Finally, Masters will have two Stadlers

By Jason SobelFebruary 3, 2014, 1:43 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Craig Stadler remembers being at Pebble Beach for the 1982 U.S. Open, two months after his Masters victory. His son, Kevin, was just over 2 years old, oblivious to the rigors of preparing for a major championship. He just wanted to play.

“Kevin’s diaper was sticking out of his shorts or whatever and we were hitting balls,” recalled the man known as the Walrus. “He was down there for three hours straight hitting balls, and I went to pick him up and go back and he just screamed bloody murder. You hope you get a 2-year-old to focus on something for three minutes, but he was down there for almost four hours. It was awesome.”

Five years later, the son was bounding around Torrey Pines when his father placed a towel on the ground to hit a punch shot from his knees. Found in violation of the rule against building a stance, instead of finishing second he was disqualified. “I was only 7 at the time,” Kevin said, “but I remember afterward he was one pissed-off dude.”

Kevin Stadler was a PGA Tour kid who’s blossomed into a PGA Tour champion. This week marked his 239th career start, but his first victory – a one-stroke triumph over Bubba Watson and Graham DeLaet – has been a lifetime in the making.

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It’s a feel-good story, too. For years, Craig has continued teeing it up at Augusta National in hopes that Kevin would soon join him. When son finally tees it up in the field with dad this coming April, it will be the final time for the past champion.

“It’s really my last one,” Craig said by phone minutes after Kevin’s victory. “I kept saying, ‘You know, when he gets in, that’s my last one.”

“He probably would have liked it better,” Kevin added with a smile, “if I had gotten there five years ago, so he could call it quits then.”

The son is a proverbial apple who hasn’t fallen far from the tree – at least on the course. He shares an inherited ball-striking ability with his dad, though not the hot temper. And now he becomes just the ninth son to join his father as a PGA Tour winner.

When Craig maintains, “We don’t look even remotely close to each other,” everyone within earshot laughs, because, well, of course they do.

There can be a lot of pressure on the son of a Masters champion who is trying to walk in those footsteps, but Kevin contends that he’s never had any issue with such a burden.

“It's the only last name I have ever had, so it's just normal for me,” he explained. “Everybody asks me that question and I don't even think about it.”

Here’s where the feel-good story takes a left-hand turn.

That common bond between father and son, from hitting balls together at Pebble Beach to the still-infamous violation at Torrey Pines, has taken its toll over the years.

Kevin bristles at being called Baby Walrus. He doesn’t suffer comparisons to his father. And when asked to describe their relationship, he demurs.

“It's fine,” he said coolly. “I’d rather not talk about that, but it's fine.”

The cryptic comment can only leave us guessing at past conflict, but we can guess that it’s much better than nonexistent and something less than perfect.

Craig was out of the country until Saturday, but left Kevin a few text messages during the week, telling him he was playing well and needed to make more putts. “Standard messages I get from him,” Kevin disclosed.

During the course of Sunday’s final round, he was thinking about his dad. From gaining the lead on the ninth hole to losing it on the 11th and eventually clinching when Watson missed a 5-foot putt on the final green, he thought about how time is catching up to his father and how special it would be for them to compete in the Masters together.

“That was in the forefront of my mind when I was out there,” he admitted. “He's been telling me for a couple of years I need to hurry up and get there before he calls it quits.”

As for Craig, he couldn’t be prouder.

“I'm his biggest fan,” he said. “He probably doesn't know it, but I love watching him play on TV and on the Internet. I don't get to watch him play live too often.”

Then he adds an off-course thought about his son: “He's a great kid.”

When apprised that his father said those words, Kevin alters his previous statement of not wanting to speak about their relationship.

“I get along with him fine,” he said. “I'm just not as close with him now as I used to be, but he's still my dad. I love him.”

Father and son together at the Masters. The first father-son duo to ever compete in the tournament together.

Even if everything about Craig and Kevin Stadler’s relationship isn’t perfect, this part still counts as a feel-good story.

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

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:

Fitzpatrick one back in 2018 Euro Tour opener

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 1:37 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia had six birdies and a bogey Thursday for a 5-under 65 and a one-stroke lead at the Hong Kong Open, the first event of the 2018 European Tour season.

Playing in sunny but breezy conditions at the Hong Kong Golf Club, the greens had the players struggling to gauge the approach.

''Very tough conditions today,'' Chawrasia said. ''It's very firm greens, to be honest. I'm just trying to hit the second shot on the green and trying to make it like a two-putt.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Shubhankar Sharma and Matthew Fitzpatrick (both 66) were one shot behind, while seven others were tied for fourth a further stroke behind.

''Hit it great tee to green,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''I think I had like seven or eight chances inside 15 feet, and on a day like today when it's so windy and such a tough golf course, with how tight it is, yeah, it was a good day.''

Justin Rose, who won the title in 2015, shot was 2 under with five birdies and three bogeys.

''I think the course played a couple shots harder than it typically does,'' Rose said. ''I like this course. I think it offers plenty of birdie opportunities.''

Masters champion Sergio GarciaRafa Cabrera Bello and defending champion Sam Brazel (69) were in a group of 16 at 1 under.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.