Major goal of 20 gives Tiger more drive

By Jason SobelApril 5, 2013, 12:51 pm

Stumble into any professional sports news conference or interview scrum and you’re bound to hear the words “one day at a time” uttered before too long.

Crash Davis famously schooled Nuke LaLoosh in the art of this phrase in “Bull Durham.” Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden claimed that we had to seek small improvement in these increments. The words even transcend sports; Abraham Lincoln used the saying to explain that the best thing about the future is that it comes this way.

Call it a cliché – because, well, that’s exactly what it is – but taking things “one day at a time” is a rite of passage in professional athletics, the spoken ability to focus on the present akin to acing a sports psychologist’s pop quiz.

Tiger WoodsTiger Woods is no stranger to clichés, employing the “one day at a time” defense on his fair share of occasions. It isn’t often, though, that he outwardly lists specific goals. And he didn’t this time, either – but the 14-time major champion has told longtime friend and NBC/Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay that he has his sights set on a certain number of major titles before his career is over.

'He is focused on 20,” Begay said in a Sports Illustrated cover story that will hit newsstands during Masters week. “That may be a little hard to believe, considering what's transpired in the last three years, but that's where his focus is. He thinks he is capable of winning 20 majors.'

Public objection can be a funny thing. While the usual “one day at a time” athletes are often chastised for being too bland in their perspective, Woods’ comment – even one spoken only privately to a friend and not boasted publicly – will likewise be viewed as too obtuse. His bravado in basically saying, “I need five more major victories to pass Jack Nicklaus, so I’m going to win six,” will be unnecessarily characterized in a negative light, just like the recent slogan, “Winning takes care of everything,” in his Nike ad.

Quite frankly, if this is Woods’ mindset, it’s a refreshing one. Too often professional golfers address questions about long-term goals with such intangible rhetoric as, “I want to become more consistent” or “I just want to keep improving.”

Even secondhand, Woods is quashing the notion that vague goals are somehow more favorable. Whether he ever gets to 20 or not, simply stating that endgame can provide extra motivation and inspiration for a golfer who has often thrived on those emotions. From facing Stephen Ames in match play to proving wrong his doubters post-scandal, Woods may be the game’s all-time leader when it comes to dangling carrots in front of his nose, then racing out and catching them.

Photos: Tiger's career PGA Tour victories

In a way, it recalls his usual refrain about peaking four times per year, a not-so-thinly veiled reference to the major championships. Woods maintains that he wants – and plans – to have his best stuff when these tournaments are contested. It makes for noteworthy headlines, but think about it for a minute and the entire strategy sounds more than a bit flawed.

“I don’t really know how to totally do it for golf,” Woods’ instructor Sean Foley told me recently. “But I know in other sports, for example, Michael Phelps isn’t swimming fast two weeks before the Olympics. Sprinters don’t want to set world records two weeks beforehand. But I don’t know how you do that in golf.”

With three victories already this year, Woods certainly hasn’t paced himself prior to the majors, which sort of negates his own theory. But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. If Woods just thinks he can peak four times per year, that’s as good as doing so physically. Mind over matter, those sports psychologists might say.

Same goes for his stated goal of 20 career major championship titles. There are those who may call him arrogant for culminating a four-year drought by putting designs on a master plan to exceed Nicklaus by two. But it’s just another carrot that he’s dangled in front of his own nose, providing additional reason to continue working just as hard both on and off the course as he always has.

If Woods is focused on 20 and thinks he’s capable of winning 20 – as Begay maintains he has said – again, that’s half the battle. Mind over matter. He has an uncanny ability to set goals for himself and either reach or surpass them. It is a mindset we should applaud rather than denigrate, one we should celebrate and hope is contagious among his peers.

Just consider the alternatives. Even behind closed doors, Woods could have whispered to his longtime friend comments such as “I want to become more consistent” or “I just want to keep improving” or the ever-inconclusive “I’m just taking things one day at a time.” Instead, he chose a tangible goal, one which has never before been accomplished. It’s exactly what we should expect from a golfer who has thrived with similar mindsets throughout his career. 

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

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: