Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos

For what Hogan meant, it's the old story. For those who know golf, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't, no explanation is possible.
JIM MURRAY


    

Thursday
May262016

U Of W Women Bring NCAA Title To Seattle & Nice Ratings Too

As the men's Division I championship prepares to get underway at Eugene Country Club, the triumphant University of Washington women and their 33-year coach returned to campus with the school's first NCAA championship of any kind since 2009.

Beth Ann Nichols has the lowdown for Golfweek and UW's Mason Kelley with the photos of Mary Ann Mulflur and team:

Mulflur, now in her 33rd season as head coach, had 296 text messages on her phone when she finished up media obligations. She turned off her phone for a while, however, to enjoy the moment.

One of the more encouraging signs for all involved has to be the chatter about how refreshing/exciting/emotional the matches were. The combination of player passion, push carts, humble reactions and a great story drew a very nice rating for mid-week in spring with so much to watch.

From SportsTVRatings, the final 3:39 telecast averaged 249,000 viewers, including 59,000 from the only demo that matters.That blows away any final round rating for a fall PGA Tour event!

BTW, the US Amateur Four-Ball airing earlier in the day on Fox averaged 59,00/26,000 over an excruciatingly slow 2:45 on Fox Sports 1. It took a strong soul or a huge Tillinghast fan to watch the tepid match in front of a hundred or so people. Golf World's Ryan Herrington profiled winners Andrew Buchanan and Ben Baxter, both of SMU.

Thursday
May262016

Spelling Bee Co-Champ Is Inspired By Jordan Spieth

Jairam Hathwar of Corning, New York is a 13-year-old 7th grader who lists Jordan Spieth as his inspiration because, as ESPN's lead announcer noted during the thrilling national spelling bee finale, "he doesn't let a bad hole get to his head."

Jairam's also one amazing speller who dueled in thrilling fashion with 11-year-old Nihar Janga for the Scripps National Spelling Bee title. They rightfully ended up in a tie after going to the 25th round, the golfing equivalent of a 8 holes of sudden death.

The equally amazing Nihar listed Dez Bryant as his inspiration and even got a little attention from Bryant on Twitter.

Nihar Janga threw up the X after tying for the Spelling Bee Championship and Dez Bryant loved it.

A photo posted by SportsCenter (@sportscenter) on

Maybe someone in We Spieth can alert their man to acknowledge the lad's performance?

Thursday
May262016

Stewart Cink: “We’ve had some conversation people our age shouldn’t be having"

Adam Schupak talks to Stewart Cink, returning to the tour after a brief hiatus while wife Lisa battles breast cancer, and his optimism is encouraging.

Schupak writes:

“I’ve played quite a bit,” Cink said. “I thought golf would give me a chance to get away from reality for a little while, but that’s not the case at all. When I go to the golf course, she’s all I think about.”

Circumstances haven’t necessarily improved, but the third week of Lisa’s treatment is the most predictable, and so Cink, in an attempt to keep “pieces of normal,” is returning to the Tour at the Dean and DeLuca Invitational, which begins today at Colonial Country Club. It is his first tournament since the RBC Heritage in mid-April. He missed the past five Tour events.

“Earlier this month, I didn’t feel like I’d ever want to play again,” Cink said. “Now we have a handle on what it is, and we know what we’re dealing with and what to expect.”

Thursday
May262016

MusclePharm And Tiger Cut Ties After Less Than Two Years

SeekingAlpha.com features an unbylined wire item that Tiger Woods and MusclePharm have ended his endorsement deal, with the company paying $2.5 million to terminate a contract that still owed $7 million. The company is facing numerous lawsuits and plummeting stock price. Woods is showing no signs of an imminent return to competition.

Karen Crouse wrote for the New York Times about the goals of the partnership in July 2014, when the endorsement deal was announced and agent Mark Steinberg was available for comment.

“Our goal is to take the stigma out of supplements,” said Woods’s agent, Mark Steinberg. “Tiger Woods, maybe the most fit golfer that we’ve had, let’s show that it’s O.K. to align yourself with supplements. Just be safe when you do it. That’s the message we collectively want to spread.”

Dietary supplements are a billion-dollar industry, and Brad Pyatt, the chairman and chief executive of MusclePharm, argues that Woods can help the company become the industry’s gold standard.

“Tiger Woods is kind of the stamp of approval we were looking for,” Pyatt said in a telephone interview. “He’s the biggest figure in athletics we can get other than LeBron James.”

Amazing how things have changed in two years.

Woods still lists the company as a sponsor.

Thursday
May262016

Euro Chief Promising Complete Tour Overhaul By 2018

A "players first" philosophy was about the best Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo could get out of a cryptic European Tour Chief Keith Pelley, who stopped by the Golf Channel booth during BMW Championship round one play.

One of his key comments: more playing opportunities, which seems unimaginable considering that the Tour plays nearly every week already.

Pelley is also asked by Nobilo about the tour's slow play crackdown and regarding Wentworth, the desire of players to play on "proper" courses. He's pinning his hopes on a BMW resurgence after Ernie Els restores H.S. Colt's design following Ernie Els' redesign of Harry Colt's design.

"The schedule will be different; it will be more friendly from a travel perspective for the players. There will be a number of events where the prize funds will be significantly increased, and there will be more playing opportunities for all of our members," Pelley said. "A different schedule for sure and a different players-first philosophy."

The video:

Wednesday
May252016

Monty Questions Olympic, BMW Defectors

Alex Miceli reports on the comments by Colin Montgomerie as he prepares to defend his Senior PGA in Michigan.

On the Olympics:

“I think that, to take the opportunity is golden in every way,” Montgomerie said Wednesday, on the eve of his title defense at the Senior PGA Championship at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in southwest Michigan. “What we did to try and get the Olympic, golf in the Olympics, I can’t understand why some people have said that it’s not for them. I really can’t.”

And this will please European Tour chief Pelley:

“I’m surprised that a number of top Europeans aren’t playing,” Montgomerie said. “Not many, if any, don’t compete at the TPC at Sawgrass (site of the recent Players Championship). And I really, for the life of me, I don’t understand why top Europeans – probable possible Ryder Cup players, whatever, this year especially – aren’t competing at Wentworth. I don’t understand that.”

Wednesday
May252016

NCAA's: Washington Women Win In Spectacular Fashion

Jay Coffin at GolfChannel.com recaps Washington's ultra-close win over Stanford which was highlighted by Ying Luo holing out from the fairway to put away Stanford's Casey Danielson. While it didn't clinch the title, it was as close as a walk-off as you can get with other matches still on the course.

Coffin writes:

Just when it looked like the match was destined for extra holes, Luo, a senior playing in her last-ever round for Washington, holed out for birdie from 45 yards to win the match.

That’s what prompted Aubert, in shock for several seconds, to finally deliver the line, “you have to clap.”

“When I was standing behind the shot, I was imagining it going in,” Luo said. “That was unbelievable.”

Note in Coffin's story and in the video how classy the Cardinal handle defeat.

As great as the play was, congratulations to Washington and multiple athletic directors for sticking with a coach for so long.

Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur just completed her 33rd year at the helm of the Huskies. She’s had good teams over the years. She’s had great teams over the years. She’s never won an NCAA title.

“You just keep playing until somebody tells you to stop,” Mulflur said. “We knew today was going to be just like it was.

“This is a surreal moment for me.”

Kevin Casey with the Golfweek.com game story, including the uncertainty over the actual clinching moment.

When Kim’s 15-foot par putt on the second extra hole missed right – “the speed was a little off and I think I could have aimed more inside the hole,” Kim said – giving the Huskies the national title, they weren’t even sure.

Freshman Wenyung Keh audibly asked, “Did we just win?” Senior Charlotte Thomas thought Alavarez still had a 3-4 footer to hole. And Mulflur froze, on account of the earlier mistake.

“I stopped and paused in my mind for a moment,” Mulflur said, “I wanted to make sure, sure it was over.”

Tracy Wilcox's Golfweek photo gallery of the final match is worth checking out, including the epic shot of coach Mulfur.

I heard from several who watched thanks to a blowout NBA game and there was enthusiasm for the format.

Lance Ringler for Golfweek on year two of the match play finale.

For 17 years, I have witnessed the NCAA Division I Women’s Championship and the last two trump the previous 15 – and it’s really not even close. In those championships, from 2000 to ’14, I can’t say there is much that stands out.

The last two championship weeks equal more memories than I have fingers.

What college golf and the folks in their homes are witnessing is Ryder Cup-like.

G.C. Digital with his favorite stats from the match, covering both sides.

The social media attention suggested folks were paying attention outside of golf:

Wednesday
May252016

Titleist: Acushnet Prepares To Register For IPO

Reuters' Lauren Hirsch with the not-totally-surprising news that Acushnet, makers of Titleist and Foot-Joys, is preparing to register for an initial public offering as early as June, with a potential valuation at more than $2 billion.

Hirsch writes:

The IPO would come five years after consumer products conglomerate Fortune Brands sold Acushnet, under pressure from activist investor William Ackman, to South Korean sports apparel company Fila Korea Ltd (081660.KS) and Mirae Asset Private Equity for $1.23 billion.

Acushnet is now working with investment banks that include Morgan Stanley (MS.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), UBS Group AG (UBSG.S) and Nomura Holdings Inc (8604.T) on the IPO, the sources said on Wednesday.

There was also this buried lede...

Golf balls are cheaper and more easily lost than golf equipment, making them more frequently replaced. The more rounds of golf people play, the more balls they will buy.

Combined with the Taylor Made sale, this has the potential to drastically reshape the industry as well as those who rely on the marketing dollars of the two companies. Stay tuned...

Wednesday
May252016

Topgolf Acquires Protracer; No Word Whether Good For Viewers

Martin Kaufmann at Golfweek.com gives us a quick sense of how Topgolf plans to integrate Protracer into their experience.

Left unanswered is the question of whether this will impact the ability to get more of the technology into golf broadcasts, or will they protect it for Topgolf?

“We think the tracing technology is fun for interaction and it’s good for teaching,” Anderson told Golfweek.

The Protracer announcement comes two weeks after Topgolf announced a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour and LPGA to try to create more players and fans. Among other things, that will include events at Topgolf locations near tournament sites and support for the tours’ participation initiatives.

Anderson said the acquisition will not impact the networks’ use of Protracer in televised coverage.

On the list of viewer requests to improve telecasts, Protracer is always top three. Hopefully this improves and does not impede its expansion into televised golf.

Wednesday
May252016

Muirfield Member: Campaign A Statement Against...The Press!?

Talk about point missing, as The Scotsman's Martin Dempster gets one of the anti-female-memberships at Muirfield to speak, and instead of blaming the R&A for its policy regarding Open venues, or, I don't know, the dreary weather, an 81-year-old is trying to turn the stance into a media-driven issue.

Speaking for a small portion of his fellow Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers "No" campaigners, former Scotland rugby player John Douglas chararcterized the battle as a club vs. media mess.

“It wasn’t so much a vote against the ladies as a vote against the media and the press telling us what to do. No-one likes being hammered all the time.”

Well, it depends on your definition of hammered!

Wednesday
May252016

More-Candid-Than-Normal Feherty On Tiger, Rory

Speaking at the Ireland launch of a GolfNow campaign, David Feherty says he's having a hard time seeing Tiger playing due to nerve issues in his back, not because of desire issues.

Brian Keogh reports for the Irish Golf Desk:

“I don’t think he needs to do this. He wants to do this. He really really does. But I am not sure that he can. I am not sure he is in any way clear on whether the can either.”

And Feherty on Rory...cover your eyes kids, here comes a Cialis ad.

“It’s hard for me to commentate on Rory in the US without a massive boner because I love the kid and want him to do well,” said the 57 year old, who could the 1986 Bell’s Scottish Open among his five European Tour wins but famously lost the trophy.

A recovering alcoholic, Feherty revealed that McIlroy had a few drinks to celebrate his K Club win on Sunday but nothing compared to some of his own or fellow Ulsterman Darren Clarke’s antics.

“Rory got wrecked,” Feherty said. “But not totally wrecked. He needed a couple of Advil this morning. He didn’t do a Clarkey.

Wednesday
May252016

Should The Tour Break Precedent In Phil's Case?

Yes and yes, say two of America's most respected golf writers Ron Green Jr. in Global Golf Post and Bob Harig at ESPN.com.

Harig writes:

That not only looks bad, it is specifically addressed in the PGA Tour's handbook on player conduct.

Among the stipulations outlined in the gambling section, a player shall not "associate with or have dealings with persons whose activities, including gambling, might reflect adversely upon the integrity of the game of golf.''

At the very least, that suggests Finchem has to do something: a suspension, a fine, a scolding, a public rebuke. Something.

I'm guessing we'll get nothing for a few reasons.

One, they aren't going to break precedent with one of the game's biggest stars.

Two, the gambling association to me isn't enough, unless for some reason it was shown Phil was gambling on PGA Tour golf in a way that could be construed as shady. Also unlikely.

Three, Billy Walters was an AT&T National Pro-Am participant and champion. Phil can very easily say the PGA Tour introduced him to someone they would now be saying Mickelson shouldn't have been associating with.

Wednesday
May252016

Video: ShackHouse On Callaway Live!

ShackHouse--still the top ranked golf podcast and only top 25 golf show on iTunes--is off this week before we gear up for a busy summer run, so in the meantime House and I talk to Callaway Live's Harry Arnett and Amanda Balionis.

Enjoy!

Tuesday
May242016

Southgate "Touching People's Lives" With Cancer Breakthrough

Nice read from The Telegraph's James Corrigan on Matthew Southgate, who is a cancer survivor that cashed a much needed big check (over £150,000) last week in the Irish Open.

The Q-School grad (after multiple tries) is teeing up in this week's BMW PGA at Wentworth.

“The reaction has overwhelmed me,” Southgate said. “Complete strang ers have been so kind, getting in touch. But the messages which mean the most have been from a few people who’ve said, ‘I’m dealing with cancer and you’ve given me hope’. It is some feeling when your head hits the pillow and you think ‘I’ve actually touched people’s lives, people I’ve never met’. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about a ball going in the hole."

Tuesday
May242016

Forward Press: Q&A With Packer, Fox Returns, BMW PGA, Dean & Deluca, Another Senior Major!

Whew, busy week!

In this week's Forward Press, I speak with Brandt Packer, who is picking up some plum assignments producing big time golf. He is overseeing Golf Channel's two weeks of NCAA golf as well as the Rio Games golf coverage.

Also this week is Fox's return to televising USGA golf, and the programming execs showed their continued passion for the game by scheduling a U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship live window--no weather issues--that left viewers with four quarterfinal matches at one 1-up through 15, 1-up through 13, AS thru 11 and 2-up through 10. That's 2.5 hours of golf with no plans to show the conclusion of matches. #usgaonfox #12years

Meanwhile over in the UK, the defection of three big stars isn't helping the BMW PGA at Wentworth, though something tells me it won't be a dull week.

Tuesday
May242016

Video: Sara Rhee's 19th Hole Bunker Hole Out, Prompt Rake Job

You have to admire the passion and the things you seen in college golf that you won't see every week on the major tours.

Washington's Sarah Rhee came from three down with three to play, then holes a bunker shot on the 19th to help lead Washington into Wednesday's NCAA women's final against Stanford. And showing proper respect for her opponent and the course, promptly picks up the rake to clean up her bunker mess, just in case the match continues on. Impressive!

Monday
May232016

Diaz: Bad Sign That Tiger May Not Relish "Show-Off" Chances

Jaime Diaz at Golf World makes a compelling case with help from Paul Azinger that Tiger's recent wedge chunks on live TV were less problematic because of the mechanics, and more upsetting

Diaz writes:

Amid such an immeasurable mix of physical impairment, psychic wounds and simple entropy, a unified theory that better explains the Tiger conundrum has been lacking. But Paul Azinger, one of the game’s original thinkers and a former major champion, has a profound knack for getting to simple and authentic truths about the game and its players. His big-picture take on Woods: He’s stopped being a show-off.

According to Azinger, all tour pros, and especially the best ones, are show-offs. From an early age, putting their talent on display has garnered them praise, prominence and, most important to a competitive golfer, the admiration (and even awe) of their peers. Years of being reinforced by this process builds tremendous confidence and an abiding gratification. Sometimes great players actually do love the game for itself. Very often, though, what they really love is the feeling they get from successfully showing off.

Monday
May232016

Today In Trump: Politico On His Climate Change Wall, USGA & PGA Of America Moving Ahead With Events

Ben Schreckinger of Politico has reviewed a permit application for a Doonbeg sea wall filed by Trump International Golf Links Ireland and the documents explicitly cite global warming and its consequences to justify the structure.

This doesn't quite match his current presidential campaign rhetoric.

The zoning application raises further questions about how the billionaire developer would confront a risk he has publicly minimized but that has been identified as a defining challenge of this era by world leaders, global industry and the American military. His public disavowal of climate science at the same time he moves to secure his own holdings against the effects of climate change also illustrates the conflict between his political rhetoric and the realities of running a business with seaside assets in the 21st century.

“It's diabolical," said former South Carolina Republican Rep. Bob Inglis, an advocate of conservative solutions to climate change. “Donald Trump is working to ensure his at-risk properties and his company is trying to figure out how to deal with sea level rise. Meanwhile, he’s saying things to audiences that he must know are not true. … You have a soft place in your heart for people who are honestly ignorant, but people who are deceitful, that’s a different thing.”

Meanwhile Lee Ross of FoxNews.com gets confirmation from the USGA and PGA of America that after their evaluation periods, it's all systems go for Trump Bedminster in the 2017 U.S. Women's Open and the 2017 Senior PGA at Trump National on the Potomac.

“While our position on Mr. Trump’s views has been well documented, we are singularly focused on conducting a stellar U.S. Women’s Open at the course, where we have successfully conducted championships in the past,” the spokesperson also said.

The PGA of America also confirmed to Fox that it intends to host next year’s Senior PGA Championship at the Trump National Golf Club, near Washington D.C.

Monday
May232016

Preview: Feherty On Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel

He's everywhere! Including working for NBC on all things Olympics and Rio (not just golf), reports Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing.

The preview:

Monday
May232016

Oh Zika: Rory Moves To The "Monitoring" Stage

Ewan Murray of The Guardian on the world No. 3 Rory McIlroy now hedging his pledge to play the Rio Olympic Games, citing the Zika virus.

He writes:

“As it gets closer, I am relishing the thought of going down there and competing for gold,” McIlroy said. “But I have been reading a lot of reports about Zika and there have been some articles coming out saying that it might be worse than they are saying. I have to monitor that situation.

“I am actually going to get my injections on Wednesday. At least I will be immunised for whatever … if I do get bitten by a mosquito down there.”

The news hits a little harder a day after McIlroy's stirring performance in the Irish Open, which stood out on a number of levels, as Charlie Rymer and I kicked around on Morning Drive.

And as Kyle Porter notes at CBSSports.com, a McIlroy WD would be especially painful because he carries the torch for golf internationally like no one else but Tiger.