Peterson's Open play a welcome distraction for grieving family

By Jason SobelJune 17, 2012, 4:38 pm

SAN FRANCISCO – Father’s Day celebrations for Bill Peterson were always perfectly satisfying if not jubilant. He and wife Elizabeth would take their four boys to church in Fort Worth, then return home, where he'd grill up a steak before they'd all head over to Colonial Country Club for a late-afternoon nine-hole sixsome.

They were the type of celebrations he at once refers to as both 'nothing special' and 'some of the most special moments.' He tries to explain, but you already know exactly what he means.

In recent years, with the boys all grown up, Bill and Elizabeth would spend Father’s Day at their son David's house, enjoying the Rockwellian revelry of eating barbeque and watching the U.S. Open with their grandkids.

“It’s just a good ol’ family time,” Bill says. “Just loving each other and doing things together and taking some pictures.”

Nothing special. Some of the most special moments.John Peterson

On June 4, the Petersons’ grandson, John – last year’s NCAA champion from Louisiana State University – qualified for the very same tournament they watch as a family every Father's Day. With no status on any major tour, playing in his first U.S. Open would be a huge accomplishment. And it meant this year’s celebration would be different for the Peterson family.

Not that anyone was complaining, of course.

Bill and Elizabeth (pictured right with John) have always been great supporters of John's golf game, furiously refreshing Internet leaderboards when he's competing in tournaments and calling him to offer their praise - win or lose - after his rounds.

For him to reach the U.S. Open field was big news in the Peterson family - until they were struck by devastation.

Not long after John qualified for the tournament, Elizabeth developed an infection. Her health quickly deteriorated in the hospital, and last Saturday she passed away at age 85.

Playing in the FedEx St. Jude Classic at the time, John’s thoughts immediately turned to his grandmother. On Friday, he shot 65 using a ball marked “ELP.” Her initials. It was later placed in her casket, buried with her forever.

He thought about his grandfather, too. About the insignificance of trying to play golf while he was in such pain.

“When you’ve been married to someone for 64 years and all of a sudden she’s not there anymore, it’s really tough on him,” John says. “I couldn’t play that weekend very well. I talked to my granddad. He said, ‘You know what? The last thing that she would want you to do is to be distracted.’ She lived forever. She got sick and died in a week. She’s up in heaven, she’s looking down at me and hopefully I can make her happy.”

Golf has always been an integral part of the Peterson family dynamic. When David moved with wife Jan and their children from Baton Rouge to Fort Worth a decade ago, Bill passed on his Colonial membership to his son, ensuring his grandchildren would enjoy the game on the course he loved so much.

Since then, Bill and David and John would often tee it up together, three generations of Petersons doing what they loved most.

“He would watch me hit balls and we used to play at Colonial when he could still swing,” John says of his grandfather. “Him and me and my dad, I grew up playing with those two guys at Colonial and I owe a lot of my start to him. Giving me the opportunity to play at Colonial was awesome. He basically got me started in the game.”

This week, the game has taken on greater meaning. It’s not just a game - and this is not just a golf tournament.

No, it’s a bonding experience for the Peterson family. A way to keep them together, to keep them celebrating in the wake of such heartache.

It’s a way for Bill to keep from thinking too much about Elizabeth’s death, a way for David to assuage his worries about Bill, a way for John to keep up everyone’s spirits.

And that’s exactly what he’s done so far. With rounds of 71-70-72, the kid with no status on any major tour finds himself in a share of eighth place, just four strokes off the lead entering the final round of the U.S. Open.

The fact that he has a chance to win on Father’s Day makes it even sweeter.

“I’m getting to see my dad’s dream and I’m getting to see my son’s dream at the same time,” David says, fighting back tears. “To see those be fulfilled is pretty cool. John is getting to live his dream and frankly, I’m getting to live my dream, too.”

“He’s told me forever, ‘The best Father’s Day gift for me would be for you to be playing in the U.S. Open on a Sunday,’” John adds. “I’m doing that. I’m fulfilling his dream. I’d love to win, but I’ve got a long way to go. I’d love to do that and give him that trophy, but I just think me being out there and being in contention is good enough for him.”

As John Peterson competes in the final round, his brothers and sister will join Bill at his house, assisting their grandfather with the grieving process. They’ll cry with him, laugh with him, talk with him.

All the while, they'll be huddled around the television, watching one of their own try to win the U.S. Open on Father’s Day.

It will be nothing special. It will be some of the most special moments.

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:

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:

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.