Thompson beats Ko at her own game in Indy

By Randall MellSeptember 9, 2017, 10:28 pm

Lexi Thompson overpowered Brickyard Crossing Golf Club all week, but that isn’t why she pulled away from Lydia Ko and everyone else Saturday in a wire-to-wire victory at the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Thompson beat Ko at her own game.

Thompson outplayed her on and around the greens.

Thompson’s devotion to improving her putting and short game in the offseason has taken her to another level, something she showed making her ninth LPGA title look easy before she hopped in a Corvette Stingray and took a victory lap at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The final four holes at Brickyard Crossing are inside the speedway’s 2.5 mile oval track.

Thompson, who got the car up to 122 mph, was all in on the racing traditions, kissing the bricks after hoisting her trophy, and then swigging from a bottle of milk before dousing herself with what was left in the bottle.

“The first woman to ever kiss the bricks,” LPGA media official Al Lunsford told Thompson. “It was a huge honor, definitely a memory I’ll never forget,” Thompson said.

Thompson lapped the field, so to speak, winning comfortably on the Pete Dye designed course. She relished having a big lead after finishing runner-up five times this year, three times in playoff losses.

“It was great for me, just to show how much my hard work has paid off,” Thompson said. “That’s always the best feeling.”

Tied with Ko at day’s start, Thompson closed with a 4-under-par 68 for a four-shot victory, her second LPGA title this season.


Full-field scores from the Indy Women in Tech


Thompson hit just eight fairways and 11 greens in regulation on Saturday, her untidiest ball-striking effort all week, but she showed off upgraded scrambling skills that make her look poised to challenge So Yeon Ryu for Rolex world No. 1. Thompson will move up a spot in this week’s ranking, back to No. 2.

Yes, Thompson slammed one tee shot after another past Ko, averaging 291 yards per drive for the week, 59 yards more than Ko, but Thompson won with her new-found touch.

Thompson needed just 23 putts Saturday, eight fewer than Ko.

This more well-rounded game makes Thompson look like the player to beat at next week’s Evian Championship, the year’s final major championship.

While Ko was disappointed in the end, she was encouraged giving herself her best chance to win in what has been a frustrating year.

“I just wasn't putting as well as I did the last few days, and that makes a huge difference,” Ko said. “When you're in the final round, final group, you kind of want those putts to drop and unfortunately that wasn't happening for me.”

Ko was looking to win her 15th LPGA title, her first in more than a year, but Thompson distanced herself in the middle of the round.

Tied with Ko stepping to the ninth tee, Thompson made back-to-back birdies to pull two shots ahead. She moved four ahead when Ko stumbled to a double bogey at the 11th.

“Lexi played great, especially down the stretch,” Ko said.

After hitting her drive in the middle of the fairway, Ko found her ball sitting down in a divot. With a 9-iron in hand, she thumped her approach hard, only to watch her ball hit the front of the green and then spin back, into the rough. She chopped a chip from there, racing it past the hole and through the green, where she chipped again, this time to 5 feet but missed the putt.

Thompson walked off the green with a four-shot lead and wasn’t challenged the rest of the way, even after hooking her tee shot at the 16th into the water, where she scrambled to make a nice bogey.

While it wasn’t the final round Ko wanted, closing with a 72, she recorded a second-place finish, a promising effort in what was becoming a disappointing summer. She arrived in Indianapolis off two missed cuts in her last three starts.

“I had a great time being in this position,” Ko said.

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: