Star-studded field gives way to Thompson

By Jason SobelMarch 4, 2013, 12:42 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Here in the adopted hometown of golf’s glitterati, you can’t walk into a beachside bar without bumping into a top-50 player. They are an easily recognizable group, even when devoid of logoed caps and ironed slacks. Sock tans around the ankles and an encouraging entourage in tow are dead giveaways for these fellows with million-dollar smiles and much heftier bank accounts.

Driving their own classics instead of courtesy cars, these players rolled out of bed and descended upon PGA National this week for a tournament so star-studded that they could have called it the WGC-Honda Classic and no one would have batted an eye toward its ascendancy into the next echelon. The red carpet directly outside the player locker room is well worn, but still could have served as a Hollywood entrance as they arrived to begin the event.

But things stopped going according to form soon afterward, the stars failing to align once the competition started.

Rory McIlroy ducked out mid-round on Friday morning, his concentration affected by a sore wisdom tooth – or maybe the sore wisdom tooth was affected by his concentration. Either way, he likely learned a harsh lesson in the process: The tooth hurts.


Honda Classic: Articles, videos and photos


Tiger Woods was undone by a performance that included four double bogeys, which was four greater than his number of rounds under par. The end result was a share of 37th place – four spots worse than his finish of a week earlier, when he lost in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Rickie Fowler made various leaderboard appearances throughout the tournament, but a seven-bogey output in his final round acquitted the orange-clad free-swinger of any right to fight for the title.

Lee Westwood similarly found prosperity at times, until finishing with five bogeys in his final 14 holes, relegating him to a share of ninth place that no doubt proved bothersome for his entire one-mile drive home Sunday evening.

These elite players, the ones whose likenesses graced the daily pairings sheet and whose galleries burgeoned with eager-to-please fans, were washed away one by one, like seashells along the nearby Atlantic Ocean shore, until only one remained.

When the tournament was finally completed, when the final putt dropped and “Sweet Home Alabama” started blaring from a nearby loudspeaker, it wasn’t one of these household names who was left clutching the shimmering trophy.

Instead, it was a player who entered this week with exactly one FedEx Cup point.

It was a player whose last start came at the Northern Trust Open and found him in dead last after two rounds.

It was a player who dined at Chipotle with his wife while holding a share of the 54-hole lead Saturday night and never got recognized.

It was a player who isn’t a no-name, but has enough of a common name that he can be easily confused for others.

It was Michael Thompson, a player who easily flew under the radar that had previously been so occupied by so many of the big names in the field.

“You know, everybody wants to see the marquee players, the guys who are exciting or wear the bright clothes and all that,” said Thompson, whose first PGA Tour win came in his 61st career start. “I've always kind of treated my golf game or kind of lived by the motto as, I'm going to let my clubs do the talking. If my clubs talk, and they are saying a lot of good stuff, then good things are going to happen to me.

“And so, you know, I don't think that's going to change. I'm not a flashy player. I'm not dramatic or anything like that. I just kind of plod along, make my pars, eliminate the big mistakes and make a few birdies here and there. If I keep doing that and I stick to that game plan, I'm going to have a great career.”

All of which leads to a head-scratching conundrum: Thompson was able to find success by letting others bask in the attention, but the more he continues playing like this, the more attention he’ll continue to steal away.

Not that he is on the verge of superstardom anytime soon. No, he’ll leave that to the locals, the household names with their own yachts and clothing companies and encouraging entourages in tow.

Thompson will let them have all of those riches as he steps out of the player locker room, right over the red carpet, clutching that glimmering trophy the entire 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: