Kite Rejuvenated as a Champion

By George WhiteMay 23, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Senior PGA ChampionshipEDMOND, Okla. -- Tom Kite has this persistent quest in mind as he prepares to play in the Senior PGA Championship this week.
 
He won 19 times on the regular tour, including a U.S. Open conquest at Pebble Beach in 1992. He was the first player in PGA TOUR history to reach $6 million, then became the first to reach $7 million, $8- and $9 million. For years he was the career money leader on the regular tour.
 
Tom Kite has eight Champions Tour titles under his belt.
When he was 50 in the year 2000, he graduated to the Champions Tour and has now won eight times on that circuit. He has earned a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame. But at the age of 56, he doesnt know that he has reached his peak. At the age of 56, he is looking towards tomorrow and the next day as he attempts to be a superior player to that man who won the Open, that led the PGA TOUR in career winnings for so many years.
 
Im excited about the possibility of getting better, he said energetically. Im excited to see if Ill be better in the future than I am today. I may have already been as good as I am ever going to get. But I dont know that yet. And Im having a great time finding out.
 
Kite practices what he preaches. He dabbles frequently on the young mens tour, playing half of his schedule on the under-50 circuit last year because he had a one-time exemption as a top-50 money earner. He goes to qualifying every year for the U.S. Open. He is a long, long way from slowing down and acting his age.
 
Kite played in 12 regular-tour events last year and finished in a tie for 13th in one, the Booz Allen Classic. But he wasnt a rousing success on that tour, and when he reverted to the Champions Tour, he wasnt too effective on that circuit, either. He confesses that he needed to choose one or the other and stick with his decision. Naturally, that choice would be the Champions. And now that he plays the elder circuit almost exclusively, he has played quite well this year.
 
Actually, hes playing better now than he was as a younger man, about three or four years ago. He had won six times though his first 64 events on the Champions Tour. Then he hit rough sledding, experiencing putting woes and failing to get a victory from October of 2002 until August of 2004. After winning then, he went through another drought, going 19 months until he won this year.
 
His win at the AT&T Classic this year broke that string of non-victories. And, it was a most welcomed respite. The longer you go without a win, the more difficult it is,' he said with a sigh.
 
'I know that if I play up to my caliber, said Kite, if I play up to my standard, it's good enough to win a lot of tournaments, and I think I'm as good a player when it gets to be tough as anybody out here.'
 
His putting has become much improved since he went to the claw grip, roughly resembling Chris DiMarcos hand position, the last couple of years. Once one of the finest putters in the world in his 20s and 30s, he had gradually gotten worse until, out of desperation, he tried the claw. That was last year, and this year as he got more comfortable with it, he has greatly improved.
 
'At times out here on the Champions Tour and the last few years on the PGA TOUR, I've kind of fought my putter,' he said. 'But now my putter is getting very, very good. I'm really starting to swing well again so I'm very encouraged and very, very optimistic about what's going to happen over the next year, year and a half.'
 
This week he tries again, trying to forget about all the miscues and mishaps of last season.
 
'I played terrible last year,' he said. 'Except for an occasional decent tournament, I really didn't play very well at all.
 
'So I've been working hard, working on my game, working on my swing, and I hope to see it all fall into place this week.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Sr. PGA Championship
  • TV Airtimes
  • 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: