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


    

Wednesday
Apr132016

Michael Greller On The 2016 Masters Loss

Jordan Spieth looper Michael Greller took to Facebook to thank people for the sympathy messages and to reiterate that he and his man will be better off for the 2016 Masters. It's worth a read just to see a caddie put together such lucid thoughts in writing.

The best way to read this is by clicking on the link, then click on each image of the posting.

 

 

Tuesday
Apr122016

A Few Final Masters Reads, Photos And Videos

Instead of a bunch of random posts, some random items to put a bow on the gift that was the 80th Masters...

--Danny Willett went to bed about 6 and got up soon after and went for a jog around 9:30 am Monday. Oh, and Buford T. Justice and friends were called out to the house due to a noisy party the night before. Tim Rosaforte with a few Morning Drive notes on the winner.

--According to this Irish Mirror story, Sir Alex Ferguson was among the revelers waking up the neighbors. This ESPN staff item says Ferguson gave Willett great advice, but Ferguson bet on Jordan Spieth.

--Willett ten percenter Chubby Chandler tells RTE Sport many things about his client, including Chubby's view that Willett can play just about any course, wants to be world No. 1, has a bad back on occasion that slowed his progression to a major title and works hard in the gym.

--Willett's Sunday conversation with Todd Lewis of Golf Channel:

--Darren Clarke is feeling a lot better about his team after Masters week.

--Marty Hackel and Alex Holmes with the best and worst player fashion.

--Scott Michaux found the Masters unforgettable in many ways and issues his annual post-toonamint Birdies, Pars and Bogeys.

--Some tremendous images from Golf Digest's team, including J.D. Cuban, Dom Furore, Nick Laham, and Donald Miralle.

And nice catch by Joel Beall to see that Nissan heard about Jim Nantz pressing Smylie Kaufman in Hardinesque fashion on his 2008 Murano and offering a new model free.

Tuesday
Apr122016

Bryson DeChambeau Goes With Cobra/Puma

Hardly a shocker, given that Bryson DeChambeau's clothes last week discreetly sported a Puma logo.

Nonetheless he's officially on board wearing Puma's and using Cobra clubs for his PGA Tour debut at Harbour Town this week.

Mike Johnson and Mike Stachura with the lowdown on DeChambeau's club specs.

Ron Green Jr. reports that Bryson intends to keep wearing the Hogan cap and explains how that started.

“I put it on and won the event and looked at my dad and said, ‘I can’t stop this,’ ” DeChambeau said.

It’s also a nod to the late Payne Stewart, who wore a similar style.

During the news conference – two hours before the Cobra Puma
announcement – DeChambeau wore a more traditional golf cap. He saves the other style for game days.

“That’s my cape,” DeChambeau said. “So I only wear that for tournament days.”

Greg Moore with the irons the current U.S. Amateur champion is using this week:


And SkratchTV helped him unveil his Spackler. I'd give it an 8.

Tuesday
Apr122016

Nightmare Scenario Averted: Vijay To Pass On Rio Games

The only thing more potentially deadly for Olympic golf's future than alligators and Zika viruses would have been a shock Gold Medal win by Fiji's Vijay Singh.

The Big Fijian is still attempting to play the PGA Tour and needs to those FedExCup points instead of the Olympic golf he once pined for so much that he agreed to let the Prime Minister announce his role.

Rex Hoggard reports.

“The timing of it, you know I have to focus over here [on the PGA Tour]. I would like to play the Olympics, but the Zika virus, you know and all that crap,” Singh told GolfChannel.com on Tuesday at the RBC Heritage.

He won't be missed. 

Tuesday
Apr122016

Can Steve Stricker Still Be A Ryder Cup Captain Too?

On the news that Steve Stricker will captain the 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup team (with Nick Price captaining the Internationals at the loathsome Liberty National), this would seem to lessen the chances of Stricker also guiding the United States to 2020 Ryder Cup glory in his native Wisconsin.

Not since Jack Nicklaus has someone served as both Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup captain. And, well, Steve is no Jack.

But only the infamous PGA of America task force Task Force "Task Force" knows the answer (from their two meetings).

Tuesday
Apr122016

Masters Ratings: CBS Down A Bit, And Those Live From #'s...

SportsMediaWatch.com reports an 8.5 overnight rating for CBS's Sunday Masters 2016 coverage, down 12% from last year (9.6) and up 9% from 2014 (7.8).

While it's the fourth-lowest for final round coverage of the past two decades, there was no Tiger and as Matt Yoder suggests at Awful Announcing the decline isn't that significant.

A more eye-opening set of numbers involves Golf Channel's Live From coverage leading up to the CBS weekend telecast. As already noted, the weekday Live From coverage nearly doubled ESPN, and the weekend numbers were shockingly good.

Saturday's Golf Channel numbers went like this in terms of average number of viewers, starting with the 8-9 am ET Morning Drive (156k avg.), followed by the Live From 9-10 am ET window and ending with the 2-3 pm ET window looking like this: 334k, 616k, 768k, 947k, 1.091m, 1.118m.

Sunday's numbers were just as strong in average viewers, starting with Morning Drive at 8 am with a 151k average, followed by Live From at 9 am to 2 pm with hourly averages looking like this: 280k, 288k, 597k, 879k, 1.037m.

Sunday's Life From following the CBS telecast drew a 294,000 average audience, showing once again how much viewers value the lead-in coverage over recaps, even when the lead-in coverage is on a different network.

Numbers were not available for CBS Sports Network's Masters On The Range coverage.

Tuesday
Apr122016

30 For 30 Short: "His clubs are used. His golf balls are milk cartons. His course is Manhattan."

The pitch was promising, the execution solid though I'm not sure I really sensed how golf saved the life of Patrick Q.F. Barr in this 30 for 30 Short.

In the first of several shorts to be released by ESPN in the next few weeks, director Christopher Andre’ Marks tells the story of “Tiger Hood” and a Barr finding new purpose in life through his makeshift Manhattan golf. He hearkens a bit to old featherie makers, only his medium: old milk cartons.

There are worse ways to lose 7 minutes of your life you'll never get back...though I'd say Gene Wojciechowski's report from Korea on Sang Moon Bae is a better watch.

Monday
Apr112016

Spieth Reads: Some Of The Reactions To His 2016 Masters

I'm battling some balky wi-fi at 34,000 feet, but got to read some of the reporting and commentary related to Jordan Spieth's 2016 Masters meltdown.

Brian Wacker at PGATour.com with a full rundown of the day for Spiethphiles and includes some post-green jacket ceremony color, including this:

A short while later, Spieth emerged from the Champions' Locker Room and onto the balcony that wraps around the front of the building before turning the corner to go down the stairs, toward the nearby parking lot and into the awaiting silver Mercedes SUV courtesy car, but not before offering one, final thought that best summed up what he was feeling.

“They just told me I can’t take my Green Jacket with me,” said Spieth, hoping the attempt at humor would dull the pain.

Phil Casey quotes Nick Faldo, who offered his condolensces to Spieth on the way to the parking lot, and who says Spieth will be scarred by the day.

"What happened to Jordan it was so sudden, just bam. It was 10 minutes of golf. That's the harshness of it."

Ian O'Connor at ESPN.com with some behind-the-scenes sights and sounds along with what Spieth's loss deprived the 22-year-old of in the eyes of history.

Spieth was going to become the youngest player in the Masters era to have claimed three majors. He was going to become the game's first back-to-back, wire-to-wire major winner. He was going to win a second Masters in his third appearance after it took Tiger Woods seven appearances to win his second, and after it took Jack Nicklaus and Palmer six appearances to win their second.

At 22, Spieth was going to match the number of green jackets won by Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Seve Ballesteros and Tom Watson. He was going to join Woods, Nicklaus and Faldo as the only players to win two consecutive Masters, and he was going to become the first Masters champion since World War II to have overcome at least three double-bogeys.

Gary Williams and I discussed on Morning Drive how it's not quite as awful as some may think if Spieth can put the week into the proper perspective. After he's snapped a few clubs over the knee and dragged his golf bag tied to the wing of his jet ride home.

Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com with some of the range scenes where it was apparent Spieth was battling something early in a day where he arrived three hours before his tee time.

Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com notes the many parallels with the 1996 Masters.

Michael Bamberger on the shame and shock of it all.

Yes, all this is far, far easier said than done. But he’s the best golfer in the world and all he needed to do was this: hood that 9-iron a hair, to give his ball a better chance of holding its line through the wind and, most significantly, take the water out of play. That’s the first rule on 12, as Spieth well knows. Even if he made a bogey from the back bunker, or a three-putt bogey for that matter, he still had the two par-5s left, and he’s likely to play them in one or two under.

What Jordan Spieth did was a shocker and it will be discussed for the rest of his life. If he wins seven career majors, the obits will say he might have had an eighth. If he wins 17, the same. What he needs to do now, of course, is win that third one quickly. Here comes the broken record: easier said than done.

Monday
Apr112016

First World Files: The Technology Gap At Augusta National

I'm feeling even better about the case made in today's Golf World about the increasingly problematic technology gap at Augusta National after running into some fine first-time patrons at the airport.

The inability to access cell phones during the Masters is indeed the firstidiest of first world problems, but as I explain, the dearth of information available to patrons is a glaring problem given (A) an increasingly connected world (B) only manual scoreboards and no standard bearers, and (C) the mission statement of Bobby Jones to provide an optimum spectating experience.

The feedback in two very fun random chats with four people, all first time Masters attendees, was the same: everything lived up to expectations until Sunday afternoon when trying to follow the tournament as the outcome unfolded. The speed of the scoreboards and rapid removal of group scores without updating what a player made, proved the only disappointment for the folks I spoke to. 

Anyway, check out the column if you are inclined to hear about the problems of those who got to be in the grounds for another spectacular Masters.

Monday
Apr112016

Mike Whatney, Bryson's Dad And A New Kidney

Bryson DeChambeau's Masters debut (and pending pro debut) was played with his dad Jon currently facing kidney transplant surgery.

Tim Rosaforte with a Golf World column on the generous donation to be made by Mike Watney, former Fresno State golf coach and uncle to Nick.


Monday
Apr112016

ShackHouse Episode 4: 2016 Masters In Review

Episode 4 of ShackHouse is live and we cover all things Masters, from the Spieth 12th hole, to Danny Willett to sandwiches to Protracer to oh so much more.
 The show is now on Stitcher!

The Soundcloud page for those so inclined.

The iTunes link to this week's show

The iTunes link to the show page.

A link to the
Callaway Community mentioned where you can interact, learn, get sneak previews and more.

Danny Willett's specs, touched on in the opening.

Our friends at Harry's, who are offering a great promo code mentioned in the show, as is MeUndies. Check them out.

A big thank you for all of the input and support so far and for currently making ShackHouse #2 on iTunes Sports podcast ranking!

Monday
Apr112016

Is There Any Chance Willett's Win Is Remembered More?

We know from experience that history remembers the major collapses more than the winners. Even Nick Faldo, a three-time Masters champion and legend of the modern game is rarely remembered for his impeccable final round 67 twenty years ago when Greg Norman posted 78.

Not that Danny Willett will care today as he wears the green jacket, is reunited with his family and finally gets the respect he deserves after two years of world class golf.

Is there any chance in time that this will ever be remembered for anything but Spieth's 12th hole collapse?

I actually feel there is a glimmer of hope, assuming Willett keeps up the great play and Spieth is able to put in perspective a week that had him clearly the dominant leaderboard figure even with a B- ball-striking game, and continue his elite play. But in a strange way, if the rest of his year is a wipeout because of the 12th hole antics, the perception of this Masters could change even more.

Either way, a great week of entertaining moments and drama, summed nicely here by the Masters.com video team:

Sunday
Apr102016

Golfweek's Review Of CBS's 2016 Masters Coverage

Martin Kaufmann comes down pretty hard on CBS's 2016 Masters coverage. I can't really speak to what the home viewing was like as The Masters provides amazing monitors that allow us to access multiple feeds. I will say that Lee Westwood's amazing 15th hole eagle chip in that got him within one of Danny Willett took an excruciating amount of time to show.

And there was this, a huge issue in the eyes of most viewers if polls and social media are to be believed about the #1 request of fans. (Apparently they've been using it here since 2013, which would mean they definitely have the club's blessing.)

Beyond that, however, the Masters was noteworthy for its lack of even the most basic technology, such as Protracer. And for all of the talk about the hills and slopes and wild undulations on Augusta National’s greens, we never see any 3-D hole graphics. Similarly, for all of the talk of high winds on Saturday, did we ever see a wind gauge?

Here’s something odd: Sky Sports and the BBC use Protracer and 3-D graphics in their Masters coverage for U.K. viewers. Why is the coverage overseas more sophisticated than what we see in the U.S.?

(A CBS spokeswoman provided no explanation as to why Protracer is not used in the U.S. telecasts.)

Sunday
Apr102016

Nicklaus: "I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth."

Interesting that Mr. Nicklaus felt compelled to issue a sympathy message.

I think the whole golfing world feels for Jordan Spieth. He had a chance to do something truly special and something very few have done before—and be the youngest to accomplish that—and he just didn’t pull through. My heart goes out to him for what happened, but I know that Jordan is a young man who will certainly learn from this experience and there will be some good that comes out of this for him. He’s a wonderful talent and a wonderful young man.

I’ve watched Danny Willett play on television a few times and when I’ve seen him swing the golf club, I have thought, “Well, this young man looks like he’s a pretty darn good player.” He had moved himself up to 12th in the world, so he’s obviously done something right and was playing very good golf coming into Augusta. What impressed me so much is that when he realized he was in a position to win, he finished it—and that’s the mark of a champion: To finish a good round; give yourself an opportunity to win; and when the other fellow doesn’t finish, you’ve got to be there. Danny Willett was and kudos to him. What an amazing couple of weeks for him—from becoming a new father to becoming the latest Masters winner. My congratulations go to Danny for what he did.

Sunday
Apr102016

Peter Willett Brings His Brother Home On Twitter

He mentioned having shared a bath, took issue with Jordan Spieth's slow play and shared his inner-most thoughts with the world as brother Danny won the 2016 Masters.  Joell Beall with a nice roundup.

Peter Willett on Twitter.



Sunday
Apr102016

Jordan Spieth On The 12th Hole Tee Shot

It's amazing to think that the player who prides himself as a tactician and who has proven himself at a young age to out-think a course fell victim to a tride-and-true axiom of Augusta: do not play toward the 12th hole's Sunday pin placement.

From Spieth's post-round comments:

Just a lapse of concentration on 12 and it cost me.

Q.  How disappointing is this?

JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, it's a tough one.  I knew the lead was 5 with nine holes to play.  And I knew that those two bogeys weren't going to hurt me.  But I didn't take that extra deep breath and really focus on my line on 12.  Instead I went up and I just put a quick swing on it.

Temptation? Pressure? Poor swing? The genius of the 12th? A little of all the above.

He continued...

Q.  What did you learn today?
    JORDAN SPIETH:  Yeah, I mean just ‑‑ I learned what I learned in 2014.  And it's just stay committed.  12 is a 150‑yard shot and I feel I can bleed it next to the hole, and it's a stock 9‑iron for me.  But that hole for whatever reason just has people's number.  Stay committed behind the bunker.  That's about ‑‑ it was really one swing.

Sunday
Apr102016

Video: The 2016 Masters Final Round Aces

It was a hole-in-one-fest on 16! In case you were doing something besides watching the Masters final round.

Starting with Louis Oosthuizen's epic ace gets a full assist from J.B. Holmes:

 

Shane Lowry's 8-iron ace on No. 16:

Davis Love's 16th hole ace:

Sunday
Apr102016

2016 Masters: Your Kneejerk Reactions, If You Can Move

Well no one saw that coming. Last man to enter who is, albeit, the least known best player in the world, shows up and clutches up the finish. Nice going Danny Willett, 2016 Masters winner.

Your initial reactions, while I go hear what the participants had to say.

Sunday
Apr102016

2016 Masters Final Round Primer And Notes

There was a surreal sight in watching post-round interviews following another tough round three.

The young guns looked spent. The geezer from Germany who has won two of these? Fresh as a camelia.

Christine Brennan on Langer having a chance to win one for the old guys.

Matthew Rudy looks at how Langer is doing it with the unanchored stroke.

Scott Michaux on the showdown fizzling in the difficult conditions.

Sam Weinman notes that McIlroy, amazingly, still has hope.

Rory's 77 was a killer, but he's not out of it. Jim Litke on McIlroy losing ground to Spieth in the aura sense.

GolfDigest.com's crew did manage to find some birdies and bogeys from an ugly Saturday.

The players have a long, excruciating wait Sunday. Steve DiMeglio talks to Rory McIlroy as well as former Masters winners on how they pass the time, including Ben Crenshaw and Nick Faldo.

Kevin Casey at Golfweek.com on Smylie Kaufman and Hideki Matsuyama lurking. Wayne Staats on the Kaufman family and friends following their (young) man around.

Smylie Kaufman's interview with Jim Nantz was a gem according to Luke Kerr-Dineen. I found it veering into Hord Hardin territory.

Billy Horschel experienced a horrible break on 15 in stride, amazingly. I wrote it up for GolfDigest.com. Here is the video posted by The Big Lead.

As Weinman notes, Sky Sports asked for follower questions for Monty and it didn't go well. An #askMonty link for your reading pleasure.

Kindred on DeChambeau. The kid is hanging around, he just can't quite master the par-5s.

Lee Trevino tells Phil Stuckenborg that the players are "gutless" to not fight back against the club's cell phone policy.

Sang Moon Bae
is doing his 21 months of military service in Korea and Gene Wojciechowski goes to Korea to check in with the man who's missing out on this week's Masters.

After a soft first day, ESPN's Friday Masters ratings were strong and up over last year.

ESPN’s live telecast of Round 2 of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday, April 8, earned a 2.2 U.S. household rating, averaging 3.060 million viewers, according to fast national data from Nielsen Media. The telecast aired from 3-7:30 p.m. ET.
 
The rating and viewership rose for the second consecutive year for the Friday telecast, up from a 2.1 rating and an average of 2.952 million viewers in 2015 and a 1.8 rating and an average of 2.465 million viewers in 2014.
 
Viewers were able to watch more than half of the round played by leader Jordan Spieth as he and the other players battled wind and tough scoring conditions in the 80th edition of the Masters.
 
Friday’s telecast peaked with a 2.6 rating and 3.727 million viewers from 5:30-6 p.m. During that time, the telecast followed longtime golf star Tom Watson, competing in his final Masters but not making the cut, as he completed his last round at Augusta with a walk to the 18th green.

Interesting note from SportsTVRatings on Golf Channel Live From coverage vs. ESPN's during the Masters telecast run-up:

Masters official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Tee times.

CBS's coverage in the United States begins at 2 pm ET and is simulcast at Masters.com. Jim Nantz Remembers features Jack Nicklaus at 1 pm.

The Leaderboard.

Masters Live coverage starts at 10:50 am ET with Featured Group coverage of Hunter Mahan-Justin Thomas followed by Sergio Garcia-Bubba Watson (10:35), Daniel Berger-Rory McIlroy (1:55 p.m.) and Jason Day-Dustin Johnson (2:25 p.m.).

All other groups and Masters.com coverage info is here in Ward Clayton's five things to look for.

Amen Corner Live commences with the first group through the corner, at approxmiately 11:45 am ET.

Saturday
Apr092016

2016 Masters Day Three This And That

Good news! It's not raining and there was no frost this morning at Augusta National.

Bad news? It's cool, the wind is blowing hard (already at 11 am) and the forecaster appears to have nailed this one. It's not looking like the early starters will have much chance to gain an edge, but it won't be pretty late either. The wind forecasts: 12 pm WNW 15-20 G 25-30 mph; 3 pm NW 12-18 G 25; 6 pm NW 10-15 G 20 mph.

Morning scuttlebutt under the oak and in media dining continues to focus on (A) the dreamy final pairing, (B) is Jordan Spieth really that slow, (C) how about those crazy things Bryson DeChambeau says.

My take?

(A) Dreamy pairing, what else can you say? Spieth-McIlroy, 2:50. Be there! Kyle Porter with some of the history between these two when they've played together.

(B) Jordan Spieth is not fast, but his playing partners were the problem on Friday. DeChambeau is not fast and Casey was in all sorts of trouble all day. Spieth's post-shot whining--"I can't even take my time"--after being given a warning by official Jim Duncan was understandable in the context of where the grouping's pacial blame game lies. But the notion that he is entitled to wait out gusts was a rare sign of entitlement from someone who rarely exudes spoiled tendencies. I'm chalking it up to the supreme pressure, difficulty and stress of the moment.

(C) DeChambeau's unshaken confidence and good attitude after his 18th hole 7 was summed up nicely by Scott Michaux here in the Augusta Chronicle. I certainly love hearing any player who has a smart take on the game, but can certainly understand why answers like this rub some the wrong way:

Q.  Did you allow yourself to think about being in the final pairing, potentially, looking ahead?

BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU:  I mean, yeah, but I was on 17 and I went and striped the drive, cranked the drive.  I think what may have been part of the issue, too, on 17 I hit a crank drive, which is a really different golf swing.  And usually when I go back down to the lower speed swing the club face does rotate a little bit more.  I just didn't take that into consideration.

Or this...

Q.  What did you hit into 13?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU:  13, I hit the gamma, whatever that is.

Q.  You were able to give a pretty cut and dried breakdown of what happened on 18.  Is there an emotional part of it or do you shut that off?

BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU:  I'm not emotional.  An execution is what I'm trying to accomplish on the golf course.  If I can do that, stick to my game plan, nothing else matters.

Anyway, he's young, he's fascinating and he's an amateur in contention at the Masters. And while he may come off as cocky at times, he's respectful of his peers, his elders and the game's history.

As usual, some links you need to know along with great coverage at GolfDigest.com, Augusta.com and of course, Masters.com:

Masters official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Tee times.

CBS's coverage in the United States begins at 3 pm ET and is simulcast at Masters.com. 

The Leaderboard.

Masters Live coverage starts at 10:50 am ET with Featured Group coverage of Scott and Hoffman. All other groups and Masters.com coverage info is here.

Amen Corner Live commences with the first group through the corner, at approxmiately 11:45 am ET.

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