Sharing Augusta with the Family
It turns out that he had been a member of ANGC since 1955 and spent a few weeks on the grounds twice a year ' in late October and before, during and after the Masters in the spring. Over the years, he had contributed to the building fund and actually had a cabin by the 10th fairway with his name on it. (This, of course, did not signify that he owned it, just that he sort of had first dibs on it.)
It also turns out that he and my mother had been engaged before my mother and father met. But thats a whole other story.
From 1981 until 1989, I made at least one trip a year from Boston to Augusta to spend 3-5 days visiting with my mother and my new, favorite step-father. In 1989, my wife and I moved to North Carolina and until 1994, we made two trips a year to ANGC ' spring and fall. Since my wife and mother werent interested in playing much golf, the two of them would drive back to NC to visit while I had different friends/family come in as guests to play. I am forever grateful to my stepfather who liked nothing more than to share the ANGC experience with others. Even when he couldnt play much any more because of his health, he would come out and follow us around in a cart.
It is still with a heavy heart that I must report his passing in 1997. He was a sweet, generous man who loved my mother and golf.
Here, in no particular order, are some of my fondest memories:
- Standing on the first tee for the first time with every visit and felling light-headed and a bit weak in the knees
-My half brother makes a hole in one at 12 ' his caddie Lamb Chop must have jumped 20 in the air
-One of my best friends makes 3 at 15 from the Masters tees
-Another friend shoots 72 from the Masters tees
-Meeting Alistair Cooke at the Foreign Press Reception in the Members Grill on Saturday night of the Masters
-Playing a few 9-hole rounds with the last man to win a major championship with hickory shafts (Johnny Fisher ' US Amateur 1936)
-Bumping into Ben Crenshaw looking at ties in the pro shop
-Seeing Raymond Floyd playing a round with a young Make-A-Wish golfer suffering from some kind of awful cancer
-Following Couples and Love in one of the early rounds
-Watching Nick Faldo on the range and seeing tight clusters of balls at 10 yard intervals out to about 280
-Playing through Paul Azinger and his entourage
-One rainy day when most everyone else opted to stay in and play bridge, I played 54 holes by myself
-Arriving a day after some bozo crashed the gates, took over the pro shop, and fired a shot through one of the windows (the grove is still there). Apparently, he wanted an audience with Ronald Reagan who was visiting George Shultz.
-Shooting 72 from the Members Tees ' birdies at 6-7-12-13, bogeys at 5-9-10-18
-Shooting 76 from the Masters Tees
-Playing the day after Crenshaws 1984 victory and trying to roll in that putt on ten.
-Trying the Larry Mize pitch on 11
-Seeing what happened to Amen Corner when the big rains came and, the next visit, seeing how all that devastation had magically disappeared
-Falling asleep in the cabin while watching the videos of past Masters on the closed-circuit club channel
-Having dinner with Charlie Yates, and hearing his stories about Bob Jones and how, during the Depression, the players used to share hotel rooms, cars, trains, etc. not to mention their winnings.
-Lunch in the Members Grill with the souvenirs donated by each winner ' Tom Watsons PAL, Floyds 5-wood, Nicklaus 1-iron, etc.
-Receiving a phony invitation to join the club from one of my guests who got some club stationary from the front receptionist ' for one minute, my heart was in my throat before cruel reality intruded
-Playing a round with some of the caddies, especially in the early 80s, who looped with the Masters players. Hearing their stories about all the guys, how they played the golf courses, and mostly how, if the players had listened to them, they wouldve won.
-Waking to the sound of the synchronized mowing squadron
-Playing the golf course days after the Masters when all the stands, scoreboards, ropes, towers, etc. are still in place
-Watching Fred McLeod, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead tee off in the early morning signaling the start of play
-Getting a letter from a man in the UK, father of a work colleague who asked me to send her Dad a sleeve of club logo balls (I sent him a box), thanking me profusely for completing his rather extensive collection.
-Every drive up Magnolia Lane
-The kindness and thoughtfulness of everyone who worked there
-The way time seemed to slow down when I first arrived and speed up when it was time to go
Thats enough for now. Among golfers, I consider myself to have lived an especially charmed life because of this, mostly accidental and unmerited windfall. I can only say that I enjoyed every minute of it and did whatever I could to share the wealth.
Oh, well. Good luck and play well.
Frank, Winston-Salem, NC
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Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball
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.’’
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
Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.
The major championships I'm certainly proud of, but Barbara, the kids and my grandkids are the best things to ever happen to me. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/wkma1Q9LlK— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) November 23, 2017
GC Tiger Tracker:
Mixing Thanksgiving and waiting for a week from today. pic.twitter.com/u9m9WxQNYx— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 23, 2017
Happy thanksgiving to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful day with family and friends. #Thankful— Steve Stricker (@stevestricker) November 23, 2017
Was reading about Thanksgiving. Originally they ate waterfowl, venison, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Seems a bit tastier than Turkey!— Frank Nobilo (@FrankNobiloGC) November 23, 2017
Literally food for thought.
Tyrone Van Aswegen:
Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017
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
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.”
Best Greg story: coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes “Yep, caddied for her, her, her and her” Legend— Matthew Galloway (@matthewgalloway) November 23, 2017
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.”
The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time Tour caddie, Greg Sheridan. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QKy0YdK249— LPGA (@LPGA) November 22, 2017
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:
Sad to hear the passning of Greg Sheridan. This photo brings back many memories. Always respected his caddy skills and devotion to womens golf. @natalie_gulbis @LPGA #RIPGreg pic.twitter.com/lHU3Ixz9Vk— Annika Sorenstam (@ANNIKA59) November 23, 2017
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:
Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:
Professional caddies are often overlooked and underrated. But they're just as often the unsung MVP of a player's success. We just lost a great one. RIP Greg Sheridan. He was the 1st to welcome me to my LPGA assignment years ago. He will be missed eternally.— Jerry Foltz (@JerryFoltzGC) November 22, 2017
Rest with the Angels now, Greg Sheridan. ❤️— Christina Kim (@TheChristinaKim) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:
RIP Greg Sheridan. One of the most successful and great caddies of World Golf, period.— Shaun Clews (@shaunclews1973) November 22, 2017
LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:
Sad to here that long time tour caddy Greg Sheridan has passed away! RIP Greg, you will be missed. — Jonny Scott (@stixy76) November 22, 2017
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— Kevin Casas (@TheKevinCasas) November 23, 2017
LPGA pro Jennie Lee:
So sad to hear the news of long time LPGA caddie Greg Sheridan. I️ remember sitting next to him on the plane from Walmart to the US Open one year and he gave me the best words of wisdom on player/caddie chemistry. He will be missed greatly. Thinking of you @natalie_gulbis ❤️— Jennie Lee (@JennieLeeGolf) November 23, 2017