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

A great deal of golf is played late in the evening. Therefore, if you can get equally good golf in that way, have the majority of your holes running north and south. But remember that a good hole running east and west is better than a bad hole running in any direction.




France's Ryder Cup Hopeful: Alexander Levy Wins In China 

It's way too early--shoot they don't even start collecting points until August--but I'm fairly certainly most of golf will be rooting for Frenchman Alexander Levy to enter the discussion given the location of next year's Ryder Cup.

Moving to 11th on the European Tour money list with his four career win will also send him into the world top 100 again.

Levy was not shy after his win in mentioning the goal, writes Golfweek's Alistair Tait.

The Frenchman said his attention now is on making next year’s Ryder Cup team for the match at Le Golf National in Paris.

“It’s a goal and a dream for me to play the Ryder Cup in France,” he said. “I will do a lot of work to play the Ryder Cup and I will do my best to be part of the team.”

The winning Volvo China Open playoff putt:

Congratulations @alexlevygolf83! πŸ†

A post shared by European Tour (@europeantour) on


The Brian Gay-Ian Poulter Decision

Several of you emailed to ask why there is not more outrage at the retroactive tour card status given to Ian Poulter and Brian Gay. As much as I'd love to revel in a conspiracy theory, it's pretty simple: Gay questioned why his major medical exemption, based on one set of standards had he been able to play a full healthy season, was played under this year's new FedExCup points allotments.

More startling: in the rush to make the FedExCup a more accepted way of life (or "true equalizer" as the player notice puts it), this is a pretty significant miss.

Golfweek's Jeff Babineau explains why Gay's questions helped change the Policy Board perspective on his and Poulter's play under the major medical exemption.

Poulter, 41, who missed four-plus months with a foot injury last season, had 10 events to earn $347,634, or 218 FedEx Cup points; he fell short of both marks in his 10th start last week at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.

Gay, 45, has been in a similar position. Having missed 2014-15 with a back injury, he had 14 available starts this season to earn $461,851 or secure 309 FedEx Cup points. Gay, who tied for sixth in each of his last two starts (RBC Heritage, Valero Texas Open) has surpassed the earnings threshold. But he failed to get to 309 points, which meant he was not eligible for the lucrative Players Championship May 11-14.

Gay did some numbers crunching, though, and found a discrepancy in the way points are doled out this season compared with a year ago, which was the season against which he was being measured.

So the right thing was done and the FedEx points system probably is the best long term way to handle things in a purse-discrepancy world. However, in the move to the new system (please renew, FedEx, please!), having Gay discover this is a concern.

Congrats to both on earning their status for the rest of the year!

The player notice posted on Instagram by Poulter:



PGA Tour China In Limbo, Golf's China Hopes Dimming

Thanks to reader John for Wayne Ma's WSJ story on the latest blow to golf's China hopes.

PGA Tour China has struggled with the business practices of its China operations partner and has also been unable to get Chinese tournaments approved for its upcoming season, due to begin in May.

The game was banned by Mao Zedong as a bourgeois pastime, and more recently nearly 200 golf courses have been closed amid President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption by government officials and ostentatious displays of wealth.

The PGA Tour came to China with high hopes, seeking to expand the game’s popularity and perhaps find a breakout star who could do for golf what Yao Ming did for basketball.

And there was this from Shanghai University professor Liu Dongfeng on China's Olympic aspirations likely not including golf.

Seeing the potential for economic returns, China is now moving to make sports more of a commercial enterprise, he said, phasing out the old system where a government office is paired with a quasi-government association.

Liu said soccer was the first sport to abolish its government office in 2015 and basketball appears to be next, with Yao this year becoming the first head of the China Basketball Association not drawn from government ranks.

“In terms of priority, golf is absolutely not on the agenda,” Liu said. “The prospect for golf is not very bright, unfortunately.”


Not To Be Outdone, Euro Tour Hands Lee A Slow Play Penalty

The PGA Tour's first slow play penalty since the Clinton Administration's first term awoke the world's pace policeman emeritus, John Paramor.

The same European Tour rules official who penalized a 14-year-old playing in the Masters, did not even wait 48 hours to be outdone. This time, Paramor added a stroke to Soomin Lee's card following his third bad Volvo China Open time.

From Alistair Tait's Golfweek story:

Lee had already been handed two bad times before European Tour chief referee John Paramor informed Lee he’d picked up a third bad time on the 14th. The 23-year-old’s bogey on the par 4 turned into a double bogey, and contributed to his 1-over 73 to move him to joint seventh

Paramor delivers the news here...I love seeing Lee start running immediately. See, penalties work!


Today In Grandstands Too Close To Play: Volvo China Open

If George Coetzee or Dylan Frittelli goes on to win the Volvo China Open Sunday, they'll have someone to thank for generous grandstand placement.


Zurich Classic: Gotta Root For Charlie Wi And K.J. Choi

Normally when the stars leave early--Rose/Stenson and Fowler/Day in this case reports Jeff Babineau--we mourn for a tournament. Yet I've long hoped the revamped Zurich Classic would keep some big names around, but also weave in some surprises.

There is no grander or more fun than the Charlie Wi-K.J. Choi duo sitting two back heading into Saturday's foursomes. As Ryan Lavner notes for, LA resident and all-around great guy Wi is just "$338 shy of $10 million in career earnings" and now stands to cross that barrier.

The five-time PGA Tour runner up and winner of nine titles internationally is now teaching juniors in Monterey Park not because he lost his card, but because he called it quits.

Dave Shedloski of Golf World does a splendid job telling Wi's story of calling it a career and the effort he made to prep for Zurich after getting K.J.'s call.

When he began gearing up for the Zurich Classic, Wi hit balls for five to six hours a day. Having barely touched a club in 2017, he thought he’d be motivated.

“Instead, I realized, ‘Man, I don’t miss the grind.’

“Don’t get me wrong, being on the tour is fantastic, but there’s more to life than playing professional golf,” he added. “I always knew I never wanted to be one of those hangers on. I didn’t want to just keep doing it. If I say I’m done, I’m done.”

Except he’s not quite. Living in Los Angeles, Wi has begun teaching young players at Monterey Park, near downtown, at his eponymous Charlie Wi Academy. He finds it fulfilling. He sees kids with promise. He knows he can help them.


The First PGA Tour Slow Play Penalty Since 1995 Is...Something!

Okay so it wasn't proud slow poke Ben Crane or one of the other known non-ready golf turtles. And no, it wasn't exactly the kind of self-indulgent pacing that you'd love to see rewarded with a penalty.

We have to start somewhere!

Golfweek's Jeff Babineau with the details of Brian Campbell and Miguel Angel Cabrallo--yes they are confirmed PGA Tour golfers--teaming up in Thursday's foursomes to take Glen Day off the hook.

Campbell and Carballo, originally alternates in this event who got in as a team when Kevin Chappell (already in the field) captured the Valero Texas Open on Sunday, were paired with two local club professionals from the Gulf States PGA Section, section champion Kyle Ramey and his partner, Phil Schmitt, who played at LSU. The group fell out of position on the 10th hole, and an official notified both teams they were on the clock.

Carballo (warning) and Campbell (penalty) each failed to play shots within the 40 seconds allowed under the pace-of-play policy, and were informed on 14 that they’d be penalized a stroke. Ramey and Schmitt had one bad time, and received a warning.

“Team event, we’re playing with section pros, who were struggling a bit, hate to say it, but it kind of put us behind the clock,” Campbell said. “When you keep hitting bad shots, it’s hard to catch up time.”

Blaming the section pros...Jay, I have Pete on line one!

So this wasn't quite the example-setting moment we'd all hoped for to make PGA Tour golf a better in-person. Or to actually send a message to those who have thumbed their nose at the pace policy. I'll still take it though!


PGA Tour Ratings Streak Hits 12 Straight Final Rounds

Take that, Byron Nelson!

No, this is no joking matter now as PGA Tour final round ratings dropped for the 12th straight week this year on CBS and NBC, with the Valero Texas Open joining the list.

According to Paulsen at, the 1.3 final round rating was down 10% in viewership from last year and the lowest since 2013.

Ratings and viewership have now declined for twelve straight final round PGA windows on broadcast TV, a streak that dates back to Super Bowl Sunday. Nine of those 12 telecasts have hit a multi-year low in one or both measures.

At least lead-in coverage Sunday was unchanged!

Lead-in coverage on Golf Channel had a 0.3 (-17%) and 385,000 (-23%) on Saturday and a 0.4 (flat) and 560,000 on Sunday (+4%).

This week there was good news on the round one/new format Zurich Classic front:


State Of The Game 72: Mathew Goggin 

His woods were just decapitated by United Airlines, he just missed out as first alternate at the Tour event in Mexico, but because he's a gentleman, Mat Goggin was our State of The Game guest to talk the Lexi situation, the player's perspective on rules issues and the state of his beloved four-wood.

Permalink here.

MP3 download here.

And of course iTunes has it too or you can listen here;


Zurich: After 36 Years Two-Man Team Play Is Finally Here

The Zurich Classic vaults two-man team play and much-needed variety back onto the PGA Tour schedule, and players have responded, Steve DiMeglio reports for USA Today.

Shoot, even Bubba is swooning.

“You're going to see a lot of smiles, a lot of laughing and a lot of enjoyment of the game of golf,” said Bubba Watson, who is playing with former Presidents Cup partner J.B. Holmes.

“Zurich and the PGA Tour, you take your hats off. How would you not want to be here for this event? For them to step out of the box and do something creative like this is pretty amazing.”

Jeff Babineau digs a little deeper to consider some of the pairings for, but can't look past the powerhouse Gold-Silver Medal winning duo of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.

Initially I wasn't too wild about the novelty element in European Challenge Tour player Chase Koepka receiving a sponsor's invite to play with brother Brooks. Given how many strong teams entered, it turns out that the Koepka's are one of the more enjoyable stories to follow this week.

Josh Berhow reports for

"We could either kill each other or it could be an awesome week," said Brooks.

Not long after the announcement that this year's Zurich Classic would be changed to a two-person team event, Brooks Koepka, 26, inquired about his younger brother, 23-year-old Chase, joining his team. He was granted an exemption and will make his first PGA Tour start this week in New Orleans. He previously played at the University of South Florida and has played on the European and Challenge tours since.

"It will be fun," Brooks Koepka said. "The whole family is here, so it will be neat for them."

You know how I feel.

One key to the week: how will television tell the stories of how the teams were formed (Ben Everill and Mike McAllister did a lot of the hard work here for, including confirmation of the Spieth-Palmer lost friendly wager story that's been circulating). They must also try to capture some of the inside-the-ropes dynamics of foursomes and best-ball play that we don't get with individual stroke play. On-course reporters and good research will be key to telling the many stories like those of the Koepka's.

PGA Tour Live begins coverage at 9 am ET. Golf Channel coverage begins at 3:30 pm ET.

The breakdown of how the format works and other FAQ's you might have.


Golf Is Finally Blaming Technology...For Something

As Rex Hoggard at notes, a sport trying to modernize is suddenly acknowledging that technology might have taken things too far. But not with 340 yard drives that force the scale of the game to become bloated.

No, it's with replay and HD TV. As Hoggard notes, every other sport (for better or worse) is determined to get calls right using technology, but with this week's Lexi Decision, golf is headed backwards:

The rule makers are blazing new paths in what has been billed as a “modernization” of the Rules of Golf, but this new decision – which is entitled “limitations on use of video evidence” – feels like a step in the wrong direction.

No one is pleased with the the Thompson situation – neither the outcome nor that it took some 20 hours to unfold – and the desire to avoid similar incidents in the future is understandable, but sports have rules that must be applied no matter how much technology is needed to assure the proper outcome.

Yes, the "naked eye" test rolled out by the USGA and R&A appears to be the right thing to do. However, I'm pretty sure players whose "reasonable judgement" is relied upon over video evidence could leave them subject to integrity questions. Social media could gang up and tarnish reputations if the footage shows player judgement was possibly mistaken.

John Feinstein and I kicked around the issues on Golf Central this week:


Lexi Finally Explains "The Mark" & It All Sounds Pretty Innocent

Reading Randall Mell's account and hearing Lexi Thompson speak, she would have made a strong case for herself if the "reasonable judgement" and "naked eye" Decisions had allowed her to. Now that the Rules of Golf do so, it's hard to see how Thompson is penalized under the revised rules given her explanation of what happened in the 2017 ANA Inspiration.

From Mell's story:

Thompson said she marked the 15-inch putt because her father told her not to rush short putts in majors. She also said she twisted the ball slightly before returning it to its mark, because she uses a dot on the ball as a focal point for making her stroke.

Thompson was asked a second time to explain how video came to show her returning her ball to a different spot on her mark, a violation that many of  her fellow players agree warranted the first two-shot penalty.
“I have seen the video, and I can see where they’re coming from with it,” Thompson said. “It might have been, I guess, me rotating the ball, but like I said, I’ve always played by the Rules of Golf. Growing up with two older brothers, they were always on me for playing by the Rules of Golf.

“There’s no need for me to improve anything. Those greens were absolutely perfect, and the whole week there was nothing in my line to be moving it from anything. So, I have no reason behind it. I did not mean it at all.”

And only after slowing down and zooming in does anyone think she "did" something, which is why we have the new decision.

The press conference video from


Ouch Scheduling Luck: National Golf Day Hits Capitol Hill On A Slightly Busy Day In DC

Unfortunate or some might say ironic scheduling, but as the golf world's very own President Donald Trump briefed Senators on North Korea, pushed tax reform and worked to stave off a government shutdown, Capitol Hill was probably not too focused on National Golf Day.

We will never know, but credit the folks in golf for still spreading the gospel in the face of Tuesday's chaos. Over 175 meetings with House and Senate members--who were undoubtedly keeping one eye on their Twitter feeds--took place, reports Ryan Herrington for Golf World.

This year’s efforts focused on three specific areas: health, labor and the environment. Participants attended 175 meetings with members of the House of Representatives and Senate from their home states, passing along the industry’s thoughts on these issues.

In each meeting, We Are Golf participants asked for support of specific bills already proposed in Congress (notably the PHIT Act, which would include physical activity, including golf lessons, green fees and camps/clinics, among tax-deductible medical expenses) or the repeal of current provisions (such as the Clean Water Act, which golf leaders says overregulates ponds and wetlands found on golf courses).

“I look forward to National Golf Day every year,” said Congressman James E. Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina. “It’s a chance to visit with the folks at We Are Golf here on Capitol Hill to talk about the positive impact the game has on our economy, worthy charities and personal fitness.”


"Sand, golf and hopes for an economic boom in Central Wisconsin"

There's a lot to savor in the lengthy piece by the Wisconsin State Journal's Barry Adams on hopes for Sand Valley. It's the Wisconsin foray into "retail golfer" territory by Mike Keiser. Besides all of the great information on what the development could mean for players, residents, the environment and the economy, it's encouraging to see a story this long and detail-rich.

Obviously there is the headline-grabbing news that Keiser may be planning as many five courses at the resort around 4 hours from Chicago and Minneapolis. But there is also this element to the project worth noting:

In addition, he plans to restore an adjacent 7,200 acres for public use and bring it back to its natural state with jack pine, hill oak and prickly pear cactus that would improve the habitat for the endangered Karner blue butterfly and Kirtland’s warbler.

The first course, dubbed Sand Valley, designed by two-time Masters winner Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, will open its first full year of play next week. The second course, Mammoth Dunes, designed by David McLay Kidd, will open in June for what is called preview play, and a par-3 course is set to open in 2018.

The property includes two 12-room lodges; four cottages, each with four rooms; a $6 million, 30,000-square-foot clubhouse and lounge with 17 guest rooms; and one of the largest private wastewater treatment facilities in the state.


Slow Play Files: Tom Gillis Uses Twitter To Heckle Slow Poke Ben Crane Into Settling Bet

I've seen some interesting uses of Twitter and while this one borders on extortion and surely kept the Fines Department working overtime, few will have sympathy for Ben Crane given his consistent refusal to become a faster player. Or apparently, to pay off a bet.

Regarded as the slowest player by his peers for well over a decade now, Crane was called out by fellow PGA Tour player Tom Gillis for not paying off a bet with an unnamed friend of Gillis. He also threw in a reference to Crane's Minister for good measure.

Gillis went on to respond to many and clarified money was not owed him.

Golfweek's Kevin Casey has a roundup of the Gillis Tweets, including a suggestion that Crane is now planning to pay up, and a follow up Instagram post from Charley Hoffman, who is calling out Crane as well. Of course, few sympathize with Crane, who disrupts the rhythm of his playing partners with his pacing and makes watching the PGA Tour "product" insufferable when he's standing before you. But he has been enabled his entire career by Tim Finchem's desire to not see players publicly penalized or recognized for their rude ways. Sad it comes to this kind of petty social media bickering but...he earned it.


Friedman: "So a Hindu, a Muslim and a Jew are playing golf together in Dubai"

Thomas Friedman is in Dubai and files a New York Times dispatch on his round of golf with "Indian mystic, poet and yogi Jaggi Vasudev, who goes by his reverential name, Sadhguru." (Thanks Ellen and TZ for sending in.)

While Friedman pledges he's not writing a Trump column on this day, and did mention he had to give more strokes to the mystic mid-round, it does end with a less than subtle message for our golf-loving president.

There was this from Sadhguru on golf...

Sadhguru got addicted to golf while visiting followers in America. With about a 15 handicap now, he can hit a drive 220 yards.

As a yogi, it was not surprising that he had probed the deeper meaning of the game: “The simplicity of it makes everyone attempt it, but the subtlety of it makes almost everybody get frustrated with it,” he once observed in an interview with Isha’s magazine. Golf was also just like life (and yoga), he added: People mess up at both when their “interior is not settled.”


UK Golfers Vote: Best Holes In Scotland

Visit Scotland polled over 3,000 UK golfers to "find Scotland's best golf holes and hidden golfing gems," and maybe because I liked the findings so much, wish they had asked and shared even more questions.

Hard to argue with the winning Best View, especially with Kevin Markham's image from Cruden Bay's 9th tee.

The poll asked golfers to vote for the best opening and closing holes, a best Par 3, 4 and 5, as well as the best view and a best overall hole from a selection of shortlisted holes across the country. The poll highlighted both what makes Scotland’s famous courses so iconic and invited entrants to support local heroes and suggest their favourite golf holes.

Here is our list of the best golf holes in Scotland as voted for by golfers across the UK.

This BBC version lists how many votes the winners received.


Stacy Lewis On New Video Rules Decision: β€œIt didn’t really clarify anything.”

Ron Sirak writing for ESPN wonders why the LPGA just doesn't invoke local rules to address call-in rulings and scorecard issues. And after reading the comments from players interviewed by Randall Mell, it's obvious the players might start pushing that option.

While I was left a very confused about where Stacey Lewis stands on the Lexi situation based on her comments to Mell, she was clear in her view that Tuesday's emergency Decision adds confusion from the player's perspective.

Catriona Matthew agreed. From Mell's report:

“I think it muddies the water even more,” Matthew said. “That puts the rules officials in a much harder position. What do they call a judgment call?”

If Matthew had her way, viewers wouldn’t be able to call in violations, which would have spared Thompson the penalties.

“I don’t think you should be able to phone in after the fact,” Matthew said.


Padraig & Sergio Agree To No Longer Revile Each Other

One columnist took bizarre exception to Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll keeping their wedding a private affair but the rest of us will be able to live peacefully ever after knowing that Sergio and Padraig are on "much better footing."

That's Padraig Harrington's quote to the Irish Independent, clarifying that love in air brought the former rivals back to a place where, well, a place.

"Sergio and I are on a much better footing," Harrington said in quotes reported by the BBC. "We've had a chat, because obviously there was a bit of an elephant in the room about what I said.

"I've got to say, Sergio made it very easy. He was exceptionally good about it. He already was well informed, which was nice.

"We have decided that we will look, going forward, at our similarities and the good in each of us rather than any other way." thing you know Padraig will be offering Sergio one of the six cart-driving roles at the 2020 Ryder Cup. Then we'll know all is well between these two!


ShackHouse 34: PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan enters the ShackHouse to chat about his new gig, the latest USGA/R&A announcement, future format possibilities, Golf Fights Cancer, his bucket list courses and more.

For a good pre-show primer, earlier this month SBJ's John Lombardo filed this piece on the business matters Monahan is confronting.

Prior to the Commish, House and I kick around the exciting new Zurich Classic format, our favorite teams and set up the Monahan interview with a chat about the current issues facing all sports commissioners.

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device subscription page.

Here is The Ringer's show page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 34 is here to listen to right now!

Or listen via this embed:

As always, ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, makers of the Epic Driver that is now part of Callaway's very groovy Customs program along with Mac Daddy's and Chrome Softs. Check it out.