Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event 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

I think the present golf ball makes absolute nonsense of the game. Nearly every course in Britain was designed in days when the architect might assume the ball to go much less far than it does today. The result has been that some courses have been intolerably lengthened to accommodate the ball, while others, for want of money or space, have had to sink back into a drive-and-a pitch category. It really is too ludicrous. Can you imagine adjusting all of the courts at Wimbledon to accommodate somebody's new cannonball tennis ball?...I often think that followers of other games must think golfers mad when they see us solemnly adjusting some 35,000 holes to fit one ball instead of fitting one ball to 35,000 holes!




Boston Globe: Acushnet's IPO Next Week, Ticker Symbol GOLF

Dan Adams of the Boston Globe reports that Acushnet Holdings will be valued at $1.7 billion and is hoping to raise $435 million with the sale of 19.3 million shares. A whole bunch of people will get rich!

Adams writes:

The offering is expected to raise roughly $435 million with the sale of 19.3 million shares priced between $21 and $24. Previous investors, not the company, will reap the proceeds.

Thanks to a series of related transactions in advance of the offering, the majority of voting shares will go to Fila Korea Ltd., which has owned Acushnet since 2011.

The long awaited IPO may also accelerate the sale of Taylor Made and Golfsmith.


Kerr: "Nobody treats the LPGA better than Donald"

Beth Ann Nichols interviewed a dozen LPGA players for Golfweek and all but one supported keeping the 2017 U.S. Women's Open at Trump Bedminster.

Reporting from Incheon, South Korea where the KEB HanaBank Championship just concluded.

“I say keep it there,” said 2016 Women’s Open champion Brittany Lang. “I don’t think it’s related.”

Cristie Kerr, the 2007 USWO champion and a friend of Trump’s, feels the Republican presidential nominee should be forgiven.

“Nobody treats the LPGA better than Donald,” Kerr said.

It seems like ages ago, but Donald's Trump International was the longtime season-ending ADT Championship host, including through the rough Bivens years.


Notre Dame And Newport Getting '19 And '20 Senior Opens

The U.S. Senior Open is heading to some swell places: an American classic and a Coore/Crenshaw design that has emerged from early struggles to become one of America's best college courses.

Ryan Belmore reports exclusively that Newport CC in Rhode Island will get the 2020 edition where Phil Mickelson will be eligible but will pass because he's trying to earn a few more pre-Whistling Straits Ryder Cup points!

The full USGA release on Notre Dame's Warren Course landing the 2019 edition

“The USGA is proud to partner with the University of Notre Dame, an institution whose national and international student body is reflective of the 156-player field in the U.S. Senior Open Championship,” said Stuart Francis, USGA Championship Committee chairman. “The U.S. Senior Open is senior golf’s most coveted championship and we know the Warren Course will examine the players’ skills as they compete for the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy.”

Al Lesar of the South Bend Tribune has more details on how the bid came about and future enhancements to the course.

Bill Warren, who has named the course for his parents William K. and Natalie Warren, is enhancing his financial backing to help with course modifications and improvements over the next three years.

Logistically, the course will be turned upside down. All that will take will be changing the signs.
The current back nine will be the front nine of the tournament layout. Holes 7, 8 and 9 will be 10, 11 and 12. Holes 1 through 6 will be the finishing holes, allowing better access for spectators, grandstands and hospitality tents.


Tiger: "It was the ultimate capitulation."

As John Strege notes, the combination of rain, an already oversaturated product re-starting way too soon, and Tiger's WD has the new PGA Tour season dragging.

But as he always does, Tiger still overshadows the week. The SI gang kicked around his WD in this week's Confidential, with Alan Shipnuck declaring the end nigh and the WD the ultimate capitulation.

I also thought this from Gary Van Sickle is a key point for those trying, a week later, to understand how someone enters a tournament on Friday and WD's on Monday.

Johnny Miller said he wasn’t convinced Tiger would play give how gingerly Tiger got in and out of the carts at the Ryder Cup. Back surgery isn’t knee surgery, and knee surgery is no snap. Maybe Tiger is so used to being able to cobble together a game in a few days that he forgot that everything — his age, his body, his desire — is different now.


Trending: Sand Coming (Back) To St. Andrews!

We saw it at Troon and Turnberry and the world continued to revolve on its axis. So it is with great delight that Adam Lawrence reports on a New Course at St. Andrews effort to remove the gorse that so annoyed Old Tom Morris, and restore it to the sandy/grassy aesthetic of old.

This news is fun on multiple levels: this makes for a better looking course, better playing and better functioning. And what happens in St. Andrews has the potential to influence countless other links that have been compromised by gorse and the loss of dunes.

Lawrence quotes Graeme Taylor, course manager for the New and Jubilee.

Taylor told GCA that the reason for converting the gorse areas back to exposed sand was primarily ecological. “Bob Taylor, our ecologist from the Sports Turf Research Institute, actaully first suggested the exposed sand areas back in 2005,” he explained. “Bob explained that exposed sand was a habitat common to linksland and was ecologically important. We tried a few areas then, but nothing like the scale of what we are now doing. Bob visited us again after last year’s Open, and again suggested that creating open sand areas would be very beneficial ecologically, restore natural habitats, and be an interesting feature to otherwise scruffy areas.”

The news of an architect's involvement at St. Andrews is also intriguing given Ebert's fine work at Turnberry, Troon and presumably based on the track record of he and partner Tom Mackenzie, Portrush.

Could this be leading to a consulting role for The Old Course? Given the many disappointing tweaks in recent times and the overabundance of gorse that would have Old Tom fuming, let's hope so.


Quaker Ridge Wins Errant Golf Ball Case

Thanks to Steven T. for Dan Reiner's story suggesting that the homeowners who have battled Quaker Ridge are running out of options and courts to hear their claims. They earned a measely $7,300 in damages from the court.

The six-year-old case (!?), while appearing to be yet another first-world situation, is important because a victory here could have led to more such cases against golf courses. Given the actions of the homeowners and attempts by the club to appease them, could have set an even more dreadful legal precedent than the many already on the books.

The club stationed an employee at the second hole for 118 days in 2015 to secure an accurate count of ball incursions on the Behar property; the count found 40 balls may have entered the yard, which equates to about one ball every three days.

"Quaker Ridge has always been good neighbors to the surrounding homes around our golf course," Friedman said. "The significant steps we took to reduce the number of golf balls entering this yard were successful."

“It should not be unexpected that any house abutting a golf course, including the Behar’s house, would from time to time, receive three, four, five, or more balls on a given particular day of poor swings, and that there could be no liability on the part of a golf course for trespass, nuisance or concomitant damages," Wood said.


After Arnie: How His Two Closest Friends Are Coping

With the Ryder Cup and its assorted dramas taking our attention during what should have been a longer mourning and celebratory period for Arnold Palmer, it may be a nice time to reflect more on the late legend.

Perhaps Tiger's struggles also highlight just how extraordinarily stable Palmer's life was and he couldn't have done it without the help of Doc Giffin and Charlie Mechum.

Jaime Diaz caught up with them following Palmer's memorial service and how they are coping with the loss of their pal.

Both men were in contact with Palmer either in person or by phone several times a week. Now both are struggling with a tremendous void. The man whose public presence could dominate a playing field or a television screen, and who left a legacy like very few others who’ve ever lived, is most intensely missed by those who knew him privately. has a nice page of Palmer reads, including a recent post on one of the final congratulatory letters he sent.

And if you're looking for a great Palmer keepsake, Golf Digest's special tribute issue really is a tremendous bargain at $13.99 (for The Open Championship images alone). Palmer's A Life Well Played is now in stores after having its shipping date moved up.


LPGA Commish "Lucky" To Not Have Trump Bedminster Decision

Mike Whan, the LPGA Tour Commissioner, is punting on the issue of Trump Bedminster, the 2017 U.S. Women's Open and the presidential candidate's recently revealed comments.

From an unbylined story in The Age based on a KEB Hana Bank Championship press conference.

"In a strange way I'm lucky that the LPGA has no direct dealings with Donald Trump or Donald Trump properties," he said.

"Like any group we have people who are political in favour of different sides. I'm not here to be a politician, I know that what the players want is that I don't get so political as to limit opportunities for women.

"All I've said to the USGA is this, 'You have long since proven you support women's golf so if you tell us this is the right place to play then we're right there with you.'"

Nice, end-over-end punt.


Se Ri Pak Retires In Style

To many players she's the Tiger Woods of women's golf, a pioneer/all-time great and class act extraordinaire. Se Ri took one last turn around the links before calling it a career following round one of the KEB HanaBank Championship.

Beth Ann Nichols filing from Incheon, Korea with a nice Golfweek send-off handled in first rate fashion.

Generations of Se Ri Pak fans filled the grandstands as moving tributes played on the big screen and the angelic sound of a children’s choir filled the air.

It was a farewell fit for a queen.

“I must be the only athlete ever to be sent off with such a moving and beautiful retirement ceremony,” Pak said.

Pak’s first loop around the Ocean Course at the KEB HanaBank Championship was the last of her career. It had to end here on home soil, even if a nagging shoulder injury kept her from completing 72 holes. Pak cleared the stage for the next generation of “Se Ri’s” kids. She’ll hang around Sky72 the rest of the week signing autographs and making everyone – from CEOs to eager fans – feel like they matter most.

“She’s got class you can’t teach,” said Mo Martin.

An LPGA tribute video:


Greg Norman Redirects! World Grapples With New Shark Logo

Sam Weinman talks to Greg Norman about the big change from Great White Shark Enterprises to the Greg Norman Company, which will fascinate, shock and interest almost no one.

But why, oh why Shark is there a logo change when we were so attached to the multi-color shark...

"If I didn't redirect, it was going to die on the vine," Norman said by phone on Tuesday.

Hence the announcement earlier this month that Norman would be re-branding and transforming his business in 2017. Say goodbye to Great White Shark Enterprises, say hello to the Greg Norman Company.

Norman's repositioning of his company from a mostly consumer-facing brand to one that will expand to business-to-business services was an idea that began some 18 months ago, and has involved everything from the influx of new personnel, to a new partnership with Verizon that will revolve around educational technology.

And you think this blog doesn't bring you life-changing news.

FYI, Shark's gramming his way to a new beginning with this inspiration...

#mondaymotivation Amen!!!

A photo posted by Greg Norman (@shark_gregnorman) on

And btw, a hurricane to most people is not an opportunity to brand your fitness devotion and love of chainsawing shrubbery. Unless you are the Greg Norman Company.

I have picked up 851 of these palm fronds with more to go 2days after #hurricanematthew brushed by my property. #workout

A photo posted by Greg Norman (@shark_gregnorman) on


Safeway Pro-Am: Harold Takes Down (Airball?!) Steph Curry 2&1 

I get very emotional with the start of a new PGA Tour season, even after the last one just ended ten days ago. So it took me a while to watch this video of Harold Varner, gloriously stepping in for Tiger in the pro-am (ugh, another blow to the Big Cat ego). Nice airball Steph, but we love having you as a golfer anyway!

The Skratch video:




Will USGA Move U.S. Women's Open From Trump Bedminster?

Before I share highlights from two different calls on the USGA to move the 2017 U.S. Women's Open at Trump Bedminster, for the record I asked the USGA for comment on Sunday given the latest revelations of "locker room talk" and still have not received a reply back from the organization.

The predicament is obvious given the lack of time between now and the July Women's Open, along with the possibility of Donald Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States. Still, it's rather unusual to ignore media outlets asking for comment. Furthermore, USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, who was scheduled to appear on Morning Drive next week as part of its junior golf-themed programming, has cancelled due to a "scheduling conflict."

Since the USGA has already condemned the man for previous statements, it would seem that paying their way onto another course might be an understandable use of their massive $400 million-plus war chest. But with Trump Bedminster just down the street from Far Hills headquarters and some USGA employees holding memberships there, apparently making a change is more difficult for the organization than most can fathom.

When contacted, former USGA Executive Director David Fay said that while he's no longer there dealing with the dynamics involved and can't speak to the dynamics of the current Executive Committee, he says, "I'd like to think that I would be actively seeking out a replacement course."

And I think we can be pretty sure how our late friend Frank Hannigan would feel.

In a front page USA Today column, Christine Brennan says the USGA is facing "a terrible problem" in facing the "dreadful reality of holding the world's most important women's golf championship" at Trump Bedminster.

It must be moved. A Trump golf course, no matter how beautiful and centrally located it might be, cannot play host to an event that is the crown jewel of a women’s sport, with competitors from around the world — not after all the awful things Trump has said about minorities, immigrants and women, culminating in the lewd and disgusting video that was made public last Friday.

Steve Politi at wonders "what will it take" and "has to finally happen for the United States Golf Association to wake up and move one of its signature events — the U.S. Women's Open — from Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster?"

Politi did not receive a returned call from the USGA.

I called a USGA spokesman on Tuesday morning to see what, exactly, the Far Hills-based organization is thinking. The call, not surprisingly, still hasn't been returned 48 hours later.

Thinking? If USGA officials had been thinking at all, they would have moved this event the moment Trump declared his candidacy and made his offensive comments about Mexicans. They joined golf's other governing bodies then in a tepid anti-Trump statement.

Politi also predicted the USGA would fall back on logistics as its reasoning for not moving:

Still: It must find a way. New Jersey is home to several championship-level courses with a history hosting big events. Hamilton Farm is eight miles away from Trump National and has hosted LPGA events before. Canoe Brook, Ridgewood, Plainfield — all great courses, all tournament tested.

Hosting a less-than-perfect tournament is better than hosting one on Trump's course. When the USGA announced in 2015 that it was adding a U.S Women's Senior Open to its list of events, officials bragged about its role in growing the sport for women.

Sen. John McCain, one of the country's most prominent Republicans, dropped his support of Trump when that recording became public. So have countless of others. When will the USGA? What will it take? 


Harbour Town Not Looking Good After Matthew

Rex Hoggard at checks in with RBC Heritage tournament director Steve Wilmot, who hasn't been able to get to Harbour Town Golf Links post-Matthew but things don't sound good for Pete Dye's breakthrough design.

Hoggard reports:

“It’s unbelievable. There are trees everywhere,” said Steve Wilmot, the RBC Heritage tournament director. “I haven’t had a chance to see the course [Harbour Town Golf Links], so we won’t know the extent of the damage for a few days.”

Hilton Head Island had been closed because of the storm until Monday afternoon and there have been reports of fallen trees at Harbour Town, the site of the annual Tour stop.

This first look at the 18th hole is pretty disturbing:




Lee Westwood Has Seen 10 Forms Of Captaincy In 10 Ryder Cups, Eyes 2020 Cart Driving Gig

Charlotte Bates of Sky reports on Lee Westwood throwing himself into the ring for the 2020 Ryder Cup captaincy, believing he is more than qualified after witnessing "10 different forms of captaincy".

"I've played a lot in it and I'd like to maybe play again, but if I can't play again I'd like to do the assistant captain's role, see what goes on behind the scenes, although I paid a lot of attention to what Darren and the assistant captains were doing this year."

Thomas Bjorn continues to be the frontrunner for the 2018 gig of righting the wrongs of 2016.


Random! Justin Thomas Drug Tested After Showing Off His New (Photoshopped) Biceps

Justin Thomas Tweeted a fun (Photoshopped) image showing new, beefy arms on the notoriously thin emerging PGA Tour star.

He was randomly drug tested by the PGA Tour not long after, reports G.C. Digital working off of Thomas's Tweet.

Thomas, who took to Twitter to let everyone know the image was Photoshopped, said after the photo hit the Internet, "it's only right I got drug tested today."

The Tweet:


Phil: I'll Be At The Next Ryder Cup In France At 48's Bob Harig reports that Phil Mickelson has no plans to be fit for a Ryder Cup earpiece anytime soon.

Speaking before the Safeway Open in Napa, Mickelson was not exactly diplomatic about his goals.

"It's been 22 years since there have been 10 Americans that have been able to beat me [out to make the team], so I don't know why it would stop now,'' Mickelson said Wednesday at Silverado Resort, where he will play in the Safeway Open. "I plan on being on the team in France and absolutely one of my goals is to play in France because I've never been on a winning Ryder Cup team over in Europe. I want to win a Ryder Cup over there, and I want to be part of that as a player.''


Tribunal Offers Glimpse Into Behind-The-Scenes European Tour Executive Drama

Thanks to reader David for Joseph Curtis' Daily Mail story on an "employment tribunal" involving the European Tour versus Scott Kelly, 61, a former lieutenant under George O'Grady fired by new chief Keith Pelley.

Kelly is alleging age discrimination.

Scott Kelly, 61, travelled the world attending high profile tournaments for two decades, forged close relationships with important figures including Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco and even brokered a £126million sponsorship deal with Rolex.

But he claims to have been dismissed by the tour's new chief executive Keith Pelley after he was told to stop attending major events including the Solheim Cup, the female equivalent of the Ryder Cup, and adopt new 'data-based' approaches to gather sponsorship.

The tribunal in Reading heard that the Mr Pelley wanted Group Marketing Director Mr Kelly to use computer programmes to attract new partnerships.

He said he was even asked to take an 80 per cent salary cut and retirement options, which he refused.

The story goes on and on about the case, documenting the shift in sales approach and other interesting tidbits about the Pelley approach.


Report: "Donald Trump's Scottish golf courses lost more than ยฃ9 million last year"

The Daily Mail's Jenny Awford reports on losses for Trump Turberry and Trump Aberdeen that resulted in no UK corporate taxes. While the £9 million loss is eye-opening, the 2015 losses at Turnberry are easily explained by a closure for substantial renovations. Which, as I noted, turned out very well.

More eye-opening for Trump are the continued losses at Trump International Golf Links, a regular occurrence since the Martin Hawtree design opened in 2012.

But company accounts reveal the resort has lost money for the fourth year in a row since Trump struck the first ball at the championship 18-hole golf course.

It made a loss of £1million last year compared to losses of £1.1million in 2014, £1.8million in 2013 and £1.7million in 2012.


Video: Tiger Giving Clinic With Very Low Swing Speed

This video probably explains for most why Tiger couldn't tee it up at the Safeway. Not resembling any of the Tiger swings we all love an know, especially the length of the backswing. And through the ball.


As for reactions to his Friday commitment to the Safeway followed by this Monday WD, Mark Cannizzaro filed perhaps the most critical take yet:

But the more things like Monday happen with Woods, the more he becomes an unfortunate sideshow, detracting from what’s most important, which is his golf and his comeback to the game.
Eventually, people are going to stop caring, not only about how he plays whenever he comes back but whether he comes back at all.

Quite frankly, the more nonsense like Monday’s occurs, it really makes you wonder how badly Woods wants to come back at all.


He's Back! Peter Willett Explains His Column, Laments Timing

It's a bit all over the place but Peter Willett scores some decent make-up points in confessing his timing was poor and that he was pretty harshly targeted. I still don't quite grasp his approach to satire, however.

Willett, in a guest column for the Telegraph:

IT WAS A JOKE. Like the ‘Cheeseburger’-screaming simpletons, I also couldn’t control myself during Ryder Cup week. I was highlighting my own immaturity because I used petty insults and unflattering generalisations in my puerile outburst.

He also offers this, clearly after talking with his brother following Hazeltine:

But at Ryder Cups, certainly in America, we risk ruining the competition if we don’t endure it, or destroying the tournament’s reputation if it continues unchallenged. This is a dilemma far more worthy of discussion than my attempt at a joke - what to do with the classless b------s?