Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos

Just as one can see and appreciate beautiful paintings without being able himself to paint, so can one play and appreciate hundreds of golf courses without being able to develop that natural aptitude and artistic sense which, to my mind, contribute so largely to the successful and outstanding accomplishments of a golf architect. CHARLES BANKS


    

Tuesday
Apr192016

What Could Go Wrong, Files? Carnoustie For Jean Van de Velde's Senior Debut!

Maybe Bob Rotella convinced Jean Van de Velde to confront his Carnoustie demons in bold fashion, or maybe the Frenchman just has a sense of drama (and humor)? But either way, his decision to make his senior golf debut at the place he lost The Open, months after his birthday, is a bold one.

From a EuropeanTour.com report.

Now living in Hong Kong and a leading figure in this year’s 100th year celebrations for the Open de France at Le Golf National, Van de Velde confirmed he will be playing in his first event as a Senior at Carnoustie, knowing he has an old score to settle.

He laughed: "No, I don't get tired of people talking about 1999 and reminding me about what happened. I am lucky enough to still be involved in golf, but I am not as exposed as I was before so it doesn't come up as much in conversation.

"However, I know it is part of history. It is part of my life as well as a golfer. There were quite a few viewers that day - 250-300 million, I believe - so it would take me a while if I met all them and answered their questions about that day, from which I have great memories.”

For those of you who don't believe golf was played before the year 2000, Van de Velde's final hole:

Tuesday
Apr192016

Snapping From The Bahamas: Jordan, Rickie, Justin & Smylie

Golf's newest boy band has silenced their usual social feeds and seems to be unified over Snapchat for their Bahamas buddies trip.

I know cynics will find this all a bit suspicious, what with all the mentions of the Bahamas and the adorable Snapchat graphics, but can't you just take G.R. Team's report at GolfChannel.com for what it is: good old fashioned reporting on a vacation that may or may not irk the players involved, depending on their understanding of screen capture rules?

On a more serious note, Doug Ferguson reports that the aforementioned Snappers and select peers have been visiting Jack Nicklaus for advice, who loves it.

''I don't know why they do it. They seem to think it's going to help them,'' Nicklaus said with a wink and a smile. ''I get a big kick out of it, sure. Why would you not get a big kick out of it? I'm 76 years old and I've got a 22-year-old kid coming here asking me for advice.

''How many 22-year-olds ask anybody for advice?''

Tuesday
Apr192016

Why Adam Scott Not Playing In Rio Hurts

Because he's well-liked and has staked himself to a consistent Olympic position, Adam Scott won't take much heat for deciding he'd like to have a life this summer while trying to win The Open and the PGA.

His statement via Golf Australia:

“My decision has been taken as a result of an extremely busy playing schedule around the time of the Olympics and other commitments, both personal and professional,” Scott said today.

“I have informed the Australian team captain (Ian Baker-Finch) and relevant authorities, who are understanding of my position and I wish the Australian Olympic team the very best of luck in Rio.”

However, unlike Vijay's decision to pass after intially expressing enthusiasm, Scott's decision to pass is a blow to the Olympic golf movement. Not a deadly one. Just a blow. Here is why:

- As a global golfer who represents very international brands in Rolex, Titleist and Uniqlo, Scott appreciates his place as an international ambassador. He didn't take this decision lightly.

- The Rio Olympic course is by an architect he likes who channeled sandbelt aesthetics and principles. So the golf course was not an issue.

- He was a lock to make Rio and could easily plan for the inconvenience, yet still chose to pass. At least, unlike Vijay, he didn't mention a desire to win some FedExCup points.

- This may be Scott's best chance at a medal. Four years from now he will be pushing forty and less likely to have his game as sound as it is now.

- Coupled with any more high profile passes on Rio, there is a danger of momentum building toward a negative sensibility come early August.

All of this goes back to the PGA of America committing to Baltusrol very early for 2016 to tie into the anniversary of their founding, along with the leadership of golf finding no major scheduling solutions to alleviate this summer's logjam without sacrificing money or a spot on the network schedule. Dropping the utterly droppable WGC in Akron for a year would have been a nice gesture, though even that might not have changed the thinking of someone like Adam Scott.

But if more players drop out and the schedule turns out to be the reason, the decision to work the PGA Championship around the fall football schedule will have major implications for Olympic golf.

 

Tuesday
Apr192016

Video: Watch Brandel Get A Bit Weepy Over Sidekick Frank

Marksbury!

Who knew Jessica could draw blood in the form of tears, especially when the discussion was over a questionable Rules of Golf drop? Either way, nice work by Golf.com's host to bring Brandel Chamblee to tears over his admiration ("He's doing his job") for Frank Nobilo's commentary during the Tiger drop debacle.

To recap, Chamblee wanted Tiger to WD from the 2013 Masters but Frank would have none of it. The two later worked out any remaining grievances at the 2014 PGA with a sensational on-air manspat.

Anyway, this lovely fireside chat over Old Fashioned's (or are those Arnold Palmer's?) is not embeddable and you'll have to deal with the seasickness-inducing page that is Golf.com, but you should be able to get it working here.

"At noon, (Nobilo) came in and sat down and he brought a perspective that I had not thought of. I remember, he was on the air and he was speaking. And it was ... it was just beautiful. I just thought 'that's a great mind.' And to see someone with that passion ... you know, I remember thinking 'He's doing his job.' ... When I see someone, in anything, that is passionate about what they're doing, it moves me. And he is and that's why I love working with him."

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh....

Monday
Apr182016

Video: Preview Of Real Sports Segment On Trump In Scotland

And I had such high hopes for Alex Salmond and Donald Trump patching things up!

HBO's Bernard Goldberg heads back to Scotland to follow up on his reporting from a few years ago when everyone was a lot thinner and younger. What he finds appears to be a lot less enthusiasm for Trump.

The segment debuts Tuesday, April 19th.



Monday
Apr182016

Forward Press: Fighting Off The Post Masters Blues!

Trying to find a positive in a week that features the Valero, the Shenzhen, Swinging Skirts and Big Cedar Lodge Legends. No, we are not living in a Dan Jenkins novel. Yet.

That said, Nicklaus, Trevino and Player are teeing it up this week, so how bad can things be?

Read it all in the Forward Press.

And that sinkhole opening up on the course were the Legends is played? It's now an attraction:

Monday
Apr182016

Why Is Jordan Spieth's Loss Still Resonating?

I was minding my own business today but sporting a Masters-logoed hat, prompting an unexpected conversation about Jordan Spieth blowing the 2016 Masters. Little did this soul know that just hours before Gary Williams and I discussed how the topic won't go away.

Obviously anytime an elite player blows a chance to win a major, it's news. But the outpouring, concern and downright sympathy is kind of surprising since Spieth already owns one Green Jacket. Some of it speaks to his rise to a level beyond elite golfer and into global athletic icon.

Yet it seems like concern for his well-being following this Masters has reached Norman/Masters or Mickelson/USOpen levels of sadness for Spieth's plight. But as Gary and I discussed, he already has one and seems destined to contend there annually, making it hard to feel too much sadness.

Jim McCabe talked to players at Harbour Town who were having similar conversations about the final nine struggles and they were taking sides in a "should have" vs. "could have" won debate.

It will go down as a “should have” tournament, Geoff Ogilvy said. Even though it was three days later, Ogilvy was still processing the events of the final round of the 2016 Masters. He did not play this year, but he watched all of Saturday and Sunday and like any other fan, Ogilvy was stunned at what happened at the start of the back nine — a bogey at 10, a bogey at 11, then two balls in the water and a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 12th.

Ogilvy could interpret things differently than most fans because as a guy who plays at the top of the game he knew Spieth was struggling with his game. “I think he has to take that out (of the week), that I can lead a major by five with nine to play with not even remotely close to my best.”

But Ogilvy concedes that the bottom line for Spieth is this: “Because I got five in front, I should have finished it.”

Monday
Apr182016

Video: Black Swans & Na-Yeon Choi's 18th Green Recovery 

I'm a little slow to have seen Na Yeon-Choi's 18th hole impressive recovery in Saturday's Lotte Championship final round (won by Minjee Lee).

Not only does she go left-handed from a lake bank, but then there is the uncredentialed audience watching her ball go toward the hole. Tom Abbott and Karen Stupples on the call from Hawaii:

You've gotta see this! @nychoi87's "trick shot" to save par on 18 at the #lottechampionship

A video posted by @lpga_tour on Apr 15, 2016 at 6:09am PDT

 

Monday
Apr182016

Six, Schmix: Two-Year-Old With Amazing Clubhead Speed

Forget the amazing 6-year-olds, look at the clubhead speed this 2-year-old is generating.

 

Monday
Apr182016

Even Danny Willett's Instructor Thought The Masters Was Over

Granted, Mike Walker had an early flight the next day, had delayed his honeymoon to help Danny Willett prepare and couldn't do anything from home.

Still, as James Corrigan writes in a lengthy Telegraph piece, the instructor to Danny Willett (along with the legendary Pete Cowan) turned off the telly and prepared to sleep. That was after Jordan Spieth had birdied four holes in a row.

“I actually went to bed at 9.30pm when Jordan birdied nine to go five clear, thinking that was it,” Walker said. “But then an hour later my phone went mad. I turned on the TV and Spieth was just finishing off his [quadruple bogey] seven on the 12th. Danny was leading and I was like ‘wow’.”

What followed next is already enshrined in golfing folklore. “I had to have a few beers and then Liz [Walker’s wife] cracked open the Prosecco. Even after all that, I couldn’t get to sleep. So much stuff was going through my head. I didn’t hear the alarm. I spoke to Dan about 9am UK time, which was 4am over there and he was still going strong. We were both in a state of shock.”

The story goes on to look at how Walker and Cowan work with the clients they share and the lift this has given UK elite golfers like Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Monday
Apr182016

Titleist Entering The "Super Premium" Club Market

With PXG paving the way, it was only a matter of time before other companies introduced
"super premium" clubs.

Mike Stachura reports on the effort being made by Titleist to move into concept-cars-you-can-buy market.

“This is not a cosmetic foray into super premium products,” he said. “This is really about how can we go to the next level of performance by having all the constraints taken off of us and something that we can make more than two of.”

Of course, that also means no constraints in terms of cost to the consumer. The C16 driver will start at $1,000, while the C16 irons start at $2,700. The clubs will be strictly limited at just 1,500 drivers and 1,000 sets of irons. In addition, interested buyers can only purchase the clubs after a clubfitting at Titleist’s California or Massachusetts headquarters, or by visiting one of more than 80 locations where fitting events will be held every Thursday for the next two months.

I guess my initial reaction is a simple "what took so long?" But there could also be a backlash of sorts too, which may explain why the major companies have taken a while to go this route. Thoughts?

Sunday
Apr172016

Grace Wins, Els Strikes Back, DeChambeau's Debut (T4)

Kyle Porter considers some of the numbers from Bryson's DeChambeau and while they certainly don't guarantee success, it's an eye-opening debut a week after a strong run at the Masters. Will Gray on the successful start.

His post-round interview with Scott Walker:

And there was this from Golf Channel's Justin Ray:

 

 

How about Ernie Els recovering from his Masters struggles to finish T14th!

Oh, and small-ball grinder Branden Grace, inspired by Els this week (Will Gray reports), finally won a tour event after contending many times, including majors. Look out Players and U.S. Open! The highlights:

Sunday
Apr172016

Video: Bryson's CBS Interview, Round 3 Heritage

A very enjoyable chat between Nick Faldo, Jim Nantz and Bryson DeChambeau following round three of the RBC Heritage where they discuss his approach to wedge play. His "clock" system is reminscent of one Dave Pelz developed, only with more formulas.

His "clock" system is reminscent of one Dave Pelz developed, only with more formulas.


Naturally, Morning Drive was discussing his approach on live TV and one of these snuck in...

Sunday
Apr172016

1960'd Vintage Augusta National Sign Goes For $25k

Mike Stachura reports on the auction bidding starting at $5k and finishing at 25k for the entrance sign to Magnolia Lane once left for dead in a trash can.

Note how the bids jumped from $6,655 to $15,692 in a matter of three hours.



Saturday
Apr162016

Video: Yet Another 6-Year-Old With A Perfect Swing

Jaden R. Soong is 6 years old, a Dodgers fan, is a big Under Armour fan (until he gets a 2016 Masters hat) and a burgeoning golfer from Los Feliz, California. And his swing wasn't always this perfect as this compilation shows. And if you want to study his positions a little closer, there is this view too.

Keep up the great work Jaden!

Woohoo, it's Friday!🏌#fridayturnup 🔊 @majorlazer (feat. Nyla & Fuse ODF) - Light It Up 🎶 @uagolf

A video posted by Jaden R. Soong (@jadenrsoong) on

Saturday
Apr162016

Video: France Would Be Really Good At Relay Golf

Here's another form of golf that would be more fun that 72 holes of stroke play in the Olympics. Ok, the cart part is a little strange, but we could work through that.

Judging by the scores, and this comment from Paul Lawrie (thanks reader Brian), this is the most fun the European Tour's finest had this week at Valderamma in the Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation:


Thursday
Apr142016

Poll: Post-Masters Distance Average & Bifurcation

Mike Stachura points out at GolfDigest.com how the PGA Tour driving distance average is on course for a new record high in spite of tough driving conditions at Augusta National this year.

This is news because we've been told by the governing bodies that things have flatlined, but any further "significant" increase on top of the significant increases of the last twenty years might lead to action.

The average drive of 277.8 for the week at the Masters was the lowest number for the tournament since 2008, and nearly 10 yards off of last year’s average of 286.2. But the PGA Tour average driving distance year to date is still almost 290 yards. The current 289.4 average marks the highest all-time, 1.6 yards over last year’s high mark.

But here's the one that'll make men in navy sweat.

Curiously, the PGA Tour record for average driving distance at the end of any year was set in 2011 at 290.9, but by Masters week that year, the average was 285.3, four yards shy of this year’s hot pace.

Now that more people have more understanding of the issues ramifications than ever thanks in part to an economic crisis, water issues, the lack of pleasure found in a 7,500 yard couse and a greater understand that distance is all relative for the elite player, it seems more people than ever understand the sensibility of bifurcating the rules between elite and hacker.

Adam Scott's recent comments to PGATour.com's Brian Wacker about limiting driver head size became more appealing to me (in light of what he said about the change in the driver's role). I don't know how much of an impact distance-wise such a size reduction would have, but given all of the whining about how difficult it would be to regulate the ball, this could be a solution that is more easily enforced and allow manufacturers to sell something to wannabe pros (and slightly larger versions of the same club to the general public).

But most of all, such a reduction in driver head size could return the reward for driving the ball with length and accuracy, while allowing the sport to put an end to the unproductive expansion of its 18-hole footprint.

What is the most sensible bifurcation solution for golf?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Thursday
Apr142016

Video: Camilo Doesn't Like A Ruling Everyone Else Agreed On

His scorekeeper and first round leader Brendan Grace didn't see the ball as embedded, and the first official on the scene (John Mutch) did not see it either.

Add the second official, Gary Young, and you'd think the trifecta of opinions would have made Camilo Villegas more accepting.

Nope.

As Alex Myers notes, Villegas was pretty displeased. As I watched this live, I was more amazed by how close the camera man got to the action. The sound was pretty swell too, so nice job by the CBS crew to capture a PGA Tour pro at his whiniest!

Thursday
Apr142016

Had To Be Done Files, Rookie To Weir Edition: #hangitupmike 

The second alternate at Harbour Town for the RBC Heritage, tour rookie Dawie van der Walt was a bit miffed to see sponsor's invite Mike Weir post a 78 and WD.

Weir is a neverending saga of injuries and short starts--24 weeks in a row with an MC or WD--a once great player sadly taking up a spot when he plays tour events these days. So I can understand the frustration of van der Walt, whose original Tweet disappeared.

And that's why we have Will Gray at GolfChannel.com to summarize the event, with some pretty stunning stats on Weir's recent run of futility.

"Gota (sic) love a guy who gets an invite into a Tour event and then WD after the first round," van der Walt wrote, closing his tweet with the hashtag, "#hangitupmike."

Van der Walt later backed off, sort of.

Thursday
Apr142016

Jordan Spieth Did Not Cause Under Armour's Stock To Tank

Several stories (like this one) coupled Jordan Spieth's Masters loss with an analyst report as the cause of an early week plunge in Under Armour shares.

But the Baltimore Sun's Christopher Dinsmore says the plunge was all about a Morgan Stanley analysis that affirmed an "underweight" rating on the UA stock.

Morgan Stanley analyst Jay Sole, who follows Under Armour, reportedly issued a downbeat report this weekend that said he is worried about weakening demand for women's apparel and running shoes and affirmed his "underweight" rating on the company's stock.

He called Under Armour's growth in running shoes "unsustainable" and, coupled with slowing sales to women, will result in an earnings miss in the near future.

Under Armour reports first quarter results on April 21.

"We think a large part of the issue is UA is fully penetrated in its traditional sporting goods channel and perhaps more importantly, the industry is experiencing a slowdown," explained Sole, according to this report on Benzinga.