McIlroy follows own path to Augusta National

By Rex HoggardApril 9, 2013, 4:33 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Rory McIlroy is a big Bubba Watson fan.

The Ulsterman enjoys the left-hander’s wild and often wayward ways on the golf course as much as the rest of us, but it’s the reigning Masters champion’s legacy down the right side of the 10th fairway that McIlroy truly embraces.

In short, Watson changed the conversation with his roping recovery from the trees in last year’s playoff to claim his green jacket. This week folks have flocked to the spot where Watson carved a 52-degree wedge into Master lore, digging through the pine needles and snapping pictures.

Some 80 yards away, on the left side of the 10th hole, a spot wedged between two cabins, where McIlroy’s Masters mission unraveled two years ago, sits quiet, unnoticed by the hordes.

Thank you, Bubba.


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The space around McIlroy is also quiet these days, ostensibly thanks to his runner-up finish on Sunday in San Antonio. If, as Tiger Woods and Co. pointed out after regaining the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking at Bay Hill, winning takes care of everything, for the world No. 2 second doesn’t exactly suck these days.

Not after the grilling McIlroy has endured this year. To be accurate, much of McIlroy’s pain was self-inflicted, the byproduct of the scrutiny that comes with a multimillion-dollar endorsement deal. But at some point the frenzied criticism lurched into overkill.

“I thought last week went really well, almost perfectly,” McIlroy said on Tuesday. “I got what I wanted out of it in terms of playing more competitive golf, getting the scorecard in my hand, shooting scores. A bonus was getting into contention.”

Like he did last year, McIlroy added the Texas Open to his schedule to stave off a prolonged slump to begin 2013. Never mind the mechanics, the new equipment, the second guessing, the Northern Irishman needed to play because there is no substitute for “game speed.”

“I don’t think there is any concern with his game,” said Dave Stockton Sr., McIlroy’s putting coach. “It was important to get the reps. He’s still learning his schedule. I texted him when I heard (he’d added the Texas Open) and said it was a really brilliant thing.”

If Doral was where he “turned the corner” with his swing, San Antonio may be where he turned it on in 2013. The final-round 66 wasn’t enough to catch Martin Laird on Sunday, but it was the perfect prelude heading down Magnolia Lane.

If that closing-nine 43 in 2011 – which began with his wayward tee shot at the 10th – would haunt some, it’s only made McIlroy hungrier to win the tournament that means the most to him.

“I had a chance to win in 2011 and obviously that didn’t go well, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s my favorite golf tournament,” McIlroy said.

Whether you are a fan or not, there is no denying that McIlroy is a quick study. Just weeks after that meltdown in ’11 he claimed his first major at Congressional, and he emerged from last season’s summer slump just in time to notch Grand Slam No. 2 at the PGA Championship. So forgive the 23-year-old if he appeared reluctant to pull the eject cord when things didn’t go to script earlier this season.

“I always said my golf season is from early April to the end of August,” he said.

And he continues to learn, from his mistakes and his triumphs. Adding the Texas Open, for example, wasn’t easy because he had a charity trip to Haiti scheduled for UNICEF, but it had to be done. “Sometimes you have to be selfish,” he said, although clearly not entirely comfortable with the concept.

He learned that walking off the course after eight holes on Friday at the Honda Classic was not the right thing to do (the wisdom tooth is coming out in June, by the way). That it’s probably not best to try to overpower Augusta National, which has prompted a more measured approach off the tee this week.

But most importantly he’s learned the foolishness of expectations run amok.

When McIlroy began the season with a missed cut (Abu Dhabi), a first-round loss at the WGC-Accenture Match Play and a withdrawal (Honda Classic), it seemed as if the sky was falling.

But lost in that instant analysis was the fact that if you combined Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in a blender the byproduct would be McIlroy, a player capable of brilliant stretches and historic victories on demanding golf courses, scattered amid bouts of pedestrian play and missed cuts.

Prior to last year’s walk-off at Kiawah Island, Stockton persuaded McIlroy to smile more and enjoy his time between the ropes. It seems the lesson learned after a difficult start to 2013 is to listen less.

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: