Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • 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
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

Neither should golf be specially selected as a selfish game--a view that is sometimes indicated for the reason that only on occasions is it a team game. After all, is any game necessarily altruistic? We play to amuse ourselves or we play because circumstances compel us. But what perhaps encourages this idea of selfishness is that golf has a more than ordinarily isolated side to it, that it is intimately bound up with the individual...How intensely psychological it can all become!
TOM SIMPSON and H.N. WETHERED

 

   

Monday
Apr242017

Match Play Is Better Files: SEC Conference Fireworks

The SEC decided their men's conference title at match play for the first time this year. Judging by the images and quotes, things went swimmingly under the format.

In Sunday's semi's, both Texas A&M and Vanderbilt advanced on winning putts, reports Golfweek's Brentley Romine.

Freshman John Augenstein made this 15-footer for birdie on the second playoff hole to beat Florida freshman Andy Zhang

 

Augenstein starred again in Monday's final, this time edging A&M's Andrew Paysse in 23 holes, as Romine writes in wrapping up the exciting final.

And there was this quote from Vanderbilt's coach in Ryan Herrington's GolfDigest.com roundup of the first conference championship weekend.

“This match play is like a different sport,” said Vanderbilt coach Scott Limbaugh. “It’s just really special. John makes a lot of those putts in practice. We do some drills at the end of our practices trying to build these scenarios, and he’s the last one standing a lot of times. He’s one of the guys I would have wanted to have that opportunity. It was a lot of fun. It was about as much fun as I’ve ever had at a golf course.”

Match play!

Monday
Apr242017

Mell: Lexi Thompson Has Many Questions To Answer

I doubt anyone wants this Wednesday's Lexi Thompson press conference at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout to turn into the Grand Inquisition, but given Tuesday's expected USGA/R&A announcement inspired by her ANA Inspiration penalty, it sounds like Lexi will get a lot of questions.

By staying quiet since the penalty and not giving her side of the story after the round or since, she's set herself up for a tough press conference, writes Randall Mell at GolfChannel.com.

So, there will be players and fans alike looking for transparency when Thompson meets with media on Wednesday.

After seeing replays, does she agree she committed an infraction?

Or does she think there may be some optical illusion created in the nature of the camerawork?

And why did she come in from the side of the ball to mark it?

Monday
Apr242017

Allianz Ends PGA Tour Champions Sponsorship, But Not Over Holocaust Survivor Protests

An AP story lays out the (mostly horrifying) details of German insurance giant Allianz's battle to not pay out $2.5 billion in insurance policies to Holocaust survivors. The issue with Allianz even enjoys rare bipartisan support in Florida from Senators Bill Nelson (D) and Marco Rubio (R), along with U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) of Miami.

The company says protests at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton did not impact the sponsorship issue.

''While none of us can undo the past, we must confront it,'' spokesman Christian Kroos said in an email.

''Allianz began its compensation efforts in the 1950s by working in close cooperation with the German government, to try to make certain that restitution was made to those who lost their properties during the Nazi period. Anything else would be enormously disrespectful - especially to those who suffered unspeakable violence at the hands of Nazi Germany.''

Hollis Cavner, CEO of tournament organizer Pro Links Sports, said Allianz told his firm years ago it would not renew its contract when it expired after the 2017 tournament. A new sponsor is expected to be named soon.

Monday
Apr242017

Video: Joshua Kelley's Five Golf Balls At Once And Riser Shot

We may be witnessing Joshua Kelley's version of Picasso's Blue Period, as the self proclaimed trick shot artist is cranking out some classics.

Follow him on Instagram if you aren't already doing so. We discussed his two latest gems on Morning Drive today. Make sure to watch The Riser Shot on a big screen.

Tag some friends that need to see The Riser Shot 😳 #golf #golftrickshot #holein1trickshots #teeithighandletitfly

A post shared by Joshua Kelley (@holein1trickshots) on Apr 22, 2017 at 8:31am PDT


Tag a friend who would still miss the fairway 😂 #5balls #golftrickshot #golf #holein1trickshots

A post shared by Joshua Kelley (@holein1trickshots) on



 

Monday
Apr242017

Poll: What Emergency Lexi Clause Should We Get Tuesday?

Reports from Golfweek's Alistair Tait and Golf World's Ryan Herrington say something is coming, but what exactly is to be determined.

The R&A and USGA have been working overtime to introduce immediate stopgap measures following Lexi Thompson falling victim to a viewer call in, day-after review and post-card signing penalty.

From Tait's Golfweek item reviewing the possibilities:

R&A officials refused to comment on the upcoming announcement at a media day at Royal Birkdale ahead of this year’s Open Championship. However, Golfweek understands the governing bodies will implement a decision Tuesday with immediate effect to make sure no player goes through the same experience as Thompson.

The governing bodies could rule that TV viewers cannot call in rules infractions. Alternatively, they could decree that no retrospective penalties can be added once a scorecard has been signed.

From Herrington's Golf World report:

The changes also might include an early implementation of a proposed Rules change where “the player’s reasonable judgement would be upheld even if later shown to be wrong by other information [such as video technology].” This proposal was part of a larger rules modernization plan that the USGA and R&A had announced in March that would potentially got into effect in 2019.

Another issue potentially to be addressed on Tuesday is whether certain penalties can be assessed after a player’s scorecard has been signed and/or a stipulated round has been finished.

I won't be of much help here, but...

--In the DVR and social media era, I'm having a hard time envisioning how we end call-ins on infractions given how easy it is to watch something on replay. Yet that has been the top "ask" from most fans who often forget that some callers are trying to save the player from signing for an incorrect score.

--Therefore the scorecard signing clause seems the most logical fix, until we have a violation that is not caught and the player's performance is forever considered tainted because the penalty was not assessed. Again, a seemingly obvious and wise move until it's not.

--Expediting one element of the 2019 proposed changes seems simple, but something tells me that adding such a strong intent clause to the current rules will create other headaches. For starters: Lexi would have claimed she did not intend to move her ball closer to the hole. Then the 42% or so who think she did violate the rules would forever see her as having gotten away with something.

So on that helpful note, your votes:

What is the most pressing post-Lexi Rules change?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday
Apr232017

Is Tiger As Fatigued By A Comeback Hopes As (Much As) Some Fans?

With the fourth back surgery in the books and no sign that Tiger Woods will ever play again at a level to his super-human standards, we are left to wonder if he's actually been over this whole competitive golf thing for a while.

Hank Haney, Tiger's former instructor, wondered this out loud on his Sirius show last Friday. From Golf.com:

“I don’t buy a lot of these theories that people have," Haney said. "I don’t buy that...this is the end all be all for him, coming back and beating Nicklaus’ record. That’s never gonna happen. I mean, come on people, get real."

Haney went on to explain that he does believe Woods is capable of winning again, if he can return to the game for an extended period of time. "I'll never give up on that part," he said. The problem? "I don’t believe Tiger is that enthralled by this whole comeback idea. [The media] believe that he's got this burning desire to come back and play. I don't think he does."

Joel Beall at GolfDigest.com wonders if we are looking at a Tiger who is resigned to his place in golf history, but also possibly leaving fans with memories of a figure that is far less incredible than the one we knew in his prime.

Willie Mays' remarkable 22-year-career cannot be encapsulated without mention of his final two seasons, especially as the indelible image of Mays falling down in the World Series has become the go-to comparison for any athlete that's stayed past their prime. (One that was conjured after Woods hit three balls into the water at Congressional last summer.) Evander Holyfield, at 42 years old, was banned in 2006 from boxing in New York due to diminishing skills; his nine bouts following the decision did little to refute that stance, slowly but surely deteriorating his standing in the sport. Brett Favre's annual retirement waffling -- coupled with a nightmarish final season and allegations of workplace misconduct -- turned one of the NFL most popular personalities into a punchline.

I do wonder if there is a generation that has already forgotten how incredibly dominant Tiger was--shoot, even those of us who lived it are starting to forget.

Sometimes I wonder if we long for a comeback to just ensure the legacy that gave us so many thrills? And if so, is that such a bad thing?

Sunday
Apr232017

Sergio's Green Jacket Tour Continues With Lefty Kick 

Sergio Garcia is taking the Green Jacket all over the world and it's hard to imagine a better scene than this one before a Real Madrid-Barcelona match.

Besides appearing to have benefitted from some work by his tailor, Garcia's jacket display features a strong lefthanded kick. But as Golfweek's Kevin Casey notes, this is not unusual given Garcia's lefthanded golfing and left-footed shoe kick (yes, it's aged well!).

Friday
Apr212017

Team Format Almost Back: Zurich Classic Field Set

Next week's much-anticipated PGA Tour return of a two-man team event is almost here and Sheldon Mickles has the commitments, pairings and preview.

As expected--and the fun of the Zurich Classic's team format--there are some strange bedfellows pairings. There is a strong concentration of star power with the Fowler-Day and Rose-Stenson pairings, but no shortage of fascinating combinations personality-wise.

Partnerships that got my attention...

Tyrrell Hatton/Jamie Donaldson

Jason Day/Rickie Fowler

Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson

Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer

Jimmy Walker/Sean O'Hair

Bubba Watson/J.B. Holmes

Russell Knox/Kevin Streelman

Hideki Matsuyama/Hideto Tanihara

Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay

Daniel Berger/Thomas Pieters

Wesley Bryan/Ryan Blaum

Alex Cejka/Soren Kjeldsen

Cody Gribble/Jim Herman

Smylie Kaufman/Harold Varner

Brooks Koepka/Chase Koepka

Steve Stricker/Jerry Kelly

Hudson Swafford/Harris English

Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley

Geoff Ogilvy/Ian Poulter

Kevin Chappell/Gary Woodland

Jamie Lovemark/Luke Donald

Friday
Apr212017

Post Katrina: NOLA's City Park Reopens As Bayou Oaks

Erik Matuszewski of Forbes fills us in on the long anticipated return of City Park, destroyed by Hurricane Katrina twelve years ago and reopened after a $24 million renovation.

He writes:

The championship-caliber course about 10 minutes from downtown is the centerpiece of a $24 million project in New Orleans City Park, with aspirations it will be on par with prominent public venues such as Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in New York or Torrey Pines outside San Diego. They picked the right man for the job, as Bayou Oaks architect Rees Jones also overhauled both of those U.S. Open sites.

“Torrey Pines plays 65,000 rounds on the South Course a year. With Bethpage Black, you basically have to wait in line to get on it,” says Jones. “I think that’s going to be the same situation here at City Park because it’s going to be the premier golf course in the region.”

Don Ames's story includes a mention of the championship course as a possible Zurich Classic host some day and this on the fees:

"If you're a Louisiana resident, the fees are between $59 and $99, depending on the day, time of year, twilight...all that good stuff," Hopper says. "And, it includes the cart and a bucket of balls. You can still play the park's north course for about 25 dollars."

He says out-of-state golfers will pay as much as $179 to play the new course.

There is also this drone flyover:

 

 

Friday
Apr212017

NGF: "Overall involvement in the game is actually up"

With the addition of Topgolf and other off-course experiences added to their overall counts, the National Golf Foundation's annual study of golf participation reveals a few interesting things.

First, the bad news:

While the latest research indicates a modest 1.2% decline in on-course participation – dipping to 23.8 million (age 6+ who played at least once) in 2016 from 24.1 million in 2015, commitment to the sport in many respects is more evident than ever before.

Now the positives...starting with the committed.

The number of committed golfers – a group that accounts for approximately 95% of all rounds-played and overall spending – rose for the first time in five years, from 19.5 million to 20.1 million.

An 11% increase in "off-course participation" was largely attributable to Topgolf's inclusion in counts...

Driven primarily by the popularity and growth of Topgolf, a non-traditional form of golf entertainment, there were an estimated 20 million off-course participants in 2016. Of those, 8.2 million didn’t play on a golf course.

And the next dreaded but, the conversion factor...

The number of people who say they are “very interested” in taking up golf has doubled over the past five years, growing at an annual rate of nearly 15%. In addition to the 12.8 million non-golfers who said they’re very interested in playing golf, there are another 27.8 million who responded they’re “somewhat interested” in taking up the game. That increase has driven growth in the number of beginning golfers, with those who played on a golf course for the first time jumping to 2.5 million in 2016 from 1.5 million in 2011.

Topgolf is doing its part, with free lessons April 24th as part of National Golf Day. Eric Matuszewski reports in a Forbes roundup of business stories, including the new Seamus golf shoes and other notes.

It's the economy, stupid:

Recent increases in interest (latent demand) and beginning golfers appear to be correlated with increases in consumer confidence, spending and other favorable economic indicators. Just as these measures trended downward along with golf during and following the recession, they are now increasing as interest in traditional green-grass golf builds, and participation in non-traditional golf activity, such as Topgolf, rises.

This is a big number:

Golf’s overall reach remains extensive, and steady. An estimated 95 million people (or one out of every three Americans age 6+) played, watched or read about golf in 2016, the same number as in 2015.

And the big conclusion, which probably has been written, oh, annually...

The game’s challenge remains the same: getting more of those who express interest to actually give golf a try, and converting more beginners into committed participants. The encouraging sign for the industry is that the committed participant group now appears to be stabilized, while the number of players picking up a club at off-course facilities continues to build.

Thursday
Apr202017

Trump Voters Believe Obama Played More Golf In First Months

I’m non-partisan when it comes to U.S. Presidents playing golf and using the golf course to make deals, take in fresh air, or, most importantly, suffer ego slap downs from the Golf Gods.

Still, it’s fascinating to see that President Donald Trump’s many early forays into golf are seen as as less prevalent than Barack Obama’s.

Allan Smith reports for Business Insider that 53% of Trump voters said Obama outpaced the current president with trips to the links.

A Thursday poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling shows that 53% of respondents who said they voted for Trump in November said Obama had outpaced Trump on trips to the golf course during each president's first three months in office. Just 20% of Trump voters said Trump played more golf, while 27% said they were unsure.

And there was this...

Among all respondents, 48% said Trump played more golf, while 28% said Obama did. Nearly one in four respondents said they were unsure.

Thursday
Apr202017

Tiger Undergoes Fourth Back Surgery With New Doctor

I suspect we are all heartened that Tiger did not go back to the doctor credited with the first three (ultimately unsuccessful) back surgeries and, according to TigerWoods.com, this time entrusted his back to Dr. Richard Guyer of the Texas Back Institute.

From the report:

"After he recovers from surgery, he will gradually begin his rehabilitation until he is completely healed," Guyer said. "Once that's accomplished, his workouts will be geared to allowing him to return to competitive golf.
 
"If you are going to have single-level fusion, the bottom level is the best place for it to occur. Some individuals are born with one less vertebrae, which would be similar to someone who had a single-level fusion," Guyer added.

Thursday
Apr202017

SI: "Behind the scenes with CBS on Sergio Garcia's winning putt"

SI's Richard Deitsch gives us a behind the scenes look at how CBS captured Sergio Garcia's winning moment at the 2017 Masters. It's easy to forget the role television production plays when a moment like Sergio's comes off so seamlessly, particularly given the difficulty of covering golf courses.

Add in Augusta National's 18th hole limitations--no crane, blimps, helpful topography--and covering the moment becomes a huge challenge. Oddly, the best shot may have been the view from down the fairway with Sergio and putting surface just a blip amidst the patrons (screen captured).

Deitsch writes:

Milton said during the live coverage of Garcia’s winning putt, he went through a familiar sequence for a golf director: First, you go wide, then you go tight. The goal is to capture every reaction you can from the scene.

“I was lucky in the sense that Sergio gave those primal yells after the putt went in,” said Milton, who also serves as the lead director for SEC football on CBS. “Then he composed himself and we went wide, so you could see all the crowd celebrating. Then he composed himself to shake Justin Rose’s hand. We stayed on Sergio for quite awhile because I did not want to miss any emotion coming from him after trying to win this thing for 20 years.”

Milton said the CBS production compound at the Masters (which sits next to the Par-3 course) had roughly 12 staffers in the main control room working the final holes. There was also an adjacent room with 12 people working on graphics. As the final shot was made, Barrow and Rikhoff were filtering the best replays. Rikhoff watches all the isolation shots directed by Milton and notes what will work for replay; Barrow decides in what order the replays will sequence to create narrative.

The last minute or so of this CBS highlight reel captures the incredible coverage work described in Deitsch's story. Also, seeing these clips again makes you realize (A) how much of a slope the 16th hole cup is on (B) how long Rose's putt was on 17 for par, (C) how close Rose's in-regulation putt on 18 was to going in, and (D) how great Sergio's final putt was both in execution and in ending the Masters on a high note.

 

Wednesday
Apr192017

"García’s Masters triumph reveals the secret of sportsmanship"

The Guardian's Andrew Anthony nails down what was so satisfying about Sergio Garcia's Masters playoff win over Justin Rose.

He writes:

He could have started his familiar antics at that stage, snapping at his caddie, grumbling at the crowd, chucking clubs, remonstrating with the heavens, demonstrating that he was, as Padraig Harrington has said, “a very sore loser”.

But instead he accepted the possibility of defeat, made his peace with it, and realised life would go happily on if his Ryder Cup mate Rose emerged the winner. Suddenly the lavishly talented man who wilted against the iron character of Tiger Woods, and twice cracked as the grittier Harrington snatched major victories from his grasp, looked comfortable with – even happy for – his opponent. And finally García won.

Gamesmanship stems from a desire to avoid defeat at any cost. The secret of sportsmanship is that learning how to lose can also teach you how to win.

Wednesday
Apr192017

"I can't think of a movie that conveys golf more realistically."

I enjoyed Michael Bamberger's Golf.com reaction to Tommy's Honour given the longtime author's love of cinema and links golf.

While Bamberger notes the many elements that stood out to him and shares some insights from book author Kevin Cook, it's this review from a film buff friend that was enlightening.

Neil Oxman, my friend and fellow Philadelphian, who has caddied for Tom Watson since Bruce Edwards's death in 2004, is a fellow movie buff who in a slow year will see a couple hundred movies (all new releases, in theaters). Each December he goes on a public radio station and discusses the high points and low points of his movie-going year. He knows golf in Scotland like you know your home course. He saw Tommy's Honour the night after we did. When Neil and I compare movie notes, they are, may I say, to the point. (A random example: "It's good, despite the boring parts.") Here is Neil's review of Tommy's Honour:

"Make no mistake, Caddyshack it ain't. But if you want to see an unusual recreation of golf in the 1870s, Tommy's Honour is worth it. Who knows what the real family dynamic was between Old and Young Tom Morris, but it's neat to see Jason Connery's depiction of the Morris clan. And when was the last time you saw Willie and Mungo Park in a movie? Bet it's been a while for that. This is probably not a movie for a non-golfer. But if you're a golfer—or a golf fan—go see it."

Wednesday
Apr192017

Market Watch: "How much longer can golf survive?"

It's been a while since we've had a golf-is-dead piece to consider and as much as it pains me to say it, this one from Jason Notte at Market Watch scores a few points. Thanks to reader Blake for sending and sharing some thoughts on how, unfortunately this resonates with him as a 30-year-old golfer.

Looking at The Masters and other recent data Notte notes the many issues golf faces are related to demographics and a change in what people want to watch.

In 2014, Nielsen noted that 63% of the PGA’s television audience was over the age of 55. Some 87% of that audience was white, while only 12% was younger than 35. By comparison, only 25% of the National Basketball Association’s audience is 55 or older, 47% is younger than 35, and 57% is nonwhite.

The LPGA’s key demographic isn’t all that different from that of its male counterparts. Both the PGA and LPGA have a viewership that’s about 63% male. Roughly 64% of the LPGA’s audience is 30 or older, and 84% is white.

Golf’s core audience is literally dying, and it’s affecting golf far beyond its television broadcasts.

This conclusion will sting for many of us, and while an exaggeration, serves as a good wake-up call to keep up the current dialogue about livening up the game and how it is presented on television.

There is no second coming of Tiger Woods. There is no burgeoning generation of children longing to play a four-hour game filled with nitpicky, self-policing rules. There is no city in the U.S. willing to trade density and tax ratables for divots and rough. If golf has little to offer this country but televised shots of manicured greens and galleries and living rooms of cranky, aging diehards, then it should prepare to take a seat beside horse racing among U.S. sports antiques.

My main quibble with these types of stories and all other stories: golf has been around for centuries and will continue to be because it's a sound, interesting and unusual sport that can be enjoyed by all age groups.

The current cycle we are in is certainly not a positive one given that millennials, obsessed with their phones or other activities that do not extend their stay by more than ninety minutes, are the center of the business world's attention. So even though the folks with the buying power haven't cooled to the sport, the young but small audience is given too much weight in evaluating the viability of golf as a pastime.

Golf has been slow to keep its facilities up-to-date and this generation, which has high standards when it comes to food, beverage and experience, is understandably not enthused by golf's experience. There has been a shocking lack of imagination in offering promotions, incorporating technology or simply adjusting to basic societal shifts by golf facilities.

Golf's various tours and governing bodies are increasingly aware of these issues and making strides. Yet remain stubborn about addressing issues that will return the sport's ideal scale and pacing. Worse, there is often an air of desperation around initiatives that is noticed by those on the outside looking in.

And while golf on television has never been a young person's game or one that will attract mass audiences,  the right amount of broadcast modernization and incorporation of technology can at least keep viewers more engaged while serving players and sponsors better.

The question, however, remains: are all of these efforts just a bit too late?

Tuesday
Apr182017

Urgent Rory-Wedding Music Plea: Not Coldplay!

I have no problem admitting I own Coldplay music and certainly understand, barring a reunion of Rory buds One Direction, they would be a huge get for the McIlroy-Stoll nuptials.

Ivan Little details those wedding plans for the Belfast Telegraph, set for Saturday at the beautiful Ashford Castle.

The Sun is reporting that Coldplay is the musical choice and while I have every reason to doubt that publication, I'm going to give them the benefit and assume the bride and groom will be serenaded by Yellow, Clocks and, gulp, Viva La Vida.

Rory you've had him perform at your foundation dinner. Furthermore, Have I Told You Lately that Someone Like You is moving Into The Mystic with this marriage, living on the Bright Side of The Road and most of all, marrying a Brown-Eyed Girl? So for this Wild Night of Crazy Love, there is only one man for this wedding: Van Morrison.

I know, the kids will wonder who that cranky old geezer is cranking out the tunes, but you know Van and the band can still bring it.

If nothing else, my suggestion was better than Feinstein's. (He apparently thinks you are marrying the daughter of a Long Island hedge fund billionaire.)

Tuesday
Apr182017

Tiger Unveils New "Public Course" Design As Only He Could

I'm trying to be positive, and like many, struggling to decide how much energy to give Tiger these days given the dramatics and public indifference (noted by John Strege based in part on book sales for the 1997 Masters book). But he's still Tiger and I was still excited when he Tweeted last week about a public course design unveiling.

Most of us were hoping this meant the funds had been raised for the Chicago re-imagination project near the Obama library, but it turns out this was, as Andy Johnson at FriedEgg.co predicted a few days ago, another course at Big Cedar Lodge for Johnny Morris.

Open to the public yes, but calling it a public course with an unspecified green fee is a tad ambitious.

Jim Connell reports that Woods is also doing a par-3 course as he has at several of his projects and that Payne's Valley, named in tribute to Springfield's late Payne Stewart, is to be built on the site of Murder Rock Golf Club, a John Daly course "that has been closed since it was purchased by Morris in October 2013."

Joe Passov's Golf.com account includes more details and the course routing plan.

Sporting the makings of a beard and cargo pants that earned Twitter...scorn...Woods tried to hit a green without much apparent warm up and donated a ball to the water.

That, and Woods's comments on his back, seemed to overshadow the golf course opening proceedings. Oh and the cargos.

Tuesday
Apr182017

Ko's Caddie Still Worked One More Week Even After He Was Fired

Caddie-player foibles are one thing, but while we'd like to laugh at Lydia Ko trying to keep her caddies-fired pace up with her LPGA win total, the latest details suggest this is not a safe working environment.

Tim Rosaforte reports for Golf World on Gary Matthews' firing, which came before he guided Ko to a second place finish in the Lotte Championship.

"In all honesty, there is no communication in the whole camp. You never know anything or are told anything," said Matthews. "The agent [Michael Yim of IMG] called me on the Monday after Palm Springs and said, 'She needed a change, we’re going with somebody else, but you can caddie in Hawaii.'

"I’m like well, never in 19 years have I been fired, and I’m still working for the person. What was so strange for me, we worked unbelievably well in Hawaii, the communication and everything was just phenomenal."

Until it wasn't. Wow.

John Feinstein and I considered the Ko caddy situation on today's Golf Central:

Tuesday
Apr182017

USA Walker Cup To No Longer Require Two Mid-Ams

While there was a backlash from some over-25-year-olds, the USGA's abandonment of two automatic mid-amateur Walker Cup team slots will actually turn out to be a positive for the mid-am world. Bear with me geezers before you angrily comment.

Jim Nugent revealed in Global Golf Post that the automatic two-spots--another lousy idea from the lousy Tom O'Toole USGA days--will be abandoned.

There is some irony in yet another impeccably-timed USGA move (given that 26-year-old Stewart Hagestad was low amateur at the Masters and may be America's top amateur right now).

Given the depleted college ranks this year, the 2017 team has a chance to see at least two mid-ams without the requirement. Or maybe more.

While the concept was probably well-intentioned it should never have been enacted and remained an unwritten rule. That didn't stop some mid-ams from complaining. From Ryan Lavner's GolfChannel.com  assessment:

That prompted passionate responses on social media from 2015 Walker Cupper Scott Harvey, who tweeted that it was “very, very sad” for mid-ams, and fellow mid-am Patrick Christovich, who said that the “USGA is probably a big fan of the One-and-done college basketball rule too…Support the ‘Real Amateurs’ and the game will grow.”

While I get that reaction, ultimately the requirement suggested that mid-ams needed help making the team. But without that crutch the mid-amateurs who make the team will actually receive even more respect. They will stand out less as recipients of a special exemption, and fit in more naturally as U.S. Walker Cup team members.