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

Celebrated as Ben's reign has been both by the golf and nongolfing public throughout the world--for after his comeback from his near-fatal accident Ben became a human interest story and a powerfully popular figure for thousands who "never swung a tee"--we are probably still too closest to his separate triumphs, still too bedazzled by his commanding, combative, concentric personality, to appreciate how phenomenal he has been over a period of years purely and simply as a golfer. In the years to come, I am sure, the sports public, looking back at his record, will be struck by awe and disbelief that any one man could have played so well so regularly.   HERBERT WARREN WIND on Ben Hogan

 

   

Saturday
May272017

Euro Tour Chief Anticipates PGA Championship Move, Agrees BMW PGA Would Work Well In September

European Tour Chief Keith Pelley visited Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo during round two of the 2017 BMW PGA and mostly talked his new "product" geared at the kids.

“But golf needs something else, it needs something to attract a younger generation.”

At the 11:00 mark he is asked about the possible impact of a Players/PGA Championship switch on his tour and, specifically, the BMW PGA.

If in fact if the PGA Championship moved to May, which I anticipate that it will, we will have to look where is the best fit for the BMW PGA Championship. But obviously we would do everything around the majors.

Nobilo then made the case for early autumn at Wentworth and Pelley agreed that the conditions would be ideal, but lightly walking back how well the technology of maintenance now makes the current date fine, too. But it was pretty apparent that the European Tour sees an an ideal early fall slot for this event.

The full interview:

Friday
May262017

Obama Plays The Old Course, Checks Out The Claret Jug

Looks like the former President had a grand day on the Old Course.

Note in the Swilken Bridge shot and post-round images how many people are encircling the Home green. BTW, nice outfits from the playing partners!


And checking out the Claret Jug, and given that he's in St. Andrews, this may be the Royal and Ancient clubhouse version (which is the oldest version).

Even @BarackObama is in awe of the Claret Jug!

A post shared by The Open (@theopen) on May 26, 2017 at 9:16am PDT

Anyone know the golf book he's got in hand?

 

Check out the crowd...

 

Friday
May262017

Video: Erin Hills Fourth Hole Flyover

The 439 yard par-4 fourth is heavily bunkered and features an uphill approach with trouble long.

The Erin Hills flyover:

 

Thursday
May252017

Thomas Pieters Will Soon Be Getting A Keith Pelley Gift Basket

Opening with a 68 at the star-depleted BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, one of Europe's rising stars suggested it was a no brainer for him: BMW PGA over The Players.

Thomas Pieters, who skipped The Players to take 7 weeks off with a brief stop at the Zurich Classic, is rested and ready to win the European Tour's biggest event, reports The Telegraph's James Corrigan.

Asked which tournament he would prefer to win, Pieters was unequivocal.

“This one,” he replied. “Why? Because this is our tour, and I look at the history of this event with Seve [Ballesteros] and everything. I see this tournament as the next biggest to the majors. It would mean a lot to be the champion here.”

How Keith Pelley, the European Tour chief executive, would have loved those words.

Thursday
May252017

South Africans Give And Take: Els Penalizes Self, Grace Takes Bold (Referee Sanctioned) Drop

It's never dull with Ernie Els at Wentworth, who turned a 69 into a BMW PGA first round 71 by penalizing himself for not replacing a possible plugged lie properly.

Will Gray for GolfChannel.com on Els' guilty conscience.

"Under the rules you try and put it back the way you think it should be, but I still felt uncomfortable with it, so we took a two-shot penalty," Els said. "I know deep down the ball wasn't quite where it should be and I wouldn't be able to live with myself."

The incident getting more attention involved Els countryman Branden Grace, who took relief from bunker wall material when he had a buried lie. Alistair Tait reports for Golfweek on the drop approved by American official Mark Hill and criticized by commentators and players

Paul McGinley criticized Grace’s action during television commentary and afterwards. “It was ridiculous,” McGinley said. “If you twist your feet enough you’re bound to eventually reach the bunker lining. That means anytime a player wants relief from a poor lie he can simply twist his feet until he reaches the bunker lining. That can’t be right.”

Danny Willett took to twitter to complain. He tweeted: “@EuropeanTour please explain that drop?! Burying feet enough in to get to the base of the bunker???”

Fellow Englishman Daniel Brooks also had reservations about the ruling. “Wow strangest drop I’ve ever seen there,” he tweeted.

Bunkered has a few of the player tweets and a mini-round-up here.

While no video of the moment is online, Grace gives a decent explanation in this Sky post round interview.

Thursday
May252017

John Daly: Americans Need To Get On Donald Trump's Wagon

Normally I'd suggest John Daly abstain from wagon references given his multiple climbs on and off the wagon, but the man loves his President Trump and the job the 45th president is doing.

Ryan Ballengee, reporting from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship That'll Eventually Be Won By Bernhard Langer, quotes the 2-time major champion loving the effort of his friend Donald Trump, unofficial host at Trump National DC.

“There’s been a lot of things go on with the Democrats that people just want to ignore now,” he said. “They don’t, they just want to pick on my buddy. Let him do his job and just see what he does. He’s doing great so far.”

And the wagon talk...

“He’s the President of the United States,” he said. “I think people need to get on his wagon and ride with him and let him do what he’s doing and leave him alone. It’s not going to change for at least, you know, this year and three more.”

Thursday
May252017

Will President Trump Drop In On The Senior PGA At Trump DC?

Ted Bishop wonders that and also reveals a few things about the PGA of America partnership with the Trump Organization as the Senior PGA kicks off this week. The event is being played at Trump National D.C., a potential future PGA Championship site as well.

The former PGA president writes for MorningRead.com:

Any chance that President Trump might make a last-minute visit to the Senior PGA on Sunday? Trump, an avid golfer whose business empire includes ownership of 16 courses, no doubt would love to make an appearance. Would it be deemed a conflict of interest, given his role as the nation’s chief executive and his detachment from his businesses, if he were to do so?

“Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know the answer to that one as it is ‘church and state,’ and I have not spoken with him,” said Larry Glick, an executive vice president with Trump Organization.

Thursday
May252017

Video: Erin Hills Third Hole Flyover

According to USOpen.com, the 508-yard third hole is one of the most heavily renovated holes since the 2011 U.S. Amateur. The green was shifted to the player's right.

The foggy flyover from Erin Hills:

Wednesday
May242017

Euro Tour Chief Expecting Players/PGA Move Decision By August, Which Suggests The Verdict Is In

European Tour Chief Keith Pelley believes that a decision is coming this August on a blockbuster trade that has the Players moving to March, the PGA to May and three prospects going to an undisclosed tour.

Will Gray on the Chief's comments this week at the BMW PGA, which will be impacted should the PGA Championship move to May.

"It will depend on what they do in 2019," Pelley said. "The PGA of America says they're going to determine whether the PGA Championship is moved to May by the end of August this year. If that's the case, we are going to have to look at everything. We have plans right now, but there is no doubt that if those changes happen, the 2019 and 2020 schedule will be considerably different to 2018."

A cynical mind might say that given August being the PGA Championship's date, a decision has already been made subject to a few contract signings and conference calls.

Given the domino effect this decision will have on golf tournament schedules and other sporting events, there will certainly be added intrigue in Charlotte.

Wednesday
May242017

Tiger "Hasn't Felt This Good In Years"

On the good news front, Woods seems to have finally had a successful back surgery (on the fourth try with a new doctor).

But given that he's feeling good, it's hard not to notice that he passed on his annual Tiger Jam fundraiser for the first time ever. TigerWoods.com reports:

I heard so many great things about last weekend’s Tiger Jam. It’s one of my favorite weekends of the year and it’s the first time I couldn’t attend. Special thanks to MGM Grand and to all my friends who pitched in to make Tiger Jam a big success. Kate Upton played poker and hosted our Saturday night dinner. I knew she would crush it, and she did.

Kate crushed it!

As for his back...

It has been just over a month since I underwent fusion surgery on my back, and it is hard to express how much better I feel. It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years.
I could no longer live with the pain I had. We tried every possible non-surgical route and nothing worked. I had good days and bad days, but the pain was usually there, and I couldn’t do much. Even lying down hurt. I had nerve pain with anything I did and was at the end of my rope. The process leading up to my decision to have surgery was exhaustive. I consulted with a specialist, and after weighing my options, that’s when I decided to go to Texas to have surgery.

Fantastic news. As with Steve Kerr, perhaps these surgeries gone wrong will help others learn from the misery suffered by Woods and the Warriors coach.

Most fascinating was this from Tiger, who clearly has heard the rumblings about his desire, commitment or determination to play again.

But, I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again.

Presently, I’m not looking ahead. I can’t twist for another two and a half to three months.

Maybe that's why he passed on Tiger Jam? He couldn't do a proper samba!

Right now, my sole focus is rehab and doing what the doctors tell me. I am concentrating on short-term goals.

You know how I know he's feeling better: Tiger's handing out compliments like Phil hands out $100 bills. Including a well-deserved tip 'o the cap to his ghost writer, Lorne Rubenstein, for a job well done on The 1997 Masters.

Wednesday
May242017

Video: Erin Hills Second Hole Flyover

Things get very interesting early in the round at Erin Hills with the 338-yard second. It's a potentially drivable par-4 with a blind landing area and crowned green that I believe has been softened since the course's opening. Those taking a conservative route will face an obstructed view approach.

The flyover from Erin Hills:

 

Tuesday
May232017

Wentworth Revitalized, But Will It Ever Draw Americans?

I still haven't seen many good images capturing the supposed restoration of H.S. Colt's work at Wentworth, which includes 29 fewer bunkers. (There are a couple of shots in this primer at a revamped EuropeanTour.com.)

But as The Telegraph's James Corrigan notes in previewing the revitalization, the BMW PGA Championship has player attention because the greens are smoother.

Reignwood put up the £5 million for improvements and the European Tour and its design team did the rest, together with Ernie Els Design. Each of the 18 greens was relaid and a sub-air system, as used at Augusta, was installed under every one as well. The result is startlingly firmer surfaces and a much more consistent roll of the ball. Tyrell Hatton, the young world No 16 from nearby High Wycombe, summed up the elation in the locker room. “The greens are 100 times better,” he said.

Corrigan's piece includes a sidebar pointing out the resurfacing of all greens, with Sub-Air installed. He says nine greens were partially or fully redesigned.

Paul McGinley posted this image earlier in the week:

The tragedy in Manchester will lead to a more subdued week, reports Alistair Tait for Golfweek, so it remains to be seen if the Rolex Series kick off will include the driving range music and first tee presenters will still happen.

The tournament also hopes to attract more Americans but given the schedule spot, that will be tough. John Huggan talks to various dignitaries for suggestions and I thought this was interesting from Ken Schofield.

“The European Tour has had a lifetime of putting on great events no one in America seems to care about,” Schofield says. “It’s time to put an end to that. I see a closer relationship between the BMW PGA and the Players as a way of further cementing relations and cooperation between the tours. It’s just the right thing to do for the game.

In other words, Schofield would like to see the Players become part of the money list on the European Tour and, in turn, the BMW PGA become part of the PGA Tour’s money list. “That would provide further validation for both,” he says.

Should the PGA Championship move to May, the BMW would also take a hit if it remains in the current schedule spot.

Tuesday
May232017

Tony Romo Making CBS Debut At Colonial

Kevin Patra of NFL Network reports that former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will don the CBS blue blazer this weekend at Colonial to kick off his post-playing career with an 18th tower cameo. Romo is set to join Jim Nantz this fall as part of the lead CBS NFL broadcast team.

From Patra's story:

"I will give you a little note," Barrow told the audience while glowing about Romo. "This weekend for the first time ever he will be in the announce booth at 18 for a few moments. And it will be the first time that he will have the CBS Sports blazer on and he will be introduced as our newest addition to CBS Sports, right here at Colonial."

Barrow then asked the crowd to keep the news under wraps.

"Please don't tweet that or any of that, it's supposed to be a surprise," he said.

Tuesday
May232017

Erin Hills Primer And First Hole Flyover

Golf.com's Jeff Ritter attended U.S. Open media day at Erin Hills and came away with impressions that may help those trying to wrap their head around such a little-known, little-understood venue.

He writes:

The USGA also plans to dry things out. The designers would like to see their course play firm and fast (read: brown), but there's simply too much rainfall in central Wisconsin this time of year to get things crispy. The course won't be as verdant as you see in my photos, but don't expect a repeat of Chambers' dusty landscape, either.

2. Goodbye, flat lies
. Maybe wind isn't Erin's only defense. Because the architects tried to maintain the natural terrain, there aren't many level stances out there. It's another way the course keeps players on edge. And when they finally pull the trigger, the terrain will kick the ball in unpredictable ways.

"The fairways themselves are bouncy," Davis said. "They're predominantly fescue. There's some ryegrass and some other grasses in there, but the soil or the subsoil here is a gritty, well-draining soil, so the combination of the grasses and the subsoil really do make this a bouncy course, so you're going to see balls hit and move."

Though we're just a bit more than 18 days away from U.S. Open week, why not get the analysis going with a flyover of the beautiful 560-yard first hole, courtesy of Erin Hills:

Monday
May222017

ASU's Vaughn Wins Women's NCAA's, Kent State Makes Team Match Play For First Time

The crowning of an individual champion and narrowing of the team portion to eight teams proved unusually exciting (again) Monday, with ASU senior Monica Vaughn winning the individual title while upstart Kent State was one of eight teams to get to match play. The contrast in emotions with the weekly drumbeat of pro golf was noticeable, and the match play hasn't even begun!

For ASU's Vaughn, Kevin Casey writes for Golfweek.com how the win came after an early stumble to seemingly doom her chances. So much so that Vaughn and coach Missy Farr-Kaye were not Golfstat obsessing on purpose.

It wasn’t until the group finished out and Vaughn’s teammates came running toward her that she realized she had won. And then the tears flowed – after all, Vaughn is a senior and a cornerstone of the program.

The veteran had been on fire entering the NCAA Championship, finishing top-3 in four of her previous five events – including a win at the NCAA Lubbock Regional. But after 23 straight NCAA Championship appearances, Arizona State failed to make the field in 2015 or 2016.

While Vaughn finished solo fifth as an individual at the 2015 tournament, the back-to-back team misses left a mark.

So did the 2-footer for par that lipped out on the fifth hole (her 14th) on Monday. The devastating bogey dropped her to 3 over for the tournament, and four back. Vaughn, who started the day two back of Kupcho, thought she put herself out of the individual race.

Beth Ann Nichols on the fine play of two Ohio programs, including Ohio State and Kent State.

Two Ohio-based teams, well-versed in brutal weather and tough tracks, made history at Rich Harvest Farms, qualifying for match play for the first time in school history.

“I just told the team I believe in them,” said Hession. “They’re as good as any team out there.”

Hession’s Buckeyes will face Southern California in the quarterfinals of match play on Tuesday while Kent State squares off against top-seeded Northwestern. Kent State ranks 16th in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, the same ranking Stanford had when the Cardinal won in 2015. Last year’s victorious Washington squad was No. 13.

Golfweek Staff's preview of the quarterfinal team matches.

Golf Channel, which begins Tuesday team match coverage at 11 am ET, had this wrap of Monday's best shots:

Monday
May222017

"Behind the scenes at a $2,000 wedge fitting"

As PXG and others have established high-end club fittings that lead to eye-popping prices for clubs, Golfweek's David Dusek tells us about his experience with JP Harrington's setup at Titleist's facility in Oceanside.

While many of us can't comprehend spending $2000 on a set of wedges, clearly there is a market for these personal service fitting given that Harrington will do 50 to 60 days of fittings with customers. Dusek explains what they'll get for their $2000 besides some very futuristic-looking clubs.

First, the heads are forged from 1025 carbon steel before being milled to precisely the desired shapes. Internal weights made to fit each specific wedge head help raise or lower the center of gravity based on loft, then a large, highly polished tungsten weight is attached in the toe to pull the CG into the center of the hitting area. All that weight can be added because the back plate is made from brushed titanium, which is exceptionally light.

While the grooves are identical to those of Titleist Vokey Design SM6 wedges, the soles of JP Harrington wedges are CNC-milled. Most have aggressive heel and toe relief for increased versatility, but if there is a buzzword Harrington loves to talk about, it’s camber. His wedges tend to have a lot of curvature from the leading edge to the back of the sole, as well as from heel to toe. Harrington believes this helps players maintain speed through the turf for improved consistency.

Monday
May222017

Alice Dye Slams New TPC Sawgrass 12th: "It doesn’t fit the course."

I've been mulling the new 12th at TPC Sawgrass in the aftermath of this year's Players and in thinking back to the golf I watched out there, my admiration for its intricacies has grown.

Did it achieve perfection on the first attempt? No. But few of the great short par-4s were perfect from the get-go. Shoot, Riviera's 10th only ascended to its current place atop most lists when technology (and all of that core work) allowed more players to go for the green.

Did the new 12th achieve the goal of adding intrigue to the early back nine holes and some much needed nuance at what was previously not a good hole?

Definitely.

Did it take one of the most one-dimensional, unimaginative and strange short par-4s on a great course and improve it?

Absolutely.

The Dyes, apparently, do not agree. Tom Weiskopf also chimed in from afar with some astute and bizarre remarks. I believe had they watched some of the golf in person and witnessed the strategy sessions at the tee box, or have seen some of the player shotmaking that the hole elicited, they might judge the new 12th less harshly. 

Matt Ginella writing for GolfAdvisor.com quotes Alice, who watched much of the coverage and came away unimpressed.

"It’s an awkward hole," says Alice Dye. "It doesn’t fit the course. He OK’d it, but it’s not a Pete Dye design."

But many would counter that as much as we love a good Pete Dye design, interesting short par-4s are not of interest to him. Even Alice confirmed this.

"Pete has never believed in drivable par 4s," says Alice. "If a player is supposed to reach the green from the tee and you’re always allowed two putts, well, that’s a par 3."

Alice, who watched the tournament with Pete all week, on a course that is one of the most iconic of the Dye’s 100-course portfolio, was not impressed with the new 12th.

"Even for the players who laid up, they were left with an awkward shot to a target that was angled across their body, the pins were hidden and weren’t accessible and the green sloped away from them, towards the water. The players who laid up weren’t able to be on the offensive. Either TV didn’t do a good job of presenting it or the hole didn’t create the excitement or the drama they were hoping for."

Actually, the visibility issues were for those who played back in the fairway. Those who sneaked their lay-ups closer to the green got better views, a great nuance to the hole that developed as players got to know the features better.

As for any issues, I think there are two small tweaks that would encourage more aggressiveness without turning it into the automatic-driving situation that Alice laments: keep the lake bank at a higher cut and flip the tee over to the left so that the angle better fits the right-hander's draw-show eye. Currently the players are hitting across themselves a bit. The angle probably accentuates the narrowness of the hole opening and the lefthand lake bank that was declared too severe by many.

A move of the tee so that the hole to set it up more like a long Redan could mean more enticement to attack.

But to suggest the hole was a failure is to look past the intrigue, interest, variety and skill sets the new 12th hole introduced.

Sunday
May212017

Video: The Turf Chopper (New Age Golf Cart)

I'm normally not one to advocate anything but walking, however the Turf Chopper looks pretty fun (and stable?).  While I get the surf/skater appeal of golf boards, this looks like much less work and even exudes a cool, futuristic vibe.

To be determined? Their impact on turfgrass. But they have to be better than a much heavier golf cart.

H/T Golfballed...

I need one now. Please. Thank you. 🏍⛳️😝👍 via: @jbeeeeeeeeee @turf_chopper

A post shared by GolfBalled.com (@golfballed) on May 20, 2017 at 5:40pm PDT

 

Sunday
May212017

There Are No Words, Files: Greg Norman Shows Us How To Do Stomach Crunches On Crutches!

I can't imagine how he keeps hurting himself when you see this, but Shirtless Shark is back and taking advantage of some sort of ankle/foot injury to us how to keep the abs firm even when relegated to crutches.

Either way, I spell an instructional piece on this as part of his partnership with Verizon!

 

Just had to improvise.

A post shared by Greg Norman (@shark_gregnorman) on May 21, 2017 at 2:18pm PDT

 

Saturday
May202017

Artificial Surface Tee Gets Used At NCAA Championships...

The NCAA's plan to play men's and women's Division I finals at the same course is undoubtedly making their venue option list very short. And as Andy Johnson notes at FriedEgg.co, you can't fault them for going to a place like Rich Harvest Farms, which has generously opened its doors to Solheim Cups, Western Amateurs and more. But the course that was once ridiculously ranked by Golf Digest's panel only to suffer a fall, still has many wondering why Jerry Rich's design is even viewed as top 100 worthy. 

Things aren't off to the best start at Rich Harvest Farms, with a weather delay leading to a shortened event and an artificial surface tee box getting put into play.

Saturday's nasty weather wasn't Rich's fault, especially since superintendent Jeff VerCautren did all he could to have the course ready to take on an inch of rain (as it did for Saturday's women's D1 round two). Play was still cancelled despite beautiful afternoon conditions. Lance Ringler at Golfweek.com explains what went into the thinking behind cancelling the round and shortening the women's stroke play portion of the proceedings.

More disconcerting though was the Janet Lindsay's decision, forced by wind forecasts, to use an artificial surface tee that was difficult for players to actually penetrate with tees.

Brentley Romine reports for Golfweek.com.

“I thought to myself, some kids probably have never hit off a mat in their whole life,” said Ohio State head coach Therese Hession.

The mat made it difficult for players to put their own tees at proper heights. Some players used mini tees provided by officials, but even those weren’t suitable for everyone. One player grew tired of attempting, threw her tee on the ground and hit hybrid off the deck. Most every player hit some sort of hybrid on the hole on Friday.

“I hit a hybrid off the tee, and the tee wouldn’t go down,” Baylor’s Amy Lee said. “… I was kind of afraid of popping it up in the air. (The tee) was probably triple the height of what I normally put it.”