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 – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer

Putting is a form of self-torture by which I have been fascinated throughout my golfing life. Long, long ago--and if you don't believe it, I am not arguing the point--I had a period when for two or three years I could putt as well as anyone in England, though I was no great shakes at the rest of the game. Then I learnt to play golf quite reasonably well and the putting sank first to moderate and then to the lowest depths of the "jitters". Finally, the rest of the game departed and the putting returned. A perverse life, indeed!




Phil Talks Importance Of Ball Testing, Captain's Who Put Players In A Position To Fail

Phil Mickelson held court in the 2016 Ryder Cup media center, revealed that he and Tiger have been talking multiple times and day, and cleared the air on a captain's role.

Before the long answer, this about the inclusive nature of Captain Love's coaching style may be noteworthy if it continues to feel like no opinion goes unnoticed, discussed and appreciated.

This is a year where we feel as though Captain Love has been putting us in a position to succeed. He's taken input from all parties. He's making decisions that have allowed us to prepare our best and play our best, and I believe that we will play our best.

Now we are playing a very strong European Team and I don't know what that means results-wise, but our best golf will come out this week and that's our goal.

And there is the main show...

Q. You've played for ten of them. How much difference can or does a captain make?

PHIL MICKELSON: Unbelievable. It all starts with the captain. I mean, that's the guy that has to bring together 12 strong individuals and bring out their best and allow them on a platform to play their best. That's the whole foundation of the team. You're saying -- I understand and I hear -- well, guys just need to play better or they just need to putt better. Absolutely you do.

But you play how you prepare. And in major championships, when we win or play well in majors, it's because we prepared properly for those events. And that allowed to us bring out our best golf. And in a Ryder Cup, you have to prepare properly for the event.

Now, I see these looks, like what are you talking about. Let me give you an example, if I may (laughter).

JOHN DEVER: You may.

PHIL MICKELSON: Twelve years ago, okay, in 2004, Tiger and I were paired together and we ended up not playing well. And was that really the -- was that the problem? I mean, maybe. But we were told two days before that we were playing together. And that gave us no time to work together and prepare.

He found out the year before when we played at The Presidents Cup in 2003 that the golf ball I was playing was not going to work for him. He plays a very high-spin ball and I play a very low-spin ball, and we had to come up in two days with a solution.

Deflate them?

So I grabbed a couple dozen of his balls, I went off to the side, and tried to learn his golf ball in a four- or five-hour session on kind of an isolated -- one of the other holes out there trying to find out how far the ball goes. And it forced me to stop my preparation for the tournament, to stop chipping and stop putting and stop sharpening my game and stop learning the golf course, in an effort to crash-course and learn a whole different golf ball that we were going to be playing.

And in the history of my career, I have never ball-tested two days prior to a major. I've never done it. It doesn't allow me to play my best. What allows me to play my best is to learn the course, sharpen my touch on the greens, sharpen my chipping out of the rough and ball striking and so forth.

Instead, I'm taking four or five hours and I'm out trying to learn another ball to allow us to play our best. Had we known a month in advance, we might have been able to make it work. I think we probably would have made it work. But we didn't know until two days prior.

Now, I loved -- I'm not trying to throw -- to knock anybody here, because I actually loved how decisive Captain Sutton was. I feel like that's a sign of great leadership to be decisive. Had we had time to prepare, I think we would have made it work and could have had some success.

Decisively bad!

But that's an example of starting with the captain, that put us in a position to fail and we failed monumentally, absolutely. But to say, well, you just need to play better; that is so misinformed because you will play how you prepare.


Manspat Alert: Brandel Chamblee & David Duval Go Extra Holes Over Leadership

A lively, 24-hole Live From match broke out between Brandel Chamblee and David Duval over leadership.

The debate got a bit touchy at this point:

Duval: "Well having actually been out there and done it, there's more to it than just what the stats say."

Chamblee: "You think that actually having to be out there to do it, determines whether or not you can pass judgement on it or not? I wasn't at the Boston Tea Party but I can tell you all about it."

Duval: "OK, well I know you're never wrong. I understand that."

The clear plastic sheeting adds a nice Dexteresque feel to the scene...


Note To Ryder Cup Fans Watching Danny Willett: His Brother Thinks You Are "Pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants"

For reasons entirely clear, Masters champion Danny Willett's brother Peter wittingly takes on the Team USA vice captains and selfish types.

For reasons not entirely clear and let's be honest, not necessary, Peter Willett takes on the fans in this National Golfer piece.

For the Americans to stand a chance of winning, they need their baying mob of imbeciles to caress their egos every step of the way. Like one of those brainless bastards from your childhood, the one that pulled down your shorts during the school’s Christmas assembly (f**k you, Paul Jennings), they only have the courage to keg you if they’re backed up by a giggling group of reprobates. Team Europe needs to shut those groupies up.

They need to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer, pausing between mouthfuls of hotdog so they can scream ‘Baba booey’ until their jelly faces turn red.

They need to stun the angry, unwashed, Make America Great Again swarm, desperately gripping their concealed-carry compensators and belting out a mini-erection inducing ‘mashed potato,’ hoping to impress their cousin.

They need to smash the obnoxious dads, with their shiny teeth, Lego man hair, medicated ex-wives, and resentful children. Squeezed into their cargo shorts and boating shoes, they’ll bellow ‘get in the hole’ whilst high-fiving all the other members of the Dentists’ Big Game Hunt Society.

Good luck this week Danny! Enjoy your stay in Chaska!


Q&A With Martin Davis, Author Of The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event

Few volumes seeking to capture the history of a significant golf tournament or course will ever match the The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event. Publisher and writer Martin Davis has put together the usual list of elite names that have contributed to previous efforts, and combines their words with an incredible array of photos, facts and records documenting what has become golf's most dramatic event.

You can check out the book here at Amazon, and if you're on site at Hazeltine this week the book is available in the merchandise tent.

Davis kindly answered questions on his latest coffee table epic and the Ryder Cup.

GS: Let’s get to the breaking news first: the book reveals the Ryder Cup started in 1927 and that is not Abe Mitchell atop the trophy. Reveal your sources. Tell all!

MD: Contrary to published reports and in the media guides from the European Tour and the PGA of America for many years claiming the first Ryder Cup first took place in 1927, the first Ryder Cup was actually contested in 1926 at Wentworth in southern England.

The story that had been put out for many years held that Sam Ryder was sitting in the Wentworth Clubhouse celebrating with the British pros a win over an American Team captained by Walter Hagen - eating chicken sandwiches and drinking champagne, it was reported - when Ryder reportedly said, "this was great, we must do it again, I'll even donate a trophy."

It's a nice story, but it's simply not true.

In our research, we found that Ryder announced in late 1925 that the inaugural Ryder Cup would take place at Wentworth in early June of 1926. It was reported in several of the biggest, most well-respected newspapers in England.

At first it was referred to as the "Ryder" Trophy. Later as The Ryder Cup.

And the event itself was reported in nine of the major media outlets of the day, all telling the same story of the event before, during and after the Matches that June at Wentworth, referring to the event as The Ryder Cup in headlines and body copy.

So who were these sources?  

None other than the most significant newspapers, wire services and golf magazines of the day.

The Daily Telegraph, The Times (London), The Sunday Times, The New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune, Golfing Magazine and Golf Illustrated Magazine (UK) and finally the wire services - the Associated Press and Reuters - who sent the stories around the world for publication in numerous newspapers.  

(And if there is any doubt as to veracity of the reports, it was Bernard Darwin, golf's first truly great golf writer, considered the gold standard, who provided the reports for The Times and The Sunday Times.)

And the actual articles from the various publications reporting on the Ryder Cup are reprinted in the book.

There's no question that this was intended to be the first Ryder Cup and was reported contemporaneously with the event as such.  Indeed this was the first Ryder Cup.

And our research also found that the trophy was manufactured and assayed (certifying as to the gold content, who made it, etc.) in April of 1926.  So the Cup was ready in time for the event at Wentworth.

GS: So what happened?

MD: It's a fascinating story.

In the spring of 1926 some 800,000 English coal miners went on strike for higher wages and better working conditions. In sympathy, the other major unions in the UK - including all of the transportation workers - joined the miners.  It was referred to as The General Strike. It effectively shut down the entire country.

Playing captain Walter Hagen and four other members of the first American Team had already made it into England before the strike. (Ryder had asked Hagen to form a team to play for the Cup in late 1925.) But other original members of the Team - including such big-name players as Sarazen, Farrell, Diegel and MacFarlane - couldn't get into the country.  So Hagen asked five expats that were living in the US and had made it into England to try to qualify for the Open Championship to fill out the American side. The five included two Brits, two Scots (one was Tommy Armour, the famed Silver Scot) and an Australian trick shot artist (Joe Kirkwood). The "Americans" got waxed, 13 1/2 to 1 1/2, losing to captain Ted Ray's British Team.  

Realizing that the Americans didn't have a properly constituted team, Ryder decided to withhold the trophy until the next year where it would be played at Worcester CC in Massachusetts.  

So the first Ryder Cup was actually played at Wentworth in 1926, but the first "official" Ryder Cup was played in America in 1927. When the Cup was awarded for the first time.

The story about the now iconic diminutive 17 1/2 inch high solid gold trophy is similarly one that took a life of its own.

For years the narrative was that Sam Ryder, in ordering the trophy from jewler Mappin and Webb, had the figure crafted on top in the image of his good friend and golf teacher Abe Mitchell. It was a romantic story of friendship and loyalty.

In researching the origins of the Cup, we went to England and tried to find the origins of the Cup. We hired the world's expert on the Ryder Cup (and other sporting trophies), John Bowles, to track down some of the new facts we uncovered. In doing so, he found that the trophy was not a custom made one ordered by Ryder, but one that had been in the Mappin and Webb's catalog for a number of years, thus dashing the romantic feel-good story.  In addition, we uncovered five or six additional facts that clearly showed that this wasn't Abe Mitchell on top of the Ryder Cup, but there sure was a striking resemblance.  But you'll have to get the book to glean what we uncovered.

GS: The cup itself has been making the rounds, even in the country that does not currently hold it. Give us a little more reason to adore this small gold trophy?

MD: Why adore Sam Ryder's diminutive little trophy?

Because it's clearly the most fun event in golf.

It puts all of our heroes on a team that we can root for as a group.  Hey, they're representing us.  And those guys in the black hats, those Europeans, they're representing the bad guys. It's us against them. And the little trophy, which we used to win ALL THE TIME, has been won by the bad guys eight out of the last ten times.  Hey, we want OUR trophy back.

Here's a story in the book.  It will give you the "us against them flavor."

The 1947 Ryder Cup, the first after World War II, was held at Portland Golf Club.  Ben Hogan was the playing captain for the U.S., Henry Cotton, multiple winner of the Open Championship, captain for the Brits.

On the eve of the Ryder Cup, Cotton goes to the officials and claims the Americans are playing with illegal clubs (I think he saw Hogan hit the ball for the first time and couldn't believe the spin he got on it,) and he wants the American's clubs inspected.  So the officials do so and find that all of the American's clubs conform to the rules.

Fast forward to the next Ryder Cup, 1949 at Ganton in England.  Hogan is captain again, but the non playing captain because of the horrific accident that almost took his life earlier in the year. So on the eve of the Ryder Cup, Hogan, remembering what Cotton had done to his team two years earlier, asked that the Brit's clubs be inspected.

And guess what? They found that the edges on two of the British players clubs were too sharp and thus nonconforming. So the host pro spent most of the night filing the edges down!  I guess turnabout is fair play. Hogan thought so about the guys in the black hats.

GS: The book is truly a breathtaking undertaking, how many years was this in the works and what inspired you to attack what is such a massive undertaking?

MD: It really was a massive undertaking - I worked on it for 6 1/2 years.  Once it got started, it took on a life of its own, as it ended up at 500 pages with 7-800 photos, three double gatefold spreads and one gate - a Ryder Cup timeline - that folds out to almost six feet, in a jumbo 11 X 14 coffee table size.  Heck it weighs in at almost nine pounds!  The joke is, if you get tired of reading it, you can always work out with it.

As you know, I'm very concerned with quality.  As such, we print all our big books in Italy at one of the finest art book printers in the world.  

Thankfully I own the company, so I could keep stretching what passed as a budget. My accountant is not very happy at all, but I felt it was something that just had to be done.

It was maybe the hardest thing I've ever done, but it is certainly the most rewarding when I look at the finished product and see people's reactions.

GS: Many disagree on the year the Ryder Cup went to a different stratosphere both in the early days and the modern era. Which cups defined what the matches became both in the good old days and in more recent times?

MD: Right from the beginning, the Ryder Cup was a big idea.  All the Cups before the War had good attendance and a lot of interest by the media.  But in the 60s and 70s interest waned as the American side simply dominated - we'd show up in our fancy blazers, play a practice round or two, go to a big dinner, win convincingly and take Sam Ryder's little cup home. (Somehow we lost in 1957 at Lindrick - we're still trying to figure out what happened.)

But after Jack Nicklaus suggested to Lord Darby that Europe be included (and that meant the best player in the world at the time, Seve), interest started to pick up.  But the watershed event was 1987 when the U.S. lost for the first time on home soil as Captain Tony Jacklin's Euro squad beat Captain Jack Nicklaus at Jack's course Muirfield Village, with Woosie and Sandy Lyle, a rookie named Faldo and Seve and Sam Torrance.  And to add insult to injury, it was in Jack's home town of Columbus, Ohio.

It seemed that the more the Euros beat the U.S., the bigger the Ryder Cup became.

To me, the Matches that defined the Cup are fairly recent.  Captain Ben Crenshaw's furious comeback in 1999 at The Country Club and then Captain Jose Maria Olazabal's equally strong comeback to win at Medinah in 2012. Both of those were fiercely fought, passionate and golf at its very highest level.

GS: As much research and reading as you’ve done, and having taken in where we are now with almost as many Vice Captains as players, the profiteering, the lousy courses played in Europe in the name of cash, is this a healthy place from where Samuel Ryder started things?

MD: You're really correct about the profiteering and lousy courses for a while.

But we're at a great spot now.  We're going to France for the next Cup at a course just outside of Versailles (Let me be the first to say, "Let them eat cake."  Sorry, I couldn't resist.) at what should be a wonderful venue.  Next up for us is Whistling Straights and then my favorite Tillinghast course of all, Bethpage Black.  (If you think it's going to be a little raucous at Hazeltine, wait until we get to Long Island for the Cup!)

GS: Best and worst courses to host the Ryder Cup?

MD: Best - Muirfield in Scotland

Worst - The Belfry, perhaps Thunderbird and Eldorado in Palm Springs in 1955 and 1959

GS: Best captaining job, USA edition? (Win or lose).

MD: U.S. - Walter Hagen in 1927, 1929, 1931, 1933, 1935, 1937 and don't forget 1926 and the two teams he was named to captain during World War II that only played exhibition matches in the States.  The Haig could have been captain for life.  (I'd give a close second to Ben Crenshaw or 1999.)

GS: Best captaining job, UK/Europe edition? (Win or lose).

MD:  Europe - Without question, Tony Jacklin who brought Europe back and set the standard for them.  (A close second to Jose Maria Olazabal and also to Paul McGinley for the incredible organizational and motivational job he did at Gleneagles in 2014.)

GS: Your book reminds us that the Cup has been to some strange and amazing courses, but lately we’re sort of stuck in Europe with the highest bidders and in the states with only places large enough to host the infrastructure. Setting aside corporate tent space and TV demands, your dream Ryder Cup venues?

MD: U.S. - Augusta National (I think Bob Jones would have considered it; there were several close connections between Jones and the Ryder Cup in the book.) or Pine Valley.  Definitely National Golf Links of America, only if the players are required to play with hickory shafted clubs. More realistically, Oakmont or Shinnecock.

Europe - St. Andrews (Unbelievably, the Ryder Cup has never been played there!)


Bubba Should Be Lauded For Becoming A Shuttle Driver

Thats the point Jason Sobel makes on, saying the World No. 7, who buzzed around Hazeltine to many ovations from the tremendous fans here, should be lauded for "selflessness" instead of castigated.

Love Bubba or not, this line from Sobel is a keeper:

He did none of this. Instead, he asked captain Davis Love III if he could still be part of the team as a vice captain, a request that Love quickly obliged.

Think about it: That's like getting dumped by your girlfriend and then happily helping her move into a new apartment with another guy.


PGA Introduces Ryder Cup Fan Pledge: We Are (Lucky #) 13!

Because American fans have been so dispassionate, quiet and largely forgotten in domestic Ryder Cups, they now have a pledge program complete with PSA messages from Alison Lee, Michael Phelps and Tom Brady asking you to support maybe, maybe the best team ever assembled.

There is actually a pledge to read too. And a shirt you can buy in merchandise "on-site at Hazeltine National Golf Club, online at and at select Dick’s Sporting Goods stores across the country with all proceeds going to support the PGA REACH Foundation and youth golf initiatives across the 41 PGA Sections."


For Immediate Release (PSA's there too if you must):

PGA of America Officially Launches “We Are 13” Fan Campaign at the 2016 Ryder Cup
Athletes Michael Phelps, Tom Brady and Alison Lee join celebrity Anthony Anderson as “First Fans”

CHASKA, MINN. (Sept. 27, 2016) – Looking to amplify fan support behind the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup Team, the PGA of America today officially launched the “We are 13” fan campaign at Hazeltine National Golf Club. Created to encourage fan support and excitement for the 2016 Ryder Cup, the premise for “We Are 13” is to unite the entire nation behind the 12 U.S. players in their quest to reclaim the Ryder Cup.
In developing the campaign, U.S. fans will be asked to support the “We are 13” pledge:


We are 13.
12 players plus 1 nation.
This is the Ryder Cup.
Our country. Our course. Our team.
We’ll rep the red, white and blue on the green.
We’ll go big, get loud and show respect.
We’ll see golfers become legends, moments become memories and can’t wait to see what’s coming next.
We’ll be watching.
We’ll be cheering.
We are 13!

When you put it that way, it's almost poetry. Almost.


PGA Tour Ratings Decline Streak Finally Ends!

Paulsen at Sports Media Watch notes the 15-straight PGA Tour telecast ratings decline streak ended with the Tour Championship scoring a 1.9 overnight Sunday on NBC, the same as 2015 and up 12% from 2014.

Paulsen writes:

Sunday’s telecast, which saw Rory McIlroy win both the tournament and the FedEx Cup in a playoff, ended a streak of 15 straight declines for the PGA Tour on broadcast — a stretch that dated back to the British Open. Other than the British Open, it was the first PGA telecast on NBC or CBS to avoid a decline since the St. Jude Classic in June.

Third round action on Saturday pulled a 1.2 overnight, down a tick from last year (1.3) and down a third from 2014 (1.8).


Davis: Maybe "The Best Team Ever Assembled" Is Only Something Coaches Say To Fire Up Their Team

Davis Love sought to clarify his eye-opening comments on Fairways of Life and, maybe, maybe he did not offer the best clarification ever. But on thing is clear: he no longer is saying the 2016 Ryder Cup Team USA is the best ever assembled.

Here is what was said last week in response to a question from Matt Adams:

“We don’t have to do anything superhuman, we’re a great golf team,” Love said. “This is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled.”

The clip again:

Love was asked about the comments Tuesday at Hazeltine and said the line was lost in the context of the %$#@!& coaches tell teams in motivational speeches.

Q. Your comments last week about potentially the best team ever assembled raised some eyebrows. What went into saying that, kind of a bold statement, and was there any concern about kind of adding a little motivation to the European Team room, because there's been some back and forth since then regarding that.

DAVIS LOVE III: Yeah, it raised some eyebrows around our team, too, because if you listen to the interview, or it wasn't really an interview, it was a send-off that Matt Adams does for the American Captain, a very nice guy from Canada called in and said, I'm supporting the U.S. Team, I just think they need a little bit more swagger when they go out and play. And I said, I agree with you, we've got to get these guys going.

And I told a story that Tom Kite always told me, just out-drive them and walk faster than them, get to your ball first and dominate. Every time you get 2-up, you know what's better than 2-up?

I said, No, what?

He goes, 3-up.

He was trying to give me an attitude of, you're better than them, let's out-play them. Let's show them that you're better.

Then Matt Adams was asking me, What are you going to tell your team?

And I said, I would tell my team they're the best team ever assembled. Let's go out and show off and play and have fun.

That's what Nick Saban would tell his team when they're getting ready to go play Ole Miss. He wouldn't say, You guys have done a pretty good job this week, and you're a pretty average team, let's go out there and just give it a good shot. No, he's going to say, You guys have worked hard, you're the best team I've ever seen, let's go crush these guys.

By revealing to the world that he comes from the coaching school that says throw out any superlatives to fire-up a team, doesn't that make the words ring hollow when the team knows this?

Oh wait, right, pro golfers don't read. Oh, and golf isn't a team sport. But go on...

So the question wasn't, how do you rank this team in history. It was, what are you going to tell your team to fire them up. So I would still tell them the same thing, you're a great team, let's go out there and have some fun, play your game, don't get in your own way.

I think we try to be -- especially like our top players, five or six guys, whether it's Davis Love and Tiger Woods and Justin Leonard in '97; we try too hard to be better than we are or to do something extraordinary, and I think we get in our own way doing that sometimes. And we just need to understand that we're a really good golf team, they are a really good golf team. If we just go play our game, the results will take care of themselves.

It's just unfortunate that, you know, in that nice conversation, that it got misconstrued.

Backtracking alert! Maybe the best team, emphasis on the maybe.

Obviously that comment and to the other extreme, the comment about The European Team, is not what this is all about. So Darren and I have already talked about both of those things, and that's just part of The Ryder Cup. And our team's happy, their team's happy. We're out there working hard and moving on.

On another note, the best team comment popped up in Rory McIlroy's comments on motivation today...

 Whenever we are going up against one of the greatest teams ever assembled, that's motivation enough, just to say, how good a victory would this be if we go out and beat these guys on their home soil that, you know are -- look, they are a very, very strong team. But at the same time, we have so many strong players.


"Ultimate gesture players can make is living like Arnie"

The timing is bold but the topic has been on the minds of many who follow pro golf: too many of today's lavishly paid stars act in sharp contrast to Arnold Palmer in character, actions and passion for the game.

Ryan Lavner at says the passing of Mr. Palmer puts the onus "on the players to decide for themselves how to honor his legacy."

That’s why these days, weeks and months ahead are an important period of reflection for the current pros.

There is an ever-widening divide between fans and the stars of our game, the mega-millionaires who are safe in their cocoon, protected by managers and publicists and image specialists. The money has never been greater – Rory McIlroy deposited $11.44 million Sunday; Palmer made $1.86 million in his career – and the lifestyles never more different. Each year, it seems, they only drift further away, the connection becoming more tenuous.

And so, moving forward, will our stars use their fame, their fortune and their status to shield themselves from the public, from the fans that enriched their fabulous lives? Or will they stay grounded and humble and relatable – will they stay connected – the way Palmer did?

The Olympic Zika virus fiasco this summer opened the door to this discussion and while the debate is not something that should overshadow the remembrances of The King, but throwing the point out seems fair as we hear from the players over the next few days about how they view Palmer's legacy and their places in the game.


Roundup: Some Initial Arnold Palmer Reads And Listens

Just some of the best stuff I've come across so far...

Steve DiMeglio with more extensive thoughts from Tiger Woods on Arnold Palmer, including this about the time he played the Par-3 at the Masters with Nicklaus and Palmer:

“They just said come with us,” Woods said. “So we just walked over there and we didn’t have to wait and we were on the box. … I’ll never forget we all birdied No. 9. That was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been. They had hit it close and now I’m looking out and seeing a lot of water and just a sliver of green. I was lucky enough to take it off the backboard on the green and have it roll back to the hole. So we all made 2.”

Here is Tiger's chat with Golf Channel's Steve Burkowski where he shares some stories and debuts a new facial hair motif which, if it goes uncut, may hurt his cart speed aerodynamics this week.

In lieu of an emergency ShackHouse (recording Wednesday), Joe House and I offer our thoughts on Palmer for The Ringer crowd and athletes who take for granted what Palmer meant to the sports business world.

Jack Nicklaus's phone interview on Golf Channel's non-stop coverage today.

Players and celebs, includng Chris O'Donnell, Mark Wahlberg and Jim Nantz are interviewed in this Golf Digest video.

Brian Wacker with a personal experience involving Palmer and the letters he so famously wrote.

Jaime Diaz joins Sam Weinman to discuss Palmer on the Golf Digest podcast.

From James Corrigan's Telegraph remembrance:

Timing was everything for Arnold Palmer. The player they were to coronate The King came along at the perfect moment to start a golfing and yes, marketing revolution and although his passing, whenever it came, was always going to be classed as premature, nobody could deny that he left the stage just as the spotlight was zooming in.

That was Palmer, for you. Always the idol they were talking about long after he had made his gracious exit.

Rick Reilly on how Palmer liked people, liked life and liked being a star.

Here was Arnold Palmer: When he'd see you, he'd grab your right hand and shake it, your right shoulder and hold it and say, "How the hell are ya?" Then the left hand might move up to behind your neck or maybe he'd pull you sideways and walk with it draped over your right shoulder, as though you were childhood chums. Ben Hogan was an icicle, Jack Nicklaus was a god, but Arnold Palmer was your poker buddy. The man went out of his way to make sure you knew he liked you. Tiger Woods? Just the opposite.

Mr. Palmer somehow kept Carson Wentz off SI's pre-midseason NFL review's preview issue off the cover of this week’s SI.

Unlike that SI cover, so many of the photos and clips I've seen of Mr. Palmer are of him in his older years because (A) he aged incredibly gracefully and (B) he's been captured in so many modern mediums.

But I love this "What's My Line" appearance as he was becoming a national sensation.


Fifth And Final: Bubba Watson Gets Keys To Ryder Cart!

Ewan Murray says it could be a "motivational masterstroke or a needless act of compassion," but either way, world No. 7 Bubba Watson will be at Hazeltine National as the highest ranked shuttle driver in Ryder Cup history.

Note the "fifth and final" designation...

CHASKA, MINNESOTA (Sept. 26, 2016) – United States Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III today appointed Bubba Watson his fifth and final Vice Captain for the 2016 Ryder Cup, which will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

The 37-year-old Watson is a three-time Ryder Cup veteran (2010, ’12, and ’14) that played for Love during the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, finishing 2-2-0.

Watson has also represented the United States in the 2016 Summer Olympics and in two Presidents Cups (2011, ’15).   

This is Watson’s first stint as a Vice Captain. The two-time Masters Champion joins fellow United States Vice Captains Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, each of whom was appointed by Love last year.

I'm just hoping Watson has time to study how he's going to get Erin Walker to the 16th tee from the clubhouse in under five minutes!

Oh, and Bubba, Ryan Moore like his water room temperature Bubba, with no moisture on the outside please.

Here's your cart Bubba! Leave the one with heated seats, lumbar support and Tiger's name on it for the Big Cat!




Task Force Stock Up After Ryan Moore Pick

Not that they had a choice given the analytics that are to be so important for Team USA this year, but Tour Championship runner-up Ryan Moore got the final Ryder Cup spot. The pick was announced by Mike Tirico on NBC's Sunday Night Football game after Arnold Palmer's passing scrapped plans for a more extensive roll-out.

Moore's selection eliminated several players, including Bubba Watson, the 7th ranked player in the world, but validates what was looking like a bad decision by the best task force ever to wait until the final weekend.

Brian Wacker reports for on Moore's incredible play since the PGA Championship.

Since the PGA Championship, Moore ranks first on tour in score in relation to par, first in birdies and eagles and first in rounds in the 60s. His total of 57 under since the PGA is also seven strokes better than any other player.

Adam Schupak's Golfweek account of the selection offers this from Captain Love.

“Ryan fits so well with what we have in place,” Love said. “He’s an easy-going, thoughtful guy, but don’t be fooled, Ryan’s a great match-play player with an incredible match-play record. He has guts and determination, and everyone saw that today. We are thrilled to have him with us.”


The King: Ledes And Statements On His Passing

I'll be adding to this as the day goes, but for now...

For, I compiled some of the first ledes and links to obituaries.

Included with Dave Anderson's New York Times remembrance was this Matthew Orr produced video narrated by Bill Pennington.

Here are some of the more important and thoughtful statements, starting with Jack Nicklaus.

Peter Thomson:

Arnold was the folk hero of golf.

Not only was he the greatest personality the game has produced, he was King of the fairways every time he played.

We were only two weeks apart in age and great rivals.  We certainly had some wonderful times together.

The last time we played was an exhibition at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney on November 24, 2004.  The occasion was the centenary of the Australian Open and Bruce Devlin joined us for the nine-hole match on the eve of the tournament.

At last year's Open Championship at St Andrews, we were rival captains in the four-hole Past Champions event and, although our team scores were the same, Arnold's team won the charity donation by being the older team of the two.

St Andrews was a fitting final place for us both to meet.

Mary and I are terribly saddened by the news of his death, and our thoughts are very much with Kit, and his daughters and their families.

Bless you always, Arnold.

Tiger Woods:

 Golf Channel President Mike McCarley:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Arnold Palmer. He meant so much to so many people from all walks of life, and is the embodiment of what can happen if you work hard and always treat people well. As Golf Channel’s founder, he was proud of what he created and we all take tremendous pride in continuing an enduring part of his vast and lasting legacy.
He was and likely will remain the most important golfer of all-time.  He will be remembered for popularizing the game of golf and revolutionizing the business of sport, but for those who were lucky enough to meet him, they will always remember how special he made them feel. He was always genuine and generous with his time, no matter if the cameras were rolling or not.”

Callaway CEO Chip Brewer with this video statement:

President Barack Obama:


Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A:

"It is with great sadness that we have awoken to hear the news of Arnold Palmer's passing. He was a true gentleman, one of the greatest ever to play the game and a truly iconic figure in sport.

"His contribution to The Open Championship was, and remains, immeasurable. He will be missed and forever remembered by all at The R&A and throughout the world of golf as a charismatic and global champion of our game."

Gary Player:


Palmer Was Scheduled To Undergo Heart Procedure Monday

The King passed away at Pittsburgh Medical Center where he was scheduled to undergo a procedure Monday.

Dave Shedloski, who has helped Arnold Palmer compile a forthcoming follow up to his biography, reports for on the many things that had been ailing The King over the last few years.

Just 25 months ago Palmer underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted. That procedure marked the first of a series of health issues for arguably the game’s most popular figure.


R.I.P. Arnold Palmer

The day we've all dreaded in golf has come. The King has died. Our Lord, our Savior, our Captain, our King, our Inspiration and our Man. He changed the game, he changed sports and we thank you for your grace, passion and class. Things just won't ever be the same.

Dave Shedloski, who recently worked on his forthcoming book with Mr. Palmer. 



Phil Thought East Lake Should Have Been Set Up Like Hazeltine

Can't say I liked the lost ball style rough at East Lake, but I can't see the logic in Phil Mickelson's post-Tour Championship thinking.

Bob Harig reports that Mickelson wanted the rough to be cut low to help the Ryder Cuppers prepare for Hazeltine National where, presumably Davis Love will go with the same low-cut-rough philosophy he advocated in 2012 when he captained.

"I'm going to point something out,'' Mickelson said, unprompted. "This is a great example of the disconnect that we have on the U.S. side because the [PGA] Tour doesn't own the Ryder Cup, or doesn't work in conjunction with the PGA of America.''

And he threw in this, which, while possibly true, also is a different situation given that the European Tour runs both its Ryder Cups in Europe and its own tournaments,

"The European Tour would never have the setup be so different the week before the Ryder Cup,'' Mickelson said. "If we were in Europe and they were going to set up the course a certain way, the week before they would set it up a certain way. We're not going to have rough like that."

And that's why the players have three practice rounds (at least) to adjust. Though I certainly understand Phil's view that the hack-out rough can be deflating and maybe even send a player away with less confidence. But the PGA Tour has to conduct its finale as it sees fit regardless of the Ryder Cup.

We don't know the rough height cut at Hazeltine, but super Chris Tritabaugh surely just left that out by accident!


Really Instant Poll: Who Should Davis Love Pick?

Ok posting this just after Ryan Moore lost in a Tour Championship playoff and about 90 minutes before Davis Love must reveal the final Ryder Cup pick.

Here goes in alphabetical order:

Who should Davis Love pick? free polls


Johnny: Euros Have Their Worst Team In Many Years

While Davis Love is declaring his team maybe the best ever assembled, Johnny Miller isn't seeing a great European team. Actually, "the worst team they've had in many years." Ouch.

His reasoning is so touching too. AP's Doug Ferguson reports:

"I just think with all those rookies ... when you lose (Ian) Poulter, it's like tearing your heart out," Miller said. "I think this is the year not only could the U.S. win, they could win by like five points."


Oh Dear: Davis Love Declares His 2016 Ryder Cup Team Maybe The Best Ever Assembled

Well there is good news in the bombast from captain Davis Love: for day or two we forget the bizarre situation with Bubba Watson, who is stinking it up at East Lake and less likely to make a team that has never sounded interested in his presence.

Bubba has volunteered himself to be a vice captain should he not be picked, and oh won't that be an awkward phone call when Captain Love has to pass up Bubba as a player and as a shuttle driver for players and wives.

(Maybe Love can say Bubba Hovers are banned at Hazeltine?)

Anyway, Captain Love moved the attention to himself with some shocking comments about the strength of his 11-man team. Talking to Matt Adams on Fairways of Life, Love suggests that the recent visit with Bill Belichick and Gillette Stadium may have fueled a warped sense of this year's team.

“We don’t have to do anything superhuman, we’re a great golf team,” Love said. “This is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled.”

In case you don't believe me, the full embed here, including the Bellichick advice to the "team."

Coach Belichick's advice: ignore the noise. Only problem?

Davis Love just made the noise!

I'm sure Richard Gillis is licking his chops right now to add this example of Captaincy audacity to his already excellent book, discussed this week on State of the Game. It's hard to fathom how Captain Love can say something so silly. Has he not seen past Ryder Cups, when seemingly talented players turn to jelly and everything on paper gets thrown out the window?

We also discussed the best team ever assembled on that show (1981), which Brandel Chamblee noted in his comments. Chamblee and Paul McGinley both criticized the comments, with Chamblee citing "American arrogance" and McGinley calling it "strange positioning" and noting that statistically, Love's thinking "doesn't add up."

The clip:

The statement is being met with ridicule in Europe. James Corrigan for The Telegraph noting that the United States has beaten Europe once in the current 17-year span.

Europe should save their air fares. Davis Love has made the astonishing claim that his US Ryder Cup side “is the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled”.

Lee Westwood was one of the first to ridicule the statement made on PGA Tour radio, tweeting: “No pressure there then lads!”

I think if Love had said it's as good a team as the points list has ever assembled, he might ultimately take less grief.

But using the "assembled" word also suggests task force brilliance. Sigh.


Azinger On Announcing Last Pick During Sunday's NFL Game: "I just don't understand it."

The Independent's Liam Kelly catches up with Paul Azinger, the victorious 2008 lead cart driver who has a lot of interesting things to say on the eve of the Ryder Cup matches, especially after Lee Westwood wondered about Tiger's impact in the team room.

Azinger smells a rat!

"They showed slow motion of Westwood's glares at those two guys, and him being unhappy with the way they were behaving. That's a purposeful comment by Westwood, in all likelihood. He had intent there, and that intent could backfire."

More interesting was Azinger's criticism (backed up by 2014 European Captain Paul McGinley on Golf Central) of the task force decision to announce the last pick at halftime of NBC's Sunday Night Football game.

"I think it's a terrible idea," said Azinger.

"We're going to announce the final player, arguably the worst player on the team, on the biggest stage. I just don't understand it.

"I think they should do it five minutes, or ten minutes after the press conference with whoever wins the Tour Championship, and let's get ready to rock and roll.

"But they're not going to do that and I don't like it."

The video of McGinley questioning what the last minute structure will do to that 12th player:

Matters get worse when you read Rex Hoggard's take from East Lake after talking to some of those invited for Monday's team practice at Hazeltine (Ryan Moore declined) and their view that the decision has already been made.

If Sunday’s big reveal wasn’t contingent on what transpires this week in Atlanta, as so many now seem to think is the case, why did we wait? Why have a task force? Why claim this time will be different?

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