AT&T staff worked through night to make play possible

By June 30, 2012, 6:22 pm

BETHESDA, Md. – 'It was like a movie.'

That's how AT&T National tournament director Greg McLaughlin described the scene before him around 11 p.m. last night as he pulled up to the gates at Congressional CC.

What he thought was one tree – it turned out to be four – blocked the entrance to the host club for the AT&T National. Almost 10 hours later, the tournament and PGA Tour staff made the call to play the third round on Saturday.

About 10 full-time tournament staffers, the Congressional maintenance crew and a small cast of others worked through the night to clear the course of fallen trees, large debris, downed structures and other trash to make the course ready for the 80-man Saturday field.

'We actually had to get some furniture out of the (clubhouse) pools,' said McLaughlin, who got three hours' sleep last night, with a laugh. 'We were making the place presentable.'

It was more than a litter operation, however. McLaughlin had to communicate with volunteers, sponsors, tournament staff and the media to first share the delay, then the decision to play – albeit with a skeleton staff and zero spectators.

“It has been an extraordinary 24 hours at the 2012 AT&T National. I am so impressed by the hard work and dedication from everyone involved with this tournament, from the Congressional Country Club members and staff; the team from my Foundation and the PGA Tour. It's really great to see everyone pull together and ready the course for play. I'm very thankful for their efforts and look forward to welcoming the fans back on Sunday,' said Tiger Woods in a statement prior to Round 3.

The decision to go on without fans was made early, well before the staff believed they could get the third round in today. Under normal circumstances, the tournament would have expected 25,000-30,000 people on Saturday, along with 2,000 volunteers. Imagine that many people showing up when the gates opened to clutter an already hectic clean-up. 

'We didn't have an hour to decide (last night what to do with fans), so we made that our initial thought to take them off the table,' he said.

The next decision was whether or not anyone else should bother to show.

'We knew there would be good conditions,' he said. 'We also knew we couldn't get in 36 holes in this heat, so if we didn't play today, we would have a Monday finish.'

The initial thought was it would be a Monday finale. At 6:30 a.m., McLaughlin first talked with tour staff, thinking it would be 'really hard to play.' The remarkable work of the Congressional grounds crew, however, had the Tour confident by 9 a.m. they could play today. 

McLaughlin, who has been working at tournaments since 1988, doesn't think that would have been the case at many other venues.

'That's why you come to Congressional,' he said. 'They host majors.' 

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: