Gotta have faith: Where Piller found her Sunday strength

By Randall MellJune 10, 2012, 11:19 pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Gerina Piller found inspiration in her yardage book throughout her improbable charge up the leaderboard Sunday at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

She found it in her husband’s handwriting.

“I actually had my husband write a bunch of bible verses in my yardage book,” Piller said. “I just kept reminding myself there are bigger things out there. Having my husband here, I just can’t find words to explain it.”

Piller broke into tears outside the scoring hut recounting how she nearly shocked the world of women’s golf with her against-the-odds run at winning at Locust Hill.

Piller, formerly Gerina Mendoza, is a UTEP graduate married to Martin Piller, a two-time Nationwide Tour winner who played the PGA Tour last year. Gerina started Sunday 189th in the Rolex World Rankings as a second-year LPGA pro with one top-10 finish in 21 career starts. Before this week, her major championship record read like this: MC, MC, MC.

Nobody expected Piller to make this run, not even her husband.

“Did I see her winning the tournament coming here? Probably not,” said Martin, who followed Gerina the entire round. “I did see her playing well.”

When Gerina stiffed a wedge to 4 feet at the 16th and rolled in the birdie putt, her name shot to the top of the leaderboard. She was tied for the lead.

“I kind of knew I had a chance when I made that birdie,” Piller said. “I told myself to just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Piller’s chances derailed at the 17th when she pulled her tee shot into the tree line. She looked like she might still rebound and save par, but from behind the green, she swiped a wedge under her ball, leaving it short of the green. She made double bogey.

Piller closed with a 68 at treacherous Locust Hill, equaling her best LPGA round, and finished tied for seventh, her best finish on the tour.

Bolstered by her bible verses, Piller said when she felt challenged, she found particular strength in reading Matthew 14:30 in Martin’s handwriting. It is within the story of the apostle Peter trying to walk on water, but sinking when his faith waned.

Obliging a reporter’s request, Piller read the scripture in question:

“When Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, and he cried out, ‘Lord save me!’ Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”

Piller said her faith inspired and sustained her improbable run.

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: