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

Running through the Rules are underlying principles that, like the steel rods which lie below the surface of reinforced concrete, serve to bind together the brittle material and to give it strength. RICHARD TUFTS




New Changes To The Rules: DMD's For All (Maybe)

The proposed Rules of Golf language related to distance measuring devices becoming permissible contains a  key provision worth noting.

Here's what is said:

(3) Distance-Measuring Devices  

  • ·      DMDs allowed: You may use DMDs to measure distance, except when prohibited by Local Rule (this reverses the default position in the current Rules).

This default reversal certainly makes sense given that many believe the game would be much better (and faster) with rangefinders in widespread use. Others will be glad to sell you an expensive device.

I'm happy for all of those who have been clamoring to use their devices. But having watched enough amateur and college golf in person, elite players really only get a speed bump from the devices when they hit a ball so far out of play that they can't get a yardage off of a book.

Otherwise, DMD's merely are used to confirm yardages computed the old fashioned way, especially when the course played is well-designed. Even remotely decent architecture and setup means the yardage to the flagstick is less meaningful.

The retention of the Local Rule language is where this gets fascinating.

Does anyone believe that the folks at Augusta National will want the leader of the Masters to walk up to the 12th tee and, after acknowledging the crowd patrons, pulls out a rangefinder?

Will the PGA Tour really embrace the sight of a player arriving at TPC Sawgrass' 17th tee only to pull out his rangefinder? Worse, what happens when a player can't get the yardage because of competition behind the flagstick? So instead of hearing a great tactical conversation on Sunday of The Players, we hear the leader asking his caddy if he can get a reading?

I suspect the USGA, R&A and PGA of America will allow them at their events given the rule change and their desire to look like they are not impeding something the kids want. But I'm having trouble seeing the other families signing on where they are more conscious of the "look" presented by DMD's.


First Look: New 7th And 8th Holes At Royal Portrush

Thanks to reader PG for catching photographer David Cannon's Tweeted first-look images of the new 7th and 8th holes at Royal Portrush.

The holes were created for The Open Championship's arrival in 2019, allowing for the use of the current 17th and 18th holes as staging.


New Golf Rules: A Closer Look At Changes Related To Bunkers

I'll leave some of the proposed Rules of Golf changes to the wonks to dissect after they are unveiled, but from an architecture and course setup perspective, I'm fascinated by the change of approach to bunkers.

Here is what is outlined in the proposal:

•    Relaxed restrictions on touching the sand with your hand or club when your ball is in a bunker: You are now prohibited only from touching the sand (1) with your hand or club to test the condition of the bunker or (2) with your club in the area right behind or in front of the ball, in making a practice swing or in making the backswing for your stroke.

We all know this is a response to multiple video replay issues where the club could be seen touching the sand and the player was prosecuted for an inadvertent mistake. No one will miss those days.

•    New unplayable ball relief option: For two penalty strokes, you may take relief outside the bunker by dropping a ball back on a line from the hole through where your ball was at rest in the bunker.

I haven't a clue what this unplayable option does to improve the game other than speed things up on a golf course with quicksand bunkers, so let's ignore that one.

•    Removal of special restrictions on moving loose impediments: There is no longer a penalty if you touch or move loose impediments in a bunker.

"Play it as it lies" is a principle of importance since it was a bedrock of the original rules. Rules, Decisions and other changes in the game have dented the meaning of playing it as it lies in a sport that originally resonated because it was nature-based. So will this new language make bunkers more or less hazardous and more or less maintained.

I'm hoping more hazardous and less maintained.

We all hate rocks in bunkers and what they do to a pretty new wedge. And perhaps with a loose impediment rule the governing bodies are actually applying reverse psychology here by saying to courses you don't need to spend so much time on making bunkers perfect, rock-free sanctuaries for recovery.

Yet I can't help but think that given the freedom to fidget with the playing surface, modern players will continue to see bunkers as a sacred place where all golfers are entitled to a recovery and pristine lie at all times. Or, play it as I want it to lie.


We shall see...


First Look: Proposed Changes To The Rules Of Golf, What Stands Out?

Scheduled for a rollout on Golf Channel's Morning Drive (7 am Wednesday) along with a media teleconference at the same time, the new Rules of Golf will aim to "modernize the Rules and make them easier to understand and apply."

The expedited proposal, going out for public consideration with a January 1, 2019 implementation goal, appears determined to speed up the game and, intentionally or not, bifurcate elite tournament golf and the everyday game.

From the materials I've seen and in discussions with those briefed, here are the highlights of the many "relaxed" rules (where have I heard that term?):

--No more penalties for accidentally moving a ball on the putting green or in searching for a ball

--Golfers may putt without having the flagstick attended or removed. A speed of play, play.

--Repairing spike marks and other damage on the putting green to be allowed. Not a speed of play helper.

--More red hazard lines to include desert areas and no penalty for touching the hazard in such an area, which also includes moving loose impediments.

--In bunkers, no penalty for touching loose impediments or for touching the sand with a hand or club. Still no grounding the club next to the ball or in front of the ball. We'll call this the Anna rule.

--We trust you, we really really trust you rules. This is a video evidence situation again, allowing for "reasonable judgement" when estimating point of entry drops, etc...

--Reduced time for searching for a lost ball from five down to three minutes

--You can keep playing a damaged club during a round. No penalty for an altered club, even if you wrapped it around a tree in a childish hissy-fit.

--Use of distance measuring devices permitted at all times, except by Local Rule (this should be fun for Augusta and the PGA Tour).

--No more caddies lining up players before a shot. This was almost strictly an LPGA Tour problem.

--A new “Maximum Score” form of stroke play, where your score can be capped to a number set by the Committee. In this proposed format you can pick up and move to the next hole when your score "will be at or above the maximum."

--New presentation of how the rules are presented

--New "plain" language in the writing of the rules

So what stands out?

For my money, the positives are various headache situations in everyday tournament golf coming to an end.

The use of rangefinders will be applauded, hailed and declared the key to speeding up the game. Little difference will be seen, but at least we'll be able to put another savior to bed on the pace of play front.

The ability to repair "spike" marks in a sport almost devoid of spikes contradicts the efforts to speed up the sport and appears to be mostly for tour players.


Shorts In Practice! PGA Tightens Its Grip On Fourth Major Status

Would The Masters do it?

This simple question will be used as a barometer in the coming months and year as the sport faces pressure to relax rules in an effort to appeal to more people. While many of those efforts are necessary, the professional golfer's uniform has been a collared shirt and pants. Whether at a course or club, a well-dressed professional has more gravitas than one in shorts and anklets.

And of course you'll never see pros wearing shorts at The Masters, the best in golf.

So even though the PGA Championship is likely moving to the cooler month of May, the PGA of America announced today that they will allow players to wear shorts during practice rounds of all their championships. Let those grow-the-game sweeping declarations begin!


NY Post On Adidas Taylor Made Sale: "May Have To Give It Away"

Josh Kosman on the distressing news that TaylorMade-Adams-Ashworth is losing between $75 million and $100 million a year, and no post-Tiger signing momentum has expedited sales talks.

Now Adidas, the parent company of Taylor Made, may have to give the brand away.

Losses at TaylorMade are much greater than many potential bidders anticipated, causing suitors to walk away, sources said.

The golf division that Adidas announced was for sale last May — which includes golf club maker TaylorMade, and the much smaller Adams and Ashworth brands — is losing between $75 million and $100 million a year, according to sources close to recent deal talks.

That is quite a fall from 2013 when TaylorMade was posting $1.7 billion in sales and a healthy profit, sources said. Today, sales are a little better than $500 million.

Adidas last year was asking for more than $500 million for the business, but now may have to give it away, a source who considered making a bid said.

The story goes on to say Callaway's new Epic driver taking the top spot from Taylor Made hasn't helped, but neither did the parent company CEO talking down the golf business. Or releasing three drivers in one year.


ShackHouse 28: Honda, Rules, Mexico City & Crossfield

Golf instructor Mark Crossfield has quickly become one of the more trusted voices in golf equipment, instruction and travel reviews. The golf pro-turned-YouTube star joins us to discuss how he got became a disruptor and where he sees golf headed.

Before that, however, we discuss Rickie Fowler's Honda Classic win, the (embarrassing) outrage over Johnny Miller's frank commentary, forthcoming rule change news and some insights into Club de Chapultepec, host of this week's WGC Mexico.

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device subscription page. Here is the direct iTunes link to this week's show.

Here is The Ringer's show page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 28 is here to listen to right now!

As always, ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, who start season 3 of Callaway Live this week. Tuesday's debut episode features Jim Furyk, followed by next week's newly-appointed primetime host of NBC's Olympic coverage, Mike Tirico.

Be sure to visit Callaway community that provided some of today's interview questions (thanks group) and to make yourself eligible to win a Furyk-signed 58 ball if you can accurately post how many times host Harry Arnett says "Ryder Cup" on the season premier.


Welcome, WGC Mexico City's Club de Chapultepec 

The WGC Not Trump Doral lands in Mexico City this week for the first time, and while early reports suggested a boondoggle based on past issues, PGA Tour rules official Gary Young tells me the course and operation look promising.

Club de Chapultepec is no Doral Blue Monster, one of the more consistently compelling Tour stops in any of its many design iterations. And yes, the Mexico City club replacing Doral is tight, tree-lined Willie and Alex Smith design dating to 1921 but now featuring tired elements that won't resonate with television audiences increasingly aware of dated features. (Fatigued bunkers set atop the landscape, fountains in lakes, etc.).

Still, Young says the combination of a stern driving test, sneaky green and property tilting that will reward sound play, and the endurance element caused by the elevation (7600 feet) should make for some challenging golf.

Not that we have a choice: a seven-year contract was signed for the WGC Mexico when the PGA Tour could not find a Doral replacement sponsor and exercised a contract-out to get them away from the future President's resort. Michael Bamberger writes the first of what figures to be many pieces lamenting this wound to the Florida swing's heart.

This year, for the first time since 1961, there is no Doral stop. Instead, this week the Tour is going to the Club de Golf Chapultepec in Mexico City. It arranged two charter flights, one to accommodate players who participated on Monday at the Seminole Member-Pro. You hope it will be a great tournament, in Mexico. Since becoming a World Golf Championship, the event at Doral had certainly lost its mojo—and its sponsorship. A change was needed. But the point here is that the Tour had something that was easy, and it got replaced with something that sounds like work.

As for this year's course, here is a slideshow of all 18.

Note the opener: a driveable par-4, while the last hole is just 388 yards, uphill. That's still short in altitude where Young estimates a minimum 10% distance boost, but more likely 15%.

For golf history and design wonks, the original course was started by 1899 U.S. Open champion Willie Smith of the Carnoustie Smith's. He had moved to Mexico City in 1904 to be a golf pro, and later was injured in the Mexican Revolution because he refused to leave his post at the club.

Smith died of pneumonia in 1916 before completing the course, which his brother Alex finished. Alex won U.S. Opens in 1906 and 1910.

Damon Hack and I discussed the early positive signs for those en route to Mexico City.



Even Jack Doesn't Know What To Think About Tiger At This Point

Golfweek's Jeff Babineau quotes Jack Nicklaus discussing the state of Tiger Woods following the recent WD's and Genesis Open no-show due to back spasms.

This probably about sums up how most feel

Nicklaus doesn’t live very far from him, but he really doesn’t have much of a handle on what his happening with Woods and his health these days.

“That is the biggest puzzle to me that I know,” Nicklaus said Sunday at the Honda Classic. “I just don’t know where he is and where his mind is. I don’t know.


Say It Ain't So: Horschel Would Have Skipped WGC Mexico City Had He Qualified

Citing security concerns, world No. 75, Billy Horschel says he would have skipped this week's WGC Mexico City had he qualified.

In unrelated news, I would have skipped this year's Oscars had I been nominated.

Will Gray at on what would have been a terrible blow to Mexico City's economy had Horschel not bogeyed the par-5 18th in Sunday's Honda Classic.

“I’ve been to Mexico before, and I love Cancun,” he said. “It’s the first year of the event, and I just want to see how it went. That’s what it really came down to. I want to see how everything was run, I want to see the feedback from the players, and then I’d go from there.”


Rickie Fowler Fends Off Johnny Critique Following Honda Win

I can't imagine a more impressive stat than Rickie Fowler making 57 of 57 inside 7 feet to win the Honda Classic.

Still, it was an undeniably bizarre 2017 Honda Classic final round with several players hitting loose shots, including Fowler. Johnny Miller voiced his concern at Fowler's inability to close things out and, along with his NBC cohorts, expressed his surprise at the "poor" quality of many misses.

Cue the millennial police!

Will Gray on Rickie's response as well as the players coming to Rickie's defense, including Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald.

The PGA Tour highlights.


Bryson Apologizes To His USGA "Family"

Bryson DeChambeau, whose side-saddle putter was ruled non-conforming by the USGA, missed another cut and vented about having to abandon the method because he could not use his preferred blade.

Brian Wacker reports from the Honda Classic.

“It [was] a long conversation,” DeChambeau said after a 71 to miss the cut by four shots. “But the USGA essentially doesn’t like me doing it.

“I’m pretty much done with it. They’re not a good organization, and you can quote me on that. I’m part of their family and as family it’s very frustrating to see them stunt the growth of the game.”

I'm not sure about this "family" he speaks but one presumes there are not secret handshakes, just USGA championships which bond the winners with the USGA family.

Anyway, DeChambeau took to Twitter to apologize, though he made similar comments at Torrey Pines.

DeChambeau is mercifully off this week and has a chance to hit a reset button that has included launching new irons at the PGA Show, then trying to play that same week at Torrey Pines. He has also tried to change putting styles and has taken on the weight of "growing the game" which, while very admirable, may be just too much on his plate given how competitive the PGA Tour can be.


Another Sign The PGA Tour Is Warming To Daily Fantasy?

Given the role that fantasy leagues and daily fantasy (gambling) have played in strengthening fan ties to other sports, new PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has expressed an open mind toward the possibilities. The daily fantasy world is seeing golf as a growth industry. Television networks would not be opposed to more eyeballs.

So it was intriguing to see the Tour bless Willy Wilcox signing an appearance deal with DraftKings. As Brian Wacker reports for, the deal would seem to violate rules against players endorsing gaming companies.

For Wilcox’s part, he won’t have a DraftKings logo on his bag or apparel, and is in no way “endorsing” the company, says his agent Drew Carr -- though Wilcox did excitedly tweet about the new relationship, saying, “So pumped to announce I am officially paired up with @DraftKings! Helping them with some epic events..dream come true see y'all at Pinehurst.”

If that’s not an endorsement, where exactly is the line? It’s a blurry one at best.

“This is an opportunity that we have carefully navigated for the better part of a year, while keeping in close communication with the Tour,” Carr said. “This is not an endorsement of DraftKings, and it is not an endorsement agreement.


Pat Perez And Tiger Hash Things Out Via Text, Sort Of

Pat Perez went on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio with “Katrek & Maginnes on Tap” to clarify his comments on SiriusXM's Out of Bounds co-hosted by Pat Perez!

If you really have a lot of spare time, Golfweek's Kevin Casey links to the Perez effort to dig himself out of a hole created by the harsh tone of his Tiger assessment.

Perez also talked to's Brian Wacker and said he and Tiger texted things out.

“I wasn’t talking about his career, I was talking about this point in time and we don’t know what we’re going to get from him. I’m not the only one thinking this. It’s common sense. Everybody wants to talk about Tiger. It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo?’”

Perez sent a text message to Woods on Thursday expressing that same sentiment to the 14-time major winner, and the two exchanged multiple texts about the comments.

Woods was not pleased, according to Perez, but in essence told him he understood and that Perez is entitled to his opinion.

I've managed to obtain the text exchange exclusively because I look out for my readers! ;)

Here goes:


Poulter On Borrowed Time: Six Starts To Keep Card

Ian Poulter may be the most intriguing player to watch as this week's Honda Classic develops. The tournament is one of six remaining starts on a major medical exemption and the former world no. 5 needs $220k or so to retain PGA Tour status.

Doug Ferguson with Poulter's story.

When he returned in the fall, he had 10 events on a major medical extension to keep his card. He played four times on the PGA Tour and missed two cuts. Going into the Honda Classic, he has six tournaments remaining to earn either $220,301 or 154 FedEx Cup points.

That's in the neighborhood of a fifth-place finish.

"I'm on borrowed time," Poulter said. "Yeah, I need to perform well. ... A win would be nice. I have to think that I've got a chance, I really do. The situation I'm in, I have to be aggressive, but I've got to be careful. I can't make many mistakes."


Video: Tommy Morrissey On CBS This Morning 

The lad took the Honda Classic by storm this week (Steve DiMeglio reports) but if you follow him on Instagram (or Twitter) you know Tommy Morrissey is a daily inspiration.

Still, it was great to see Norah O'Donnell profile Morrissey on CBS This Morning as well as their podcast.


Fox! Value Of TV Deal Has Players Wanting More U.S. Open Say

The USGA's recent U.S. Open purse bump sounds as it was influenced by PGA Tour player talk at recent player meetings, reports Rex Hoggard for

Players feel they are still underpaid based on TV deals, with the Fox-USGA's known price tag making it easy for them to do some math and realize they are not paid proportionally with revenues. However, a $25 million purse would make a mess of things. So...

Instead, the players at the meeting focused on how the additional revenue could possibly be used, from additional funding for Tour purses, to rookie stipends or even a caddie retirement plan, which is currently a hot-button topic because of an ongoing lawsuit between the circuit and a group of caddies.

According to the USGA’s financial statement for 2016 about half (49 percent) of its revenues ($98.7 million) came from broadcast rights fees, while about half (46 percent or $91.5 million) of its operating expenses were related to its “open championships.”

And if it's not bad enough for the Executive Committee to possibly have to face giving up some of their profits, it gets more intriguing:

One player who spoke at the meeting and requested anonymity because of the potential for future negotiations said the concern goes deeper than simply a fair share of the TV rights, and that players want a say in future venues and how the championship is run, pointing out last year’s rules snafus at both the U.S. Open and Women’s Open.

It’s unclear how far the players would be willing to take a potential negotiation with the USGA or any of the game’s other ruling bodies.

“Let’s be honest, we’re not going to boycott a major,” one player said.


“If it was Barack Obama, I would have played. If it was Hillary Clinton, I would have played.”

Based on various social media posts and stories, Rory McIlroy's acceptance of a last-minute invitation to play golf with president Donald Trump has not been universally well received. Even though McIlroy merely answered a late Saturday call for a Sunday game, he has been questioned for accepting. I do not understand the outcry.

Pro golfers have not had a great recent history on this front--think Azinger and Pavin insisting they were not offended by going to the Clinton White House. With this topic in mind--one that won't go away as President Trump's regular golfing is highlighted--Karen Crouse of the New York Times anonymously polled pros about playing a round with the president. Fifty of 56 polled said they would accept an invite from President Trump.

Ernie Els, who teed up with Trump recently, gave the answer you'd hope to hear:

“If it was Barack Obama, I would have played. If it was Hillary Clinton, I would have played.”

And because he's on such a diplomacy roll, Pat Perez took an opposite approach.

Perez said he would play with Trump “in a heartbeat,” but would have turned down an invitation from Mrs. Clinton if she had won. (It should be noted that she is not known to golf.)

Ultimately all of this golf talk--which has become prime late night fodder--is pretty minor unless golf triggers global conflict of some kind. That seems unlikely.

However, I'd argue today's banter between President Trump and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, while understandable to golfers given the story, reinforces way too many stereotypes:




Pat Perez Joins The Tiger Enemy List In Grand Fashion!

Pat Perez, talking on Sirius/XM with Michael Collins on their monthly radio show Out of Bounds, is certainly blunt when talking about Tiger's future after establishing that Woods "is the needle." But given that Perez has played 18 majors in his career to Tiger's 14 major wins, a touch more empathy might have been in order even after establishing his respect for Woods.

But the show is called Out of Bounds and he's swinging for the fences here in his once-a-month opportunity.

Michael Shamberger at The Big Lead has the audio posted by Sirius/XM.

“He knows he can’t beat anybody. He’s got this new corporation he started so he has to keep his name relevant to keep the corporation going. So he’s going to show up to a few events, he’s going to try to play, he’s going to show the Monster bag, he’s going to show the TaylorMade driver, he’s gonna get on TV. He’s got the Nike clothes, he’s gotta keep that stuff relevant.

“But the bottom line is he knows he can’t beat anybody. He knows it. He shot 77! That guy can’t shoot 77. What does he do the next day? ‘Aw my backs gone.’ He knows he can’t beat anybody!”

“Personally, I don’t think you’ll see him again this year. The guy can’t show up to an interview!"

Tiger might normally have tolerated this as Pat being Pat except for the suggestion that Woods has been playing just to give sponsors some appearances. While that may be somewhat true, I'm fairly certainly suggesting that the tone Perez chose will move him to some place between Stevie and Brandel on the Tiger Enemy list.

Though the quotes were reported in many places and Sirius/XM clipped the audio to only feature the negative comments, Perez took to Instagram to suggest Golf Digest took the comments out of context.



"It may go unsaid, but Donald Trump wants something from the PGA of America." 

Michael Bamberger profiles PGA Of America CEO Pete Bevacqua but as a lot of things go these days, the story has to consider the relationship between President Trump and the PGA of America.

Writing for

Bevacqua, with his staff and board, is considering moving the PGA Championship from its customary August date to May, which would give the golf calendar a different rhythm. Oh, and Donald Trump has Bevacqua on his contact list, as he has for some years—and he's been in touch.

The two met at Trump Tower in New York City shortly after the election. They played golf in late December at Trump International. More recently, Bevacqua received a call from Trump—that is, President Trump—while ferrying his young children around Palm Beach Gardens.

"It was kind of a strange situation," Bevacqua said recently. "Three kids in the car and then there's a call, 'Please hold for President Trump.' The kids just kept doing their thing. They're singing, oblivious. But at the end of the call, my daughter says, 'Was that the president?'"

So where does this all head? Bamberger opines:

The PGA of America has two of its events scheduled for Trump courses, the Senior PGA Championship in May and the PGA Championship in 2022. Trump and the Trump Organization would gladly welcome more PGA of America events. A great golf prize for the Trump family would be a Ryder Cup on one of its courses on either side of the Atlantic. (Venues have been selected through 2024. The '26 Ryder Cup appears to be headed to Ireland. Trump has two Scottish courses, in Turnberry and Aberdeen.) Eric Trump—now in charge of running his family's golf business in conjunction with Larry Glick, a Trump Organization executive—would naturally love a U.S. Open, a British Open or a PGA Tour event at any course bearing the Trump name. Long before Trump was elected, the USGA awarded Trump National Bedminster with the 2017 U.S. Women's Open. But given some of the extreme language used by Trump as a candidate and some of the positions he has taken as president, it seems unlikely that the PGA Tour, the USGA or the R&A, administrators of the British Open, will be eager to choose another Trump venue anytime soon.

I disagree. Should the PGA Championship move to May, Trump Doral is a no-brainer as either a future venue or replacement for one of the northern venues currently on the PGA Championship schedule.