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
  • Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    by Matthew Futterman

There is no doubt that sand-dune country is the ideal site for a golf course, as it possesses certain natural advantages which are not met with elsewhere. The porous sand provides perfect drainage: and grasses which flourish there are of the finest kinds. The undulations are ideal for the game, as they are numerous but not mountainous.  H.S. COLT


    

Friday
Jun172016

Thursday Scare: Lightning Strike At Oakmont, Irrigation Blowout

Gil Hanse and Holly Sonders explain what happened. I can assure you, we here in the media center heard it!

Friday
Jun172016

2016 U.S. Open Day Two This, That & Links

After 2.3 inches of rain, including 1.2 inches overnight, Oakmont opened late for spectators (8 am, Ron Sirak explains), yet miraculously, was ready for the 7:30 am start of play.

First round leader Andrew Landry made his 9th hole birdie putt to shoot an opening 66, tying the lowest opening round at Oakmont.

Dave Kindred tells us who Landry is and how this week should allow him to pass Tiger Woods in the OWGR.

Joel Beall compiles the best photos from the wacky weather day.

I offer six almost-certainties from the traffic pile up, rain and traditions that are the U.S. Open. In other words, no Lift, Clean and Cheat! Todd Lewis went out on the course and confirmed that won't be happening.

Ryan Lavner on 19-year-old Scottie Scheffler, who has grown a foot since age 14 and has sister Callie, who plays golf at Texas A&M, on his bag. Scheffler is low amateur after an opening 69.

Day one by the numbers, from Mike O'Malley sums up what a bizarro Thursday it was.

Players were understandably annoyed at the day, the delays and the inability to warm up over an hour off the course. Brian Wacker reports on the complaints, some of which were legit, but some a bit silly given the pace and the number of hours in the day. I get you want to warm up, but if we allow 45 minutes for warm up after each delay, we'll never finish.

But with more bad weather on the horizon, and players being held for just over an hour officials decided against it. Former USGA president Tom O'Toole said not letting players warm up after that length of delay was "reasonable under the circumstances."

Not everybody saw it that way.

“That was a bad one,” Masters champ Danny Willett said. “We sat in a cabin for an hour and 10 minutes behind the seventh tee without being given a chance to hit any balls or do anything. You're in a U.S. Open, they don't give you a chance to even hit a few balls.

Mark Rolfing, Arron Oberholser and John Feinstein discuss the passion and complaining of Spieth on Thursday. Oberholser makes the interesting point that it's reached the level of wondering if Spieth's career will be shortened by the amount of energy the lad devotes to golf course emotions. This was the latest outburst.

TV reminders:

The official website is taking on all the digital offerings online and on your US Open app, with live morning and afternoon featured group coverage, as well as spotlight coverage on holes 3, 13 and 17.

Fox Sports' first round telecast's begin at 8 am and goes to 9 pm. 13 hours! The first nine go live on FS1, the final four on big Fox.

All of your USOpen.com Featured Group times are here.

Golf Channel provides post-round Live From coverage immediately following play.

The four pages of first round course setup notes from Mike Davis and Jeff Hall are here, if you're so inclined.

The USOpen groupings page.

The USOpen.com leaderboard.

I will add some links and tidbits as the day goes and we transition to round two.

Thursday
Jun162016

Fox Sports Adjusts, Televising 13 Hours Friday From Oakmont

Pray for a restful night's sleep for those Fox crews, they have a ridiculously long day Friday thanks to the rain delays.

BROADCAST SCHEDULE
 
Date                 Program                                               Time (ET)                     Network
June 17             First & Second Rounds                         8:00 AM - 5:00 PM         FS1
                                                                                    5:00 PM - 9:00 PM         FOX
                                                                                                                                                          
DIGITAL STREAMING SCHEDULE
 
Date              Channel                           Time (ET)                         Platform
June 17          Featured Holes               8:00 AM – 10:00 AM         USOpen.com
                     Featured Groups (Ch. A)         8:00 AM – 10:00 AM  USOpen.com  
                     Featured Groups (Ch. B)         8:00 AM – 10:00 AM  USOpen.com
                     FS1 stream                       8:00 AM – 5:00 PM         FOX Sports GO        
                     Featured Groups (Ch. A)         10:00 AM – 8:00 PM   FOX Sports GO
                     Featured Groups (Ch. B)         10:00 AM – 8:00 PM   FOX Sports GO
                     Featured Holes               10:00 AM – 8:00 PM         FOX Sports GO
                     FOX stream                      5:00 PM – 9:00 PM         FOX Sports GO

Thursday
Jun162016

Video: Ken Brown Introduces Mad Scientist To The Stimpmeter

Briliant bit on today's first round U.S. Open telecast on Fox as Ken Brown introduces Bryson DeChambeau to the original Stimpmeter:

Thursday
Jun162016

Oakmont 2016: Giving Larry Nelson His Due

Dave Kindred tries to find any sign of former Ryder Cup captain Larry Nelson or any recognition of his epic 1983 win here at Oakmont.

He writes:

Anybody seen Larry Nelson? The greatest golfer who ever walked the point of his infantry company in a Vietnam jungle – and the only one who ever won three major professional championships, including the 1983 U.S. Open here – is also the greatest golfer no one knows. Figuring he might be on the grounds as a past champion, I asked a media official, “Do you know, is Larry Nelson on the grounds?”

Here a cloud of puzzlement moved across the official’s eyes.

Then he said, “Who does he work for?”

Thursday
Jun162016

2016 U.S. Open Round One This, That And Links

As much as I'd love to be here spitting out blog posts, I'm headed to watch some golf before the skies open up this afternoon, if the forecast holds. So far, the weather man has gotten this one right. Sadly.

Oakmont took on just over an inch of rain overnight and it's a soggy mess this morning. This could change the dynamic to one that encourages or even forces more drivers, and therefore aids the longer hitters. Bradley Klein at Golfweek.com on the maintenance crew's efforts.

As for the course, I think there might be some reward in driving the 17th, where Phil telegraphed he has no plans to get aggressive due to the trouble around the green. I would concur that it looks like all risk and no reward when firm, but the softness may entice some. Allen Etzler considers those options at Golfweek.com.

Here are the best quotes we compiled from Wednesday's press conferences, with Phil carrying the day and then some. Brian Wacker on Phil's upbeat mood.

Thursday and Friday means it's time to focus on some of the great stories and lesser known players. Before that though, Mike O'Malley considers Oakmont by the numbers before we even start

Adam Schupak on Aaron Wise's pro debut after winning the NCAA individual and team titles.

Sean Martin on Frank Adams III, a pro since 2003, playing in his first U.S. Open.

Bill Fields on Sam Horsfield, England and America's best hope.

Non-player note: the USGA honored Doc Giffin yesterday. Ron Sirak on the ceremony.

TV reminders:

The official website is taking on all the digital offerings online and on your US Open app, with live morning and afternoon featured group coverage, as well as spotlight coverage on holes 3, 13 and 17.

Fox Sports' first round telecast begins at 10 am. Your windows:

June 16   First Round   10:00 AM-5:00 PM   FS1    

5:00-8:00 PM  FOX

Golf Channel provides pre and post round coverage:

6-8 a.m.                                   Morning Drive
8-10 a.m.                                 Golf Central Live From the U.S. Open
8-10 p.m.                                 Golf Central Live From the U.S. Open

The first round telecast begins at 10 am.

June 16   First Round   10:00 AM-5:00 PM   FS1     5:00-8:00 PM  FOX

The USOpen groupings page.

The USOpen.com leaderboard.

The first round hole locations:

Thursday
Jun162016

Spackler Lied! Lama Denies Any Knowledge Of Caddyshack

Great work by John Strege catching Bret Baier's even greater decision to grill the Lama about Caddyshack and his name being thrown around by Carl Spackler.

Big hitter, The Lama, had no clue...

Wednesday
Jun152016

U.S. Open Roundup: The State Of The Favorites 

I wish I could tell you that Oakmont is favoring a certain type of player, but with rain in the forecast that might turn this into a bomb and gouge setup, this feels wide open.

That said, there were some clues in player comments in stories that might impact your prognisticating.

Jason Day has never been more stressed than he is right now, and he says that’s a good thing, reports Randall Mell.

Rory McIlroy was pretty frank about what a win on a golf course like Oakmont would mean because it's set up at the extremes he has not seen in other majors wins. As if he has something to prove, but it doesn't appear to be consuming him either. Brian Wacker with an interesting assessment of Rory.

Michael Breed and Arron Oberholser analyze swing changes Jordan Spieth is working on to hit straighter drives.

As for the money, a lot is coming in on Branden Grace, while Spieth and Day are also getting plenty of love from the bettors, reports David Purdum at ESPN.com.

Michael Collins breaks down his 25 best shots at winning, from a church. Yep, hit the link.

In our GolfDigest.com roundup of best quotes from Tuesday's press conferences, note the various approaches by players. Some of the even make sense.

Tuesday
Jun142016

State Of the Game Podcast 66: Geoff Ogilvy

The 2006 U.S. Open champion joined us for a long awaited and overdue reunion visit to the show. He played Oakmont today and then joined us as we prepare for the 116th U.S. Open.

Here is the permalink, and of course, the show is available on iTunes and elsewhere.

Tuesday
Jun142016

Tale Of Two Oakmont Approaches: Rickie Bombing, Rory Plodding

I'm not sure what this means about the golf course, but it's interesting to see the different approaches to Oakmont for the 2016 U.S. Open.

Rickie...first saying you have to play carefully, then saying he will be aggressive with the big stick.

Q. So you see taking a risk off the tee as being worthwhile, ultimately?

RICKIE FOWLER: To a certain extent. You can't try and be very aggressive on this golf course. You kind of have to take what it gives you. You can't try and push it too much. There's some holes where it's just as wide with driver as it is with a driving iron or a 3 wood, and I feel like I hit my driver just about as straight as any of those.

So I'd rather take my chances of having the shorter iron in and having a chance to possibly play aggressive and get a shot close, versus just trying to get one on the green.

Rory McIlroy, on the other hand, plans to hit very few drivers this week.

I don't think there's going to be many drivers out there this week. Maybe the two par 5s you'll hit driver. 7th hole. I think, if the 2nd hole is downwind, you can hit driver there and try to hit it up on the green. But, yeah, I don't think there's going to be many drivers this week, to be fair. I'll hit 2 iron off the tee much more than I'll hit driver.

Tuesday
Jun142016

Ernie On Oakmont's Rough: "I don't know what kind of chemicals they put in that grass, but it's growing."

Ernie Els, 1994 U.S. Open Champion at Oakmont, on what's changed in 22 years:

It's crazy. I don't know how many of you guys were here in '94. Oh, there you go. A couple. But it's amazing how we played the game in those days and how we play today with the golf ball, and a lot of us were still using wooden drivers back in '94 and so forth. And it's amazing how the golf course has also changed. You could definitely move the ball out of the rough on to a lot of these greens. Nowadays, you can't really do that.

I don't know what kind of chemicals they put in that grass, but it's growing. So that changed a lot. It's been how many? 22 years since '94. Obviously, a lot of tournaments have passed. I think I played in my second U.S. Open then, and I think I'm playing my 24th. It's been quite a journey, to say the least. It's all good.

I would say they've really upped the ante the last five to ten years with the rough. Whatever they call it, the graduation of the rough, whatever, it's just thick, and it's a lot more dense than it was back in the day. We could move the ball around. It was almost more fun to play that way because you could advance the ball, you could get the ball to run towards the green. You're not always going to hit the perfect shot, but you had a chance of actually hitting a shot.

Now it's at least a half a shot penalty. You try to get a wedge out to where you can play your next shot from. That's just the way it is. They've really got the premium on accuracy and ball striking. It is what it is. I'm just saying, back in the day, it was a little different. We could maneuver the ball out of the rough.

That's interesting given the desire of the USGA to encourage recovery play, and may be why there was a 1/4 inch rough height lowering Tuesday

Prior to the tournament, the USGA's Jeff Hall described to the Tribune's Jeff Paulk the playability factor they hoped for with the rough.

“The whole idea is if you have 10 golf balls in the rough, we'll like to see six or seven be able to play to the green,” Hall said. “Maybe three or four you have to chop it out. But the 5-inch rough will be just the opposite.

“Where we think the benefit of that is at Oakmont, when firm and greens are bold, we want that players can chase a 6- or 7-iron onto the green and let the architecture take the ball where it's going to go as opposed to hitting a sand wedge out then wedging it onto the green. We don't want to lose some of the excitement. It's about the characteristics of the ground, which are used masterfully with the design."

Based on Els' comments on the stuff we've seen players post, I'm not sure the recoverability factor is there off the tee or around the greens with this look:

Rough short of 17 green... Yeah, I'd say Oakmont is ready ๐Ÿ˜ณ @usopengolf

A video posted by Justin Thomas (@justinthomas34) on

Tuesday
Jun142016

NYC's Trump Ferry Point Off To A Great Start For...Trump

Rich Calder of the New York Post says Trump Ferry Point is off to a fantastic start for Trump Golf.

While the Trump organization does have to build the course a $10 million clubhouse, as Calder notes, the early revenues will undoubtedly remind New Yorkers that Mayor Michael Bloomberg was severely out-negotiated for the right to manage their city-developed course.

The $237 million Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point hosted 28,291 rounds between its April 2015 opening and the end of March, netting nearly $3.8 million in greens fees for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, city records show.

Including other revenues — such as $615,412 from merchandise sales and $514,223 from golf-cart rentals — Ferry Point’s gross receipts totaled $8.07 million, topping all city-owned courses.

Under an unprecedented 20-year lease handed out during the Bloomberg administration, Trump doesn’t have to pay the city a cent the first four years Ferry Point is open, records show.

Tuesday
Jun142016

Ryder Cup Should Be Fun: Rory On Phil & Rickie High-Fiving

The Feherty airing next Monday should be a keeper judging by this early snippet of Rory McIlroy telling David Feherty he wasn't too enamored with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler rooting each other on at the 2014 PGA Championship.

"I was on a mission. I was chasing down Phil and Rickie, who were playing in front of us," McIlroy told the host. "They both got on a run. And I saw on the front nine they started to fist bump each other and high five each other. And that sort of annoyed me… You're both trying to win a major championship...I know I would never do it in a major. If someone started to play well, I’m trying to beat you. I’m not going to start fist bumping and high fiving you. I want to beat you."

Anyone up for a Phil/Rickie vs Rory/Anyone match?

The full clip:

Tuesday
Jun142016

"Arnold can't be Arnold this week at Oakmont."

Ian O'Connor at ESPN.com looks back at all of Arnold Palmer's great moments at Oakmont and visits with The King who has been struggling with not being able to be Arnold Palmer.

He writes this, which starts with a quote from longtime sidekick Doc Giffin:

"It's tough on him, very tough," Giffin said. "He wants to be the man, and enjoy life, and he loves being in the public eye. I'm afraid he won't be in the public eye very much with these infirmities that he has. We saw it happen to the greatest of his predecessors -- Hogan, Snead, Nelson. They kind of disappeared."

It's hard to imagine Palmer fading to black. Britt and others still hear him on the phone telling people of plans to play a round of golf. "We'll be talking at lunch," Newingham said, "and he'll say, 'OK, what day are we playing this week?' He still longs to rip it down the middle of the fairway 285 yards, and hear the cheers."

Recent dental and toe surgeries appear to have helped Palmer feel better, eat better and show a little more energy, all good news for the fellow pros who saw him at the Masters and grew terribly concerned. "I can't picture anyone making a greater effort than he has," said Dow Finsterwald, Palmer's old running mate on tour. "I would never bet against him."

Tim Rosaforte offered this update on Morning Drive.

Tuesday
Jun142016

Best Of The 2016 U.S. Open Merchandise

Here's my look at the best of 2016 U.S. Open merchandise where there is a little something for men, women and children. Even better, the proceeds go For The Good Of The Game!

There are some fun uses of old Oakmont logos and other nostalgia, with no shortage of hat and shirt options.

Enjoy the slideshow.

Not included because, well, I took a lousy photo, was the collection of Signs by the Sea woodwork. The box with bottle opener and the pennant are real keepers. The Quiet Please sign works as both ironic mancave decor piece and blunt instrument.

Monday
Jun132016

Is Johnny's 63 is The Greatest 18 Ever Played?

It is funny how the combination of Johnny Miller bringing up his 63 a few too many times and the lack of great memories/video has actually led to Johnny's 1973 U.S. Open winning 63 becoming downplayed for its historical significance.

Thankfully some smart folks have used stats and historical perspective to refute some of the misperceptions about his great play at Oakmont.

Adam Lazarus and Steve Schlossman have posted a definitive look at the round and attempt to clarify myths, legends and fact. Nice work fellows.

Jaime Diaz
files a Golf Digest June issue look at the 63 barrier in golf and sets aside quite a bit of space for Johnny's round.

Miller will tell you about it. His frequent references to the round—especially as a commentator—have caused a backlash. When he says things like, "I mean, it was sort of an easy 63—pretty pure," Miller, now 69, seems a victim of "the older I get, the better I used to be" syndrome. But his playing partner that day at Oakmont, Miller Barber, said, "It very easily could have been 60." A closer look reveals Miller's round has mostly been underappreciated.

Diaz also filed this follow up for GolfDigest.com highlighting some numbers, including these:

He missed two fairways and had 29 putts, including a three-putt on the par-3 eighth hole. Nine of his full-iron approaches (three of them 4-irons) finished within 15 feet of the hole, four of them getting within six feet. In 2014, Golf World’s David Barrett, retroactively applying the PGA Tour’s “strokes gained” calculation, convincingly established that Miller’s is the greatest 18 holes ever shot.

One of the great touches in Oakmont's locker room is the handwritten scoreboard from the 1973 U.S. Open and on. Johnny's 63:

Monday
Jun132016

Jordan: Over The Masters, Wonders About The Oakmont Bunker Fluffing, Remains Committed To Rio**

Joel Beall with a GolfDigest.com report on Jordan Spieth's Monday press conference at Oakmont, where the defending champion was asked a bit about last year, and a lot about his Masters finish. Spieth sounds over it even if we are not.

Beall lays out how the back and forth went down.

"It was just a mis-hit. I wasn't trying to hit it at the hole," the two-time major winner said about his dunks in Rae's Creek. "Two badly timed swings."

From there, how do you move on?

"I just made two poor timed swings. It happens."

I mean now?

"I did move on. I moved on."

Doug Ferguson reports that Spieth saw huge changes in Oakmont and didn't sound overly thrilled with a stark change in the bunker sand denity.

"When I played it six weeks ago, there was very compact sand, and that meant that if the ball trickled into the sand, it wasn't a bad shot," Spieth said. "Just barely went into the sand, you could hit the green no problem (if) you hit a good, solid shot. They have dumped so much sand into these bunkers, and now it is so tough to get a clean strike on the ball."

At Monday's architecture forum held for select USGA members, Superintendent John Zimmers chalked it up to a fluffing procedure on the sand last week, combined with Sunday's dry wind. The USGA's Mike Davis said some moisture would be added but also said expected rain was part of the thinking.

Steve DiMeglio highlighted the Masters loss discussion with some historical perspective and also rightly noted Spieth's observation about the finishing holes.

“If you don’t hit fairways on the last five holes, you could lose a 4- or 5-shot lead like that. Just not even doing anything wrong. You can hit decent shots that just barely miss the fairway. And all of a sudden, you have to do well to have 10 feet for par. ...

“So as much as I speak to major championships being like two events in one, you have to have the patience for two rounds each round.”

Josh Berhow at Golf.com noted how Spieth left open a slight crack in the door to skipping the Rio games. Granted, it's an opening only a mouse could slip through, but it was a change in attitude toward the Zika issue.

“I’m not sure where I’ll play next, even after this week,” Spieth said. “You never know. Right now I’m pretty confident with what we have heard from not only the PGA Tour but our personal outreach. I think being an Olympian is just an absolute tremendous honor, but does being an Olympian outweigh any kind of health threat? No. If I thought that the threat was significant I certainly wouldn’t go, but based on what’s come to my knowledge at this point it seems like it’s going to be an extremely memorable experience and I look forward to trying to win a gold for the United States.

Monday
Jun132016

Video: Inside Arnold Palmer's Latrobe Office

While Arnold Palmer is not expected to visit Oakmont this week, his home and office in Latrobe are not too far away. Leave it to Callaway's Hashtag Chad and A.J. Voelpel to get a tour of The King's office from the great Doc Giffen.

It's 45 minutes but the most extensive look I've seen and a dream tour for a golf memorabilia fan.

Monday
Jun132016

Phil Files: Heads Home For A Graduation, New U.S. Open Tradition

He nearly won at Merion three years ago doing the same thing for daughter Amanda, and will do so again Tuesday for Sophia's 8th grade graduation before returning to Oakmont Wednesday.

Adam Schupak reports on what probably amounts to a dream day off for the six-time runner-up as he prepares for another go at the title he's come so close to winning.

Mickelson practiced Monday with Oregon's NCAA individual champion, Aaron Wise, who is playing this week as a professional.

Monday
Jun132016

ShackHouse Episode 10: The U.S. Open Preview & Bryan Curtis

House and I discuss my first impressions from the course, Oakmont's rough being so dense that skill around the greens will be negated, the odds and some sleeper picks.

Later in the show we discuss year two of Fox Sports before a conversation with TheRinger.com editor at large Bryan Curtis, who profiled Joe Buck. We also talk to Curtis about his Grantland look at Jordan Spieth media coverage from a year ago.

ShackHouse now has a convenient page at TheRinger.com where you can find key links to all podcast providers!

As always, you can subscribe on iTunes and or just refresh your device subscription page.

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 10 is here.

And the ShackHouse Stitcher page.

Special thank you to our sponsor Callaway, who have a stellar Father's Day gift guide to make your life easier.

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Thanks to all for subscribing, listening, offering your feedback and supporting our advertisers, including Bill Simmons and TheRinger.com, launching Any Given Wednesday on June 22! ShackHouse remains the #1 golf podcast on iTunes!