GMac-Woodland highlight best early matchups

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 17, 2014, 1:05 pm

Wednesday is one of the best days in golf – 64 of the world’s best players, 32 first-round matchups, an all-day slugfest.

Sure, the Round of 64 has a few potential snoozers – who ya got, Victor Dubuisson or Kevin Streelman? – but there are plenty of intriguing matchups, too.

Here are the five best:

1. Graeme McDowell (4 seed) vs. Gary Woodland (13 seed)

This is a tough matchup for McDowell, who is one of the grittiest competitors on the planet. In his last six appearances in this event, he has either been bounced in the first round or advanced to at least the Round of 16. Last year, he bowed out in the quarterfinals. But facing Woodland, G-Mac will have a huge disadvantage off the tee on one of the biggest ballparks the players will face all season. Woodland lost in the first round in his only appearance here (2012), but he’s enjoyed a return to form this season, with a playoff loss at the CIMB Classic and two other top-15 finishes. This should be a fun matchup of contrasting styles.


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2. Lee Westwood (8) vs. Harris English (9) 

Westwood would seem to have a substantial edge in the match-play department, but English is familiar with the format, too, having played a bit of match play in college. (The NCAA Championship is now determined by a match-play final.) The 24-year-old certainly enjoys an advantage in current form. He already has five top-10s in the wraparound season, including the victory at the Mayakoba Classic, and is coming off a T-10 finish at Riviera. Westwood, meanwhile, announced last week that he is no longer working with swing coach Sean Foley, yet he posted his best finish of the season at Riviera, a tie for 20th. The Englishman finished fourth in this event in 2012, but other than that, he has never advanced past the second round.


3. Charl Schwartzel (4) vs. Kevin Stadler (13) 

It all comes down to the putter for Schwartzel, who kicked away a chance to win at Riviera with some suspect work on the greens in the final round. The ball-striking machine hasn’t fared particularly well in this event in the past; only once in five tries has he advanced past the Round of 32 (2010). Stadler is making his first career appearance at Dove Mountain, but he’s never played better. Earlier this month he won the Phoenix Open, and last week he finished a respectable T-23 at Riviera.


4. Graham DeLaet (6) vs. Patrick Reed (11)

There should be a ton of birdies in this matchup. DeLaet was one of the revelations at the 2013 Presidents Cup, and he’s continued that fine form this season, recording top 10s in Malaysia, Shanghai, San Diego and Phoenix. Reed has been similarly hot, especially in the calendar year. After a record-setting victory at the Humana, he posted top-20s at Phoenix and Pebble Beach. In college, he went 6-0 in match play en route to leading Augusta State to back-to-back NCAA titles. 


5. Ian Poulter (3) vs. Rickie Fowler (14)

Neither player has been particularly impressive on the course in 2014, so perhaps they’ll just distract each other with colorful clothes until one concedes. Fowler has missed his last three cuts, including last week at Riviera, while Poulter hasn’t finished better than 47th in three PGA Tour starts. Then again, no one can turn it on in match play quite like the Englishman, who finished fourth here a year ago, won this event in 2010 and also captured the 2011 Volvo World Match Play title on the European Tour. His Ryder Cup record, especially in singles (4-0), speaks for itself. 

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: