Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2 Rory McIlroy

By Jason SobelDecember 28, 2011, 1:00 pm

[Editor's note: Click here for the Top 10 Newsmakers selection process and article release dates.]

Two of the most memorable and relevant shots of the 2011 golf season were struck by the same player two months apart, utterly symbolic in their dichotomies.

The first occurred at the Masters Tournament. Final round, 10th hole. Holding a four-stroke advantage, the leader pulled his tee shot so far left that many longtime observers claimed they had never seen a ball travel to that outer part of the Augusta National course. Result: He made triple bogey and not only lost that lead, but posted a score of 80 to finish in a share of 15th place.

The second occurred at the U.S. Open. Final round, 10th hole. Holding an eight-stroke advantage, the leader delicately placed his tee shot on the par 3 about 4 feet above the hole, then spun it back to within inches, inciting raucous approval from the Congressional crowd. Result: He tapped in for birdie and easily cruised to an eight-shot victory for his first career major championship title.

The player in question, of course, is Rory McIlroy. And there’s a terrific chance that the latter never would have happened if it wasn’t preceded by the former.

After falling apart on the game’s grandest stage, the 22-year-old accepted the defeat and took it in stride. If his Sunday play wasn’t exemplary, his post-round interview certainly was.

“I just unraveled,” he explained. “Hit a bad tee shot on 10, and then never, never really recovered. You know, it's going to be hard to take for a few days, but I'll get over it. I'm fine.

“It's a Sunday at a major, what it can do. This is my first experience at it, and hopefully the next time I'm in this position I'll be able to handle it a little better. I didn't handle it particularly well today obviously, but it was a character-building day, put it that way. I'll come out stronger for it.”

It didn’t take long, either. Just two months later, at the very next major, the U.S. Open turned into the McIlroy Monument in the nation’s capital, as the precocious youngster stamped his place amongst the greats with a momentous wire-to-wire triumph that recalled memories of a young Tiger Woods.

Afterward, the Masters bounce-back wasn’t far from his mind.

“I felt like I got over the Masters pretty quickly,” he said. “I kept telling you guys that and I don't know if you believed me or not … Nice to prove some people wrong.”

This will be remembered as a year that McIlroy proved he can not only be dominant on the course, but off of it, as well. He made international headlines for breaking up with his longtime girlfriend and starting a relationship with Caroline Wozniacki, the world’s No. 1-ranked tennis player. He created news by severing ties with super-agent Chubby Chandler, electing to be represented by the group that handles good friend Graeme McDowell instead. And he ascended to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, his seemingly predestined jaunt toward the top spot still on the ascension.

More than anything, though, McIlroy’s year will be most memorable for his Masters snafu and U.S. Open supremacy. He was clearly one of the season’s biggest newsmakers – and will continue to serve in that role for a very long time.

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: