Tiger survives 'flinch,' leads at Bay Hill

By Rex HoggardMarch 24, 2012, 9:27 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – “A kid fainted, a lady yelled, I flinched.”

If that sounds like the dramatic beginnings of a low-budget Hollywood thriller you’re not too far off. Tiger Woods’ less-than-embellished assessment of what happened in a split second on Bay Hill’s 15th tee is historically accurate and, more to the point, metaphorically apropos as the final stop on the Florida Swing moves into its final lap.

With a three-stroke lead over Graeme McDowell, Woods, who had bogeyed the 14th hole, began his backswing just a teen-aged boy passed out near a concession stand behind the 15th tee. A woman yelled and Woods pulled his tee shot left into a yard adjacent the fairway.

Woods signed for a double bogey-6 and briefly gave up a share of the lead to McDowell a hole later.

“I tried to stop (the swing), but I was past the point of no return and flipped it out of bounds,” said Woods, who finished with a 71 for an 11-under 205 total. “It was a solid day. Just happened to have one little fluke thing where a kid passed out.”

Officially the Tour calls what happened next “bounce back,” a statistic that measures the number of times a player follows an over-par hole with an under-par hole. But Woods’ birdie at the par-5 17th lifted him one shot clear of the Ulsterman and salvaged what was quickly becoming a runaway.

Instead of a four-stroke (or more) cushion, Woods will begin Sunday’s turn a shot ahead. In political terms, it’s a statistical dead heat.

Sure, McDowell ran down Woods when he was four down through 54 holes at the 2010 Chevron World Challenge. But that was a “one-dimensional” player who had been on Sean Foley’s watch for less than four months at a limited-field silly event.

“(In 2010) I had just started working with Foley so I was very new to the mold,” Woods said. “I only had one pattern at the time. Now I’ve got much more variety in my game.”

The new Woods is showing a surprising amount of savvy in recent weeks. Although he wasn’t as sharp on Saturday as he was on Friday, when he hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation and had a birdie, or eagle, putt on every hole, he played the type of round that could have made Sunday a formality if not for a 15th-hole “fluke.”

The new repertoire includes an updated version of the stinger shot, which he hit on numerous occasions Saturday, and a surprisingly conservative game plan.

“I wasn’t aggressive hardly any,” Woods said. “It was just too firm. I just relied on my lag putting.”

Well putting, and historical context that would suggest that regardless of his prolonged victory slide Woods is still the easy bet on Sunday.

He is 48-for-52 with a 54-hole lead and on the half dozen occasions he has won at Bay Hill just once (2009) he began the final round without at least a share of the lead.

There are other numbers, however, that suggest, as foregone conclusions go, Woods may be something short of a lock. In January he began the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship tied for the lead but faded into a tie for third and having GMac in the final pairing will only serve to remind him of his 2010 miss at Sherwood Country Club.

“There’s a familiarity of Tiger Woods being on the leaderboard every week, but that’s what he did when he was at his best, up until a few years ago,” McDowell said. “It’s been a weird couple of years without him kind of competing . . . I know he says he’s not on a comeback, he’s been around for a long time, but he’s still got to win.”

A victory on Sunday would be Woods’ first official Tour title since the 2009 BMW Championship, a run of 30 months filled with questions and doubt and more than one missed opportunity.

Late Saturday Woods was asked what a long-awaited “W” would mean, “It would mean No. 72 (Tour title). Not a bad number, either.”

This time he’s hoping he doesn’t flinch.

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: