Cut Line: Caddie can't count, now he's minus a job

By Rex HoggardJune 22, 2012, 9:32 pm

In honor of Fredrik “The Junkman” Jacobson’s continued flawlessness at TPC-River Highlands, where he is the defending champion and has now posted six consecutive rounds in the 60s, we are going with an all-nickname edition of Cut Line this week – starring Mike “The Enforcer” Davis and Jose Manuel Lara’s caddie Mathias 'The Bagman' Vinson.

Made Cut

Mike Davis. With the exception of perhaps only Jim Furyk, whose title chances at last week’s U.S. Open were virtually decided on Sunday when he arrived at The Olympic Club’s 16th hole unprepared for a tee box that had been moved forward roughly 100 yards, the executive director of the U.S. Golf Association was universally praised for his handiwork on the Lake Course.

Davis’ ability to push a relatively short golf course – after Pebble Beach the Lake Course is the shortest Open venue (7,170 yards) in the last eight years – to the limit without going over the edge is uncanny.

But it wasn’t Davis’ superior setup skills that impressed Cut Line. Instead it was the mild-mannered executive’s split-second takedown of the “Bird Man” during Sunday’s awards ceremony that deserves kudos.

“I just didn’t want it to take away from Webb’s moment. We cannot let this ruin Webb’s big moment,” Davis said on Monday’s “Morning Drive.”

“So without really thinking too much I went out and grabbed him. As I’m dragging him off the green I thought, ‘What am I going to do with him now?’ I escorted him right into the bunker and quickly thereafter the police did get him.”

Given Davis’ “escorting” skills it’s no wonder players have been slow to criticize how he sets up golf courses. Who would want to run into him in a dark locker room?

Webb Simpson. As impressive as his one-stroke victory at the U.S. Open was, it’s what Simpson has done in the days since his victory that may be even more telling.

If major champions are defined by what they do after they win Simpson has already proven to be a quick study, most notably by honoring his decision to play this week’s Travelers Championship and announcing that he will likely miss the British Open so he can be at home with his wife for the birth of the couple’s second child.

Getting on that charter to Connecticut was difficult. Not climbing aboard the flight to Royal Lytham & St. Annes will be equally demanding. But then doing the right thing isn’t always easy.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Unintended consequences. During Patrick Cantlay’s “hello world” moment on Tuesday at TPC-River Highlands the newly minted professional said the impending changes to the Nationwide Tour/Q-School system did not prompt him to leave UCLA after his sophomore year to test the play-for-pay waters.

Fair enough, but you can bet it was on the mind of Cantlay’s manager Mark Steinberg and Corbin Mills, who recently finished his junior year at Clemson and plans to play this fall’s Q-School as a professional.

Mills recently told Golfweek the changes to the qualifying system were “a huge part” of his decision to turn pro. Expect others to follow his lead.

No one knows what the new qualifying system will look like but this much is certain: This year’s Q-School promises to look much younger because of the change.

U.S. Golf Association. Officials say this isn’t reactionary, but when you say it’s not reactionary it’s always reactionary.

One hundred and fifty years of majors were played without one being won by a player using a non-standard-length putter. Of course the fact that two of the last three Grand Slams have now been won by long-putter wielding players factored into the USGA’s decision to take a long, hard look at anchoring.

Contrary to some reports no move seems imminent, although Davis told Golf Digest this week that “we do owe the golf world some kind of answer before year's end.”

Protecting the game is job No. 1 for the USGA and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews; just don’t pretend this isn’t about Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson’s major breakthroughs.

Missed Cut

Crime & punishment. Add a new tenet to the caddie credo of “show up, shut up and keep up.” Following a bizarre incident during the first round of this week’s BMW International Open it seems loopers need to be reminded to “own up.”

Jose Manuel Lara was disqualified when officials discovered that the Spaniard’s caddie had inadvertently loaded an extra club in his bag. It was a faux pas complicated by the caddie’s attempt to hide the offending implement in a bush on the second hole.

Lara’s playing partners – Damien Mcgrane and Peter Hedblom – noticed the caddie trying to make the drop and confronted him. Officials disqualified Lara for his caddie’s actions.

“They went and asked the chap 'What are you doing?' and he sort of fumbled out an answer saying, ‘I've got this wrong. I've done something bad. I wish it hadn't happened . . .” said European Tour official John Paramor.

“It was clear the club was out of the bag and in the bush at the time. He admitted it straight away and regretted his action.”

Weird, most golfers spend their rounds trying to find wayward tee shots in bushes, but Lara’s man couldn’t lose a single club in the foliage.

Tweet of the week: @WestwoodLee (Lee Westwood) “I can’t find my ball in a tree!”

The Englishman, whose tee shot never dropped out of a tree adjacent the fifth fairway on Sunday at The Olympic Club, was responding to the question, “Have you found any clubs in the bushes lately?” Funny guy that Westwood.

James Morrison. Beware the power of Twitter.

That was the message the European Tour sent this week with news that Morrison had been fined for criticizing Celtic Manor, site of this month’s Wales Open, in a tweet.

Morrison, who tied for 57th at Celtic Manor, tweeted: “Thanks Celtic Manor. Dump! One more round then can't get over that bridge quick enough!” Although he later apologized for his comments, tour officials said he would be fined.

The European circuit, like the PGA Tour, does not allow “offensive, threatening, disparaging, hurtful” comments 'in any public media.” In the United States, however, reasonable, legitimate criticism is permitted.

So, to be clear, had Morrison called TPC San Antonio, for example, a “dump” he would not have been found culpable? There are no reports as to how much Morrison’s fine would be. Best guess is when it comes to infractions on Twitter officials will charge by the character.

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

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: