What We Learned: Nice guys don't always finish last

By Jay CoffinJune 17, 2013, 1:56 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the world of golf. In this edition, our writers weigh in on the marvel that was Merion, Justin Rose's first major championship and all things U.S. Open.

Nice guys don't always finish last. In fact, you can be a good dude and win majors. While Tiger Woods was in the middle of his major dominance I always thought you needed to be singularly focused and insular like him in order to win the game's biggest prizes. I thought you only needed to care about yourself and not give much of anything to anyone outside your immediate circle of family and friends to be successful on the course. Turns out, that's not true. You can be a well-balanced person and win majors, Adam Scott and Justin Rose are living proof. Let's say a toast for the good guys. – Jay Coffin

If I am Jason Day or Hunter Mahan or Jason Dufner or Luke Donald or Steve Stricker or Rickie Fowler – all of whom contended at the U.S. Open on Sunday, all of whom rank somewhere not too far down the Best Player To Have Never Won A Major list – I take the disappointment of losing with a huge helping of optimism after seeing one of my own get his turn in the spotlight. With Justin Rose’s breakthrough into the world of major championship winners, the turnstile keeps letting first-timers through. Think about it: From Adam Scott to Webb Simpson to Rory McIlroy to Bubba Watson to Graeme McDowell to Martin Kaymer, for the game’s elite players, winning a major feels less a matter of if than when. This, of course, contradicts life as we knew it for the dozen years from 1997-2008, when major championship golf appeared to be Tiger Woods against the world – and it often wasn’t a fair fight for the world. Now, though, players can patiently wait for their push through that turnstile. The least equitable game in the world is giving everyone a chance at immortality. – Jason Sobel

That was a fun experiment, bringing the year’s second major to venerable Merion, but it might be another 32 years – if not longer – before it hosts another Big One. For four days we watched PGA Tour players tackle the most difficult sub-7,000-yard course in the country. The problem was, it was tricked up by the USGA. The hole locations were cut in funky spots. The rough was so long, it made Rory McIlroy’s hair seem like a buzz cut. A few of the fairway lines were moved. The world’s best players were hitting drivers on par 3s – and coming up short. All to protect par. That’s not to mention the logistical nightmares, the makeshift clubhouses, the long shuttle rides from the range, the 15,000 fans who were unable to watch a major championship in their backyard. It was a fun experiment in 2013. But it could be a while before Merion cracks the Open lineup again.– Ryan Lavner

That Merion, some three decades removed from the U.S. Open rotation, is still the championship test it was when Bobby Jones completed the Grand Slam and Ben Hogan carved that 1-iron into the history books. Fears that the East Course, at just under 7,000 yards, had been left behind by technology were greatly exaggerated, as evidenced by this week’s scoring average – 4 ½ strokes over par – and Justin Rose’s 1-over-par winning total. Even Tiger Woods, who finished a distant 13 strokes back, sang Merion’s praises after weekend rounds of 76-74: “Certainly golf course-wise, it could definitely host another major championship.” Whether the Open returns to the Philly gem is up to the USGA and logistic reality, but it should. – Rex Hoggard

Merion Golf Club should play as large a role in golf's future as it has its past. This old course is wonderfully quirky. Every hole stands apart from the others, like 18 colorful siblings begging to be your favorite. Merion is a treasure, a classic American creation that deserves the chance to continue to shape the future of the game. This course proved it stands the test of time. – Randall Mell

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: