Twitter: GeoffShac
  • 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 – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – 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

As each year goes by I fear the true sporting spirit of match play is less and less in evidence. We find a growing disposition for play to concentrate on the figures that are registered at a hole rather than on the question of whether the hole is lost or won in a purely friendly match. TOM SIMPSON

 

  

Saturday
Oct142017

Change Of Policy? Grayson Murray Tantrum Shared On PGA Tour Social

Unlike other sports leagues the PGA Tour has resisted sharing absurd athlete behavior for obvious reasons: theirs is a business built on players behaving like gentleman.

So whether this is a change in policy or just a share because it involves the troublesome Grayson Murray or was simply the posting of a bored overnight shift stuck trying to find the CIMB Classic, is yet to be determined.

But the post was a nice tie-in to the baseball playoffs...not so nice for the green where Grayson dug in his shoe soles:

If the @yankees, @astrosbaseball, @cubs or @dodgers need another arm in the bullpen...

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on




Saturday
Oct142017

Mid-Am Winner Back At The Fire Station Within Hours Of Win

Nice work by Golf.com's Dylan Dethier to interview and report on 30-year-old U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion Matt Parziale just hours after arriving home following a win that will send him to the Masters and U.S. Open.

Detheier writes:

Parziale, 30, had taken time off from his full-time job in the Brockton, Massachusetts Fire Department to play this week's U.S. Mid-Am. He'd played in the event three times before, but had never won a match. This time, he won them all.

"Oh, gosh, that'll be a good problem to have, I think," Parziale said when asked how he might work major championships in among his regular shifts. "None of that has sunk in, and everything is such a blur right now. I was trying to go through my phone, and everyone has just been so supportive, reaching out, following along, it's really been incredible."

This will also be fun come Masters and U.S. Open time:

Parziale's father, Vic, is a member of the Brockton Fire Department, too. But he was in Atlanta caddying for his son. He, too, may need to find some time in his schedule for bigger gigs next season.

Friday
Oct132017

Flashback, Tiger On Distance: "There's different ways you can get around it so that we're all playing under certain speed limits."

In Sunday's Irish Independent, Dermot Gilleece took an entertaining look at the golf ball, considering its role in the game as a precious piece of equipment compared to other sports.

He was inspired by comments from Rory McIlroy during last week's Alfred Dunhill Championship at St. Andrews to revisit the idea of a tournament ball and recounted this exchange with Tiger Woods.

The comments were from the 2004 American Express Championship at Mount Juliet.

DG: "Would you be prepared to play with an official tournament ball designated for each event?"

TW: "What do you mean by 'tournament ball'? Do you mean with the same spin rate, same launch angle, hover, same speed of core?"

DG: "I mean a uniform golf ball that would be the same for everybody."

TW: "So everybody plays with the same spinning golf ball?"

DG: "Same golf ball."

TW: "I don't think that would be right because there's too many guys have different games and different types of swing. But I think you should put a limit on the speed of a golf ball, the spin-rate of a golf ball. You can increase the spin of the golf ball and make it so that we don't hit the ball as far. You can decrease the speed of the core. There's different ways you can get around it so that we're all playing under certain speed limits. Hopefully that will be the answer to a lot of the problems that we're having with golf course design around the world."

That was 2004!

As an aside to the speed limit comment, check out the shift in LPGA Tour leading driving distances from 2002 to 2017. While about a 10 yard limit, there is nothing going on like we're seeing in the men's game where optimization of launch conditions suggests gains are being made by top men that are out of proportion with gains the rest of the sport has enjoyed:

2002:

2017:

Thursday
Oct122017

Annika On Design Career: "Tougher than I thought."

The legendary Annika Sorenstam made some interesting comments about her golf course design career's lack of trajectory to CNN Living's Shane O'Donoghue.

Bunkered Golf Magazine links to the interview and paraphrases, but in essence she senses that as a woman clients just assume she'll build "short and easy". Besides the shame of assuming one gender builds short and easy, it's a reminder how many awful developments were built on the premise of championship and tough. If only golf had more "short and easy."

“Being a female, when they throw my name in the ring as a designer candidate a lot of times they say, ‘Oh, well then this course will be short and easy’.

“I don't know where it comes from. I think they just have that predetermined notion of women designing shorter courses, and that's not really what comes to my mind.

“I consider myself, of course a female, but I'm also a golfer and I feel like I can play any golf course out there and I guess maybe my defensive mechanism is, 'Hey, I'd play you anywhere, anytime and then we can go from there’.”

Thursday
Oct122017

"Desimone battles cancer and fights for Cal Golf"

Ryan Lavner of GolfChannel.com catches up with longtime Cal golf coach Steve Desimone who explains why he left coaching when he did, what's done to fight cancer, and his effort to endow the golf program.

Given Cal's propensity to drop men's sports programs, the endowment is probably a great idea. Even better is hear Desimone has battled cancer successfully.

When Desimone started at Cal, he had three goals: win a national title; create a facility for the team; and ensure Cal Golf in perpetuity through an endowment. He accomplished the first two objectives. He and the committee hoped to finish the last part before he retired, but the cancer diagnosis understandably derailed their progress.
They’re roughly $2.5 million short of their $12 million endowment goal, at which point the interest would kick in enough to fully fund the program. That would take some of the fundraising pressure off Chun and the committee, but more importantly it would ensure that the program – that Desimone’s life’s work – remains untouched.

It’s the final task of Desimone’s storied Cal career, and he has worn himself down trying to finish it. He wants closure.

Thursday
Oct122017

U.S. Mid-Amateur: "Firefighter Parziale Faces Wedding Caterer Nichols in Final"

Brian DePasquale previews the U.S. Mid-Amateur final where a USGA trophy named after Bobby Jones, a Masters invite and a U.S. Open exemption are on the line.

No manager's of family trusts in this final...

Matt Parziale, a firefighter from Brockton, Mass., and Josh Nichols, a wedding caterer from Kernersville, N.C., each won quarterfinal and semifinal matches Thursday to advance to Friday’s 36-hole final match of the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship. The final is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. EDT and will be held on the par-70, 7,207-yard Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course.

For more coverage of the finals check out the official U.S. Mid-Amateur site.

Thursday
Oct122017

2016-17 PGA Tour Distance Average Up 2.5 Yards To 292.5

One key crime of the wraparound: not getting to disgest, analyze and celebrate the many fun stats produced by the players and documented by the ShotLink system.

Thanks to the crack crew at ShotLink I just started looking over the 2016-17 stats as we roll into week two of 2017-18. Naturally, I went to the distance numbers first and the overall average spiked from last year's 290.0 number.

I'm fairly certain the 292.5 yard average for 2016-17 makes it a record year, proving yet again that core work and heavy use of foam rollers can pay dividends.

All drives in '16-17 averaged 285.1, but the records do not go back as far to put that number into perspective.

(Just a reminder here that the USGA and R&A Joint Statement of Principles was issued in 2002 suggesting  significant increases would set off alarm bells. The PGA Tour Driving Distance average in 2002 was 279.5 yards, meaning a 13-yard increase since then.)

As for 2016-17...check out the interval chart:

Note that 43 players averaged over 300 yards, compared to 27 in 2015-16. That's also a new high mark for 300+ average. Just one player (John Daly) averaged over 300 yards in 2002 when the Statement of Principles was issued.

Do I need to keep going?

Wednesday
Oct112017

They're Playing Pro Golf At The Rio Olympic Course And It Looks A Lot Better Than Abandoned!

Declared abandoned, in disrepair, unsustainable and many other things thanks to its rustic appearance or lack of suitable activity in one opponent's eyes, the Rio Olympic golf course hosts the PGA Tour Latinoamerica this week.

The 64th playing of the Aberto do Brasil is the 13th of 18 PGA Tour Latinoamerica events and includes several intriguing players, including the world's top-ranked amateur last year, Joaquin Niemann.

The list of past champions includes Sam Snead, Billy Casper, Gary Player, Raymond Floyd, Hale Irwin Roberto De Vicenzo.

Players have been Tweeting, including these from Tee-k Kelly (thanks Jeremy Schilling for spotting):

They're still trying to drive near the 9th green and the condos are completed:

Aberto do Brasil 🇧🇷 #pgatourla

A post shared by Rodo Cazaubon (@rodocazaubon) on

 

And the wildlife is still sensational:

Wednesday
Oct112017

Lindsey Graham Digging In On The 73 (Or Maybe 74) Claim

Michael Bamberger spent 33-minutes on the phone with Senator Lindsey Graham, who apparently had nothing else better to do than review claims of POTUS Donald Trump nearly shooting his age.

Graham says there wasn't a mulligan, only one birdie, one or two bogeys and mostly pars despite playing Trump National Washington at a yardage similar to the Senior PGA Championship setup in May.

"On the front nine, he shot even par," Graham said. "I shot a 41, which is good for me. He hit almost every fairway. He had seven Hogans, driving it on the fairway, hitting it on the green. On the back nine, he was one over, two over at the most. He had one birdie on the back, and just really hit the ball well. On the front, he made four 10- to 12-footers for par. That's what got him to shoot even-par on the front. He missed a four-foot birdie putt. He could easily have been one under."

Golf Magazine posted this video of the President chipping during the round. Nice to see everyone holding still while the leader of the free world is playing!

 

 

Compact!

FYI those wagering with Graham on the course or hoping to see a post-round gratuity, you know, for the effort...

Graham is sticking by his claim of 73 for the president—or 74. At the end of the round, he owed the president $30, but had only $5 with him, which the president accepted.

Wednesday
Oct112017

Shark Announces "One-Time" Return To Golf, Comparisons To Hogan's Comeback To Never Begin

Nothing conjures up images of Ben Hogan's return following the accident like a big time, one-off comeback. Well, that is, until you hear it's the retired (who knew?) Greg Norman returning to the PNC Father-Son.

I'll let the goosebumps subside before we continue.

Note the matching Shark-branded workout shirts for the big video announcement that was cut with some slick 1986 music and production touches. Think Magnum PI meets Body by Jake:

Excited to make a one-time return to professional golf with my son @gregnormanjr - see you at the @pncfatherson

A post shared by Greg Norman (@shark_gregnorman) on Oct 9, 2017 at 5:28pm PDT

 

Wednesday
Oct112017

Diaz On The Lure Of Short One-Shotter And Par-3 Courses

With the short, risk-reward par-5 almost impossible design, the short par-4 has become the go-to for those still craving strategic holes. But closing fast on the must list of even the most novice design critics is a short par-3. Even better, the tough sell that was recommending a par-3 course to a developer has become an easy sell.

All of these issues are considered by a par-3 course golfing descendant, Jaime Diaz, who uses Pinehurst's new par-3 to hit a number of short par-3 angles for Golf World.

The Cradle follows a trend of alternative course openings in 2017, with the new Jordan Spieth-backed six-hole course at the University of Texas, Tom Doak’s 12-hole par 3 at Ballyneal, and Dan Hixson nine-hole pitch-and-putt at Silvies Valley Ranch.

You may note a bias toward par 3s in my commentary. Like a lot of guys my age, my first rounds were on scruffy short courses, in my case the Fleming Nine at Harding Park and Golden Gate G.C., both in San Francisco, both enduring jewels from the city’s golfing heyday.

I’ve also seen a big appetite for pitch-and-putts overseas. They can be found in a bunch of little towns in Ireland, usually teeming with an informally dressed crowd whose members tend to nonchalantly pull off very useful bump and runs. And when the Open was held at Muirfield in 2013, the so-called children’s course next to the west course at North Berwick was a big hit with visiting American pros and their families.

To me, a good par-3 course works on many levels besides just the price and the pace. A little funkiness in design and even conditioning is a plus, as the capriciousness invites improvisation. The mood should be informal and promote a hint of relaxed raucousness.

Sure, the American hunger for optimization has started a trend toward par 3s for the golfer who has everything. Such courses can be pricey, too penal to avoid slow play, and over spectacular topography that isn’t ideal for walking. There have been a few such creations.

But done right, a high end par 3 can become destination golf.

Wednesday
Oct112017

"Storm brews between players, LPGA Tour over transparency"

Reading Beth Ann Nichol's Golfweek story on players fuming at the LPGA Tour over recent weather delays and non-delays, the short term discussion of 54 vs. 72 holes isn't as eye-opening as the obvious loss of faith in leadership.

Nichols writes:

Player president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman has fielded plenty of calls from players in the past week. Some feel they can’t talk publicly about the issues.

“I feel like there is a gag order on this tour,” one veteran player said.

Goetze-Ackerman said “the big thing” she has gotten from players is the issue of safety.

“They should never feel like they’re unsafe,” Goetze-Ackerman said. “That’s something we need to address as an organization.”

Fans also put in harm's way would agree!

Tuesday
Oct102017

Nice Review Of Goat Hill Golf

Laz Versalles gives Oceanside's Goat Hill a nice, in-depth review now that we're well into its resurrection by John Ashworth and friends.

Check it out at GolfClubAtlas.com.

Tuesday
Oct102017

Fraser Mann Wins 2017 World Hickory Open

An unbylined East Lothian Courier report says former Musselburgh pro Fraser Mann has taken the 2017 title with rounds of 70-71 to edge Rick Valentine by four strokes.

The World Hickory organizers shared this in their game story by Ginny Lawson:

As in past years, the field reflected most of the best exponents of hickory golf in the world. Indeed, the organisers were delighted with support from more than a dozen countries. Out of the 120 competitors, 28 arrived from Switzerland, where their game is centred on Engadine near St Moritz, where members also tend indulge in toboggan racing in the winter on the infamous Cresta Run.  But don’t be bluffed by these remarkable facts, the Swiss are serious hickory golf experts. For example, Paolo Quirici is one of the top seeds this year, and he was Championship winner in 2013.
 
It also true that the game is sufficiently challenging to eliminate the wanabes. Indeed 80% have competed in the past. That said, the game continues to grow in this extraordinary but incredibly beautiful new location of Scotland’s Golf Coast.
 
Sweden is the other European country to embrace hickory golf at a very accomplished level. With literally thousands playing the game back home. The World Hickory welcomed 19 of them this year.
 
The next largest team was not unsurprisingly from the USA, where former champ and one the world’s best known known hickory adherents, former US champion Mike Stevens, comes from. In addition, England led by Andrew Marshall from Norfolk has been well represented this year. Andrew was our Open champion at Carnoustie in 2015. Other nations entered included both Austria, Denmark and another half dozen countries, emphasising the rapid growth of the game at a European level.
 
Whilst Fraser Man was one of those representing Scotland, a small team of talented international junior golfers from Loretto’s much vaunted Golf Academy, led by former Hickory Champion Rick Valentine have also been playing this week.

The World Hickory Open was played with original or pre-1936 replica hickory shafted clubs. The 2017 edition took place at East Lothian's marvelous Kilspindie Golf Club, a must visit on the East Lothian trail.

Full field scores here.

Neil Hanna captured this wonderful image:

Tuesday
Oct102017

Reminder: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred On Callaway Live

You can set a reminder and get a preview here of Major League Baseball Commissioner (and big golf nut) Rob Manfred appearing on this week's Callaway Live, obviously recorded just prior to the Commish's busy time of year.

The show debuts at 6 pm Pacific Tuesday and can be viewed on YouTube any time after that.

Monday
Oct092017

State Of The Game 73: Geoff Ogilvy, Presidents Cup, Etc...

We've put the band back together and talk to Geoff Ogilvy about this recent Presidents Cup gig as an assistant captain along with other issues in the game.

For those wanting to hear Geoff's appearance on Playing With Science alongside Neil degrasse Tyson, it will be here when it is pushed out to devices.

The MP3 version is here and of course the show is available on iTunes.

And here:

Monday
Oct092017

Mell: Backstopping Must Stop, PGA Tour Must Intervene

Randall Mell at GolfChannel.com is the first outside of posts here to take on the backstopping matter. With the PGA Tour Player of the Year trying to argue the practice is almost non-existent and it's his right to take advantage of another player's golf ball as a backstop.

Yikes!

Anyway, Mell notes that a Rules of Golf does cover this issue in the Decisions two ways, with the latter requiring, the players admit intent. What is still not addressed in any of this discussion is the obvious thumbing of noses to the spirit of the rules, something that has left many long time elite players aghast watching the practice evolve.

But if the spirit of the rules angle doesn't impact today's young players, maybe the dollar figure side will.

Using Sunday's Tony Finau incident as his example, Mell writes of the shot saved:

Finau took home $669,000 for finishing second on Sunday. Phil Mickelson and Chesson Hadley finished a shot behind Finau and took home $359,600 for sharing third place.

If Finau had not saved par at the 12th and fallen into a three-way tie for second, he would have taken home $462,933, as would Mickelson and Hadley.

That matters, and so do the FedExCup points at stake.

Mell says the PGA Tour cannot wait for the governing bodies to address something that imperils the integrity of the tour when it's trying to make sure it has all integrity ducks in a row.

The PGA Tour’s administration ought to step in, too, to address whether Thomas is right in his thinking, or whether there is more for players to consider. Fans should know whether the PGA Tour deems Thomas is correct in asserting he has “a right” to play quickly. This isn’t about trying to craft specific language for a new rule. It’s about examining hearts and creating awareness about the importance of even the appearance of impropriety.

There’s no definitive solution here, but if the Tour’s going to implement an integrity program to protect itself from gambling issues, then framing backstopping issues for players that will reduce the possibilities they become a powder keg some Sunday soon is worth flushing out.

Monday
Oct092017

Senator Graham Says President Trump Shot 73 In Wind & Rain!

I know Senator Lindsey Graham was trying to please his host. But given that the host holds the highest office in the land and presumably doesn't want it to look like he's getting so proficient at golf that he's nearly shooting his age, this is pretty funny:

Monday
Oct092017

Trump Golf's UK Courses Suffer Losses In 2016

I'd caution against judging the losses at Turnberry as anything beyond the cost of renovation. And as detailed in Severinn Carrell's Guardian story, these 2016 numbers are pre-election, pre-madness.

However, the losses for Trump International Links in Aberdeen appear to be caused by a combination of factors and do not speak to a strong future for the Martin Hawtree-designed course, which appears to have been ruled out as a Scottish Open venue this summer by the tournament sponsor.

The latest accounts for his network of Scottish companies show he had to plough another £1.3m into his debt-ridden resort in Aberdeenshire to keep it afloat after the North Sea crisis saw its popularity slump among local golfers.

Trump International Golf Links Scotland lost nearly £1.2m in 2016, forcing Trump to increase his interest-free loans to the resort to nearly £41m ($54m) while he was campaigning for the presidency last year.

In their annual report, the Trump organization cited various factors.

The “crash in oil price and economic downturn” which had hit the north-east of Scotland had seen its income fall by 12.4%, he said, while winter storms had badly damaged part of its 18-hole championship course.

Sunday
Oct082017

Video: Mickelson Says "Let's Take A Moment To Admire That I Just Hit A Fairway"

Fun stuff in the final round at Safeway Open, where Mickelson hit 15 of 56 fairways, though as he noted post-round as captured by PGATour.com's Mike McAllister, some are as narrow as 13 yards in spots.

Despite only hitting his 15th fairway of the entire tournament, Phil’s got jokes... 😂😂😂

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on