Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos

Far too many [bunkers] exist in our land. Oakmont in Pittsburgh, where the National Open will be played this year, has two hundred. Other courses famed everywhere average one hundred and fifty. From twenty to twenty-five, plus the natural obstacles are ample for any course. PERRY MAXWELL


    

Wednesday
May252016

Topgolf Acquites 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.

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.