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 – 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

There are, of course, advocates for stroke play as the better format for identifying a champion. I prefer match play, particularly for amateurs, and if the decision were to be based on amateurs' preference reflected in the numbers who compete with each other at match play compared to those who chose stroke play, the vote for match play would be so overwhelming as to make counting votes a waste of time.




"He died on the golf course, just days after her"

What a beautiful piece of writing by Bill Glauber of the Journal-Sentinel on what was a difficult subject: the death of 94-year-old Marshall Jacobs, who passed away watching the U.S. Open.

Jacobs was a lifelong golfer and golf fan who loved watching Golf Channel with his wife Lucille, who passed away last week. Marshall wasn't going to miss the U.S. Open's first playing in Wisconsin, circling it on his calendar back in 2010.

But he wasn't going to miss this tournament. He had made plans to see it back in 2010 when Erin Hills was awarded the championship, telling his son, "I hope I'm still alive when this thing is here."

Perched at the sixth green, father and son saw the game's great players go by during the second round.

"We spent three hours of bliss out there," Bill Jacobs said.

Even better, he got to see his favorite golfer, Steve Stricker, make a putt shortly before he passed. Sweet story.


Video(s): Fox Sports 2017 U.S. Open Features & #BrowniePoints 

Fox Sports produced visually stimulating telecasts from Erin Hills, aided by several features and the real standout: Ken Brown's Brownie Points. As D.J. Piehowski noted on Twitter, Brown is doing so much with so little: one camera, a few toys, and a nice splash of creativity.

Before those links, a few random observations on Fox's year-three coverage, which really hit its visual stride this year. Last year's coverage of the DJ fiasco earned the network credibility and while the sound and tech touches were fun, there was a sense that they didn't quite help tell the story.

Yet even with a very difficult venue to cover due to its size, the combination of camera locations, gizmos and amazing player sound delivered on the network's original promise to tell a golf tournament story in a fresh and innovative way. The ending was a little rough with Joe Buck's reference to Brooks' former girlfriend and another awkward trophy ceremony, but that shouldn't taint what was such a strong week visually.

And on that topic, here's the list of links to features and Brownie Points. I'm embedding a few below, but with Twitter embeds not playing sometimes these days, the links should be more reliable:

U.S. Open Features

Ken Brown’s #BrowniePoints

The Arnold Palmer feature with Clint Eastwood narrating. 

Brownie on the par-3 16th where there really isn't that much profound to say about this hole, and yet he managed to milk all of the key details out in this entertaining piece:

And this instant classic on the fescue rough.





Your Initial Reactions: 2017 U.S. Open

Please, enlighten us with your thoughts on Brooks Koepka, Erin Hills, the USGA, Fox or whatever else stood out about the 117th U.S. Open.

I'm finishing up a few Golfweek writing duties but look forward to your reactions.


2017 U.S. Open: Round Four This And That

The on-site forecast calls for winds 15-25 mph out the west until noon, shifting to WNW at midday and letting up a bit around 4 pm CT.

Already we've seen that Erin Hills will play as a much different course, with greens noticeably faster and one hole location (13th) moved.

The flag on the 18th hole will pay tribute to Arnold Palmer, as shown in this Facebook live of the pin placement. There is also a change to the grandstand canvas featuring a Palmer tribute. All players and spectators are receiving a replica pin of his 1960 contestant badge. So cool!

I'll add the course setup notes of note when we receive them.

Golfweek's staff made picks. I went with Rickie, because I know you were dying to find out.

Day four links...

Your television full viewing guide is here. has live featured group and hole coverage early in the day.

Tee times.

The leaderboard.

Golfweek's Live Blog


Diaz: "Everybody loses when players don't come to the interview room."

After an opening 65, Rickie Fowler was asked by USGA officials to visit the interview room for a sitdown with writers and various television outlets. Instead, he kept his comments confined to various TV interviews and the "flash" area.

But as Jaime Diaz of Golf World explains, this was a precedent-setting move in line with the recent tradition of players increasingly staying out of the press center and distancing themselves from the press. Because of the player in question--and one who is traditionally media friendly--Diaz views this new precedent as dangerous.

But Fowler was the leader, and his decision to break precedent matters. Whether they like it or not, the game’s best players are also its most influential thought leaders. What they say at tournaments, and especially majors, can both inspire and deepen understanding of a nuanced game. Forfeiting such a platform ultimately hurts golf.

What’s worrisome is that players will take note of Fowler’s decision and start to emulate it. Indeed, through he first two rounds of the championship at Erin Hills, more than 50 players were interviewed in the flash area, but only one—Brian Harman (one of four players who tied for the 36-hole lead)—came to the press center to be interviewed.

It’s understandable in the current climate—which now includes journalists regularly considered to be putting out “fake news”—that agents and managers who handle the players see an opportunity for lessening media obligations. Perhaps Fowler’s decision was in part a test to see if anyone would notice.


U.S. Open Ratings: Third Round 2.55; Undisputed Lightly Watched

The third round overnight rating for Fox's U.S. Open third round telecast drew a 2.55, tying last year's rating for the lowest third round on record and down 24% from the 3.35 Fox drew it's first year at Chambers Bay. Do remember these numbers do not account for streaming views. These are also the longest viewing windows in the history of the U.S. Open--nine hours Saturday, nine-and-a-half on Sunday.

The third round overnight, if it holds, is actually lower than last year's Open Championship third round (2.75) on NBC, which was played in the morning hours vs the U.S. Open spilling into Saturday night prime time.

Hopefully Saturday's excitement and the various highlights seen by sports fans who did not tune in will get more people to tune in Sunday.

As for Fox's on-site shows of Undisputed featuring Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayliss, Thursday's 9-9:30 am EST show drew a .03, averaging 37,000 viewers. For perspective, Golf Central's Live From drew a .11, averaging 138,000 viewers over the same half hour.

In the 9:30-11 am window that led into FS1's first round U.S. Open telecast, Undisputed drew a 0.9 to 123k average vs. Live From's .18, 237k average audience over the 90 minutes.

On Friday Undisputed's 9-9:30 am drew a .05 to Live From's .14, while the 9:30 am-11 am EST window ended in a .09 vs. .17 for Live From leading into the second round telecast.

But hey, the Undisputed content was spectacular:




Video: "Better or worse? Change In The U.S. Open's Identity"

Mark Rolfing, Eamon Lynch, Gary Williams and yours truly debate on Morning Drive if the change to the U.S. Open's identity is for better or worse. Though if the final rounds early winds keep up, we may have been premature in having this discussion!

The video:


Roundup: Justin Thomas's Historic 63 At Erin Hills

The comparisons were inevitable given the championship and the June 17th date--44 years to the day Johnny Miller posted 63 in the U.S. Open.

No matter how you break it down, Thomas's 9-birdie, one-eagle 63 joins a list of great major championship rounds.

Jaime Diaz's Golf World assessment:

It’s reasonable to assert that Thomas’ round, because of it’s amazing displays of explosiveness, ranks in the upper third among 63s in majors. His overall Saturday report card: A for fireworks, B for precision, and A+ for closing the show. It’s the last category where Thomas would most like to repeat his grade tomorrow.

Jeff Babineau at writes up leader Brian Harman and Thomas's round like this:

Those who wish to point to soft conditions to question the quality of Thomas’ 63 (even Thomas called the conditions “not very Open-like”) should digest this: Miller’s 63 was scored on a par-71 course playing 6,921 yards. Thomas, obviously armed with far more modern equipment and a golf ball that travels farther, shot 63 on a par-72 course measuring almost 900 yards longer. Saturday, Erin Hills played to 7,818 yards.

So why was Thomas looking like he was in agony at the 18th green before sinking his eagle putt? Luke Kerr-Dineen with the photos and explanation. Get his man some PB&J's for the golf bag!

I had the privilege of speaking with Johnny Miller for Golfweek and he shared his thoughts in classic Johnny fashion.

G.C. Digital compares Thomas’s round with Johnny Miller’s, statistically.

The scorecard already has character…gulp. Will Gray reports for

Thomas's Fox interview with Shane Bacon.



2017 U.S. Open Round Three This And That

The third round is underway after .91 inches of overnight rain and while a softer course should be vulnerable, I argued at that the USGA did the right thing in getting the field around for two rounds. The forecast suggests Sunday could still bring some U.S. Open carnage.

Steve DiMeglio's USA Today game story notes that Erin Hills took it on the chin, but it also delivered a few blows.

Kevin Casey with a roundup of the best quotes.

Paul Casey overcame a triple to take the co-lead, writes's Rex Hoggard.

Cameron Champ is leading the field in driving distance at 339.3 yards, and the Texas A&M star has a tremendous backstory, reports Beth Ann Nichols for Golfweek.

Martin Kaufmann with a midway point review of Fox's broadcast, with high praise for the many bells and whistles that have been tremendous. The announce team? Not so much.

A 94-year-old man died on site of natural causes, reports Bill Glauber of the Journal-Sentinel.

A Trump protest banner will be flying over Erin Hills later today.

Kevin Van Valkenburg at on the explosive temper of Jon Rahm over the last two days.

Today's hole locations, since many of you asked...

Day three links...

Your television full viewing guide is here. has exclusive early coverage and live featured group coverage all day.

Tee times.

The leaderboard.


2017 U.S. Open On Pace For "Historically Weak" Performance

Given no Tiger, no Phil, an unknown venue, falling ratings in almost all sectors and what seemed like a less relentless advertising campaign compared to recent years, the 2017 U.S. Open seemed destined for ratings toruble. Now couple that with the departures of several stars and...

Paulsen at says "if round one is any indication, the U.S. Open is on pace for another historically weak performance."

He has a full report on round one ratings, which were way up over last year's rain-out, way down over 2015 at Chambers Bay.

First round coverage of the U.S. Open averaged 1.2 million viewers across FOX and Fox Sports 1 Thursday, up 44% from last year, when play was mostly rained out (805K), but down 41% from 2015, when the tournament took place on the West Coast and stretched further into primetime (2.0M).

Paulsen also is predicting weekend ratings for all sports and says that in spite of no NBA Finals competition, "expect historically low numbers nonetheless. Predictions: 2.1 and 3.1."

The U.S. Open telecast placed fourth in the 8-9 pm ET prime time hour Thursday night behind reruns on the other networks.


Rory, Elkington Go Two Rounds (For Now) On Twitter

The joys of a good Saturday morning Twitter spat to keep us entertained until the leaders tee off many hours from now.

This is following Rory McIlroy's 2017 U.S. Open missed cut...


Video: Fox Feature On Erin Hills And Local Amish Bond

The stellar piece from the 2017 U.S. Open telecast today detailing the trade out arranged between Erin Hills and the local Amish community here, in case you missed it.

The video:



U.S. Open Friday Setup: 675 Yard 18th, 2-3 Percent Hole Locations

Brad Klein of fills in some details on Friday's U.S. Open setup that are eye-opening for those interested in the art and science of course preparation.

As always I hope you'll hit the link and read the entire piece. But a few highlights...

Green speeds started out at 12.5 to 13 on the Stimpmeter and lost 6-7 inches of speed during the day. Friday, they’re half-a-foot faster, roughly 12.8-13.5 before they lose some speed.

This one will probably get a few players and caddies riled up:

PGA Tour specifications virtually mandate that the hole not be cut on a slope of more than 1.5 degrees. Sorry for the technical stuff here, but it’s all a matter of physics and topography. The USGA doesn’t shy away from setting the hole on slopes of 2-3 percent.

That might explain the number of balls that took some pretty strong turns right around the hole during round one.

And, in the ball-doesn't-travel-too-far files, this about the par-5 18th.

Friday, it’s been stretched to 675 yards, which means players, even downwind, probably won’t be able to fly it over the fairway bunkers on the right as they did Thursday and reach the downhill kick point on the hole, achieving an average of 318 yards off the tee.

On a positive note, the conservative setup approach light on risk-reward has allowed pace of play to actually be better than in recent years (5:16 average in round one). The slower green speeds surely have something to do with that, too.


Malcolm Gladwell Takes On Golf In A Peculiar Way

Longtime writer and now podcaster Malcolm Gladwell doesn't like golf very much. He chooses a peculiar path to attack the sport in the kickoff to season two of his popular podcast series.

Here is the pod description:

In the middle of Los Angeles — a city with some of the most expensive real estate in the world — there are a half a dozen exclusive golf courses, massive expanses dedicated to the pleasure of a privileged few. How do private country clubs afford the property tax on 300 acres of prime Beverly Hills real estate? RH brings in tax assessors, economists, and philosophers to probe the question of the weird obsession among the wealthy with the game of golf.

Since he picks on my home city and blames the clubs there for tax breaks and what was actually a lack of foresight by city planners to build more parks, I'll let Joel Beall of offer the first and most level-headed counterpoint.

Gladwell takes umbrage with California exemptions that allows golf courses to pay a small percentage rather than a variable tax like other properties. To Gladwell, golf courses are getting a free pass from paying their social dues, bemoaning the money that state and city governments are missing out.

Similar to his objection on golf-infatuated CEOs, Gladwell's outrage is fixated on the wrong entity. For the game is far from alone in receiving peculiar government regulations. Baseball's antitrust exemption is one of the most criticized doctrines in our nation's legal structure, and the stadium deals brokered between professional sports teams and their local governments continue to be a taxpayer burden. This is not to defend these policies, but let's just say golf has plenty of company when it comes to flaws with the tax code.

As always with Gladwell's work, I found his presentation and points thought-provoking. His podcast presentation style is fresh, and his roundabout methodology to backing a point is consistent with his popular books. But I struggle with his zeroing in on long-established private clubs as stealing from the public something their visionary founders created and fostered.

To suggest the public is subsidizing such facilities, while bemoaning their chain-linked fences and refusal to let the public stroll the grounds St Andrews style, ignores the history of Los Angeles, where leaders whiffed on multiple opportunities to create a better park system. (Here is the Olmsted Brothers 1930 assessment of Los Angeles that was ultimately ignored and would have created the kinds of places for non-golfers to recreate.)

The pod also suggests an underlying frustration with golf played by CEO's and President Trump ("crack cocaine for white guys"). While promoting the pod on the CBS Morning Show, Gladwell received one particularly fun bit of pushback from Charlie Rose, a golfer. The interview is worth watching.


2017 U.S. Open: Round One Reads, Day Two Links

It was a splendid first day at Erin Hills unless you were a blimp pilot, hydrated at the 12th hole or a member of the world top six.

Steve DiMeglio's USA Today game story focuses on the obvious underlying question: Rickie Fowler's brilliant 65 to kick off three more days of "will he finally win one" talk.

Jesse Garza of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports on those pesky government inspectors daring to look out for the masses by catching bacterial appearance at a USGA "hydration station."

The Washington Ozaukee Health Department on Thursday identified the bacteria in a drinking water sample collected from the hydration station connected to a well near the 12th hole, according to a news release from the department.

Gary D'Amato of the Journal Sentinel on the incredible range of scores and encounters with Erin Hills, wonders if a USGA crackdown will come after the U.S. Open record fell for number of under-par rounds in a round one.

Kevin Na experienced no karma issues for his anti-fescue Instagram post, en route to an afternoon 68, reports Golfweek's Kevin Casey.

In the irony special of the day, some of the players who grumbled about the last-minute rough trimming spent way too much time in it, including Rory McIlroy. Jeff Babineau on the elite player fescue pile-up as 44 players broke par, including 5 amateurs.

Michael Collins of talks to an anonymous caddie about the setup and what they expect Friday, with some fun insights about things the USGA does differently than most tournaments.

Paul Casey posted his best round in a major, opening with 66 after picking up a few tips from the morning telecast. Rex Hoggard reports for

Joey Flintz at with the best quotes from day one.

The Photo Gallery from day one features some beautiful work by some of the worl's best images

Tyler Light's first day in the U.S. Open was pretty dreamy for a sectional qualifier who wasn't long ago working the UPS distribution night shift and sorting sawmill logs to support his golf habit. 

Beth Ann Nichols with his story for

Off to the side of the par-4 fifth hole Thursday, a portion of Light’s gallery gathered in front of a scoreboard to commemorate his hot start. Light had actually fallen to 3 under at that point, but was in fine company on that leaderboard.

“There’s a sentence I’ve never said before,” Tim said. “Westwood, Fowler, Light … it’s crazy.”

Dad has teared up twice so far.'s Michael Bamberger on the impressive opening 71 from Dru Love with dad Davis on the bag.

Bill Glauber , James B. Nelson and Maddie Koss report on the blimp crash that gained much early morning attention, with an update on the pilot's condition.

Fox aired the most incredible footage of all. For The Win's Luke-Kerr Dineen with the video.

The company Tweeted earlier in the day asking for fans to send in photos of their blimp in action. As you might imagine, the responses were, uh, robust.

The star pairing of Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson struggled on the greens. Jeff Babineau with a Golfweek report from inside the ropes.

Dustin Johnson said this about Erin Hills after the round:

Q. Do you think they've got a good U.S. Open setup here for now and in the future?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: We'll have to see. Obviously it would be interesting if it played really firm and fast. Right now it's really soft. The greens are soft, so you can get to the green with any club. That's why you're seeing some big scores, because the greens are so receptive. I think if it got really firm it would definitely play difficult.'s Jeff Ritter went up to Holy Hill and describes both the experience and shares images of the beautiful facility that is seen from Erin Hills' 18th.

Day two links...

Your television full viewing guide is here. has exclusive early coverage and live featured group coverage all day.

Tee times.

The leaderboard.'s Live Blog has social media highlights and other updates throughout the day.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's full U.S. Open coverage page.

The Friday weather forecast is improved, the Saturday forecast is more ominous.


"He’s the most-read golf writer in the world. He just wants a little more company."

Ed Sherman uses the U.S. Open to file a story on AP golf writer Doug Ferguson and the dwindling number of golf writers covering the sports for local papers.

He notes the concern about the increased presence of covering the sport over independent outlets.

Ferguson can’t help but take note of the PGA Tour going all-in with During most tournaments, the tour’s digital operation makes up a large chunk of the press room with its writers and social media crew.

Clearly, the PGA Tour has the most resources and the greatest access, but Ferguson contends golf fans don’t get the complete picture from its site. He says the content always comes from a biased and, let’s say, decidedly positive point of view.

“I don’t know a lot of people who go to the site except to look at the leaderboard,” Ferguson said. “You’re only going to see the birdie putt that gets made. You’re not going to see the birdie putt that gets missed.”


Wentworth Members Threatened With Expulsion For Criticism

Thanks to reader DM for Anita Singh's Telegraph report on the members of Wentworth facing expulsion for comments critical of the club. Home to the BMW PGA Championship, the membership initially faced uncertainty when Thai billionaire Chanchai Ruayrungruang purchased the facility and made efforts to run off members. Dysfunction ensued.

Several went public with their concerns and the owner backed down. Now, after re-opening, the owner has issued a new rulebook. Sounds like a fun place!

A new rulebook states that anyone who makes comments “injuious to the character or interest of the club” on social media, the internet or to a newspaper or magazine could have their membership rescinded. Grievances can only be aired in private."

So, no one mention that you think the latest renovation of the renovation left a lot to be desired...

A spokesman said: “One rule has been amended to include express reference to current forms of media; as before the Club wishes for member complaints to be handled through the established internal channels, committees and consultative forums at the Club, rather than through the media."


2017 U.S. Open Is Here! Round One This And That

Phil Mickelson is officially not joining us due to perfect, sunny, warm conditions at Erin Hills Thursday. But 156 fine players with great stories to tell are here to contend for the U.S. Open.

Your television full viewing guide is here. has exclusive early coverage and live featured group coverage all day.

Tee times.

The leaderboard.'s Live Blog has social media highlights and other updates throughout the day.

For the local angle, the Journal Sentinel's Chip Shots blog will keep things up to date.

Jordan Spieth thinks the scoring could be good (Romine/

“I don’t see (even) par winning the tournament. I see closer to 5 to 10 under,” Spieth said. “Someone who has very good control of the ball off the tee will have plenty of opportunities to make birdies, given the conditions that we’re expecting. And I think the USGA is very much OK with that.”

Things may get wacky at the 18th green and certainly will at the ninth hole (D'Amato, Lewis Journal-Sentinel).

Alan Shipnuck profiles Austin and Dustin Johnson ( and some of their on-course, uh, strategizing.

There are several college teammate player/caddie contestants (Romine/

The Love's have a lot to say about their father-son act this week (Driscoll/

Kevin Na swears he wasn't trying to rip the USGA with his now infamous Instagram video (Gray/

On the USGA front, I'm still not seeing exactly how future rules situations will be impacted by procedural changes, as I wrote in this analysis for

Jeff Babineau at Golfweek says the USGA better get it right this week and all signs suggest they are trying to do so. But on a first time venue loaded with wild and wacky holes, that's no given.

Gary Van Sickle praises the naming of Chief Referee Thomas Pagel but wonders about that decision too (

You may recall Pagel as the unfortunate fellow who was on TV trying to explain last year’s decision when Johnson was penalized for his ball moving on one green, even though he never touched the ball or grounded his club behind it. Pagel’s reasoning was that it was “more likely than not” that Johnson caused the movement.Personally, I never bought that reasoning, and neither did a lot of others, hence the controversy.

Now, the USGA seems better-poised to pounce on a problem. If we don’t hear Pagel’s name all week, it’ll mean the new changes worked to perfection. We’ll be happy, and so will Mr. Pagel.

The USGA is working hard to communicate better with players (Hoggard/

Davis said he explained to the players that the USGA, as a non-profit organization, invests over $200 million a year in golf.

“What we came to realize is that very few, if any of them, actually understood what the USGA does,” Davis said. “They don’t realize about the turf grass research, they don’t realize what we are doing with juniors, or what we’re doing for history. Once they understood that I think they had a little more appreciation for what the U.S. Open is doing for the game of golf.”


USGA Names Bob Ford U.S. Open First Tee Starter For Life

Win the Bob Jones Award, get put to work!

In USGA President Diana Murphy's inspired opening remarks ("We think we have a real show stopper at Erin Hills") to the 66-minute extravaganza of a press conference, she revealed that longtime Seminole and Oakmont golf professional Bob Ford would be the new USGA first tee starter.

Greeting them and the rest of the field to the first tee this week will be our new honorary starter, Bob Ford. Bob is our 2017 Bob Jones Award winner whom we honored last night and he certainly embodies all that's wonderful in this game of golf, sportsmanship, respect, and character.

He will be our first starter for as long as he so chooses, so I hope you have a chance to welcome him. He's joined on the 10th tee on Thursday and Friday by Dr. Skip Gist, who is a five-year veteran and just recently retired from the executive committee and a very proud New Westerner [midwesterner].

Bob, Diana Murphy is on line one again. You want me to send her to the voice mail where we send all of the USGAers who want to play Seminole?


Auction: Chandler Egan's Olympic Medals Available

Hey how about that opening bid for the 1904 Olympic golf gold.

The current top bid for the silver is $20,000. (Same cool design, same amazing artifact from the noted player and architect.)

Here is the page hosted by Leland's.

Here is the backstory on how the medal resurfaced last year.