Park's POY award highlights LPGA ceremony

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2013, 5:16 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Inbee Park revealed the secret to her success this season.

Reilley Rankin explained how family gave her the strength to come back from a broken back to play golf.

They both received standing ovations at the Rolex Award Celebration Friday at the Ritz Carlton at Tiburon.

Park, 25, the first South Korean to win Rolex Player of the Year, told the audience she was more nervous speaking there than she was over any putt at the U.S. Women’s Open, but she delivered an eloquent speech.

“Many people say I look effortless,” Park said. “Some say I look emotionless. Some even call me the silent assassin.

“Just because I don’t show my emotions doesn’t mean I don’t feel anything. What I have gone through this year is more challenging than anything I’ve gone through in my life. The season seemed endless.”

Though Park never showed it in her historic run winning three consecutive majors, handling all her interviews and public responsibilities with patience and grace, she said she struggled with the unrelenting attention, the feeling she was always being scrutinized.

“There wasn’t a moment I felt completely relaxed,” Park said. “I felt so uncomfortable standing in front of a crowd whose eyes were all on me. I wasn’t prepared to deal with all of it.”

Park’s admission makes the way she handled people in her run all the more impressive. She never betrayed the slightest irritation over the demands upon her.

“I understood it was part of the job,” Park said.

The secret to her success? Park said it was focusing on something larger than scores.

“So, in answer to the media’s question, who is the silent assassin?” Park said. “I am someone who believes in finding happiness. My goal at the beginning of the year was simple. Let’s be happier than last year. At most, let’s win just one more tournament. Don’t we all want to be happy? Aren’t we all doing what we do to be happy?

“Unexpectedly, as soon as happiness became my goal, I achieved more than I ever had. I had my best season yet.”

Park thanked her parents.

“In the midst of this perfect storm, my family kept me grounded,” Park said. “I don’t think I tell my family thanks enough for their voice of reason and for their love.”

Park thanked Suzann Pettersen and Stacy Lewis for pushing and inspiring her in their competition. She also gave special thanks to her coach, Gi Hyeob Nam, who is also her fiancée. And to her caddie, Brad Beecher.

“My fiancée just makes me smile,” Park said. “He took a tremendous risk when he decided to stand by me and support me on the tour. Despite not speaking English, he made the decision to come to a foreign country with only one thing, faith in me.”

About Beecher, she said: “Brad is much more than just a caddie for me. He has been one of my best friends throughout my many years on the tour. Off the course, I never hear him complain when I ask him to do some tedious task.”

Rankin, 34, received the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for determination in overcoming an obstacle in pursuing her golf career. While playing at the University of Georgia, Rankin broke her back and sternum and bruised her heart and lungs jumping into a lake from a cliff. She was in a back brace for three months but went on to become a three-time All-American who led Georgia to an NCAA Championship and then earn her LPGA card.

Rankin said she drew inspiration from her family and cited strength her mother gave her: “She had a saying in the house, you only see the obstacles when you take your eye off the goal.”

The other awards presented were:

The William & Mousie Powell Award – Amanda Blumenherst, 27, was honored for showing the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA.

Patty Berg Award – Peggy Kirk Bell, 92, one of the pioneers of the women’s games, was honored for the kind of sportsmanship and goodwill characterized by Berg’s career.

Ellen Griffin Rolex Award – Kathy Murphy, a golf educator at Penn National Golf Club & Inn, was recognized for her demonstration of the love of teaching the game.

The Commissioner’s Award – Golf Channel was recognized for outstanding coverage and support of the LPGA.

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

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis – “A really tough loss to the @LPGA family. God just added a fantastic teammate in heaven. Thinking about you, Nat!”

Christina Kim – “Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan.”

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews – “RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.”

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott – “Sad to hear that long-time tour caddie Greg Sheridan has passed away. Greg, you will be missed.”

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas – “The world is a sadder place today without our buddy Greg Sheridan, a caddy and a friend for lifetimes…Godspeed buddy.”

LPGA pro Jennie Lee – “So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the U.S. Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you.”

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 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. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.