U.S. Solheim challenge: Bringing Inkster back

By Randall MellAugust 21, 2017, 8:38 pm

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – On second thought, it is time for the LPGA to form a Solheim Cup task force.

It’s time to bring together the best and brightest minds in the American women’s game to figure out a way to persuade Juli Inkster to captain the United States team for a third consecutive time.

Inkster sounded guardedly open to a possible return when asked after the Americans defeated Europe 16½ to 11½ Sunday, a victory that made Inkster and Judy Rankin the only captains to lead the Americans to victory in back-to-back Solheim Cups, but . . .

“I don’t want to go there,” Inkster said. “I would love to do it, but I think there are other people in line that deserve the chance, but I’ll be there with some hugs.”

Now that’s a problem that needs to be immediately addressed.

No offense to Pat Hurst and Sherri Steinhauer, major champions with winning records in multiple Solheim Cup appearances, logical as potential next ups, but Solheim Cup stock takes a big dive if Inkster doesn’t return.

Dottie Pepper would bring star power, if somehow, some way, she was in consideration, which seems highly doubtful, given the hard criticism she has delivered on this generation of American players, and her insistence that her interests continue to lie elsewhere.

Nancy Lopez would also bring star power, if she’s interested in a return engagement as captain, after being an assistant to Inkster the last two Solheim Cups, a role that has kept Lopez in touch with today’s players, but she isn’t in that line Inkster’s talking about.

Inkster is specially qualified and gifted to keep growing the Solheim Cup’s brand.

Gerina Piller said it Sunday. Inkster’s a “freaking rock star.”


Solheim Cup: Articles, photos and videos


On the Solheim Cup stage, she really is. Inkster’s the total package. She has the record and resume as one of the all-time great American players. She’s smart, tough and personable, with a heavy dose of good humor, traits that work in the team room and the media center. At 57, she’s still an active player, a mother of two grown daughters who connects so powerfully with the age groups playing the Solheim Cup.

The Solheim Cup’s just better with Inkster out front. The American players are better, too, and not just inside the ropes. Inkster’s such a great model of how American players should approach the game.

So, the challenge here is persuading Inkster that the American effort needs her again, the women’s game needs her again.

And that’s the thing: As a Solheim Cup captain, Inkster would sit in a uniquely influential position within women’s golf, a position of potentially expanding influence. She sounded Sunday like she could grow into that expanded role. We heard it with her advocacy of the women’s game, with her outspoken disappointment in the slights she sees women enduring.

“I'm going to say it right now, and I probably shouldn't say it because I already said it, but I just don't understand how all these companies get away with supporting PGA Tour events and not supporting the LPGA,” Inkster said. “It makes me a little upset, because I think we've got a great product. We deserve our due.”

There’s more good that Inkster can do for American women with two more years in a leadership role, a role she could take to yet another level.

Ultimately, this will come down to a vote. The last three Solheim Cup captains, the LPGA commissioner, the LPGA president and the chairman of the LPGA Board of Directors will vote on who will be the next captain.

It seems like a no-brainer, if somebody can convince Inkster she isn’t taking someone else’s turn. That’s the challenge getting her back.

 

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: