Finchem and Woods have media face off

By Jason SobelMay 29, 2012, 10:17 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – At promptly 3:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem sat down at the dais in the Muirfield Village Golf Club interview room and announced one of golf’s worst-kept secrets. Within minutes, Fred Couples and Nick Price were introduced as the newest Presidents Cup captains, joining Finchem in the news conference as they were peppered with questions about next year’s competition at this very venue.

A half-hour later, the two captains were still spinning yarns and dropping hints; Price spoke about the time he angrily broke a putter in front of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, while Couples let slip that he will likely be an assistant to old buddy Davis Love III at this year’s Ryder Cup.

Meanwhile, some 2,100 miles across the country, Tiger Woods had convened on a reddish-orange couch in a lounge at The Olympic Club, site of next month’s U.S. Open and host to his practice round earlier in the day. He glared into a computer screen, not to watch the captains’ news conference, but to host a Google Plus “hangout” during which he answered questions from fans.


Video: Google ... Plus Tiger


For nearly 15 minutes, the two events coincided – a confluence of old media standard and new media strategy, staring each other down from 10 paces with pistols drawn.

Throughout his professional career, Woods has often separated himself from the masses with his on-course performance. In this particular instance, he was separated by distance and content, a voluntary isolation that could serve as a career-long metaphor.

It wasn’t that the timing of his “hangout” was especially wrong; it was just … awkward.

Even Finchem, never one to heap criticism upon the Tour’s biggest moneymaker, was left stretching to explain how the overlap of the two public performances made sense.

“We’d like for our top, star players to coordinate things with what’s going on,” the commissioner said privately afterward. “I don’t know to what extent it was a problem, though.”

Perhaps muddying that image was the fact that the Tour’s own website and Twitter feed were promoting the conflicting events, allowing interested observers an opportunity to choose between the two mediums.

Before posting something to your own website or Twitter feed taking offense to any offense taken, understand that any confusion here is more about the timing of the two events rather than Woods’ decision to forgo traditional media or the actual execution of his live chat.

The truth is, it was abundantly more palatable than the recent 14-minute video that featured Woods alone, answering questions in what appeared more hostage video than “hangout.” With journalist Mark Soltau serving as moderator and television commentator Roger Maltbie proffering a few queries, the production value was greatly enhanced from its previous version.

Though the page’s comments section was riddled with an amalgamation of posts that ranged from the old standby “you da man” to the new adaptation “Tiger! Follow me on Twitter!” to the banal “fire foley” in addition to plenty of lewd comments, his message came across loud and clear. Woods wants to interact more directly with the fans – and if that means cutting out the middle man of traditional media, well, then so be it.

“Absolutely, I’m going to do this more often in the future,” Woods stated near the end of the chat. “It’s fantastic for us to be able to reach out to fans. … We want to let them ask questions and let them feel like they’re part of the process as well.”

Meanwhile, the news conference continued in Ohio with nary a mention of Tiger’s name until the very end – and only circumstantially. It left the “hangout” with the same feeling as if MTV had announced its music award nominees during the very same time that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was having its induction ceremony.

Granted, only Couples perfectly fits the rock star analogy, but the simultaneous nature of the two performances certainly struck the wrong chord.

It may have struck a bigger one if other principal figures were briefed on the overlapping scenarios.

“I don’t know anything about the timing,” Finchem said. “As far as doing it, you know, we’ve got a lot of players doing it. It’s just that he’s Tiger Woods, so if he does it, everybody’s eyes are on him. It doesn’t bother me. People like that stuff today. I’m not versed in the content they went over today or anything like that or whether he made any announcements, but just in terms of the overall structure of the way to reach fans, on the surface at least, I don’t think it’s much different from Stewart Cink being on Twitter all the time.”

There’s nothing wrong with the PGA Tour holding a news conference to announce the upcoming Presidents Cup captains, even if they were hardly a surprise. Likewise, there’s nothing wrong with Woods holding an online chat to interact with his fans. The confluence of events which saw them coincide with each other on Tuesday, though – the game’s most popular player potentially upstaging an important announcement – could have shown better timing without robbing anyone of either message.

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: