Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

A New Yorker showed up at Austin Country Club one day. He said he’d heard about this famous teacher, this Penick fellow. I asked, “What can I do for you?”  “If you’re such a great teacher, teach me how to get out of sand traps,” the New Yorker said. “Not so fast,” I said. “I can teach you how to get out of sand traps. But I’m not going to do it until I teach you how to avoid getting into them in the first place.” HARVEY PENICK

 

   

Sunday
Mar192017

Video: What A Bank Shot Ball Looks Like And Why The Practice Needs To Stop

The best part about the PGA Tour Twitter account fiercely targeting the 4th grade demo?

Posting videos that actually expose an underlying tour cancer! Yay golf! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Žโ™จ๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฏ

Of course I speak of the peculiar unwritten tour rule that says if you hit a short game shot near the hole and your ball might help a playing partner, you leave the ball down instead of marking. We've spoken to this on ShackHouse and State of the Game, but it's rare to get examples shared on social media.

I don't like picking on this one involving Zach Johnson at the API because the kneejerk reaction is to focus on the players in on case when this goes on daily. Here Ben An, whose ball provided the back board for Johnson, is providing a service that I struggling seeing Hale Irwin, Lanny Wadkins or Ray Floyd providing.

 

In this case, Johnson's ball in the bunker was plugged. He and An were stinking it up and apparently a little behind the group in front (imagine that!), so it's very possible this was all innocent.

What's more important: leave the names behind and focus on why the practice has to stop.

When players get to use their playing partners' ball as a backstop or bank board, fields are not protected. Integrity is thrown out the window. And most disconcerting of all, players who do not partake in such wink-wink behavior are said to be jerks by players and caddies.

Did I also mention is just feels dirty?

There is good news, however. The practice gets the week off at Austin's WGC Dell Match Play where you'll see players running to mark those balls near the hole!

Sunday
Mar192017

API: Marc Leishman Enters The Masters Discussion

Granted, The Masters pales in comparison to having a healthy family after Marc Leishman's wife nearly died two years ago. But given his previous play there in 2013 and newfound security thanks to a healthy family, Leishman will be Australia's strongest hope not named Day or Scott.

Jason Sobel at ESPN.com with the backstory on Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Leishman.

Two years ago this month, Leishman was at Augusta National, preparing for the upcoming Masters Tournament, when his wife, Audrey, started experiencing flu-like symptoms.

She went to an urgent care clinic. When her fever and vomiting progressed to shortness of breath and decreased blood pressure, she was rushed to a hospital. They hooked her up to a ventilator and other machines. The doctors struggled to pinpoint the problem.

Her conditioned worsened. She could barely stay awake, a side effect of the medications. Eventually, doctors determined she was suffering from toxic shock syndrome, a manifestation of multiple bacterial infections. She had fluid in her lungs. Her organs completely shut down.

Doctors induced Audrey into a coma. She was given a 5 percent chance to live.

Marc sat with her. He cared for their boys. He cried a lot; he stopped eating; he lost 10 pounds. He certainly didn't play any golf. He felt helpless.

Ryan Lavner for GolfChannel.com:

The traumatic experience gave Leishman a much-needed dose of perspective on a tour full of charmed existences.

“It makes golf less important,” he said. “It’s not life and death. We have been in that situation and it’s not fun.”

Leishman’s hard-earned victory was a fitting end to an emotional week that was always going to be about more than birdies and bogeys.

The winner's cardigan proved a great touch:

The final round highlights from PGA Tour Entertainment.

Sunday
Mar192017

Is Grillo The Heir Apparent To Sergio (In Club Throwing)?

The artist's reluctance suggests an apprehension that never plagued the Picasso of petulance and Rembrandt of rage, Tommy Bolt.

Let's face it, Rory McIlroy has unleashed some gems but his heart never seemed committed to club throws.

With Sergio Garcia now engaged and seemingly mellowed out from his best works, could Emiliano Grillo be positioning himself as our next great hope?

From Bay Hill courtesy of Skratch and en route to a quadruple bogey reports Golfweek's Kevin Casey.


The justification for the toss which, in this reviewers mind, showed originality and flair.

Saturday
Mar182017

"Why do Florida House Republicans keep driving money into the World Golf Hall of Fame?"

That's the question Jeremy Wallace asks for the Tampa Bay Times when looking into Florida House efforts to root out corporate welfare.

He writes:

Tucked on page 65 of a 187-page bill is a clause that continues to award $2 million in annual tax credits to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine for the next six years. Even in their analysis to members, House Republicans called the museum the single worst bet the state is making with tax credits.

Wallace calls the WGHOF a "curious outlier" even though the bill's author is Rep. Paul Renner, whose district includes the museum.

When asked why the tax credit was left alone, Renner replied: "I don't know."

In a subsequent interview with the Times/Herald, Renner said the House did not want to disrupt existing deals with museums.

Friday
Mar172017

Tiger's Agent Challenges Report Saying His Client Is "Unlikely" To Play Masters

This would all be humorous if it weren't for Tiger appearing unable to play the Masters, especially on the 20th anniversary of his historic win and when the sport would desperately love to see him return. Yet common sense suggests a Masters appearance is looking grim.

But not in Mark Steinberg's way of thinking.

Golf World's Brian Wacker quotes unnamed sources saying Tiger "seems unlikely" to play given that the 4-time Masters winner is only putting and hasn't been seen hitting golf balls by people in Jupiter.

Woods’ agent did not respond to an email seeking an update on his condition and schedule, but one source close to the situation near Woods' home in Jupiter, Fla., said, “I would be shocked if he plays anytime soon.”

Another source said that he saw Woods recently and he "didn't look good," adding that while he hopes he is back soon, Woods doesn't look close to being ready and that a return at the Masters would be too soon. The source added that all Woods has been able to do of late has been putt.

Golf World's Tim Rosaforte was the recipient of agent Steinberg's rebuttal to the Golf World report (!) but did it via Golf Channel's Nick Menta (!!).

"I have no idea who Mr. Wacker’s really close sources are. I can tell you this, nobody spoke to him (Wacker); so how he could know something that Tiger and I don’t know is comical," Steinberg said. "I talked to Tiger four hours ago on the phone. We’re not in a situation to even talk about playing in the Masters now.

Eh, em...Steiny...psst...it starts less than three weeks from now...

He’s gotten treatments and is progressing and hoping he can do it. There’s not been a decision one way or the other. I couldn’t give you a fair assessment, but to say it’s doubtful is an absolutely inaccurate statement."

It's doubtful.

Sorry! Wish the signs pointed in a more positive direction.

Friday
Mar172017

Rough Ratings Run For West Coast, Florida Swings

Other than Tiger's absence and not enough Phil on leaderboards, it's hard to pinpoint the network ratings decline for PGA Tour events of late.

Sports Media Watch's Paulsen notes that six straight PGA Tour Sundays--Waste Management to Valspar--have shown ratings declines, as have nine of the last 11 final rounds.

Certainly the cord cutting eating into all ratings is in play, yet Golf Channel's cable lead-in coverage isn't  seeing the level of decline that the network broadcast ratings are experiencing.

There were also commanding third round leads in nearly all of the last six, which never helps attract the general sports fans who might stumble on golf and stick with a close final round.

Either way, this is of note in a year the PGA Tour may opt out of its current network deal to re-shape the schedule and/or bring in additional broadcast partners. From Paulsen:

Final round coverage of the PGA Tour at Tampa Bay had a 1.5 final rating and 2.3 million viewers last Sunday, down 25% in ratings and 22% in viewership from last year (2.0, 2.9M), down 29% and 26% respectively from 2015 (2.1, 3.1M) and the least-watched final round of the tournament since 2011 (1.9M).

Not counting lead-in windows on Golf Channel, the past six final round PGA Tour telecasts have declined from last year. Sunday’s telecast was the third of those to hit a multi-year low.

At least Feherty is turning in some nice ratings. Part 2 of his chat with Phil drew a stout .27, 442k viewer average up 26% over last year's Jordan Spieth Part 2 show. This makes it the most watched Feherty ever.

Thursday
Mar162017

Group Taking U.S. Women's Open Protest To...LPGA Stop!?

I'm not sure if this is a failure of USGA branding or just lame ignorance, but it's disappointing to see UltraViolet planning to protest at this Saturday's LPGA Tour stop in Phoenix.

Golf.com's Marika Washchyshyn reports on protest plans including a banner-carrying plane urging the LPGA Tour to "dump sexist Trump."

Unfortunately, the U.S. Women's Open at Trump Bedminster is hosted and operated by the USGA.

UltraViolet members will also be stationed at the gates to the grounds handing out golf balls and golf ball-patterned beach balls with the message, "LPGA: Dump Trump."

"The LPGA should not be rewarding Trump's bigoted brand and normalize his platform and policies that degrade women and divide our country," Shaunna Thomas, a co-founder of UltraViolet, said in a press release. "The USGA and LPGA need to send a clear signal to young golfers, including women, people of color, and people with disabilities that it stands against Trump's brand of hate, and for an inclusive strong future by moving the upcoming U.S. Women's Open from Trump National Golf Course."

This is a shame on many levels, with the most obvious being that protestors are targeting an event and players that did not select the venue. Nor does their showing up at the most significant championship in women's golf signal anything other than a desire to win a national championship.

Thursday
Mar162017

Tiger To Resurface Monday For NYC Book Signing

Practically in hiding since his Dubai WD and Genesis Open no-show, Tiger Woods will be signing his new 1997 Masters book Monday.

Kevin Casey at Golfweek.com with the details:

The signing session will take place Monday at Barnes & Noble’s Union Square location in New York City at 12:30 p.m. ET. In order to get into the signing session, patrons will need to acquire a wristband, a limited quantity of which will be distributed for purchasers of the book at this Barnes & Nobles starting at 9 a.m. ET that day.

Thursday
Mar162017

65 At 56: Inkster One Off Founders Cup Lead

Maybe it's that so many LPGA players are getting younger by the day, but 56-year-old Juli Inkster's 65 should remind Solheim Cup players later this year that the captain's still got game.

Randall Mell from Phoenix on the impressive start by Inkster.

This is Inkster’s 35th year in the LPGA. She’s an LPGA Hall of Famer with 31 tour titles, including seven major championships. She is 10 years older than the oldest player to win an LPGA title.

“I’ve been working hard on my game and it’s nice to see some results,” Inkster said.

Thursday
Mar162017

Latest Walker Cup Selection Idea Could Be Problematic For U.S.

There have been several stories over the years critical of the USGA for its top secret Walker Cup team selection process. And as Jim Nugent points out at Global Golf Post, what should be a great honor worth postponing a pro career for may become more complicated with the full team not becoming set until August's U.S. Amateur.

In recent years the first five spots on the squad were set well before the amateur, convincing top players to postpone the move to pro golf. Now all must wait until after the Amateur. All of the selection work is done in secret with no public points list. Ryan Lavner covered all of this quite thoroughly in 2015, particularly the absurdity of the secrecy approach.

Given the lack of major star power retaining amateur status once the college season ends, the once-in-a-lifetime Walker Cup opportunity should make some think twice before turning pro--especially when bundled with the chance to win a U.S. Amateur. As the latter event has begun to lose relevance with so many top amateurs turning pro immediately following the June NCAA's, the U.S. team walloped last time may set itself up for another rough go this year should the secretive, mysterious system scare off even just one or two potential team members.

The 2017 Walker Cup will be played September 9-10 at Los Angeles Country Club.

Wednesday
Mar152017

WGC's The Only Reason Arnold Palmer's Event Faces Hurdles

I think we all hate dwelling on the future of the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the year following The King's passing. But Palmer was a businessman who loved and nurtured this event. So discussing its past, present and future would presumably resonate with him even as he would undoubtedly be uncomfortable taking attention away from the players.

Jeff Babineau did a super job for Golfweek.com summing up Wednesday's ceremony at Bay Hill to remember The King, but also reflected on how far this event has come and where it may go without Palmer.

I loved this anecdote:

The API, which moved to Bay Hill from nearby Rio Pinar (Florida Citrus Open) in 1979, has come quite a long way. The purse has been bumped to $8.7 million, and this week’s winner not only will leave $1.56 million richer, but will receive a three-year PGA Tour exemption, not the usual two a winner grabs.

This week’s event will celebrate the everyday fan who connected with the blue-collar likes of Palmer, with large public grandstands now sitting up close to seven of the course’s greens.

It’s a far cry from Year 1 at the then-named Bay Hill Citrus Classic in 1979, when the makeshift grandstand that sat behind the 18th green was borrowed from nearby Boone High School.

That little nugget is a perfect reminder that is was events like the Bay Hill Citrus Classic, the Western Open, the Los Angeles Open, the Houston Open, the Bob Hope and on and on we can go with 10-12 events that built and stabilized the PGA Tour.

And with too much regularity, the focus of these events revolves around their weaker-than-normal fields, their strange new dates or their difficulty in attracting a sponsor. Nearly all have been adversely effected by many factors, but it's the creation of World Golf Championship events that consistently tops all side-effects.

We all understand the globalization of golf and market forces, but when those forces so adversely impact even an event nurtured by a modern sports legend. it's time for all current players and executives to take a hard look at the tour's purpose. Because if this is, as they say, about playing opportunities and charitable dollars, it's these core founding events that deserve to be treated as kings.

Wednesday
Mar152017

Special For GeoffShackelford.com Readers: Discount On New Athletes Collective 1/4 Zips

ShackHouse listeners and readers of the site know I'm high on Athlete's Collective's no-logo, ideal-fitting, and absurdly well-priced athletic gear. And because so many of you took up the offer from last Christmas on long sleeves perfect for winter golf or workouts, they're offering a special on their new 1/4 zip front pullovers.

I've been practically living in my grey Conway 1/4 zip when working out in this long, cruel Santa Monica winter that we managed (again) to survive.

Okay, so our worst winters are like most springs. That is precisely why I can attest to how ideal the Conway is for spring!

The AC 1/4 zips are fitted enough that you feel like a modern athlete who can swing a golf club but not so tight that people will think you're paying homage to a certain golfers' circulation-straining pullovers.

AC's spring golf-friendly 1/4 zips are super lightweight, breathable and tough, featuring just enough design touches to look distinctive. Roll it up in your golf or gym bag and it'll look just fine whenever you need to put it on.

Personally--TMI warning here--I'm not a fan of most long sleeve sweaters and pullovers for golf since I like to swing a club with the sleeve pulled up just a little bit. So I love how you can manipulate the sleeves and not do any damage to your clothes.

The Conways come in heather grey and a very Masters-friendly heather green. At $34 a piece they're a bargain, but for $60 in the 2-pack bundle, a true steal. 

With the 10% discount, that's $54 (US) dollars for the pair.

Even if you used the first time buyer code HOUSE with prior promotions on shorts and long sleeves, you can still get the 10% first-time buyer discount with the new SHACK promo code. That gets you 10% off your order along with AC's great customer service that many of you wrote to me to note even when you had sizing questions.

Thanks again to Athlete's Collective for the discounts and more importantly, cost-effective and efficient athletic gear!

Wednesday
Mar152017

"By Ignoring Golfโ€™s Ties To Emirates, We Risk Hypocrisy"

It's fascinating to see how the collective golf world embraced news of Muirfield changing their policy as a sign that all is well. Get that Open back to East Lothian asap! Even though adding women as members is a change that is years away, if it happens at all.

The R&A is rushing to jump on the Muirfield bandwagon speaks to how much the membership discrimination issue is too often about the optics and not the substance. And we all understand the rush buys the R&A another year to potentially avoid a return to Trump Turnberry (even if it means St Andrews in 2021 and Muirfield a year later).

Fortunately, some seem unimpressed, but for different reasons.

Rory McIlroy, openly admitting it's not his favorite course, still make clear he had issues with the club. Brentley Romine with his comments at Bay Hill in advance of the API:

“Obviously I was outspoken about this before whenever the vote went the first time around,” McIlroy said. “I mean, in this day and age, where you’ve got women that are like the leaders of certain industries and women that are heads of state and not to be able to join a golf course? I mean, it’s obscene. Like it’s ridiculous. So, they sort of saw sense. I still think that it got to this stage is horrendous.

“And yeah, I mean, we’ll go back and we’ll play the Open Championship, because they will let women members in, but every time I go to Muirfield now I won’t have a great taste in my mouth.”

Karen Course noted the various dynamics involved and one that often gets overlooked: when the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews started admitting women, they seemed to emphasize a surprising number of women of a certain age. As in, not able to play golf any longer.

Muirfield’s waiting list for membership stretches at least two years, so women will have to keep a stiff upper lip — there will be no line jumping for history’s sake. It is hoped the club doesn’t follow the example of the Royal and Ancient and earmark for membership a couple of nonagenarian women who don’t have time on their side.

But as superficial as some of the actions seem coming out of Scotland, a larger point is that golf is looking past more questionable evidence of serious cultural discrimination.

As Steve Eubanks writes for Global Golf Post, there is a glaring inconsistency related to human rights that needs addressing.

...the strong-arm tactics and faux outrage exhibited by some in golf’s ruling class (not to mention members of the media who get their knickers in a twist far too often) have become a bit much, especially since the vote everyone is praising out of Muirfield occurred the same week that a couple in the United Arab Emirates, arrested on charges of having premarital sex, finally were released from jail after being detained on Jan. 29.

The couple, South African Emlyn Culverwell and his Ukrainian fiancée, Iryna Nohai, were charged under the UAE’s Islamic laws forbidding sex outside of marriage after Iryna went to a local Abu Dhabi hospital with stomach pains and doctors discovered that she was pregnant. The couple could have faced up to two years imprisonment before authorities were persuaded to change their minds and dropped charges last week.

This follows a 2013 case in which a Norwegian woman, who reported being raped in Dubai, was sentenced to 16 months behind bars on charges of unwed sex and drinking alcohol. She later was pardoned and allowed to leave the country. Her accused rapists were never charged.

Eubanks goes on to note all of the ways golf joins forces with the UAE with nary a word about their human rights and democratic deficiencies.

And a question for all of us: Are Arabs in the Emirates held to a lower standard of behavior by the golf world than the gentlemen of Edinburgh? If so, why?

It is fine to ignore the tour taking money from the Emiratis and ignoring their laws and customs. But it’s not OK to then take a high-and-mighty position against an all-male club in Edinburgh, Tokyo, or Chicago where the policies are far less backward and arcane.

Can't argue with that.

Wednesday
Mar152017

"How to land the toughest tee times in public golf"

Even in the age of Google, I've recently gotten this question about a few courses--usually Torrey, Pebble and the Old Course--so it's nice to see Jason Scott Deegan put together a list of the tough tee time gets, and how to get them.

Bookmark this for yourself or your friends who ask!

He writes about all of the above mentioned and others.

The only thing I'd add is this story on East Lothian golf for Golf Digest that includes some links to the courses in that region, including Muirfield.

Wednesday
Mar152017

Jay Monahan's Golf Digest My Shot On Playoffs, The Value Of League-Owned Networks, Slow Play

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan spoke to Guy Yocom for another excellent Golf Digest My Shot and while I always urge you to read the full interview, a couple of comments stood out.

Much to chew on in this first one:

WHAT DO I ADMIRE MOST ABOUT OTHER MAJOR-LEAGUE SPORTS? Two things. One, the way the NFL, MLB, the NBA and the NHL conclude their seasons. I love where we are with the FedEx Cup, but keep in mind it's only 10 years along, is still evolving, and we're always on the lookout for ways to sharpen our postseason-playoff structure.

Oh yes, the playoffs are definitely ending before Labor Day. But those sports also conclude their seasons with much more compelling playoff formats, so let's hope this is more than just a calendar adjustment.

Two, I admire the way they build and market their brands through their own networks. Having a 24/7 presence has served those sports very, very well.

Someone wants his own network!

While those networks were all essentially offspring to the Golf Channel and have been successful to some degree, has the 24/7 presence of the MLB Network really sold that many more seats or created new fans? And is that a risk worth taking, or just a negotiating ploy for 2021 when the current Golf Channel deal ends?

As for slow play, like his predecessor, he's punting for now:

WHICH TAKES US TO THE SUBJECT OF SLOW PLAY. I don't see a problem with rounds on our tour taking four hours, 45 minutes, because it's been consistent around that number for a long time. What drives the small amount of criticism is the impulse in the modern world to do everything faster than we did it last year. So am I going to push for faster rounds? As it stands, no.

Tuesday
Mar142017

Just 13 Years Ago: When Arnie Hit Driver Into 18

At the time those watching knew it was a special moment, but seeing Arnold Palmer's last shot in the API sums up the essence of the man as much as any shot he struck.

H/T Alex Myers for posting and nice work by PGA Tour Entertainment to put it out on the PGA Tour Champions account. Sam Saunders, who is on the bag, will hit the opening tee shot Thursday and is paired over the opening two rounds with Brandt Snedeker and Rory McIlroy.

 

 

Tuesday
Mar142017

Palmer, Peruvian Alpaca And The New API Winner's Sweater

Mercifully the Arnold Palmer Invitational is almost here and what is still a very good field--minus some megastars--will play for a purse greater than The Open's with a three-year PGA Tour exemption to the winner. Still, as John Feinstein and I discussed on Golf Central's Alternate Shot segment today, the event and sponsor Mastercard, doing all it can to ensure a healthy event over the long term, could use schedule help down the road.

But for now let's table those concerns and celebrate the best thing about winning this year's API: the red alpaca sweater going to the winner that Dave Shedloski reported. I confirmed today--only pinning down the toughest stories--that this is a permanent API change.

Finally a tournament loses the winner's sport coat!

We all associate the red cardigan sweater with Arnold Palmer, but many of us don't know the full story on alpaca and how Palmer changed the way these animals were bred and raised.

While he endorsed and had a licensing deal with Robert Bruce Clothing, Palmer's love of the sweaters inadvertently changed Peruvian alpacas due to his preference, as alpaca breeder Mike Safley explained to Modern Farmer's Andrew Amelinckx:

“It revolutionized color in the highlands of Peru because you couldn’t dye black fiber pink, so they had to have white alpacas to get the pastel colors to make these sweaters,” Safley says. “Within ten years it changed from being 90 percent colored animals to 90 percent white because they bred exclusively for white. That color mix still holds today.”

They aren't cheap!

But kudos to whoever thought to make this the new way to crown the Arnold Palmer Invitational winner.

Tuesday
Mar142017

Trumped! R&A Welcomes Muirfield Back Years Before The Club Admits A Woman Member

Let's savor the comedic component of Muirfield joining the new century. After all, they re-voted to finally change their membership policies, reports Martin Dempster.

That the R&A's Martin Slumbers welcomed their rivals back into The Open rota the moment a policy was changed and well before candidates from the other gender were even considered for membership, speaks to one thing and one thing only: the R&A is happily postponing a return to Trump Turnberry.

Remember, Turnberry last hosted The Open in 2009 and has since undergone a fantastic renovation incorporating former Chief Inspector Architect Peter Dawson's design suggestions. In theory, the spectacular resort should be in line for the next likely open date in 2022.

Muirfield last hosted in 2013 and while a wonderful place for The Open, a 2022 return would be a bit faster than normal for the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers. Especially in light of their resistance to progress and their long standing rivalry with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. To see these two clubs in such a loving embrace, well, it moves me on this Tuesday morning.

Of course, the real comedy comes from knowing it'll be years before we know if Muirfield even admitted a woman. From Alistair Tait's Golfweek.com story:

There is no timetable for women to join the club. In an official statement the club said: “The current waiting list for membership at Muirfield suggests that new candidates for membership, women and men, can expect to wait two to three years, or longer, to become a member of the club.”

The immediacy of the R&A's embrace of their old rivals can very easily be interpreted as an opportunity to postpone a return to Turnberry for another year.

Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.

Monday
Mar132017

#ArnieWould: Tributes Flowing To Kick Off Bay Hill Week 

There is continued consternation over various stars passing on this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, the first since The King's passing. I get the anger, but I'd also argue that passing on last year's API was worse given that Mr. Palmer was battling health issues and PGA Tour officials were reminding players that he was having a tough time.

Randall Mell considered the situation as the week kicks off along with Robert Damron's comments today on Morning Drive.

“He took it personally when guys didn’t show up,” Damron said.

This is all true, but it’s also true that some top players are skipping because the Masters is three weeks away, and they’ve faced hard choices mapping the best way to prepare to win a jewel in golf’s Holy Grail.

But Mell's stronger point is not to wonder about the coming years for an API sandwiched between crippling WGC events, or who passed this year, but instead to celebrate those that did enter. (And as you'll see below, the tributes are already fantastic.)

Hey, speaking of those WGC's, their visionary-at-the-expense-of-longtime-tour-events, Tim Finchem, will be coming out of retirement to regale unsuspecting fans with his unique blend of monotone and joviality, warns reports Dave Shedloski.

As for those tributes, MorningRead.com's Steve Elling talks to various players about what Palmer meant to them, including the Orlando natives.

As was the case for Sorenstam and McDowell, Howell’s two kids were born in the Palmer hospital complex in downtown Orlando. Thus, there are bound to be some moist eyes when the 13-foot statue of Palmer, erected over the weekend, is spotted between the first and 10th tees. Forged larger than life in bronze, Palmer figuratively will be looking down upon fans and organizers.

Memorabilia from Palmer’s treasure trove of personal items will be on display in multiple locations for fans. His cart, replete with two golf bags brimming with clubs, will be parked on the grounds. Players will have Palmer’s logo umbrella stitched into their clothes, caps and bags. For the first time, there will be an opening ceremony on Thursday morning.

Shedloski reports that instead of a blue blazer, the winner will get a red cardigan in homage to The King's favorite style of layering.

In the March issue of Golfweek, Jeff Babineau interviews Faxon, Els, Love and Mediate to share some of their favorite Palmer stories. You'll want to Instapaper this for reading...and of course subscribe to Golfweek!

I loved this from Brad Faxon:

I’d never met him before, so I’m calling him Mr. Palmer. We’re walking off the first green, to the second hole, there’s the gallery ropes, and it was the biggest crowd I’d played in front of to that point. Arnold looked at me and said, ‘Son, if you want to have yourself a long and successful career’ – here he was, spreading the word – ‘you look people in the eye when you walk. Don’t look down. Always make eye contact.’ That turned out to be something prophetic. I thought that was fantastic.

Golfweek also posted this excellent timeline of Palmer's career.

Bill Fields with a short but sweet memory of tagging along with Palmer for a Golf World story.

I observed him meticulously going through a pre-flight checklist in the cockpit of his jet opposite co-pilot Lee Lauderback. I watched him at several greet-and-grin promotional appearances, working the room as enthusiastically as a rookie pro trying to make a good first impression. I noticed his restlessness when a limo driver fumbled for a quarter at a toll booth. I smiled when he holed a 7-iron for an eagle at a course opening.

 

Mastercard is launching an #ArnieWould campaign that is done with class, though the message also is fascinating given the view that many pros today need this reminder.


Two of my favorite wedge tributes:

This weeks tournament will be a special one.. #tribute #ap #arniesarmy #umbrella #golf #art #newstyle #theking

A post shared by Anthony Taranto (@anthony.taranto) on Mar 13, 2017 at 1:06pm PDT


A different look at the statue unveiled this week.

 

Monday
Mar132017

Global Golf Post Picks Up SF City Championship Fees (Again)

Last year Randy Haag pointed out that male and female semi-finalists in the historic San Francisco City were paying high fees at the expensive post-renovation (TPC) Harding Park. So Global Golf Post picked up the costs in a kind gesture for one of the nation's oldest city championships.

Once again all 22 finalists competing at Harding in various male and female city championship flights won't have to pay green fees.

Nice going GGP!