Woods cruises to WGC win at Doral

By Rex HoggardMarch 11, 2013, 1:03 am

DORAL, Fla. – Before we go hydroplaning down hyperbole highway, it seems important to stop short of announcing mission accomplished and consider the ground covered progress, not the pinnacle.

Four days before Tiger Woods completed his Doral Slam (he has four career victories at the South Florida salsa festival/WGC), swing coach Sean Foley bristled at the notion that his man now truly and rightfully owns the new action.

“Someone made that up about ‘owning it,’” Foley said. “You can’t own your swing because you can’t own your state. Your skillset is always going to be an application of your state. When they said (Ben) Hogan or Moe Norman owned their swing, who says that? Who made that up? Did he say he owned it or was trying to?

“(Woods) just understands it. I see a lot less of the old motor patterns there. But he’s just been doing it.”

As brilliant as Woods’ victory on Sunday at Doral was, and it was brilliant, the world No. 2 spoke volumes when asked this week the last time he played this well.

“Torrey (Pines),” he smiled, referring to his four-stroke triumph at the Famers Insurance Open in January. “Wasn’t that long ago.”

With apologies to those with short attention spans, as impressive as Woods’ Blue Monster blowout was, the fact is this is much closer to the norm than the exception.

WGC-Cadillac Championship: Articles, videos and photos

Highlights: Tiger goes wire-to-wire at Doral

Since he bolted property last year at Doral midway through his final turn with an ailing leg Woods has won five of his last 19 starts – a 26 percent clip that rivals those historic seasons in 2001, ‘02 and ‘05.

The only thing missing is major No. 15, but following Woods’ closing 71 for a statement two-stroke victory, even that Grand Slam elephant seemed less omen and more omission.

“It's more not playing by position, it's more by certain feels and what I need to do to create that type of trajectory,” Woods said of a swing that is if not owned then on the final stages of a layaway program. “Especially on the fly out there, to make the adjustments that I need to make, where if I don't quite hit one just right, I know exactly what to do to fix it.”

Of all the account keeping one could use to quantify Woods’ dominance at Doral – a career-second best 27 birdies and a statistically significant 50 of 72 greens in regulation immediately come to mind – it was his putting proficiency from 10 feet and in (61 of 64) that should send chills through the rank and file with the year’s first major fast approaching.

His ability to convert when he had to had a ring of a bygone era.

“He cleaned up everything he had to clean up pretty much. It was good stuff,” said Graeme McDowell, who played the final two rounds with Woods but faded on Sunday with a closing 72.

It’s also worth noting that Woods’ WGC-Cadillac Championship victory – career bottle cap No. 76, notable only because he is now within a half-dozen of all-time wins leader Sam Snead – was every bit a quality win based on the cast of characters assembled behind him.

Phil Mickelson, energized by a scouting trip to Augusta National on Tuesday and a range session with Butch Harmon on Wednesday, kept pace with opening rounds of 67 and pulled to within three strokes with back-to-back birdies to begin his final frame, but struggled to make a putt when it counted on the weekend and finished tied for third.

On cue as the conversation slowly turns to Magnolia Lane, Rory McIlroy managed his way through a public mea culpa for his early exit from last week’s Honda Classic and strung together four consecutive competitive rounds for the first time this year.

The world No. 1 said he found something on Thursday after his opening round and closed with a 65 to tie for eighth place and score some much needed emotional capital after a difficult start to his season.

“A day like today felt like a long way away if I'm honest,” McIlroy said. “Just goes to show, if you get something and it works OK for you, it's not as far away as you think. That's been one of my problems; I always think when I'm playing bad that it's further away than it is.”

If McIlroy scored the week’s “Most Improved” award, the week’s MVP trophy, not to mention the runner-up hardware, goes to Steve Stricker, the part-time player who moonlighted as putting guru late Wednesday and set the tone for Woods’ week on the greens.

“(Stricker) basically got me in the same position that I was at Torrey,” Woods said of his impromptu putting lesson with Stricker. “Once he put me in there where I felt comfortable, I said, well, this is not too foreign; this is where I was a month or so ago and I started rolling it and it felt really, really good.”

Not sure Stricker felt as good after posting four rounds in 60s (67-67-69-68) only to get lapped. He is now three starts into a season that will include just 11 events and already has a pair of runner-ups (Hyundai Tournament of Champions and Doral) to bookend a tie for fifth at the WGC-Match Play.

Adam Scott, who closed with a week’s-best 64, and Sergio Garcia (69) also made late cameos to tie for third and complete a depth-chart leaderboard that Woods easily dismantled.

At the turn on Sunday Woods was five strokes clear and despite messy bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes he won for the 50th time in his career when leading going into the final round out of 54 attempts.

McDowell, who has spent as much time going head to head with Woods on a Sunday as anyone in recent years, didn’t use the “ownership” word to describe the world No. 2’s action, but the appreciation was implied.

“He doesn't have those kind of off-the-radar balls anymore,” McDowell said. “In '10, '11, when I was playing with him, he would hit the odd shot where you just would kind of blink twice and go, really, that's wide. He's got the ball under control now. He knows exactly what his golf swing is going to produce.”

Maybe Woods doesn’t own the new action, maybe he’s just renting, moving through on his way to bigger and better things.

“I don't want it to be as good (as 2000). That was never the intent,” Woods said on the eve of this week’s final round. “I want it to be better.”

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: