Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

Sunday Reads

Greg Norman, the big anti-capitalist liberal technophobe that he is, writes in Travel and Leisure that there should be a competition ball.

There is absolutely no reason why we cannot have unique technology specifications for Tour players. The long hitters will still hit it long, the short hitters will still hit it short, and the best players will still be the best players.

Sally Jenkins writes about Michelle Wie and the ramifications of her play . John Huggan explains why Greg Owen is griping about losing his Open spot. Owen has a bit of a case, though it wouldn't be an issue if he hadn't WD'd from the qualifying. He acts as if it's an okay thing to WD from a qualifying. Maybe it is these days?

Here's The Scotsman reporting on the first round of qualifying. Brad Faxon, providing quite the contrast to Owen, flew over and is one more good round away from making it. M ark O'Meara previews the Open for The Scotsman. And this unbylined story looks at the life and hard times (particularly in majors) of Macdonald Smith, the sweet swinging four-time LA Open champion.


Saturday Shorts

Josha Hill looks at the Road hole . Jack Nicklaus says the Old Course is obsolete. And Jeff Rude has first round observations on Michelle Wie . Here's Wie's post round press conference . That's 17 "I means" in case you were wondering.

The Golf Channel's Kraig Kann writes that Shaun Micheel and Ben Curtis have nothing to apologize for because they are making a living on the Tour and golf is a business. However, Micheel's comments are interesting if you've ever wondered if the amount of money available on the Tour these days is undermining the drive of Americans (besides Woods and Mickelson).

By the way, what does it say when so many good articles keep popping up on


Friday Shorts

Jack Nicklaus gets a few thoughts off his chest on the technology issue. Definitely the most refined attack yet from Nicklaus. Meanwhile, Tom Watson covered an array of topics in his post Senior TPC press conference, including the long putter, Augusta, the notion of lengthening courses and how the USGA was outsmarted on the ball issue. The clock is ticking…it’s only a matter of time before someone makes a move. Oh but who will it be?

Gerry Dulag has a comprehensive review of the recent slow play comments , and ends his story with one I had not seen yet regarding the Sabbatini-Crane affair at Congressional:

Some of Sabbatini's fellow pros also delivered their opinion of his actions: When Sabbatini walked into the locker room at the U.S. Open several days after the incident with Crane, the players who were there gave him a standing ovation.

Not surprisingly, Peter Jacobsen's July feature interview with Golf Digest is a fun read thanks to great questions from Guy Yocum from Jaime Diaz. One surprise: Jacobsen's interest in the job of PGA Tour Commissioner when Tim Finchem decides to step down and join a bunch of corporate boards. Wait, he's already started the board seat part, excuse me. Anyway, the interview features several interesting comments from Jacobsen about what he'd do to enhance the, gulp, "product."


In The Middle Of The Night…

My July Golfdom column--yet another exclusive-- is an instant message exchange with the man who rolled the 7th green at Shinnecock last year, “in the middle of the night.”

For those of you who’ve asked, below is the Sports Illustrated "state of the game" roundtable exchange with Fay about this purported 7th green rolling during the 2004 U.S. Open. Maybe the Executive Director had been listening to Billy Joel's River of Dreams on his way up to Rhode Island CC (In the middle of the night, I go walkin' in my sleep...). Either way, my apologies to those who will have “in the middle of the night” stuck in their head after reading this head spinner:

DFAY: And on the rolling, we can go on and on about that, but that’s our fault. The rolling took place. It was not done at our request. It was done in the middle of the night.

GSHAC: In the middle of the night?

DFAY: In the middle of the night.

GSHAC: Really?

DFAY: In the middle of the night.

GSHAC: That’s [I laugh, as any sane person would]

DFAY: In the middle of the night.

GSHAC: You make it sound as if Carl Spackler came out and rolled the greens in some vendetta.

DFAY: It would be nice if Carl did write a book on the US Open. It would be pretty juicy.

GSHAC: Well, everybody there that I’ve spoken to said that wasn’t the case.

DFAY: You haven’t spoken to the right people.

GSHAC: Well, the other problem…

DFAY: In the middle of the night. I can understand they were upset that they were blamed…

GSHAC: As they should be…

DFAY: …on Saturday by certain voices within the USGA. So on Saturday night that was when the rolling took place.

BRADFAXON: Without your knowledge…

DFAY: I want you to know, that was without our knowledge.

GSHAC: Saturday night there was another rolling…

DFAY: It was excessive rolling on Saturday night. Saturday night. Not Friday night.


Thursday Shorts

David Lloyd writes an outstanding online column for about the distance issue. He makes several valid points about the added cost of bigger/longer courses inspired by a round played on the world's longest course.

Here's a story on the sad news that we won't get to see Royal Melbourne and the Heineken Classic next year. The Nick O'Hern-Craig Parry-Jarrod Lyle dominated finale remains one of the best events this year. While your down under, check out Rob Vanderzalm on Peter Thomson's new book and his thoughts on changing courses.

John Huggan in The Guardian (!?) on the conflicting views of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson regarding Old Course changes. Alan Shipnuck gets to play the Old Course reversed (SI subscriber # required). Joe Bramley of Reuters reviews Tiger's performance in 2000 at St. Andrews. And if you haven't seen it yet, Ron Whitten has an excellent story on the evolution of the Old Course. I'd link it if it were up on, but now that their site is basically content free and a functional disaster, I'd suggest buying the magazine if you don't subscribe (hey, maybe this is why they've made the website a mess!).


Wednesday Reads

Tiger is critical of the Old Course lengthening, even though he benefits from it. George White explains why Michael Campbell is going to keep playing the European Tour. Doug Ferguson says Tiger has always been wild and it's all about putting for him. Hmmm...

Ron Sirak says Michelle Wie’s appearance in the John Deere Classic will be her toughest test yet. Charlie Rymer pens another funny column . Jeff Brauer writes about the purported value of name architects . Finally, Steve Campbell in the Houston Chronicle makes some interesting points on the Augusta lengthening, noting that the most significant changes have come after each of Tiger's wins. Hmmm...


Tuesday Shorts

In Links, Jim Finegan writes about the New Course at St. Andrews and the town. Greg Couch in the Chicago Sun-Times has some interesting observations about Tiger's current attitude compared to the old Tiger. And saving the best for last, Teddy Greenstein in the Chicago Tribune lists five things that Cog Hill owner Frank Jemsek should do to get a U.S. Open. First he says rebuild the "springy" greens:

Jemsek wants to install the SubAir system that Augusta National uses to drain its greens. Three of Dubsdread's greens--Nos. 2, 4 and 16--have the underground system installed, providing protection from low scores in wet conditions.

Providing protection from low scores in wet conditions? Is there like, an insurance policy you can buy in case of low scores? Anyway, second, he says hire Rees Jones.

First Jemsek hopes that Greg Muirhead, Jones' design associate, will visit Cog Hill and write a favorable report.

Yes, one can only hope. Greenstein then writes that Jemsek should be prepared to take the financial hit that goes with rebuilding the course in hopes of luring an Open, even with no guarantees. And Jemsek also must "improve" the bunkers by shifting them forward to where today's drives land.

There also could be an issue with the sand in Dubsdread's 100 bunkers. When Cog Hill was host for the 1997 U.S. Amateur, one of the USGA's complaints was that the sand was too soft.

"They said it should be firm so players did not get any pancake or buried lies," Jemsek said. "I don't agree with that. . . . When people said [the bunkers] were tough or unfair, my dad said, `Well, yeah, it's a hazard.'"

Finally, Greenstein says that Cog Hills must remove trees, narrow fairways and add length, elements that will surely have the golfing public flocking to Dubsdread at $200 just to be miserable.

For Cog Hill to contend for 2013 and beyond, Dubsdread might have to go longer than its current 7,326 yards. And the fairways would have to be narrowed.

All of that, and Jemsek still won't get an Open. But just think, all of his effort and money will help the USGA get a better deal out of someone else. And Cog Hill can pass the cost along to the golfers. And it's all for the good of the game!


You Won’t Hear This On CBS

After Tiger Woods carries a 3-wood 302-yards on the 9th, he hits a 354-yard drive at the par-4 10th during the final round of the Seek-Medical-Attention-After-Four-Hours Open. The Woods drive rolls a whopping 5 yards (it's the agronomy!), and finishes in a tiny apron approach, leaving him 13 yards for his second shot. After Paul Azinger throws out various lines like "that's impossible" and "this is ridiculous," the follow exchange occurs:

PETER ALLISS: Do you think the ball goes too far?

NICK FALDO [sarcastically]: No Peter, the official word from the USGA, and it came from David Fay so I do assume it’s official: they are comfortable with the golf ball.

PETER ALLISS: That’s good [just as sarcastic].

NICK FALDO: Let’s not talk about it [even more sarcastic].

PAUL AZINGER: [joining the sarcasm brigade]: There’s nothing wrong with a guy flying it 360 in the air.

NICK FALDO: That’s unbelievable!

On the par-5 11th, Tiger gets a little cart path help and drives it 383 yards. From 194 with a quartering wind and a flyer lie, he hits 9 iron and carries it at least 194. Tiger holds the firm green despite the flyer, leading Paul Azinger to mumble humorously, “I want to go home now.”

Azinger, who has become a stat freak and equally as entertaining as Faldo, also dropped this interesting stat during the telecast: If Tiger had 32 putts each day at the US Open, he wins by 8.


Misc. Weekend Reads

Ran Morrissett posts a feature interview with Mike Keiser, consisting of questions from GolfClubAtlas participants. Damon Hack in the NY Times (reg. req.) writes about golf's youth movement and explains why so many girls are competing with the women (and men!). Garry Smits defends Rory Sabbatini and artfully lays out the causes of slow play on the Tour . Jim O'Donnell in the Chicago Sun-Times interviews Hank Haney, even though Haney says he really doesn't do interviews. An outstanding story, with Haney explaining how the game has changed and how Tiger is adapting to those changes.

''The biggest criticism that won't go away right now is about Tiger's driving accuracy,'' Haney said. ''They always want to point that out on TV. But the thing is, the game of golf today, at the top professional levels, has changed so much in the past 10 years. And none of the commentators who are on TV played the game as it is now by the top players.

''The four best players in the world are Tiger, Vijay, Ernie [Els] and Phil Mickelson. And they all play a similar game. But it's Tiger who seems to be singled out all the time for his driving accuracy when, to me, it's just a function of how the game has changed.''

Bob Gillespie writes that Pat McKinney's selection to the USGA Executive Committee may help South Carolina's chances of getting more USGA events. Ernie Els admits he's tired from traveling, but he hasn't withdrawn yet from the Scottish Open.


Jack Speaks and Other Reads

Looks like his club membership didn’t buy Jack Nicklaus’s silence.

"I don't think they need more length," Jack Nicklaus told a teleconference Thursday. "Obviously Hootie (Johnson) does. I think it just makes it even more of a long-hitter's course."

Regarding the par-4 seventh, which will not play at 450 yards through a chute: "That green is not made to accept 3 or 5-iron approaches," Nicklaus said. "It's made to accept a wedge."

"For 20 years, I've been talking about how far the ball goes. I wish they'd put a cap on it... Believe me, there's nothing wrong with the ball. It just goes too far."

Kraig Kann tries to nicely say that he fears the latest changes will eliminate too many players and render the Masters boring. Peter Kostis has some excellent observations on the two Opens.

Meanwhile, St. Andrews is just around the corner. This story talks about how some of the bunkers got their names and another quotes Padraig Harrington on what he loves about the place: "Much of modern golf is very ordered and it's good to see it shaken up by places like these."


Friday Shorts

Ron Kroichick writes about Augusta and has some news about changes to Pebble Beach's new look 15th, which is being tightened because, well, the guys are working out these days. He also has news that they are considering a greens reconstruction. Ed Sherman has some player reaction to the Augusta changes. They aren't too excited, especially about the new 240-yard 4th. Here's the AP story with Tiger's comments about not seeing the course play under ideal weather conditions yet. His nice way of saying, "your doing what?" John Boyette, Editor of the Augusta Chronicle sports, writes about the changes and quotes Tiger too .

"I don't quite understand it because since they changed it in 2002, we have yet to have a dry week," Woods said.

Boyette's article is accompanied by photos and quotes Tiger about Augusta, but using Tiger's web site quotes about the USGA (!?). Hey, the USGA and Augusta, they're one and the same these days anyway.

"They're (Augusta, but again, the USGA according to trying to get us to play like it used to play, iron shots into the greens, but they fail to realize the greens are running at 12 (on the Stimpmeter) now. They used to run at, what, 7 and 8. We used to see all the old footage of guys making shoulder turns on four footers. Nowadays you just need to breathe on it and it's going to roll quite a bit.''

More shenanigans at Torrey Pines involving the local luxury hotels , city government officials and tee times. Chris Lewis takes an enjoyable look at the US Open vs. the British Open setups after listening in on an engaging chat between Dennis Paulson and Geoff Ogilvy. And finally, Golfweek's Jeff Rude says the answer at Augusta is not more length, but rough. There's a fresh idea.

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