfing gods believe in karma (though there is plenty of evidence to suggest they do not), Brian Davis may be in for a good result this week. The Englishman, who notably finished second to Jim Furyk in 2010 after calling a penalty on himself during the first hole of their playoff, has played well here in the two years since, tying for 21st in 2011 and 13th in 2012. Davis also played well earlier this month in Texas, tying for sixth at the Shell Houston Open and finishing T-29 in San Antonio the following week.

• Though he only has one top-three finish on the PGA Tour to his credit, there is reason to think Graham DeLaet could be poised for a breakthrough soon. The Canadian, who tied for ninth at both the Farmers Insurance Open and the Honda Classic, currently stands second overall on Tour in ball-striking. DeLaet is also fifth in GIR percentage, fifth in total driving and has made six consecutive cuts. Should his putter begin to heat up - he's currently only 104th on Tour in strokes gained putting - he may be able to improve substantially upon last year's T-44 result.

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: