Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • 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

To place a president of the United States in proper historical perspective might take several generations, but to evaluate the impact of Arnold Palmer on golf we need not wait. He has meant more to the game than anyone, ever, in every conceivable way.



Fifth And Final: Bubba Watson Gets Keys To Ryder Cart!

Ewan Murray says it could be a "motivational masterstroke or a needless act of compassion," but either way, world No. 7 Bubba Watson will be at Hazeltine National as the highest ranked shuttle driver in Ryder Cup history.

Note the "fifth and final" designation...

CHASKA, MINNESOTA (Sept. 26, 2016) – United States Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III today appointed Bubba Watson his fifth and final Vice Captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup, which will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

The 37-year-old Watson is a three-time Ryder Cup veteran (2010, ’12, and ’14) that played for Love during the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, finishing 2-2-0.

Watson has also represented the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics and in two Presidents Cups (2011, ’15).   

This is Watson’s first stint as a Vice Captain. The two-time Masters Champion joins fellow United States Vice Captains Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, each of whom was appointed by Love last year.

I'm just hoping Watson has time to study how he's going to get Erin Walker to the 16th tee from the clubhouse in under five minutes!

Oh, and Bubba, Ryan Moore like his water room temperature Bubba, with no moisture on the outside please.


Task Force Stock Up After Ryan Moore Pick

Not that they had a choice given the analytics that are to be so important for Team USA this year, but Tour Championship runner-up Ryan Moore got the final Ryder Cup spot. The pick was announced by Mike Tirico on NBC's Sunday Night Football game after Arnold Palmer's passing scrapped plans for a more extensive roll-out.

Moore's selection eliminated several players, including Bubba Watson, the 7th ranked player in the world, but validates what was looking like a bad decision by the best task force ever to wait until the final weekend.

Brian Wacker reports for on Moore's incredible play since the PGA Championship.

Since the PGA Championship, Moore ranks first on tour in score in relation to par, first in birdies and eagles and first in rounds in the 60s. His total of 57 under since the PGA is also seven strokes better than any other player.

Adam Schupak's Golfweek account of the selection offers this from Captain Love.

“Ryan fits so well with what we have in place,” Love said. “He’s an easy-going, thoughtful guy, but don’t be fooled, Ryan’s a great match-play player with an incredible match-play record. He has guts and determination, and everyone saw that today. We are thrilled to have him with us.”


The King: Ledes And Statements On His Passing

I'll be adding to this as the day goes, but for now...

For, I compiled some of the first ledes and links to obituaries.

Included with Dave Anderson's New York Times remembrance was this Matthew Orr produced video narrated by Bill Pennington.

Here are some of the more important and thoughtful statements, starting with Jack Nicklaus.

Peter Thomson:

Arnold was the folk hero of golf.

Not only was he the greatest personality the game has produced, he was King of the fairways every time he played.

We were only two weeks apart in age and great rivals.  We certainly had some wonderful times together.

The last time we played was an exhibition at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney on November 24, 2004.  The occasion was the centenary of the Australian Open and Bruce Devlin joined us for the nine-hole match on the eve of the tournament.

At last year's Open Championship at St Andrews, we were rival captains in the four-hole Past Champions event and, although our team scores were the same, Arnold's team won the charity donation by being the older team of the two.

St Andrews was a fitting final place for us both to meet.

Mary and I are terribly saddened by the news of his death, and our thoughts are very much with Kit, and his daughters and their families.

Bless you always, Arnold.

Tiger Woods:

 Golf Channel President Mike McCarley:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Arnold Palmer. He meant so much to so many people from all walks of life, and is the embodiment of what can happen if you work hard and always treat people well. As Golf Channel’s founder, he was proud of what he created and we all take tremendous pride in continuing an enduring part of his vast and lasting legacy.
He was and likely will remain the most important golfer of all-time.  He will be remembered for popularizing the game of golf and revolutionizing the business of sport, but for those who were lucky enough to meet him, they will always remember how special he made them feel. He was always genuine and generous with his time, no matter if the cameras were rolling or not.”

Callaway CEO Chip Brewer with this video statement:

President Barack Obama:


Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A:

"It is with great sadness that we have awoken to hear the news of Arnold Palmer's passing. He was a true gentleman, one of the greatest ever to play the game and a truly iconic figure in sport.

"His contribution to The Open Championship was, and remains, immeasurable. He will be missed and forever remembered by all at The R&A and throughout the world of golf as a charismatic and global champion of our game."

Gary Player:


Palmer Was Scheduled To Undergo Heart Procedure Monday

The King passed away at Pittsburgh Medical Center where he was scheduled to undergo a procedure Monday.

Dave Shedloski, who has helped Arnold Palmer compile a forthcoming follow up to his biography, reports for on the many things that had been ailing The King over the last few years.

Just 25 months ago Palmer underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted. That procedure marked the first of a series of health issues for arguably the game’s most popular figure.


R.I.P. Arnold Palmer

The day we've all dreaded in golf has come. The King has died. Our Lord, our Savior, our Captain, our King, our Inspiration and our Man. He changed the game, he changed sports and we thank you for your grace, passion and class. Things just won't ever be the same.

Dave Shedloski, who recently worked on his forthcoming book with Mr. Palmer. 



Phil Thought East Lake Should Have Been Set Up Like Hazeltine

Can't say I liked the lost ball style rough at East Lake, but I can't see the logic in Phil Mickelson's post-Tour Championship thinking.

Bob Harig reports that Mickelson wanted the rough to be cut low to help the Ryder Cuppers prepare for Hazeltine National where, presumably Davis Love will go with the same low-cut-rough philosophy he advocated in 2012 when he captained.

"I'm going to point something out,'' Mickelson said, unprompted. "This is a great example of the disconnect that we have on the U.S. side because the [PGA] Tour doesn't own the Ryder Cup, or doesn't work in conjunction with the PGA of America.''

And he threw in this, which, while possibly true, also is a different situation given that the European Tour runs both its Ryder Cups in Europe and its own tournaments,

"The European Tour would never have the setup be so different the week before the Ryder Cup,'' Mickelson said. "If we were in Europe and they were going to set up the course a certain way, the week before they would set it up a certain way. We're not going to have rough like that."

And that's why the players have three practice rounds (at least) to adjust. Though I certainly understand Phil's view that the hack-out rough can be deflating and maybe even send a player away with less confidence. But the PGA Tour has to conduct its finale as it sees fit regardless of the Ryder Cup.

We don't know the rough height cut at Hazeltine, but super Chris Tritabaugh surely just left that out by accident!


Really Instant Poll: Who Should Davis Love Pick?

Ok posting this just after Ryan Moore lost in a Tour Championship playoff and about 90 minutes before Davis Love must reveal the final Ryder Cup pick.

Here goes in alphabetical order:

Who should Davis Love pick? free polls


Johnny: Euros Have Their Worst Team In Many Years

While Davis Love is declaring his team maybe the best ever assembled, Johnny Miller isn't seeing a great European team. Actually, "the worst team they've had in many years." Ouch.

His reasoning is so touching too. AP's Doug Ferguson reports:

"I just think with all those rookies ... when you lose (Ian) Poulter, it's like tearing your heart out," Miller said. "I think this is the year not only could the U.S. win, they could win by like five points."


Oh Dear: Davis Love Declares His 2016 Ryder Cup Team Maybe The Best Ever Assembled

Well there is good news in the bombast from captain Davis Love: for day or two we forget the bizarre situation with Bubba Watson, who is stinking it up at East Lake and less likely to make a team that has never sounded interested in his presence.

Bubba has volunteered himself to be a vice captain should he not be picked, and oh won't that be an awkward phone call when Captain Love has to pass up Bubba as a player and as a shuttle driver for players and wives.

(Maybe Love can say Bubba Hovers are banned at Hazeltine?)

Anyway, Captain Love moved the attention to himself with some shocking comments about the strength of his 11-man team. Talking to Matt Adams on Fairways of Life, Love suggests that the recent visit with Bill Belichick and Gillette Stadium may have fueled a warped sense of this year's team.

“We don’t have to do anything superhuman, we’re a great golf team,” Love said. “This is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled.”

In case you don't believe me, the full embed here, including the Bellichick advice to the "team."

Coach Belichick's advice: ignore the noise. Only problem?

Davis Love just made the noise!

I'm sure Richard Gillis is licking his chops right now to add this example of Captaincy audacity to his already excellent book, discussed this week on State of the Game. It's hard to fathom how Captain Love can say something so silly. Has he not seen past Ryder Cups, when seemingly talented players turn to jelly and everything on paper gets thrown out the window?

We also discussed the best team ever assembled on that show (1981), which Brandel Chamblee noted in his comments. Chamblee and Paul McGinley both criticized the comments, with Chamblee citing "American arrogance" and McGinley calling it "strange positioning" and noting that statistically, Love's thinking "doesn't add up."

The clip:

The statement is being met with ridicule in Europe. James Corrigan for The Telegraph noting that the United States has beaten Europe once in the current 17-year span.

Europe should save their air fares. Davis Love has made the astonishing claim that his US Ryder Cup side “is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled”.

Lee Westwood was one of the first to ridicule the statement made on PGA Tour radio, tweeting: “No pressure there then lads!”

I think if Love had said it's as good a team as the points list has ever assembled, he might ultimately take less grief.

But using the "assembled" word also suggests task force brilliance. Sigh.


Azinger On Announcing Last Pick During Sunday's NFL Game: "I just don't understand it."

The Independent's Liam Kelly catches up with Paul Azinger, the victorious 2008 lead cart driver who has a lot of interesting things to say on the eve of the Ryder Cup matches, especially after Lee Westwood wondered about Tiger's impact in the team room.

Azinger smells a rat!

"They showed slow motion of Westwood's glares at those two guys, and him being unhappy with the way they were behaving. That's a purposeful comment by Westwood, in all likelihood. He had intent there, and that intent could backfire."

More interesting was Azinger's criticism (backed up by 2014 European Captain Paul McGinley on Golf Central) of the task force decision to announce the last pick at halftime of NBC's Sunday Night Football game.

"I think it's a terrible idea," said Azinger.

"We're going to announce the final player, arguably the worst player on the team, on the biggest stage. I just don't understand it.

"I think they should do it five minutes, or ten minutes after the press conference with whoever wins the Tour Championship, and let's get ready to rock and roll.

"But they're not going to do that and I don't like it."

The video of McGinley questioning what the last minute structure will do to that 12th player:

Matters get worse when you read Rex Hoggard's take from East Lake after talking to some of those invited for Monday's team practice at Hazeltine (Ryan Moore declined) and their view that the decision has already been made.

If Sunday’s big reveal wasn’t contingent on what transpires this week in Atlanta, as so many now seem to think is the case, why did we wait? Why have a task force? Why claim this time will be different?


Riviera Becomes LA 2024's Olympic Golf Course

While it's a world class course unfortunately owned by not-very-world class people, Riviera gives the LA2024 bid committee a famous layout in the effort to bring the Olympics to southern California.

David Wharton reports for the LA Times.

Unfortunately, this means there will be no effort to resuscitate Griffith Park, the original bid committee plan. Given that the LA City courses are in such a terrible place--five of them have shuttered pro shops because no one wants to deal with the City of LA--the Olympics provided hope that 2024 might leave public golf here in a better place.

But the LA 2024 bid is emphasizing already-built facilities over legacy projects and Riviera fits that bill, even if it'll be surrounded by $20 million homes and down to a tiny membership with entry fees already approaching $300,000 (that's including required "donations" to the club's effort to fund the 2017 U.S. Amateur to procure better waiting list positioning).

None of this will fit the "grow the game" message we heard this year and which validated Rio's effort to build a public course.

es, it was a headache and tough, but wasn't it worth it to show the world that great golf can be played on a course anyone can play?  That won't be the case in 2020 or 2024, assuming LA gets the Games.


NY Times: "Nike Tosses Its Golf Clubs. (Shirts to Stay On.)"

Sam Borden of the New York Times went to East Lake trying to gauge the impact of Nike's equipment exodus and concludes a few things.

First though, there was this shrewd observation:

“The secret sauce in the equipment business that Nike didn’t have is that each of these companies that’s thriving comes from a core competency that they grew out of,” said Casey Alexander, a senior vice president at Compass Point Research & Trading, which has long tracked the golf industry. “Callaway still uses the Big Bertha name — that’s what people know them for. TaylorMade invented the metal-headed driver, and that’s still a huge part of what they do. Titleist has a core competency in golf balls. Ping has a history in cast-iron clubs. Nike just never broke through with something like that.”

Borden shared this compilation of observations that is of interest:

Several agents speculated that one (somewhat counterintuitive) ramification of Nike’s move out of the golf equipment business is that there will actually be more, not fewer, Nike swooshes on the golf course at top events.

In the past, the thinking goes, Nike could not attract some players it wanted to work with because many players believed Nike’s clubs were inferior. Now, Nike will be free to chase any player without demanding that the player use Nike’s clubs as well as wear its clothes.

We shall see!


Video: Crusoe The Wonder Dachshund Takes Up Golf

I'm easily entertained, I hope you are too...

"The Boys Go Golfing - Part 1!" Tag a friend who shouldn't miss Part 2!!

A video posted by Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund (@crusoe_dachshund) on

Part 2 #Golfing !! We play by our own rules though as you can see!

A video posted by Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund (@crusoe_dachshund) on


Storylines Galore At Tour Championship! And FedExCup Too!

The points have been reset again, the algorithms are working on 10 days rest and the lamest competition in all of sport has just four, cut-free days to go. On the list of storylines this week, who wins the cup lands a solid fifth.

As I note in this week's Forward Press, the tenth anniversary of the ResetCup has brought many salutes to how far this grand competition has come and how far it still could go with more tweaks. Shoot, by year twenty we might even stop discussing the greatness of the playoff concept because will be so big, it won't play second fiddle to Notre Dame football. We can dream!

As great as the whole thing supposedly is, the playoff concept faces an uncertainty, writes Brian Wacker. With the change in Don's, new PGA Tour leader Jay Monahan is expected to rethink the timing of the playoffs.

It was nice reading a player quoted (William McGirt) who sees the big picture issues created by too many events in a short span, with the big conclusion coming when people want to be watching other sports...

“What do you think the ratings are going to be this fall?" McGirt continued. "Nobody is watching these events. Eventually you water down your product.”

But at least we have reversed nines at East Lake to possibly make for a better finish, a great field and the Ryder Cup pick to make this interesting!


Playing Through: NBC Sports Answering The DVR?

Long overdue in sports coverage too obsessed with cord cutters and not enough with the DVR have been counterpoints by networks to deal with digital video recorders. We've seen test runs at some changes in how golf tournaments are delivered and now NBC will be all-in on a NASCAR/Indy 500 style split screen approach to commercials at its big upcoming events.

For The Tour Championship, the final nine holes will be presented free of national ads, according to this press release.

Sponsors Coke and Southern Company can be thanked for going along with this, which will give us more time for the points race explanations too!

At the Ryder Cup, NBC will be going full split screen as an an ad with its audio runs on one side, while the golf coverage continues on the other side of the screen. This will spoil some "just a moment ago" drinking games and also make watching via DVR a bit tougher.

Here is the look:


Today In Unnecessary-But-Highly Entertaining Ryder Cup Drama: Westwood Questions Tiger Role, DJ Says Pair Me With Anyone But Phil

You know you're living in peculiar times when Bubba Watson is saying all the right things to Golf Channel's Todd Lewis as he hopes to play well enough to land a captain's pick.

Thankfully, otherwise sane individuals (who should know better) are offering up plenty of pre-match fodder, starting with Lee Westwood. Talking to ESPN radio, the veteran presence sought by Darren Clarke inexplicably questioned the influence of Tiger Woods as one of several Team USA cart drivers. The remarks had nothing to do with Tiger's driving ability, but instead, with is presence.

Leo Spall of transcribed the comments and put them end, which didn't stop multiple outlets from rightly picking them up.
"I don't know what impact there will be from having Tiger around," Westwood said. "They [the U.S. team] have always struggled to find a partner for Tiger that's been successful.

"He could have an adverse effect in the team room. People have always seemed to try to do too much when they have partnered him. It might be different if he's one of the vice-captains -- you don't know."
I could certainly see a young player finding themselves a bit star struck or even intimidated if Tiger comes driving up in his Club Car and asks if he wants his water flat or fizzy. But Westwood insinuated that the team room presence could be the issue. Wow.

Meanwhile Dustin Johnson surprised the gang at East Lake by saying he's ready go with whoever the analytics tell Davis Love is a good partner. Except Phil Mickelson, Johnson's buddy.

Jim McCabe reports for that Johnson said, “I think I can partner well with pretty much anyone,” Johnson said. “Except for Phil.”

R&A Lowers The Open Prices For (Some) Millennials!

Last year they rolled out their festival housing concept to not much enthusiasm while still charging a lot for tickets. For the 2017 Open at Royal Birkdale, the R&A is hopefully setting the stage for more organizations to target younger ticket purchasers. Now, if we could just get the R&A to also offer a nice weekday ticket for seniors...

For Immediate Release:


21 September 2016, St Andrews, Scotland:  Tickets for The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale will go on general sale tomorrow, 22 September 2016, at 9:00 am with a variety of different ticketing options and early season prices available.  For under-25s, The Open is more accessible than ever with Youth Tickets extended from 16 – 21 years of age to 16 – 24 year olds and The R&A is once again providing free camping accommodation for Youth Ticket holders.

Sports fans should have 16-23 July 2017 firmly in their diaries as Champion Golfer of the Year, Henrik Stenson will look to defend the title he won in record-breaking fashion following a gripping duel with Phil Mickelson at Royal Troon in 2016. The world’s best golfers will join him next summer at Royal Birkdale as they compete for the most coveted prize in golf, the Claret Jug.

More than 200,000 spectators are expected to come together across the magnificent dunes of Royal Birkdale, arguably The Open’s best viewing course.

Spectators can secure their place at The Open from tomorrow at and take advantage of early season pricing. Adult daily tickets will be available from £15 for Practice Days (16-19 July) and £60 for Championship Days (20-23 July).

Fans will enjoy £5 off the price of their ticket if they purchase with a MasterCard – the official card of The Open.

Weekly tickets, covering the whole Championship - Sunday 16 to Sunday 23 July - are available for £230 before 28 February, a saving of £105 on the daily ticket prices for the full week.

A limited number of Twilight Tickets will also be on offer providing access to the evening action from 4:00 pm onward on Thursday and Friday of the Championship for only £25.

The Open offers a number of incentives to welcome the next generation of golf fans to the Championship, including the Kids Go Free initiative, which provides free admission to children under the age of 16.

Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director – Championships at The R&A, said: “We are very much looking forward to another exciting Championship next summer when The Open returns to Royal Birkdale for the tenth time. The course offers a tremendous viewing experience for spectators and it has produced many of The Open’s finest Champions including Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Peter Thomson and Padraig Harrington.

“Our aim is to deliver the best possible experience for golf fans and to ensure that the Championship remains affordable and accessible. There are few sports events in the world where fans can get so close to the star names. Innovations including the Sky Open Zone practice area and player Autograph Zone will return in 2017. Reduced early season pricing, our Kids Go Free policy and free camping accommodation for under-25s are also part of that commitment.”

A limited number of official hospitality packages are also available providing the very best on-course locations to experience The 146th Open, including the exclusive Claret Jug Pavilion at Royal Birkdale’s first tee and the stylish, relaxed atmosphere of the Champions Club.  For more information visit

Tickets will go on sale from 9:00 am BST tomorrow, Thursday 22 September. For more information, to purchase tickets and for full ticket terms and conditions please visit


State Of The Game Podcast 68: The Captain Myth, Richard Gillis

He's back for a second time on SOG and Richard Gillis has a timely new book to discuss.

The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
explores the modern fascination with leadership in sports and in particular, the idea that a coach, leader or captain is pulling all the strings.  We had a long and most enjoyable chat about his book's premise, this year's Ryder Cup and other ways society is over-inflating the role of coaches in big time sports. If you love sports you'll love The Captain Myth.

You can check out the book here. Kindle and hardcover editions are available.

Here is the podcast, here is the MP3, the show 68 permalink, and as always you can find it on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.


Finchem's Final Presser: Samples Some B-Speak Classics, Declares Tiger The Greatest Ever

He's revving the engine, kicking up a dust storm and not going quietly! Even though Tim Finchem has asked Jack Nicklaus for no shortage of favors, has been holding back the B-Speak of late, the Commish let out a shocker: Tiger is the greatest player ever!

Steve DiMeglio on Finchem's farewell Tour Championship press conference where the B-speak was flowing, including a surprise unfurling a new nautical-themed aphorism!

“I'm proudest about the quality of our team and the interface with the players,” Finchem said.

Interface, oh how I missed you.

Finchem admitted to feeling a little sad to leave at a time with much upside. (I know, I know, upside is so 1995.)

“The only negative about stepping aside is the fact that it's a really, really exciting time for the sport. There's so much potential out there, more than ever. The global (nature) of the sport that we just saw manifested in the Olympics is out there in front of us to take advantage of. The quality of the young players coming up today is so much different than 20 years ago in terms of, not just their capability of playing, but their unbelievable focus on reaching fans, communicating. They handle themselves so well. It just creates more value for the business model, and that's happening around the globe really. So the next 25 years are going to be awesome.”

As for the Tiger declaration, I know Jack Nicklaus won't care a bit about this, but it's still a surprising thing to say-shocking?-from someone who is generally very sensitive to diplomacy. And who will be bugging Nicklaus to help with some First Tee fundraiser in the near future.

“Well, he's the only living player to win 79 times, and only one player has ever won more. He's the only active player to have won 14 majors, and only one player has won more. I love Jack Nicklaus beyond belief, but I have to put Tiger down as probably the greatest player to ever play, and the way he did it and his domination at a time when you're bringing more and more good players along, is incredible. It lifted all boats,” Finchem said.

According to Wikipedia...

The aphorism "a rising tide lifts all boats" is associated with the idea that improvements in the general economy will benefit all participants in that economy, and that economic policy, particularly government economic policy, should therefore focus on the general macroeconomic environment first and foremost.

Works for me! Though there is something particularly first-world about nautical and tidal references. Then again, this is golf.

Here's the video from related to the Tiger mention.

On international expansion, this unbylined Reuters story suggests Finchem laments not getting accelerating the PGA Tour overseas.

"We've done a lot of great things globally. I would have liked to have seen a little bit more acceleration there but ... there were other factors at work that impacted that situation globally."

Rex Hoggard used the opportunity presented by what sounds like a Commissioner winding down quickly, to review the Finchem reign. And there was this:

Never much for jokes, Finchem wrapped up his final formal press conference with a similarly out-of-character smile, “It's time for the organization to continue to morph. That's more important.”


Video: Finchem Reads Mean Tweets (And Other Mentions)

Lifting from the Jimmy Kimmel Show's occasional Mean Tweets segments, PGA Tour Commish Tim Finchem chose what appears to be his final Tour Championship news conference--no 10,000 word intro on the state of the tour, taking a back seat to Monahan on Instagram!--to read some of the mean Tweets sent his way.

I smelled a few words typed on this blog making it into the bit, including some that were obviously longer than 140 characters. My life's work is complete.

I'm impressed how many height jokes he weaved in, which, to be clear, are not mine!

I draw the line at hair coloring an insomnia-inducing jabs.

Tim Finchem reads mean Tweets: