Woods may need to abandon conservative play

By Jason SobelJuly 21, 2012, 8:07 pm

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – There’s a reason Arnold Palmer is known as The King. It isn’t because of his seven major championship victories. It’s because of how he won them.

The classic images of golf’s consummate riverboat gambler are those depicting him hitching up his britches and taking a mighty lash at the ball. His aggressive nature spawned Arnie’s Army; it bought him legions of admirers around the globe.

A man of such royalty – even if it is just a nickname – deserves the dignity that comes with his role. He deserves to maintain that regal appearance without having to scramble for answers.

And yet, there was Palmer, a look of complete bemusement stretched across his face. This was three years ago, just days after Tiger Woods had shocked the world. This time, though, it wasn’t because of another dominant victory or clutch putt that led to an awe-inspiring celebration.

Video: Tiger Woods' third-round interview

Video: Highlights from Woods' Saturday 70

Instead, the greatest closer in the game’s history shocked us by losing. For the first time in 15 tries, Woods let a 54-hole major championship lead slip through his hands, as he watched Y.E. Yang climb past him for the PGA Championship title. He was roundly criticized for taking a conservative approach after jumping out to an early lead, a valid criticism considering his apparent strategy.

So when Palmer – the inimitable swashbuckler – was queried about Woods’ cautious game plan, he could hardly contain his puzzlement.

The King wrinkled his nose and furrowed his brow, then finally explained, “I don't like that. I think he's too good to be conservative. If you have the ability like he does, why be conservative? And obviously it didn't work out.”

It is a story that should perhaps be relayed to Woods prior to the final round of the Open Championship, which he will start in fourth place, five strokes behind leader Adam Scott. To this point, his game plan has echoed that of the aforementioned weekend at Hazeltine, a thoroughly conservative concept to keep himself from the depths of despair on a difficult Royal Lytham & St. Annes layout.

It’s tough to find fault with the strategy. An overly aggressive approach could have left Woods suffering the same fate as each of the year’s first two majors, when he essentially shot himself out of contention over the final 36 holes.

And yet, for a player ranked fifth in the PGA Tour’s total driving category, it remains a bit puzzling that he hasn’t at least pressed the gas pedal a bit off the tee. Through 54 holes, Woods has employed driver just four times, including once in each of his last two rounds.

It should serve as cruel irony that his third-round playing partner, Thorbjorn Olesen, doesn’t own a driver’s license – and yet, it was Tiger who wasn’t doing any driving.

The iron-off-the-tee strategy recalls the familiar tune “Iron Man” from the band Black Sabbath:

Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all,
Or if he moves will he fall?

It might be time for Tiger to make a move – even if it means he falls.

After back-to-back scores of 3-under 67, he posted an even-par 70 that he called “about right” for how he played. Using driver only on the par-5 seventh hole – leading to birdie – on multiple occasions he left himself with more than 200 yards for his second shot into a par-4, which sounds conservative even by conservative standards.

Woods has already attempted to use a cautious game plan when leading a major championship, only to find it back fire in that battle against Yang. This time, he trails not only a world-class player in Scott, but remains one stroke behind plucky Brandt Snedeker and fellow major champion Graeme McDowell, his Sunday playing partner.

Nobody wants him
He just stares at the world
Planning his vengeance
That he will soon unfold

Woods makes no secret about what matters most to him in the game. In his pervasive pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship titles, he often conveys the message that his game should peak four times per year.

It’s roundly assumed that a more aggressive approach – the Arnold Palmer approach, if you will – will either yield victory or a crash-and-burn scenario. If so, it may be the smartest style on Sunday. After all, Woods isn’t a guy who’s playing for fourth place.

Then again, the wind is supposed to howl around Royal Lytham for the first time all week, with expected gusts of up to 30 mph. Woods intimated after the third round that the course conditions – not his score nor place on the leaderboard – will determine his strategy.

“I've just got to execute my game plan,” he said. “I know the forecast is one thing, but let's see what actually happens. But whether the wind blows or not, I've still got to go out there and post the round that I know I need to post and execute my plan.”

Woods has won tournaments playing both aggressively and conservatively, and lost them using each method, too. There’s no doubt which one the man nicknamed The King would advise for the final round, but that doesn’t mean he can’t stick to the same game plan of the first three days – and it could mean victory once again for Iron Man.

Heavy boots of lead
Fills his victims full of dread
Running as fast as they can
Iron Man lives again!

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.