Web.com Tour completes first test of range finders

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2017, 7:08 pm

The first of four test events allowing players to use distance-measuring devices during competition on the Web.com Tour was held last week with largely positive, albeit incomplete, feedback from players and fans.

The BMW Charity Pro-Am in Greenville, S.C., was shortened to 54 holes because of weather delays and the pro-am format probably didn’t give officials or players a chance to fully gauge how DMDs could impact pace of play, but the first test did provide at least partial answers to some questions.

“This is not just about pace of play, there are other elements that include the fans," said Web.com Tour president Dan Glod. "We wanted to see how our fans would respond and what it would look like to see guys with range finders.” 

On this front, having players laser targets didn’t appear to take away from the competition for fans either on site or watching at home, although it did take some time for the players to become comfortable with the notion.

“It felt strange, it didn’t look strange because we do it every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday [during practice rounds], but the first couple of times I pulled out the range finder I was like, ‘Did I do something bad? No I can do whatever I want,’” said Jason Gore, who tied for fifth place at the BMW Charity Pro-Am.

The event was the first of four tournaments that will test the use of DMDs on the Web.com Tour – including the Rex Hospital Open, (May 29-June 4), the Rust-Oleum Championship (June 5-11) and the Air Capital Classic (June 12-18) – and there will be similar test events on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica.

Earlier this year the USGA and R&A unveiled a list of proposed changes to the Rules of Golf that included an adjustment to Rule 14-3/0.5 that governs the use of DMDs in competition. Under the proposed rule, players would be allowed to determine distance, but will not be allowed to use the slope or elevation functions found on many modern range finders.

Glod said the use of DMDs last week didn’t have an impact on pace of play, primarily due to the format, but most players agree a range finder would likely only speed up play if a player hits a shot dramatically off-line.

“We’ll find out when the pace of play picks up in the next few weeks, but I don’t think it’s going to help unless you’re well off line,” Gore said. “It would be a much bigger deal if we could use slope, you wouldn’t have to use the [yardage] book then, we still have to look in the book and figure out the percentages.”

Gore said the vast majority of the field last week used a DMD, but early indications suggest they weren’t being used as often as one might have thought.

“The interesting piece for us was some players didn’t use the DMD for every shot, some only used it a dozen times over three days,” Glod said. “They still use yardage books and the interaction between player and caddie.”

Once all of the test events are completed the evaluation will be presented to players on the Web.com and PGA tours.

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: