Peers Speak Up for The Quiet Man

By Mercer BaggsJune 9, 2005, 4:00 pm
The Quiet Man sits in his chair, flanked to his right by an official moderator. He resides slightly above his audience on a small platform, looking down as they try to get him to speak.
 
He does speak; usually three or four sentences at a time. Invariably, a question concerning respect will arise. And the Quiet Man will answer.
 
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen has five career PGA Tour victories and at least one each year from 2001-04.
He will say something like: Its your problem if you overlook me, like he did at The Players Championship this year. Or he might respond, like he did at the Masters: No, it doesnt, not at all, when asked if it hurts his feeling that the media talks of a Big 4 and not a Big 5. Or he might just say: I dont really worry about it, like he did at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship.
 
Just about wherever Retief Goosen goes, he gets questioned about a perceived lack of respect ' in comparison to the top 4-ranked players in the world.
 
Certainly, he doesnt have the charisma of Tiger Woods. He doesnt have the popularity of Phil Mickelson. He doesnt have the worldly appeal of countryman Ernie Els. And he doesnt have the ability to regularly dominate like Vijay Singh.
 
He is simply who he is. Hes a soft spoken, demure and, at times, ignored individual. Hes the fifth man in whats billed as a Big 4 band. For the most part he sits in the shadows, comfortably devoid of attention. But occasionally, he plays his instrument more brilliantly than any of the others ' usually on the biggest stage.
 
Im not really all that bothered about (being overlooked), said Goosen, who will defend his U.S. Open title this week at Pinehurst. I go out there to play my game, and hopefully at the end of the week I win a tournament and that will take care of itself.
 
For as reticent as he is in personality, his resume speaks volumes.
 
He is who he is. Hes a two-time U.S. Open champion, and the reigning title holder. Hes a two-time Order of Merit champion on the European Tour. Hes a winner of more than 20 events around the world. Hes the fifth-ranked player in the world.
 
While he feels a little ill at ease in discussing his accomplishments or his abilities, his peers are quick to praise him ' and defend him.
 
Hes one of the best players in the world, said Woods. You know that if hes in contention, hes never going backwards. Hes always going to keep where hes at, if not go forward. Hes a tough person to beat come major championship time, because he doesnt make a lot of mistakes. And hes one of the best putters out here, too ' he makes everything.
 
Just one of those guys who just goes about his business, just doesnt draw any attention; but hes always there. Any time he tees it up he seems to be in contention.
 
Hes one of the best in the world, said Singh. You dont win two U.S. Opens by being a mug, you know. He can play. When hes on, theres nobody better. Hes just very underrated. He doesnt say much which is why people dont hear of him. But hes one of the best in the world.
 
When the courses get tough, he manages to get around. Hes just an extremely good putter in those types of conditions, said Sergio Garcia.
 
You know, hes a great guy, too. Im fortunate enough to be a fairly good friend of his. You know, hes a really funny guy when he gets going. I really enjoy spending time with him.
 
Hes pretty awesome ' strong player, said Adam Scott. I played the final round with him in China (at the Johnnie Walker Classic) and I started with a five-shot lead. After three holes it was a two-shot lead. I mean, he hit some of the most beautiful long-iron shots Ive ever seen that day. I got the upper hand on him in the end, but, I mean, hes phenomenal, really. Hes so solid. Put those long clubs in his hand, he looks so pure.
 
Possibly by you guys but certainly not by us, responded Darren Clarke when asked if Goosen was overlooked. He's one of the best players in the world. He's won two U.S. Opens. You've got to play some to win a couple of those. He's a world-class player.
 
Winning majors every couple of years is a really high standard ' (hes) last year's U.S. Open champion. I would say there's not a top four, there's a top 5, exclaimed Padraig Harrington.
 
I think looking at a guy like Retief is kind of like a stranger looking at Manhattan; you don't realize how tall the buildings are until you go there, said Joey Sindelar. Retief is a long hitter with a beautiful, fabulous, slow swing and nobody even talks about him. It's like ' it's amazing.
 
You guys don't talk about him too much, Els said to a room full of media members earlier this year. He's obviously got the game. He's proven that; he's won Tour Championships and U.S. Opens and who knows what. He's won everything. He's done just about everything, too, already. He's been No. 1 in Europe and he's done what he has to do to be a top-ranked player.
 
I don't know; I've got to ask you guys, why you guys don't write about him, because we regard him as definitely a real star player.
 
And that kind of peer respect ' along with winning ' means more to Goosen than he could ever say.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
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  • 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

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    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: