Randall's Rant: Prez Cup is better with Mickelson

By Randall MellSeptember 6, 2017, 3:00 pm

The Presidents Cup has already given us too many disappointments.

So here’s thanking Steve Stricker beforehand for not giving us an American team without Phil Mickelson, because that would rank among the worst.

Here’s thanking Captain Stricker for making Mickelson one of his two captain’s picks.

Because it’s a no-brainer, right skipper?

Stricker won’t announce his two captain’s picks until 5 p.m. ET Wednesday on Golf Channel, but it’s a huge upset if Mickelson isn’t on his team.

Sure, the Americans might actually be a better team without Mickelson, given other potential captain’s picks are in better overall form, but this won’t be a better event without Mickelson. It won’t be a better show. It won’t be better to watch, or to read about, or to follow.

The Presidents Cup isn’t the Ryder Cup.

It’s not even a distant cousin.

You can debate whether the Ryder Cup is an exhibition.

There’s no debating with the Presidents Cup.

The Presidents Cup is so one-sided, with the Internationals looking for their first victory in almost two decades. Yeah, two decades! They haven’t won since 1998, but nobody’s bothered proposing a task force to fix things.

The passions don’t run deep enough in this event.

I wrote four years ago that the team colors for the Internationals ought to be black and blue, because the beatings they’ve endured have left such ugly marks.

I wrote the team flag for the Internationals ought to be white, because they’ve broken out the white flag so early on so many Sundays in this event.

Team records: Full U.S. Ryder Cup roster

Team records: Full International Ryder Cup roster

That hasn’t really changed since I wrote it back in 2013.

The Americans are now 9-1-1 in this “competition.”

The United States’ one-point victory two years ago marked the first time since 2003 that the Americans didn’t win by three or more points. Close isn’t good enough. The Internationals really need to win more than once every couple decades to make it interesting.

But, here’s the thing: The Presidents Cup is a great showcase of individual star power, with the top four players in the world competing this year, with seven of the top 11 scheduled to be at Liberty National.

The star power makes the Presidents Cup worth making popcorn to watch.

It’s just not compelling team golf.

Not yet, anyway.

There isn’t the dramatic history the Ryder Cup has given us, the memorable comebacks or gut-wrenching defeats or even the bad blood that spirited competition creates.

Mickelson makes it a better showcase, gives it even more star power, gives it another subplot to keep us watching, even with the Americans overwhelming favorites to win again.

Mickelson is good theater all by himself.

Whoever he’s playing, you circle the match. His name practically lights up a pairings sheet.

There’s another reason Mickelson’s appearance will make this Presidents Cup show more meaningful. It’s the question he would bring with him to the first tee.

Is this Mickelson’s last hurrah on an American team?

It’s quite possible. Mickelson will be 48 the next time the Ryder Cup is played, and while nobody would be surprised if he rebounded next year and earned his way onto another team, nobody should be surprised if he didn't, either.

Raymond Floyd, 51, and Jay Haas, 50, are the oldest Americans to make a Ryder Cup team.

Mickelson is sure to be an American captain one day, maybe for more than one American team. He promises to be one of the most colorful and entertaining team captains in cup history, but here’s hoping Captain Stricker lights up a few more pairings sheets with his name before we go there.

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: