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

A secret disbelief in the enemy's play is very useful for match play.
SIR WALTER SIMPSON

 

    

Thursday
Sep082016

PGA Tour Makes Non-Rookie Eligible For Rookie Of Year Chase

Most PGA Tour season-ending awards fail to resonate, except this year when we have a fun player of the year debate between Day and Johnson, and an even more fun rookie-of-the-year battle brewing between Emiliano Grillo and Smylie Kaufman. Unlike some years, both are deserving candidates playing well enough that one may finish off already solid years in grand style.

Except that, Si Woo Kim is now a rookie. And he might just win.

Grillo and Kaufman have been joined by someone who became the youngest golfer ever at 17 to earn a card (in 2012), but was apparently not considered a rookie then because he played in just seven events (with one WD that counted).

But with just two tournaments left, Kim was declared a rookie by the tour this week and there are the expected questions as to why this was just now discovered.

Alex Myers at GolfDigest.com explains how tour decided to classify Kim a rookie.

Thursday
Sep082016

Task Force Blues: Are We Waiting Too Long To Make Ryder Picks?

Doug Ferguson raises some fine points in asking if the United States team is taking this all-out effort to win the Ryder Cup too far by waiting to name three people after this week, and another after The Tour Championship.

Given Phil Mickelson's comments about "obvious" picks, Ferguson makes several strong points, including this one:

Europe filled out its team with three captain's picks last Tuesday, two days after qualifying ended. Too soon?

It might look that way with Alex Noren winning in Switzerland and moving up to No. 27 in the world. At least it has a team of 12 for a month leading to the opening shot on Sept. 30.

The Americans won't have a full team until they arrive at Hazeltine.

They were giddy about their trip to Gillette Stadium last week, even though only two-thirds of the team was there. It led to one awkward moment when someone asked Kuchar how he liked the home of the New England Patriots and the speech from 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey captain Mike Eruzione. Kuchar wasn't there. Neither was Fowler. Or the other ''obvious'' pick.

For all of the team bonding nonsense we'll have to hear about ("a real team room guy"), this build-up that leaves team players off the team until the last minute seems contradictory.

Furthermore, in watching the banter on social media and Golf Channel, I've started to grow uneasy listening to how players are disparaged as folks are making cases against them. (Jeff Babineau posted this more level-headed-but-still-opinionated take on the possible candidates at Golfweek.com.)

The hate for Jim Furyk has been particularly strong and strange, especially given how much time he missed and his strong play at the U.S. Open. Oh, and a 58. Yes, his record is not great in the Ryder Cup, but the United States, for a change, seems to have very solid options for its final four spots, especially if you remember way back to August when Reed, Kuchar, Watson and Fowler all showed enough signs in the Rio Olympic Games.

Speaking of Fowler and Watson, two players cited as not up to the task. Both are top ten players in the Official World Golf Ranking. That will set one interesting precedent should they be left off the team.

Finally, there's J.B. Holmes, who has his caddy lining him up over three footers this week at Crooked Stick (and it's not pretty). Should that negate his strong year in the major championships or impressive showing in all cup matches he has played?

I guess we'll know soon enough, but hopefully the debate remembers that golf is a fickle game and what you've done in the last two weeks does not always guarantee Ryder Cup success.

Thursday
Sep082016

R&A Touts 2019's "Selection of the World's Finest Courses" As Portmarnock Decision Is Questioned

The R&A has lined up a strong cast of courses for its 2019 championship season, including Royal Portrush for The Open and Portmarnock for The Amateur.

Also on the list: The Seniors Amateur Championship at North Berwick, The Boys Home Internationals at Ashburnham, The Boys Amateur Championship at Saunton East and West and The Walker Cup at Royal Liverpool.

An unbylined Belfast Telegraph story reports on the R&A's choice of Portmarnock, a club still resisting admitting women as members, coming under strong criticism from Rory McIlroy, and contradicting the R&A's stance on Muirfield.

There has been no official confirmation that the same rule applies to the Amateur Championship, but in a statement the R&A implied this was not the reason for the move to take the event to Portmarnock for the first time since 1949.

In a statement to the Press Association, the R&A said: " The invitation to Portmarnock pre-dated the Championship Committee's decision not to take The Open to golf courses at single-gender clubs and it was agreed by the Championship Committee at the time that all existing agreements concerning The R&A's amateur events would be honoured."

Thursday
Sep082016

Tiger Returns (Again) Roundup: What Now 

In an October, 2016 Golf Digest feature that was posted after TigerWoods.com got the big scoop on Tiger's return, Jaime Diaz contemplated the many issues Tiger faces in returning to play, a return Diaz still thought could yield results.

Included is this about the nature of back injuries:

There is much research providing evidence that tension from unresolved repressed emotions—particularly anger and shame—can be an important source of chronic pain. According to work pioneered by Dr. John Sarno, a now-retired professor of rehabilitation medicine at NYU, the body's reaction to deep psychological wounds can be to create physical pain to prevent hidden emotions from becoming conscious.

Sarno calls this Tension Myoneural Syndrome and says that such psychosomatic pain that can't be traced to actual structural changes often occurs in the back.

Afremow, the peak-performance coordinator for the San Francisco Giants, says he often sees variations of the syndrome at work in competitive sports. "Especially with top athletes, pain can be a barometer of their stress level," he says. "Men especially tend to bottle everything up, and this is more true for the highest achievers, who are used to pushing through everything. It can result in constant pain, without any physical sign. The mind-body connection has been underestimated."

Rex Hoggard, after hearing the news, considered the time Tiger has been away and all that has happened. He wrote this for GolfChannel.com:

Things have clearly been moving in the right direction back home on his private practice range in Jupiter, Fla. – by most accounts he’s not spending much time playing in public – but after more than a year on the DL he’s not dismissing the prospect of a wrong turn.

It was a subtle part of Woods’ otherwise positive message on Wednesday.

Ryan Lavner, reporting from Crooked Stick, has the reaction of Tiger's fellow players, ranging from relieved to not having to deal with the "circus" the Tiger will return will bring (McIlroy), to not even knowing about the news (Justin Thomas).

“He brings an aura and an atmosphere that no one else in golf can bring,” McIlroy said.

Added McDowell: “No disrespect to Rory, Jordan (Spieth), Jason (Day) or Dustin (Johnson), because I think we’ve got an unbelievable crop of young talent that are incredible role models for the sport and give the game a real appeal, but no one moves the needle like Tiger Woods. He’s the only one who transcended the sport.”

Brandel Chamblee suggested that Tiger risks injury again if he returns with the same swing, and says Woods has lost six year of his career to swing change adjustments.

“If he comes back and he continues to swing the way he was swinging when he was last playing, I think that he will risk injury,” Chamblee said Wednesday.

“There's a far easier way to swing the golf club, in my opinion, than the way he was swinging the golf club. If he comes back and indeed if he is swinging more upright, he does have a little freer lower body movement, if he does have a move off of the ball, if he does all those things, I think it will be easier on his back.”

Woods has already cost himself six years of his career making swing changes, Chamblee said. “He's cost himself two years changing a golf swing in '98, two years changing a golf swing in 2003, two years changing a golf swing in 2010. That's six years."

As I noted in discussing the news with Lisa Cornwell on Golf Central Wednesday, the reaction seems only positive and the way Tiger rolled out the news was solid on several levels: he prefaced the news just in case and best of all, resolved this before his Ryder Cup assistant captaincy, where questions about his return could have become a distraction.

Thursday
Sep082016

Olympic Participant Fatigue As A Ryder Cup Issue?

Captain Darren Clarke could be thrilled to read that Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose are trending toward two weeks off prior to the 2016 Ryder Cup, but should they make it to East Lake, fatigue will be an issue for his two most prized Team Europe veterans.

Jim McCabe of Golfweek reports from the BMW Championship on both sides, but the comments from the Europeans stood out.

But just as there is a calm before the storm, for Rose there’s a silver lining to the collapse: A week off that he feels he sorely needs.

“It wouldn’t be the worst thing; I hate to say that,” said Rose, when asked if not qualifying for the Tour Championship (Sept. 22-25) would be beneficial to his mental health.

When Rose crashed over the final nine holes at TPC Boston, it dropped him to 50th in the FedEx Cup standings, which means he has to do something pretty special at this week’s BMW Championship to get into the top 30 and earn a spot into the Tour Championship.

Wednesday
Sep072016

Tape Delay Or Playoff Fatigue? Deutsche Bank Ratings Down 27%

Sports Media Watch analyzes the drop in Deutsche Bank Championship final round ratings and essentially includes that the tape delay final round, prompted by Tropical Storm Hermine, caused the 27% final round drop (1.6 overnight vs. 2.2 in 2015).

Paulsen writes:

There were only 45 minutes of live play during NBC’s 4 1/2 hour window, with the network coming on air at 1:30 PM and Rory McIlroy claiming victory at around 2:15.

With PGA Tour ratings mired in a recent slump, it is likely that ratings would have declined even if the event aired live. Sunday’s telecast was the 11th of the past 13 final round PGA windows to decline from last year, with each of the past seven hitting a multi-year low.

The answer may lie in Sunday's live numbers, which mirrored the decline.

On Sunday, live third round coverage had a 1.5 overnight — down 25% from last year (2.0) and down 17% from 2014 (1.8). It was the sixth straight third round window to decline from last year and the fifth to hit a multi-year low.

And as the window approaches for the PGA Tour to opt out of its network deals with CBS and NBC, the numbers are not coming at an opportune time.

Wednesday
Sep072016

Video: Bryan Bro & Gamecock Still Has The Trick Shot Gift

As part of College Colors Day, South Carolina grad George Bryan hit this shot at his alma mater's football stadium.

Yes, we lose sight of the ball, but come on, this is a Bryan Brother!

Welcome back college football! #WilliamsBrice🎯 - TAG 2 friends 🤘🏼

A video posted by Bryan Bros Golf (@bryanbrosgolf) on

Wednesday
Sep072016

Nike's 1-2 Week And What It Means

There are some solid insights from Golfweek's David Dusek in this video after Nike clubs, which no longer will be manufactured, finished first and second at last week's Deutsche Bank Championship.

The video:

Wednesday
Sep072016

Forward Press: The BMW Scheduling Silliness, European Tour Throwing Fans Into (14th Hole) Fire

In this week's Forward Press I explain why the BMW is starting within hours of the Deutsche Bank Championship ending (Corleone and Tattaglia made a deal) and why it's a particularly horrible idea with the NFL kicking off.

But hey, it's all about the Dyes, Crooked Stick and John Daly 1991 memories this week, so we have that (and a few fun YouTube contributions).

Also, the European Tour along with sponsor KLM is trying something pretty bold on Thursday

All in the Forward Press at GolfDigest.com.

Wednesday
Sep072016

Johnny To Tiger: I'll Give You A Thank You Lesson!

Johnny Miller is rightfully excited about Tiger making a comeback at the Safeway Open in Napa. As the de facto host and course architect, Miller's hometown event will get plenty of attention.

Johnny was so excited he even offered to give Tiger a lesson. Easy there Johnny! Don't want to scare the Big Cat off before he hits a shot.

Talking to Morning Drive:

Wednesday
Sep072016

He's Back (Again)! Tiger Outlines Fall Schedule

Spurning The Players Tribune and speaking exclusively to TigerWoods.com, Tiger Woods says he's coming back this fall at the Tiger Woods Invitational in Monterey, followed a few days later by a PGA Tour return at the Safeway Open in Napa.

He's also planning to tee it up in the Turkish Airlines Open in early November and the Hero World Challenge in December.

"My rehabilitation is to the point where I'm comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do," Tiger said. "Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.

Hope!

"I'm looking forward to going to California for my foundation event and Safeway. I'm also excited to return to Turkey and Albany. It could be a fun fall.

"It was difficult missing tournaments that are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and didn't rush it. It was great spending time with my children Sam and Charlie, and also working on a lot of projects including golf-course design, the upcoming 20th anniversary of my foundation and my book about the 1997 Masters. But I missed competing. I want to thank all the fans for their kindness and concern. I've been a pro about 20 years, and their support has never waned."

The Big Cat has picked some strange times to break news, but this was actually quite excellent. Not on a Friday, not on a day anyone else was announcing something, and well in advance so the events he's teeing up at can promote his appearance. Progress!

Even better, glad to hear he's healthy enough to give it a go!

Tuesday
Sep062016

Kostis: "The USGA and R&A look like ambulance chasers, eager to find fault with you at every turn."

If you can get Golf.com to hold still for a second and stop playing irrelevant videos, this Peter Kostis piece on the current state of golf's rules is worth a read.

Strong words here on how the rules seem to no longer be our friend, but instead, the golfer's enemy:

In addition to updating the "Ball at Rest Moved By Player, Partner, Caddie or Equipment" rule (18-2), which went into effect at the start of this year, the USGA also decreed that you may no longer post scores for handicap purposes if you play by yourself. It's another example of the governing bodies looking over our shoulders, like Big Brother. Apparently, they don't consider golfers to be trustworthy. So we have an issue: Golf is either the pristine, righteous game they proclaim it to be, or it's not—in which case the USGA and R&A look like ambulance chasers, eager to find fault with you at every turn. The latter mentality mocks everything the game is supposed to stand for.

Tuesday
Sep062016

Indy Star Profile Of Pete And Alice Dye

With the BMW landing at Crooked Stick, naturally the Playoff(C) focus this week turns to...Pete Dye. And of course, the thrill of watching algorithms turn.

Dana Hunsinger Benbow of the Indianapolis Star profiles the Dyes in a front page Sunday story, and I learned some new things about them, including this reminder of what random ways people get into the game.

If not for a broken-down car, Pete may never have even picked up a golf club.

It was the early 1920s, several years before Pete was born. His parents, Paul and Elizabeth Dye, were headed back from a trip to Washington, D.C. when their car broke down in Pennsylvania.

There were no quick-fix car shops back then, so the Dyes and the couple with them booked a room at the nearby Summit Inn. Everyone went to rest except Paul Dye. He wasn't tired. He was restless. As he walked around the area, he found some little bags of golf balls lying about.

Paul Dye had never hit a golf ball in his life, but he was bored. So he asked the guy working at the driving range to show him how.

"He hit this bag of golf balls for the first time," said Alice. "And he was entranced."

When the car was repaired and Paul Dye was back home in Urbana, Ohio, he got some land from Elizabeth's family, built nine holes and called it the Urbana Country Club.

It's also fun to remember that Indiana has had, since 2011, a Pete Dye Golf Trail, as Adam Schupak writes in this updated story that first appeared at Golfweek.com three years ago.

We’ll get back to that later. Consider this one of many reasons that Mitch Daniels, the former Indiana governor, in 2011 supported the creation of the Pete Dye Golf Trail, a collection of seven public courses designed by the architect, including four that are ranked in the top 10 on Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play list in Indiana. (Dye has built nine more courses in the state, including Crooked Stick, a private club, which has hosted a PGA Championship and U.S. Women’s Open.)

The Trail, spanning 224 miles from Culver in the north to French Lick in the south, features the trappings we’ve come to expect in Dye courses: small greens and subtle breaks, large greens and outrageous contours, split fairways, railroad ties and pot bunkers. Lots of pot bunkers.

Tuesday
Sep062016

Highlights From PBA's Latest Golf Auction

It's fascinating to see prices holding pretty steady (and then some) for prized golf memorabilia, at least based on the expected prices from the latest PBA Galleries auction of 200 lots.

The Sunday 5 pm PST auction is being held in conjunction with the Golf Collectors’ Society Annual Meeting and Trade Show at the Kalahari Poconos Resort.

Standouts include letter collections from Ross and Darwin, and no shortage of great volumes by the latter named legend. If you have friends at Buffalo CC, they will want to check out the Ross item.

There is also a rare Colt and Alison in a dust jacket.

Also fun was a rare St. Andrews mystery.

And much, much more.

Tuesday
Sep062016

Tiger Does Career Day And At Least He Didn't Wear Dad Jeans

If you're looking for signs that Tiger is coming back, they certainly weren't evident in his choice of gym attire for Career Day with Mrs. Todd's class.



Sam Weinman tries to deep dive into the meaning of the expressions and photos which, mercifully feature no Duffnering moments, but nonethless raise questions. My favorite:

-- This picture suggests a portion of the program when things got testy. Potential sensitive topics broached: what exactly Tiger does all day; best Palm Beach-area back surgeons; Y.E. Yang.

Tuesday
Sep062016

Rory: “If I wasn’t in the gym, I wouldn’t be here sitting today.”

It's kind of fun to see how long Rory's memory can be, particularly when it comes to his gym work.

Given that he changed putting fundamentals with Phil Kenyon and almost immediately won, as Brian Wacker details here, I guess he can be pretty confident in suggesting the gym time was not harming his short game.

Alex Myers at GolfDigest.com with the press conference transcript that featured McIlroy's remarks and the roundup of past criticisms regarding his gym time.

"The reason that I play at such a high level, and hopefully will continue to play at a high level for the next 10, 15 years is because of the work I did in the gym.  If I wasn’t in the gym, I wouldn’t be here sitting today.”

I’ll take his word for it.

But I'd much prefer to have the post-putting lesson "high level" than the post-dead lift session high levels.

Monday
Sep052016

Azinger: [USA] 8-9 Deep In The Pick Option Department

The winning 2008 U.S. captain spoke prior to the Ole Miss-Florida State game--because where else will you find the one former Ryder Cup captain who stayed out of the Task Force proceedings--who stated that the U.S. should be the Ryder Cup favorite. He also sees Captain Davis Love making all of the right notes.

Still, Azinger thinks the pick options run 8-9 deep...

Kevin Casey at Golfweek.com reports:

“I look at it now and I think we’re probably 8-9 deep on who we could pick,” Azinger said.

Monday
Sep052016

Blame Golf Files: Trump Trails In All States With His Properties

To cap off that slow stretch prior to the presidential debates, Sean Gallitz reports for CBS News that Donald Trump trails in every state where has a golf property.

The correlation between presidential viability and golf course ownership is not actually made, other than to note this occurrence. In fact, it's all rather explainable, making the story that much sillier.

All of these properties are situated near large cities - New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Miami and Los Angeles - and are in counties that voted overwhelmingly for President Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012. Looking back even further, most these areas have a long history of supporting Democratic candidates in presidential elections.

Three of Trump’s courses are in Bronx County, NY, Los Angeles County, CA, and Miami-Dade County, FL -- all extremely heavily Democratic areas where Obama won by 83 percent, 42 percent and 24 percent in 2012, respectively.

Several other locations -- like Somerset County in New Jersey and Loudoun County in Virginia -- were closer in 2012 but still favored Obama, while two counties, Iredell in North Carolina outside Charlotte and Monmouth just south of New York City, favored Romney.

Rick Wilson, GOP Strategist and frequent critic of Trump, put it this way: “Even in places where Trump has properties, he’s in the political rough”.

Everyone on three: one, two, three...OY VEY!

Sunday
Sep042016

Video: Omega Masters Hickory Challenge!

I can't imagine the PGA Tour doing this since exhibitions on non-tournament days have become a tall ask, so a one-hole hickory challenge would be all but cause for a Mutiny on the PGA Tour Bounty.

But this is why we love the European Tour!

2013 World Hickory Champion Paolo Quirici was added to Omega European Masters contestants Lee Westwood, Danny Willett and Miguel Angel Jimenez in Switzerland for a Saturday post-round competition that appeared to please the fans.

The full highlight video:


Here’s Jimenez preparing for the contest deemed the “Hickory Challenge”:

And...ProTracer!

Nice bell @westwood_lee 🔔🔔🔔 And congratulations on winning the #HickoryChallenge.

A video posted by European Tour (@europeantour) on

Sunday
Sep042016

Playing Opportunities And A New The PGA Tour Vision?

Rex Hoggard reported earlier this week on final confirmation that the top 125 money exemption is almost officially dead, with only FedExCup points will be used to determine Tour status starting in 2017-18.

More intriguing was this note from Hoggard's Cut Line wrap of the week, reporting that the PGA Tour asked its Players Advisory Council to consider reducing the size of its exempt membership from the longtime 125 number.

The move, which according to various sources was widely dismissed by the PAC, is an attempt to assure those who do get their Tour cards that they have plenty of playing opportunities.

Although the pressure to give every member a chance to play has been mounting in recent years, taking away playing opportunities seems counterintuitive.

Unless of course this is the first sign that after years of maximizing playing opportunities and offering no shortage of exemptions, waivers and other avenues to play, this suggests a desire to actually reduce some of the bloat?

The PGA Tour schedule is, indeed, bloated. While it's wonderful that so many opportunities exist for a pro golfer to cash checks, as a "product" the tour has been compromised by overextending itself at select times of the year, undercutting longtime sponsors for the gain of landing new ones and sometimes wearing out its welcome in the crowded sports marketplace.

Could this first discussion have been the effort by the Monahan regime to trim some fat, tighten some screws and signal an end to the relentless growth mantra of the last decade? I hope so.

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