Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos

No matter with what heights he is faced or with what winds assailed, the sportsman in battling with nature makes no complaint. But immediately he is faced with problems of human origin, he feels justified, if he finds them too difficult, in turning upon their creator with murder in his heart.
ROBERT HUNTER

    

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.

Monday
May232016

Jack: "Most people work all their life to retire to play golf. Well, I played golf all my life to retire to work!"

The CBS Sunday Morning segment on Jack Nicklaus included an eye-opening moment where the Golden Bear cusses out a design associate for building a green sloping away from the player.

The construction cart parade is also fun.

Monday
May232016

Video: The Best (Fake) Ty Webb Impersonation Ever

So many nice touches here, the vertical phone framing, the lack of any jarring cuts and the attempt to sell the shot with shock only after the last putt drops in an apparently 12-inch deep cup.

Still, in an odd way I admire the craftsmanship of the fakeness...

Sunday
May222016

"You can tell right now that Jordan Spieth's worst enemy is Jordan Spieth"

Gary McCord uttered those words on the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic's final round telecast, watching Spieth go from 2nd to 18th in another "frustrating" round.

Whether it's lingering fatigue from the bad scheduling start to his year, residual frustration from the Masters second place finish, or something else hanging over Spieth's head, his attitude is impacting his play and, I sense, fan perception of Spieth given how seemingly great his life would seem to be. (Many have noted the way he talked to Michael Greller at The Players as another sign of something slightly amiss.)

Will Gray notes that Spieth telegraphed the so-so week and that contending at all was a positive. I would agree except that Spieth had us marveling last year at his ability to hold together his game even on the worst days. He does not have that gift yet in 2016, and my sense is that the gift did not simply disappear. It feels more like fatigue or something else weighing on him.

If it's any consolation, Adam Schupak reports that Nelson runner-up Brooks Koepka lamented the state of his game, which got him to a playoff before losing to Sergio Garcia.

Have you ever heard so many great players in contention lamenting their games? Strange times, but it's a long season and I have to wonder if the wealth of playing opportunities and additional pressures from extreme visibility are weighing on the youngsters.

Peter Kostis offered his thoughts on Spieth's swing during the final round:

Sunday
May222016

Irish Open: Rory Is Rory Again

For the second year in a row the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open witnessed some bizarro weather, but Rory McIlroy prevailed over Russell Knox in impressive fashion. Though McIlroy admitted to feeling pressure like he's never felt, reports James Corrigan in The Telegraph.

The much-needed victory capped off a busy week in which he admirably scolded the Muirfield and Portmarnock memberships (Derek Lawrenson reports), hung with fake-blond buddy Niall Horan and donated his Irish Open winnings to his foundation.

The only bummer? He is not teeing up in this week's BMW at Wentworth.

But he did hit this epic shot to seal the win:

The European Tour's shots of the week:

 

Sunday
May222016

Video: Jack Nicklaus Endorses The Donald For President

"He's turning America upside-dow," says the greatest golfer of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Nicklaus also praised Trump for "awakening the country" that needs awakening.

The outtake from his CBS Sunday Morning appearance, talking to Jim Axelrod.

Sunday
May222016

Phil: PGA Tour Looking Into Possible Code Of Conduct Violation

Doug Ferguson considers the most intriguing element of the Phil Mickelson-SEC news from this week: the gambling debt investigators say the Hall of Famer owed Billy Walters, some of which was paid off by the stock sale gains enjoyed from Walters' tip.

As my podcast colleague Joe House explained to me, the SEC made this element of the case public to reinforce the case against Walters, establishing motive for expediting a payment.

The dealings have even, apparently, torn the PGA Tour away from their main focus on opting out of the current TV contract!

The complaint has the attention of the PGA Tour, which has a section in its player handbook under "Conduct of Players" related to gambling. One part says that 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."

"That's something we're in the process of looking at and determining," tour spokesman Ty Votaw said.

I've actually obtained footage of the PGA Tour meeting on the Phil situation.

I'm picking a Commissioner Lepetomane situation, with Ty as Headly Lamar and Ed Moorhouse not chiming in fast enough with a "harumph."

Sunday
May222016

The Donald To Monty: "You Made Winning Majors Look Easy!"

Enjoyable on so many levels...

 And the reply...

Speaking of Trump Turnberry, Iain Lowe has posted some stunning new aerials of the revamped course at his site.

Thursday
May192016

'11 Flashback: Clinton Foundation Signed On For Eight Years

Tuesday's news that the Clinton Foundation was no longer going to be associated with the old Bob Hope Classic was surprising, and topped a day later by the news of Phil Mickelson's SEC issues seems pretty embarrassing for the PGA Tour.

Having the announcement of Mickelson as new "ambassador" a day before his SEC matter went public looks terrible given the comments of Mickelson's attorney, which suggests he knew this was coming.

As for the Clinton Foundation saying goodbye, the original 2011 announcement said it was an eight-year deal, yet they are now out after five years?

Thought for players to consider: perhaps Tim Finchem should be spending less time working on building leveraging plays to boost his retirement package and more time talking to Bill and Phil?

Just a thought.

Thursday
May192016

Alliss To Women: Marry A Muirfield Member

Not Peter Alliss's most clever rebuttal to the Muirfield women membership vote, talking to 5 live's Afternoon Edition.

"They get all the facilities. If somebody wants to join, you'd better get married to someone who's a member," he said.

Thursday
May192016

Spieth Frustrated After Opening 64 In The Nelson

Jason Sobel tries to decipher what is bothering Jordan Spieth after opening with a 64 in the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic.

He writes of the two-way miss bothering Spieth.

We should all suffer from such frustrations.

"It's just kind of something that everyone goes through," he explained. "You've got to learn to deal with it your own way. Everyone gets frustrated when you play golf. You can't be perfect in this game. Everyone who is out here is on some level of being a perfectionist. Kind of counters each other. That's where you get frustrated."

Spieth goes on to explain that it was proximity to the hole that plagued him in round one.

Thursday
May192016

Callaway's Brewer On State Of Golf Business, Taylor Made Sale 

Robert Gray of Fortune inteviews Callaway CEO Chip Brewer about the state of the golf business and the typically cautious Brewer is pretty bullish on Callaway's turnaround. He also is asked about any potential "M&A" related to Taylor Made's sale.

On that topic...

Fortune: What do you think about Adidas putting up for sale your rivals and neighbors in Carlsbad, California, TaylorMade, Ashworth, and Adams Golf—where you were CEO before Callaway?

Brewer: I think it’s an interesting strategic decision. They’re good brands, which I have a lot of respect for. Adidas clearly made a strategic decision they believe is in their best interest.

Fortune: Might there be some M&A in Callaway’s future?

Brewer: We don’t speculate on any hypotheticals, we look for the best options for shareholders.
We are looking at additions, some outside opportunities for growth. The company’s in great financial position, we have no debt and are in a wonderful position in a business that’s improving in a challenging industry.

Thursday
May192016

Phil Takes Relief: Paying Back SEC In Insider Trading Case

Chris Isidore and Ahiza Garcia of CNN Money have one of the better, more coherent reads on the particulars of the SEC-Mickelson suit which also involved criminal charges for his friend Billy Walters.

From the story:

"The complaint does not assert that Phil Mickelson violated the securities laws in any way. On that point, Phil feels vindicated," said the statement released by his attorney, former White House counsel Gregory Craig. "At the same time, however, Phil has no desire to benefit from any transaction that the SEC sees as questionable."

The SEC complaint cites a July 2012 conversation he had with Walters. According to the SEC, Mickelson and Walters were friends, and the golfer owed the gambler for bets.

Walters had insider information from Davis about an upcoming spin-off Dean Food (DF)was planning, and Walters advised Mickelson to buy its stock, according to the complaint.

Mickelson allegedly bought $2.4 million worth of the stock the next day, dwarfing his total stock holdings of $250,000. When the stock rose in price, Mickelson was able to sell it at a $931,000 profit and pay off his bets with the proceeds of the trade, according to the SEC.

At the moment all of Mickelson's sponsors are standing by him and he's taking responsibility, according to the story:

"Phil understands and deeply respects the high professional and ethical standards that the companies he represents expect of Phil. He regrets any appearance that, on this occasion, he fell short," said his statement. "He takes full responsibility for the decisions and associations that led him to becoming part of this investigation."

Most interesting to me is the way in which the story broke as a suit by the SEC with the implication of an impending saga, when my reading of this story suggests the suit had already been settled. This may be part of the deterrent process, which is ultimately the point of the Martha Stewart style cases.

Thursday
May192016

Roundup: R&A Reacts Swiftly To Muirfield Vote, Vows No More Opens Until They Confront Their Issues With Women

I know this is a serious matter for those seeking gender equity, but how can you not laugh at Muirfield's 33 holdouts? In 2016, voting to keep the club from acknowledging the existence of half the world's population?

Imagine what must have happened to these dinosaurs in boarding school or university to still be holding such resentment all these years later?

Imagine how utterly out of touch one must be to think that stopping a successful woman who loves the game from joining your club because you still think--and put in writing!--that women players are automatically slow by account of their gender.

Or dining in that strange ritual of dandruff coated jacket and grease-stained secret society tie for lunch (between rounds of golf).

Or keeping your course from hosting The Open in your lifetime, which, for most of these prehistoric types, isn't much longer.

All you can do is laugh at them, and be a little sad for East Lothian golf, which may not see The Open for a while.

Martin Dempster with all of the details on Muirfield not securing enough votes to retain 21st century status.

The R&A swiftly declared that Muirfield will not again be considered as a venue for The Open after members voted against allowing women to join the East Lothian club.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A: “The R&A has considered today’s decision with respect to The Open Championship. The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members.

“Given the schedule for staging The Open, it would be some years before Muirfield would have been considered to host the Championship again. If the policy at the club should change we would reconsider Muirfield as a venue for The Open in future.”

The club’s board had recommended that membership should be offered to women on the same terms as the men.

Of course, this will lead to some fun with Royal Troon this year, which does not admit women into its club. However, and it's a big however: there is a Ladies Golf Club of Royal Troon that has been in existence since 1882 and has a clubhouse overlooking both Troon courses.

Royal Troon, where The Open is being staged this year, is currently undergoing a similar membership review to the one carried out at Muirfield.

The social media reaction has ranged from mocking to praise for the R&A for a swift reaction.

The saddest part of losing Muirfield until the holdouts move on to the Big 18 In The Sky: no more Opens in Scotland's Golf Coast and the best golf region on the planet: East Lothian.

The rota is already well stocked and it certainly wouldn't be hurt by inserting a placeholder like Royal Cinque Ports just to reinforce the message. Architecturally, a case could be made that it's way more interesting than Muirfield, and as Karen Stupples can attest, they have accepted females for some time.

Thursday
May192016

Hopeless? Clinton Out, Mickelson In At The Careerbuilder

Larry Bohannan rightfully wonders if constant change and reinvention is the name of the game for the old Bob Hope Classic after another series of big changes.

Out is the Clinton Foundation and former President Bill Clinton's message of health and wellness, and in is Phil Mickelson serving as an ambassador for the storied tournament.

The Mickelson move is obviously a great one in the sense that he's been a supporter of the tournament and it gives him an event to help shape when his playing days are over. But losing Clinton is an unfortunate optical loss after such a promising turn for the tournament's fortunes. Financially, however, there were a lot of unhappy campers at desert charities.

But growing questions about the Clinton Foundation’s financial dealings and influence (including a Wall Street Journal story just last week) and Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency increased the political tone of the foundation’s local ties. Then again, maybe it was just time for the association to end after a good five-year run that saw the Clinton Foundation help save the tournament and Bill Clinton help provide a face to Hope’s old event. Change happens.

Ultimately the event suffers from a tough date when stars are either resting or collecting a check in Dubai.

The full press release:

Mickelson Will Serve as Ambassador for CareerBuilder Challenge

LA QUINTA, Calif. (May 18, 2016) – The PGA TOUR, Desert Classic Charities and CareerBuilder announced today that World Golf Hall of Fame member Phil Mickelson will serve as an official ambassador of the CareerBuilder Challenge beginning in 2017.

In this capacity, Mickelson will promote the tournament and participate in various functions during tournament week. The CareerBuilder Challenge traditionally is the PGA TOUR’s first tournament on the mainland following two weeks in Hawaii to start the calendar year.

“I’m very excited to undertake the role of tournament ambassador and look forward to doing what I can to help with the continued growth of the CareerBuilder Challenge,” Mickelson said. “Our family loves the area and we have a home in Coachella Valley, so this is a natural fit for me.”

In addition to Mickelson’s new role, it was announced that the Clinton Foundation, which has partnered with the tournament for the past five years, will end its official role with the tournament. The Foundation and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, however, remain committed to continuing their work in the Coachella Valley to improve the health and wellness of the nearly 400,000 local residents, and the Health Matters Annual Activation Summit will continue in a new location next year.

“I have treasured the opportunity over the last five years for the Clinton Foundation to be part of this storied tournament that honors Bob Hope’s legacy of service in the Coachella Valley,” said President Clinton, Founder of the Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States. “I’m honored that we could build on that legacy by working with dedicated partners to bring great golf to the desert and improve the health and wellness of nearly 400,000 local residents. I look forward to continuing the Foundation’s work in the Coachella Valley, and to seeing the exciting new chapter of the tournament’s history that will be written with Phil Mickelson joining on as a partner with the PGA TOUR, Desert Classic Charities, and CareerBuilder.” 

In place of the health conference, a new annual labor market and job skills conference organized by CareerBuilder, the TOUR and Desert Classic Charities will be held during tournament week beginning in 2018.

“Core to CareerBuilder’s mission is helping workers find their passion—in good-paying jobs that enable them to provide for their families and raise up their communities,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder. “We are thrilled to have a long-term partnership with Phil Mickelson as we underscore this mission through the tournament. In addition to being a Hall of Fame golfer, he is a great humanitarian and the personification of what the CareerBuilder Challenge is all about. His foundation’s commitment to education is well-aligned with our focus on empowering employment, and we look forward to working together to make a difference in the lives of others.”

“We wish to thank former President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation for the significant work they have done since 2012 to impact the CareerBuilder Challenge and the entire region,” said John Foster, Chairman of the Board of Desert Classic Charities, the tournament’s host organization. “We have thoroughly enjoyed the relationship we have had and, particularly, the personal interest and involvement of President Clinton. We are also pleased that the Foundation will continue its health-related charitable efforts here in the Valley, and that we will further benefit from the employment-focused efforts CareerBuilder is bringing to the area.”  

Wednesday
May182016

Rory Kickabout Injury Video Shared...By Rory's Foundation!?

Of the two most sought-after caught-on-tape moments in modern golf history, one has emerged in the strangest place imaginable.

While I'm not optimistic we'll ever get to see the Woods residence security cameras showing a valiant effort by Elin Nordegren to free her injured husband from his Escalade wreckage, it's hard to wonder how video of Rory McIlroy's football "kickabout" injury was never seen...until Tuesday night at a fundraiser dinner!?

That's when McIlroy's Foundation interview with James Nesbitt before a well-dressed audience saw for the first time when the then-World No. 1 took a football game fall, knocking him out of The Open at St. Andrews.

Thanks to the readers who sent the podcast sharing the audio from an enjoyable interview along with the ensuing discussion about the embarrassing injury. The video can't be seen in the podcast, only heard.

But there was this posted by the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open account:

 

 

The revelation of the clip suggests it was obtained by the McIlroy Foundation and I suppose if there is a time to share, it's to those paying for an intimate evening with the host!

Speaking of the host, he's not fond of how people are characterizing his game.

Alistair Tait reporting for Golfweek.com:

“So it frustrates me that the narrative is, There’s something missing in Rory’s game or, What’s wrong with Rory? I don’t feel like there’s anything wrong. It’s very close. It’s not as far away as I feel some people think.

“I know that if I go out and play my best or close to my best, that I’m going to have a great chance to win this week, next week, basically all season, because I’m in a really good place with where my game is."

Wednesday
May182016

Muirfield May Keep Women, & Therefore, The Open Out

Martin Dempster of The Scotsman reports that Muirfield officials are bracing for the worst as the ancient membership's Ancient wing is opposing efforts to move the club into the 21st century. With the vote results due any moment, the promise of future Open Championship's likely hangs in the balance.

Dempster writes of a letter, probably created on a typewriter, sent out before the "Electoral Reform Society" of the club would be tabulating ballots:

But the letter sent out by a 33-strong ‘no’ group is believed to have had a bigger impact on a postal vote that closes today than the club’s board had anticipated, leaving it anything but confident about securing sufficient support.

Sent to The Scotsman, the letter was issued by members who believe the proposal to admit women members “should not be approved at this time” and have urged fellow members to give the matter “very careful thought” before voting due to it being a “very major change and will involve inevitable risk”.

The letter states: “It is recognised that it is a very sensitive matter and the club is in a difficult position, but associations like ours with a very long and venerable history have strengths which are derived from that history.

Given that the two least progressive clubs on the planet--the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and Augusta National--have budged on this issue, the reaction has been unusually nasty.

Ewan Murray in The Guardian.

Even if the Muirfield postal vote is returned as positive for change, a section of the club has embarrassed itself. If it is negative, the club is obliged to do as its members choose; just as golf and the R&A must and surely will ignore Muirfield when it comes to major tournaments. To start with a position of no women members is bad enough, to endorse as much with a vote takes matters to a new level entirely.

Alistair Tait at Golfweek.com:

If the vote, indeed, is to be “no” on Thursday, the governing body should remove Muirfield (No. 4, Golfweek’s Best Great Britain and Ireland Classic Courses) from the Open rota. As a private members’ club, the Honourable Company is well within its rights to determine its own membership. However, as a body governing the game for men and women worldwide beyond the U.S. and Mexico, the R&A should not be taking its championships to clubs that discriminate on the basis of gender, no matter how good the course is.

As the above writers have noted, the club can do as it pleases but should not host The Open if enough members are this passionate about what is a completely trivial matter to most 21st century-acknowledging humans.

The good news is that the news reinforces what we all know: wonderful links, wonderful clubhouse, wonderful staff and mostly pitiful membership that somehow thinks it's "cool" to be miserable and rude.