With Masters looming, Woods searching for his game

By Randall MellFebruary 28, 2014, 11:56 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods looks completely baffled with the Masters just six weeks away.

The confused look he wore standing with his hands on his hips in the eighth fairway Friday at the Honda Classic pretty much summed up his day, a struggle just to make the cut.

In fact, it pretty much summed up the most lackluster start in his 19 seasons as a pro.

After ballooning a wedge short into the eighth green, Woods looked down at his divot in exasperation. He stared at it for the longest time, studying it the way a forensic scientist might examine a key detail in a crime scene.

Honda Classic: Articles, videos and photos

And then he moved behind the divot, studying it from another angle. He stalked a lot of his divots like that, like a CSI investigator looking for clues to a missing golf swing.

Given how many errant shots clearly frustrated him in the second round, Woods posted a fairly impressive 1-under-par 69. He fought to get the ball in the hole, fought to get to even par overall, fought to make the cut on the number.

His short game saved him time and time again. He chipped in for a birdie at the 13th, a shot that might have saved his weekend.

“The short game was spotty, and now it’s good again,” Woods said. “So now, just need my ball striking to come around.”

Woods is 41st in the field in fairways hit this week. He’s 90th in greens in regulation. He hit just one of the first eight greens he looked at while spraying shots across the back nine.

“It was a grind, there's no doubt about it,” Woods said. “I certainly grinded my way around this place today. I didn't hit it very good. Just one of those days where I fought out a number, which was good.”

How frustrating was his struggle?

As Woods made his way up PGA National’s ninth fairway, the legion of fans hustling after him weren’t rooting for him to catch Rory McIlroy, who at that time loomed 12 shots ahead of Woods. They were rooting for him to make the cut.

“Come on Tiger, we want to see you on the weekend!” one fan exhorted.

Woods made birdie there, with his young children, Sam and Charlie, watching at the back of the ninth green. His girlfriend, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, looked after them.

This is a home game for Woods, with his residence just down the road on Jupiter Island, but he isn’t looking comfortable here. Still, he won’t dismiss his chances to win this weekend, even though he has to make up 11 shots on McIlroy over the final two rounds.

“Anything can happen this weekend,” Woods said in his typical refrain.

Given the fact that Woods came from nine shots behind McIlroy in the final round here two years ago, and nearly caught him, you dismiss him at your own peril, even with his game looking so unsettled. He looked this way two years ago and posted a 62 in the final round.

Mostly, though, this weekend has to be about Woods getting his game right for the Masters, with the year’s first major just six weeks away.

Because that’s the thing, Woods game isn’t ready.

He was all over the place here. He hooked a tee shot at the fourth under a sawgrass bush, and he blocked a tee shot so far right at the 11th, he had to punch back into the fairway.

And then he hooked his tee shot at the 12th into trouble, and Woods fanned his approach short and right at the 14th.

The sluggishness in Woods missing the Saturday cut at Torrey Pines, and then tying for 41st in Dubai, made this week feel important. Even Woods said the turn to the Florida swing heightens preparation for the Masters.

“It’s only three events,” Woods said when asked about the cool start to his year. “So, not that many rounds into it.”

Woods isn’t ready for the Masters, but he doesn’t have to be, not yet. He has this weekend, and then two starts at places where he’s comfortable. He goes to Trump Doral next week and then the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks after it.

If he's still in CSI mode at Bay Hill, it will be time for Tiger fans to fret.

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: