Playing with a heavy heart, Simpson shares lead at Kapalua

By Jason SobelJanuary 6, 2014, 3:44 am

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Webb Simpson and Paul Tesori have told the story so many times that they've got it down to a buddy act, each one filling in the blanks for the other.

It was November 2010 when Simpson, a promising young talent just removed from a strong sophomore campaign, called the longtime caddie to gauge his interest in coming to work for him. Within minutes, though, the roles were reversed. Tesori started grilling Simpson about topics such as motivation and work ethic. The conversation turned into the pro selling himself to the man he wanted to employ.

Three years and four wins later, they’ve forged a bond that goes beyond the usual player-caddie alliance.

“Although it is a business relationship, I don't view him as an employee,” Simpson explained. “He doesn't view me as a boss. I tell him all the time, 'I'm not your boss. We're friends first.'”

Through three rounds, Simpson is tied for the lead at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, in position for a fifth career title. His caddie – his friend – isn’t here. Tesori stayed in Jacksonville, Fla., this week to be with wife Michelle for the birth of their son.


Hyundai Tournament of Champions: Articles, videos and photos


It had all the makings of some playful banter. If Simpson played well, he could joke with Tesori about not needing his expertise. If he didn’t, Tesori could tease him about being more valuable than he realized. Either way, the two friends would share in the celebration of the new baby.

There is no celebrating right now, though.

Isaiah Tesori was born on Saturday. He developed a seizure within 15-20 seconds afterward and is currently in the NICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

“I'm getting details from different people, but I think he had an infection or a virus in his brain,” Simpson reported. “They were continuing to run tests last night and this morning.”

It’s a helpless feeling for the Tesori family, of course, praying and hoping for the best for little Isaiah.

On a much smaller scale, it’s a similarly helpless feeling for Simpson, who maintained that if he wasn’t five time zones away, he’d strongly consider withdrawing from the tournament in order to be with them.

“He wanted me to go out and play as I normally would and play hard,” he said of a text message from Tesori. “He's dealing with all that he's dealing with, and you know, when you have a close friend going through something like that, you want to be at least near him, give him a hug.”

Caddying for Simpson this week is Ted Scott, who is not only Bubba Watson’s regular caddie but a good friend of Tesori.

Prior to Sunday’s round, Scott inked the name “ISAIAH” on the bill of his cap and the initials “IT” on either side. Afterward, behind dark sunglasses, he couldn’t contain his tears.

“I want him to know I’m thinking about him,” he said. “He’s a good buddy; he’s a really good guy. He’s one of my closest friends, and my heart hurts for him and Michelle.”

Scott admitted he couldn’t stop thinking about them throughout the day.

“Oh, man. It was hard. It’s just hard not to think about him and what really matters. He’s a dear friend, and you don’t want him to have a kid who isn’t healthy or has problems. It’s just really hard to gather my thoughts together.”

Simpson paralleled those emotions.

“Paul sent me a text this morning, just told me he loved me and wanted me to go out and fight as hard as I would any other day, and that's what Teddy and I did,” he said. “You know, I felt like we were out there playing for Isaiah.

“Paul needs something to watch there in the hospital. It's been a long few days, so hopefully we gave him something good to see on TV.”

They certainly did.

Just as Simpson and Scott were finishing up their round, Tesori took to Twitter to describe what he just saw:

Sure, it’s a helpless feeling being so far away, but Scott soon learned that he was helping – in the only way he could.

“You always like to have some reason to fight,” he said. “When it comes to your friends, you’d do anything for him. If that’s something that can cheer him up in this moment, then it’s worth it.”

As if Simpson and Scott need any further motivation for Monday’s final round, they’ll do it for Paul and Michelle and Isaiah. They’ll do it to make them proud, they’ll do it because it’s the only way they can help, and they’ll do it to reap future rewards.

They both know, this week’s winner will clinch a spot in next year’s festivities here at Kapalua. As Scott said of his friend Tesori, “He deserves to go to Hawaii.”

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: