Wester Receives Babe Zaharias Award

By Lpga Tour MediaFebruary 17, 2003, 5:00 pm
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' Al Wester, a pioneer of golf radio broadcasting and supporter of the LPGA almost since the tours inception, is the recipient of the Babe Zaharias LPGA Journalism Award for electronic media in recognition of his excellence in covering the LPGA and womens professional golf.
 
Wester, better known as Big Al to his fans and colleagues, will receive the award at the Golf Writers Association of America annual awards dinner, April 9, at the Masters in Augusta, Ga.
 
Al Wester is a legend in radio, said LPGA commissioner Ty M. Votaw. His deep baritone voice has been illuminating radio waves for more than 50 years, and fans of the LPGA have been benefiting from his knowledgeable and insightful coverage for decades. He was a natural choice for the Babe Zaharias LPGA Journalism Award and joins what is becoming a distinguished list of recipients who embody the very best their respective fields have to offer.
 
Westers talent and diverse sports knowledge have allowed him to broadcast some of the most important sporting events of the past five decades, and golf has been an integral part of this history. In 1983, Wester founded the U.S. Championship Golf Network (USCGN), one of the largest radio golf networks whose broadcasts are heard over Westwoods Mutual and NBC Radio Networks. For years, USCGN has been solely devoted to producing network radio programming from tournament venues of the top professional golf events.
 
Wester has covered more than 330,000 rounds of professional golf in the United States and abroad. Many of those rounds have come at LPGA Tour stops, including The Solheim Cup, which Wester has covered since the events inception in 1990. He has also been a long-time supporter of the Safeway PING Presented by Yoplait in Phoenix, Ariz., which Wester has covered from his radio booth in the media center for 15 years.
 
He is a familiar sight at the LPGA majors as well, going back to his first U.S. Womens Open at Salem Country Club where, fittingly, Babe Zaharias was crowned champion.
 
That was my first womens tournament, and I was amazed at the athletic ability of Babe from the moment I saw her, said Wester. So, it is truly a great thrill for me to receive an award that was named after The Babe. I am both humbled by and delighted in receiving it. Ive received a number of awards in my career, and this is another instance of being honored to be in the company of such fine people'not only the awards namesake, but also past recipients like Jim Murray and Dick Taylor. I deem it one of the great honors of a broadcast career.
 
In addition to golf, Wester has made a name for himself in many other sports, namely college football and professional baseball, basketball and football. He spent 16 seasons, two of which were national championship seasons, as an icon in the broadcast booth of Notre Dame football games.
 
One highlight of years broadcasting NFL games was Westers play-by-play of the 1970 game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions. Westers call of Tom Dempseys record 63-yard field goal that won the game is permanently installed and played daily in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
 
Other highlights from the last half-century of sports include play-by-play coverage of numerous World Series, Super Bowls, NFL Monday Night Football, the Indianapolis 500, Kentucky Derby, Olympic Games and 16 Muhammad Ali championship fights.
 
The Babe Zaharias Journalism Award was created in 2000 under the direction of Votaw and is presented annually to both a print and electronic journalist. The 2002 award for print journalism will be announced at a later date. In conjunction with the award, the LPGA will donate $2,500 in each of the recipients names to the Golf Writers Association of America scholarship fund. Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times (posthumously), and Bob Rosburg, ABC Sports, were the first recipients of the Babe Zaharias LPGA Journalism Award in 2000, followed by Dick Taylor (posthumously), and Jack Whitaker, ABC, in 2001.

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.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday.