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

Some of the most interesting holes are those where the best line to the flag is not direct. A.W. TILLINGHAST


    

Saturday
Jul302016

Flashback Reads: 2005's PGA Championship Tee Time Debacle

I'm not going to wade too deep (yet) into the PGA of America's decision to not alter tee times Saturday in the face of a pretty bad forecast.  Expecting different results again and again speaks to just how surreal the scene was Saturday as the PGA repeated its 2005 debacle in 2016. While a Monday finish is dreadful for all involved, this may be the Golf Gods making a statement about playing this PGA prior to the Olympics or in a time of year prone to this kind of weather. Or both.

I went back 11 years into the archives when GeoffShackelford.com debuted on Squarespace. Found were a few gems from the 2005 PGA debacle. That's when Sunday times were not moved up and the event finished on a Monday.

Bob Harig writing in 2005 for ESPN.com:

For most of the week, temperatures have hovered in the high 90s, with much humidity. You don't have to be Willard Scott to know these weather patterns present an excellent chance for thunderstorms, including lightning. The PGA of America, which is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where this kind of weather is prevalent in the summer, should know better.

Several players wondered why the tee times simply were not moved up. The PGA Tour does it all the time when there is a threat of bad weather. Better to move up the tee times and have nothing happen than to wait and face what we now face. It happened at last year's Masters, where Mickelson won by a stroke. Nobody seemed to mind that Mickelson's victory leap came an hour earlier. Certainly not those who were there and those who got to see it on live TV.

The first tee time Sunday morning was at 8. Had it been at 7, there is a chance the round could have been completed.

David Whitley in the Orlando Sentinel likened the 2005 situation at Baltusrol to one of the most embarrassing mistakes in TV sports history.

In 1968, NBC switched to the movie Heidi instead of sticking with the New York Jets-Oakland Raiders NFL game. New York led 32-29 at the time, but Oakland scored two touchdowns in nine seconds to win and set off outrage throughout sporting America.

Heidi, meet Kerry Haigh.

As the managing director for tournaments for the PGA of America, he had to explain why the final round wasn't moved up to allow for the possibility of rain. Of course, everybody already knew the answer.

What TV wants, TV gets. CBS wanted golf action to lead right into prime time. God forbid there would be any down time before 60 Minutes.

The situation in 2005 was made worse when we learned Phil Mickelson asked that times be moved up after not being able to see the ball well enough on Saturday night. His request was denied. Alan Shipnuck wrote:

In the Saturday twilight Mickelson had trouble seeing the breaks on the final few holes and afterward beseeched tournament officials to move up the tee times. This request was denied, and ignored, too, was a foreboding forecast for Sunday-afternoon lightning storms, which should have spurred the tournament and the network suits to send the players out early. The first lightning strikes arrived around 2:30 p.m., delaying play for 39 minutes and setting up a race against the darkness. When another storm rolled in, the final round was suspended for good at 6:35, forcing a morning restart for all the marbles.

Then there was this back and forth in 2005 with Kerry Haigh where suggests they would end any event at 7, even if it wasn't on television.

Q. Truth be told, the weather forecast was far worse today than for any time of the week. There was just a chance of scattered showers early in the week and today every forecast I saw on The Weather Channel and locally were pretty certain it was going to happen.

KERRY HAIGH: The forecast was, I think, there was more of a chance of scattered showers but they were still scattered. If you look further to the south, they have had no activity at all, and we were within four or five miles of missing it ourselves. So I think the forecast was very accurate, that it was certainly very scattered. We were just unfortunate that it came too close and right on top of it.

Q. Let's see if he can drive this nail with a different hammer. You conduct a number of championships, some of which are not televised. If you were in like circumstance with a non televised championship, and you knew the details that you had today, would you err on the side of caution and adjust your time so that you didn't carry your championship over into the next day?

KERRY HAIGH: That's a good question. But no, I think we would have probably had we made all of our arrangements for a 7:00 finish and with all of the people and parties involved, we would have kept it the same.

Dave Anderson of the New York Times wrote back in 2005:

Maybe the organizers of the three major tournaments in the United States will realize that they should stop bowing to the Great God Television and schedule Sunday's final-round tee times early enough to better assure enough daylight, even if a playoff is necessary, for the finish.

Maybe.

The silver lining is simple enough: schedule the Sunday tee times in the best interests of the golfers and the golf fans, not for high ratings and the monetary interests of a network that demands a compelling lead-in to its prime-time shows.

Fast forward to 2016 and the explanations at least are just routing-based. From Cameron Morfit's golf.com story:

“It’s a major championship,” Haigh said, “and we want it to be run and perform as a major championship. We feel it’s important for all the players, in an ideal world, to play from the first tee and play the holes in order.”

Alex Myers with the scenarios for finishing. Few are very pretty based on the forecast.

Friday
Jul292016

2016 PGA Round Two This And That: Lively Friday At Baltusrol

There was a bit of something for everyone Friday at Baltusrol: great golf from Jimmy Walker and Robert Streb (the 30th 63 in a major, writes Brian Wacker), a rules issue with Jordan Spieth that generated much discussion, an epic course setup gaffe, and no shortage of volatile play from other top names.

Adam Schupak on the leaders Walker and Streb.

Best of all, we have what appears to be the makings of a grand finish with most of the game's best in the battle, assuming the Sunday weather will cooperate.

Henrik Stenson is on fire, as he has been at other times in his career, Brian Wacker notes.

After a 65 in the worst conditions Friday, Patrick Reed has positioned himself nicely in a major, for a change, reports Joel Beall.

Alan Shipnuck goes a step further and says this is a potential breakthrough weekend for Reed.

Ryan Herrington talks exclusively with Colt Knost about the wrong hole location and shares the PGA of America's explanation.

“I called an official over and said, ‘What’s going on here?’” Knost detailed after his round. “And he said, ‘We messed up.’"

According to a release from the PGA of America, the Rules Committee realized the error after the players hit their second shots. Shortly after, officials handed out revised hole-location sheets to the group, and to all subsequent groups.

Knost took to Twitter after the round.

Dave Kindred on Jordan Spieth having a chance to salvage the season, especially with this being his last start of significance unless you consider the playoffs important.

Kevin Casey at Golfweek.com with all of the particulars on Spieth's ruling and possible violation that was determined not to be a violation.

Golfweek's Jeff Babineau says there was no rules issue. Nothing to see here, so move along. I think that was a little strong given what appeared to be a violation, but Babineau's explanation also does make sense given where we are with rulings.

Once his ball was back on the path free of the casual water, Spieth took his stance, addressed the ball as if he were to play it, and got the thumbs up to play on from Gregory – ahem, the expert rules official.

That’s all Spieth needed, though surely Mitch from Montauk and Sal from Summit soon were lighting up the phone lines once they saw one of Spieth’s spiffy Under Armour golf shoes hovering over a puddle.

Spieth assessed his situation, facing 190 yards with some trees in front to negotiate, then elected to play in a slightly different direction than he originally planned – something he totally was within the rules to do. In fact, playing in a different direction is allowed under Rules of Golf Decision 20-2c/0.8.

The 7th hole turned things around for Jason Day, writes Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com.

Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News on Phil Mickelson’s triple bogey start plus other notes from a weird day that saw pre tournament favorite Dustin Johnson heading home early.

“I think in the history of the PGA Championship, that’s the worst start of any player’s round,” Mickelson said. “I don’t even know what to say. It was just a pure mental block.”

Alex Myers with the evidence of Phil's rough start, which was salvaged by several birdies and a made cut for the Baltusrol defending champion.

Rory McIlroy missed the cut and now, because he backed out of the Olympics has a lot of time off to rethink his putting issues, reports James Corrigan.

Once again it was McIlroy’s putter to blame, although, bizarrely, it was the same implement which appeared to have dug him out of the hole on the 17th. There were three missed five footers and for the second day running – and, yes, for the umpteenth time this season -  it was the shortest club in the bag which was letting down all the others.

Brently Romine with the Ryder Cup ramifications of the current leaderboard.

Round one ratings on TNT were down 30% from last year.

Note to those missing the cut: Zika virus has come to Florida. Hope those guys skipping the Olympics over the virus are not spending much time in Florida for a while!

Friday
Jul292016

Hole-in-One, Double In Same Round Files: Mason Nome Edition

Congrats to University of Texas golf commit Mason Nome (2019), who made an ace and double eagle in the same round. It was John Wooden's feat and that of only a handful of others many decades ago.

Nome posted this scorecard of the round, which also featured a double bogey just a hole after teh two on a par-5. The Golf Gods waste little time setting us straight!

Hole in one and double eagle in same round!

A photo posted by Mason Nome (@masonnome) on


Mason also posted a tremendous trick shot many weeks ago that I hadn't seen...

A video posted by Mason Nome (@masonnome) on

Thursday
Jul282016

58!! Jaeger Sets New Web.com Tour Single Round Record

Stephan Jaeger made 12 birdies and 6 pars en route to a 58 on Thursday in the Web.com Tour's Ellie Mae Classic.

The 27-year-old German and three-time Southern Conference player of the year from Tennessee Chattanooga told the AP breaking 60 was on his mind the entire back nine.

"It pretty much was in my head the whole back nine," Jaeger said.

On the final hole, he hit a 3-wood off the tee and hit a layup to 95 yards.

"We had a good strategy for that hole," Jaeger said. "I was going to play it as a three-shot hole and take the bunker out of play off the tee and at worse make par."

The Web.com Tour Instagram page had some nice coverage:

History is made. Stephan Jaeger has shot 58. 🔥⛳️👍

A video posted by Web.com Tour (@webdotcomtour) on


Happy times. 🔥⛳️

A video posted by Web.com Tour (@webdotcomtour) on


The anatomy of history. ⛳️

A photo posted by Web.com Tour (@webdotcomtour) on


The record-setting scorecard. ⛳️

A photo posted by Web.com Tour (@webdotcomtour) on

Thursday
Jul282016

Raiders Targeting Vegas Golf Courses For Stadium Site?

All I know: they aren't coming to LA. Woohoo!

I've got to think Bali Hai is leader in the clubhouse if a golf course is the ultimate destination for a new stadium. Given that its purveyor may not be too focused on saving it.

Nice round up by John Strege here at GolfDigest.com.

Bali Hai is on the southern end of the strip in Las Vegas, between the airport and Interstate 15. Incidentally, it is part of Walters Golf, owned by renowned gambler Billy Walters, who recently was indicted on insider trading charges in the same case in which Phil Mickelson was identified as a “relief defendant.”

The Wynn, formerly the Desert Inn, is also headed for extinction soon.

Thursday
Jul282016

Jack: Tiger Struggling, But He Doesn't Know What With

I'm not sure the bigger reveal, that Jack Nicklaus senses Tiger is struggling with is rehab/return, or that Jack knows this from an occasional text.

Joell Beall with the report on Nicklaus' latest remarks.

"He's struggling. I don't understand what he is struggling with," said the Golden Bear. "But I know he is struggling and he would be playing if he could play."

Thursday
Jul282016

PGA Round One Quick Roundup: Stars Struggle, Rain Coming

Jimmy Walker torched Baltusrol early and watched as many of the world's best struggled with the Lower Course.

Michael Shamburger has this roundup of the tough day for favorites and stars, beyond Henrik Stenson, Day and Fowler who both posted nice scores. As Dave Kindred writes, sometimes it's a cruel game for even the best, sometimes they get lost and there are so many opportunities to struggle .

Stenson continued the trend of epic ballstriking, and according to Golf Channel's Justin Ray, he's hitting 79.8% of his greens over his last six major rounds.

Martin Kaymer played beautifully and lit up after the round talking about his upcoming Olympic experience, reports Alex Myers.

Less pretty was Dustin Johnson's round of 77 with the Stenson group. Jason Sobel on DJ's struggles.

Sam Weinman with some of DJ's quotes after the round. It was a short discussion.

Brentley Romine with the Spieth (70) roundup.

Romine also has notes on Brooks Koepka and Chris Wood making Ryder Cup pushes.

Rory McIlroy had 35 putts and Brian Wacker suggests it may be time for McIlroy to make a change. All his putting stats according to this Golf Channel tweet were...awful.

This was an interesting revelation from Bob Harig's report, which suggests that some of the confidence woes may be green reading driven. At least at Baltusrol.

"With the poa annua greens, you start to look a lot into them. You read it from behind the ball and you see one line; you read it from behind the hole and it looks slightly different. You put yourself in two minds sometimes."

Ian O'Connor at ESPN.com followed Phil Mickelson and also considered the evolution of his career since the last time Phil played Baltusrol.

Durability might be the most underappreciated part of Mickelson's career. When Woods was pummeling people in his dynastic prime, most contenders dropped on command and never got back up. Mickelson at least staggered to his feet and kept working the problem. "And once Phil got over the hump," his caddie, Bones Mackay, said Thursday, "it got to a point where he couldn't wait to be paired with Tiger."

Mickelson claimed 33 of his 42 PGA Tour victories after Woods' first two victories as a pro late in the 1996 season. Mickelson also won all five of his major championships after Tiger's most dominant stretch -- the seven majors he won in an 11-major stretch from the 1999 PGA to the 2002 U.S. Open.

Golf Digest's Birdies and Bogeys gives a quick roundup of day one.

The weather forecast overnight stinks. The long range has some electricity issues as well.

Bill Raftery, Baltusrol member and beloved announcer, stopped by the booth.

Justin Thomas went with bold pants, but Horschel lurks Sunday with some doozies.

The legend of Beef Johnston grows, writes Weinman.

Johnston's post-round interview at Golfweek.com

Patton Kizzire is ready for football season!

Nice to see Amanda Balionis on the TNT broadcast doing interviews. Jeff Newton posts a Q&A about her role this week.

While the Zurich lie-detector ads continue to spiral, surpassing the lame "your wife's cooking" campaign, I'm at about Defcon 3 with the new Omega HOF ad. I have trouble seeing ever reaching the status of the prior Hall of Fame spot. But it's only Thursday...

Wednesday
Jul272016

Five Family Fun: Premier Series Details Emerge

On the eve of the PGA Championship--albeit one that lands earlier than normal and which will take a few days of golf to get excited about--details of the European Tour's long-rumored Premier Series are emerging.

Chief Exec Keith Pelley's concept of a world tour/answer to the PGA Tour will be a select group of events with a presenting sponsor, reports Golfweek's Alex Miceli.

The Premier Series, the brainchild of Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, was created to stem the flood of veteran talent to the PGA Tour and keep younger European players focused on their home tour.

The plan focuses on certain parts of the schedule with increased purses, not to just compete directly with opposite PGA Tour events but also to emphasize certain times of the year on the European Tour.

With the first phase of the series to be announced at the British Masters in mid-October, the Tour intends to implement the program over the next two or three years. The Premier Series would consist of 10 tournaments in 2018 and 12 events in 2019.

Your turn Commissioner Finchem!

Wednesday
Jul272016

ShackHouse 15: The PGA Championship & Jim Nantz

The PGA Championship beckons and we apologize for the late preview push, but we had a very special guest in mind. As we suspected, Jim Nantz of CBS Sports shared some pretty incredible thoughts, insights and opinions.

After House and I make some picks, talk a little Tillinghast, Virginia golf and the lingering good vibes of The Open, Jim discusses a variety of topics from the state of the Big Three, Barry White's Love Theme, the notion of a "call" in golf, broadcast preparation, rules situations, the last two majors and a bucket list course that may surprise you.

We can't thank Jim enough for his time during final PGA Championship broadcast preparation and for his candor and insights. I'm confident you'll enjoy the conversation.

Regarding our picks, I'm all in on J.B. Holmes this week, while House was still formulating his plan when we recorded the pre-Nantz portion of the show. But through the magic of The Twitter, House's capital allocations can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Here is The Ringer's page for the show.

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

Same deal with Soundcloud for the show, and Episode 15 is here to listen to right now!

And the ShackHouse Stitcher page.

As always, ShackHouse is brought to you by Callaway, who you better be following on Twitter as they provide content from Baltusrol give away some of the cool custom PGA gear they created. They are also home of the Team Callaway Collection is a limited run of meticulously curated Callaway and Odyssey branded items that you can only find on CallawayGolf.com. And visit the Callaway Team Collection. Use promo code HOUSE in your shopping cart to get 20% off. Offer expires 7/31.

Same with MeUndies, work that promo code House for your first order!

Helix,
offering a nice discount to ShackHouse listeners on a new mattress!

Also, for a limited time, ShackHouse listeners get fifty dollars off the Ring of Security Kit. Go to RING.COM/SHACKHOUSE now.

As always, especially this week when we pushed this one a little later, we thank you for your support of the show and its sponsors.

Wednesday
Jul272016

Club Car Thanks You: Captain Clarke Adds Fifth Vice-Captain

The European Ryder Cup team's vice captain squad has swollen to five, potentially boosting Club Car's third quarter revenues as Darren Clarke looks to become the first captain to have a shuttle driver for every two players.

According to a BBC report, 2002 winning captain Sam Torrance joins Ian Poulter, Paul Lawrie, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington on Clarke's coaching squad at Hazeltine in Minnesota.

Oddsmakers have installed Mark James, Neil Coles, Peter Alliss and a hologram of J.H. Taylor as co-frontrunners to grab the next vice-captain spot.

The full release:

DARREN CLARKE NAMES SAM TORRANCE AS HIS FIFTH VICE CAPTAIN FOR THE 2016 RYDER CUP
 
Darren Clarke, the European Captain for The 2016 Ryder Cup, has named Sam Torrance as his fifth and final Vice Captain for the match against the United States at Hazeltine National in September.

The 62 year old Scotsman will bring not only a wealth of experience to Clarke’s backroom team – having played for Europe on eight consecutive occasions between 1981 and 1995 – he will also bring the knowledge of what it takes to be a winning captain in the biennial contest, having led Europe to victory at The Belfry in 2002.

It was also at the English venue that Torrance enjoyed his greatest Ryder Cup moment as a player when, in 1985, he holed his famous curling putt across the 18th green to beat Andy North and secure the winning point as Europe went on to record a 16 ½ - 11 ½ triumph.

The man who still holds the record number of European Tour appearances with 706, also knows what it takes to succeed in the Ryder Cup arena in the US, having been part of the team which won at Muirfield Village in 1987 – the 15-13 success representing Europe’s first triumph on American soil.

Tuesday
Jul262016

Video: Rio Olympic Golf Course Third Hole

The par-4 third can be stretched to 351/321 but will hopefully be set up shorter to entice players to drive the green. 

Here is the Golf Digest flyover narrated by co-architect Gil Hanse. Here is Hanse's final rendering of the hole.

Tuesday
Jul262016

Irish Open To Portstewart Sets Up Three-Week Links Season

The Open and the Scottish Open are being joined by the Irish Open, it was announced today.

Brian Keogh with the details on Portstewart landing the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, hosted by the Rory Foundation.

The July 6-9, 2017 dates mean three weeks of links golf next summer, with a pair of tune-up options for players.

Tuesday
Jul262016

Baltusrol: Tillinghast, The First Island Green And Murder

There's a trio! But we forget a few things and learn things with Baltusrol having hosted many majors: that this is a national treasure on many levels beyond the tournament golf.

Bill Fields filed a New York Times story on the island green at Baltusrol that was later taken out by A.W. Tillinghast.

Where the putting surface of the 16th hole is situated, though, once existed one of the most talked-about features in early American golf: the sport’s first island green. The site was the location of the 10th green on Baltusrol’s Old Course, an 18-hole layout created in 1900 that was used for two decades before the opening of the Upper and Lower Courses in 1922, built by the noted golf course architect A. W. Tillinghast.

Fields also delves into the grim story that gave Baltusrol its name: the murder of Baltus Roll in a late night robbery attempt.

Also, on a lighter note, this was a breakthrough project for A.W. Tillinghast. Brett Cyrgalis looks at the club's rich history, which, while it included multiple Opens before they let Tillie turn the place into two courses, went to another level because of the architect's effort.

Having already played host to the five major championships, including two U.S. Opens, one U.S. Amateur and two U.S. Women’s Amateurs, the club decided to rip up what would become known as “the old course,” and totally revamp its sprawling property in Springfield, N.J. The club hired proclaimed golf course architect A.W. Tillinghast, whose unheard-of proposal was for two golf courses, both of the highest caliber, playing up to the venerable Tudor clubhouse and along the side of Baltusrol Mountain.

The club opened in 1922, and the accolades have never stopped coming. It’s a history that is hardly lost on the current membership, now readying this week to play host to its 17th major championship, the PGA Championship.

“The history is very important for the average member,” said Rick Jenkins, the club historian and the member appointed to be the general chairman for the 98th PGA Championship. “It’s part of the culture here. Every member knows every 15 years, we’ll host a major championship. That’s the timetable we’re on. We want to do this because we think it’s not only part of our legacy, but our contribution to the game.”

On Golf Channel's Live From coverage, Matt Ginella profiled Tillinghast in this Eric Morris-produced piece that includes some wonderful old imagery.

 

Monday
Jul252016

How Pete Cowen Helped Henrik Stenson Get His Game Back

One of the many things lost in the haze of the magnificent Stenson-Mickelson battle for the ages at Troon was Henrik's bizarre career arc.

It's easy to forget that he hit rock bottom many years ago, but with the help of instructor Pete Cowen, Stenson built a swing that led to one of the great performances in major history.

Bob Harig files this super profile of the Cowen/Stenson partnership for ESPN.com.

"He couldn't hit the world, let alone the fairway,'' said Pete Cowen, Stenson's longtime instructor. "And it could be with every club in his bag. He could hit 5-irons out of bounds, 7-irons out of bounds. There are three important things, and they are to start the ball on line, and have the correct flight and spin. Henrik couldn't start it on line, and then you have no idea where it is going to finish.''

Stenson turned pro in 1998 and found some early success on the European Tour. But at the European Open -- at the K Club in Ireland -- his game, his ego and his confidence took a hit 15 years ago, one from which it is amazing he recovered.

Playing in July 2001 with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Sandy Lyle, Stenson came to the 13th hole and hit a massive slice that would not have been so alarming if he had not hit a massive hook on the same hole a day prior. Stenson had no idea where the ball was going, and was so spooked by his lack of form that he withdrew.

"After nine holes, I told the guys they'd be better off without me,'' Stenson recalled. "The balls were all over the place.''

Two months prior, Stenson had won the Benson & Hedges International tournament, but now he wondered if he'd ever be able to compete again.

Monday
Jul252016

Video: Rio Olympic Golf Course Holes 1 And 2

With all due respect to balmy Baltusrol, which isn't to blame for the schedule congestion, we are less than 18 days from the start of men's Olympic golf. Time to count down the way there thanks to Golf Digest's "Olympic Course Experience" featuring excellent hole flyovers of the Rio course narrated by co-architect Gil Hanse.

The par-5 first hole of the Rio Olympic Course plays 604 yards for the men and 536 yards for the women. You can view Hanse's final first hole rendering here.

The first hole flyover:



The par-4 second is 486 yards for the men and 438 yards for the women. You can view Hanse's final drawing here.

The second hole flyover:

Sunday
Jul242016

The 2016 PGA: Baltusrol In July, Major And Olympic Preview!

So soon after The Open--particularly one we'll never forget--and at a parkland course short on memorable holes, and played in July to accommodate America's obsession with football, all adds up to make it hard for many including the SI/golf.com gang to get excited about the 2016 PGA Championship.

From the roundtable:

Bamberger: Yes, the PGA risks getting overlooked. But this year less than others. It's the lead up to the Olympics!

Shipnuck: You jest, Michael, but it will add a little extra juice and another needed talking point. We all know the PGA is the least prestigious of the majors, and as long as it’s going to boring tracks like Baltusrol, that won’t change. But the Olympics are the de facto 5th major this year—Sorry Players—and will continue the mojo for this blockbuster summer.

Bamberger: I don't jest. Not about this!

Shipnuck: Good, because these Olympics are life and death. Perhaps literally!

Ritter: Only if you drink the water in Rio, Alan! (Or, leave your hotel.) As for the PGA, Balty has produced some great winners, including Phil in ‘05 and Jack twice. If it gets a few high-wattage names in the mix on Sunday, it'll draw its share of eyeballs, even in a busy summer.

Probably more than had the event been moved to the early fall to help with the congested schedule. But football won that match before it even teed off.

David Fay filed some terrific Golf Digest thoughts on the history of Baltusrol and what makes it such a great club, even if you find the course a little uninspired on TV. And he addresses that silly wall installed by Robert Trent Jones at No. 4. **See Rick Wolffe's much appreciated clarification on the wall in comments below.

Alan Pittman offers this black and white photo tour of the club.

Sunday
Jul242016

Phil's Baltusrol Defense: Changes In Game Means Change In How To Attack The Course

With the PGA Championship's return to Baltusrol, the spotlight will be on the course's defending champion, Phil Mickelson (Jason Day is of course the actual title defender).

In an unusually candid as-told-to with Mark Cannizzaro, Mickelson mentions the role of Baltusrol retiring pro Doug Steffen in helping him learn the green, Joe's Pizza for his favorite local pie, Wednesday golf at Pine Valley again with Jerry Tarde and other fun insights.

But for those wanting to know how the Open Championship runner-up plans to attack the course, Mickelson admits to a big change in approach worth noting.

I have to play it shorter off the tee and straighter and then more aggressive into the greens. A lot of times before, I couldn’t be aggressive into the greens because I was in trouble. But I could get away with that because my length off the tee was more of an advantage than it is now.

Now I have to be more conservative off the tee so I can then be more aggressive into the greens. You have to adapt as a player. During my 30s, length was key for me and there wasn’t as much rough as there is today and I was pretty wild. One of the things I’ve had to do as a player is adapt and become more consistent off the tee, and I’m in the process of that right now.

My anticipation of playing Baltusrol this time around is going to be much more methodical. I can’t overpower a golf course like Bubba Watson or Dustin Johnson. I’m going to give up strokes off the tee to them. Dustin gains 2 ¹/₂ strokes on the field. So I have to make up three shots elsewhere — chipping, putting, iron shots, whatever.

Sunday
Jul242016

Scott Stallings & The Absurdity That Is The PGA Tour Drug Policy

This week's Tour Confidential got me to read Pete Madden's excellent piece about Scott Stallings' PGA Tour drug policy violation.

Needless to say the breathtaking hypocrisy of Commissioner Tim Finchem, once opposed to drug testing, now personally notifying Stallings of his suspension in a weird New Orleans hearing, stands out. But so does the oddity of Stallings self-reporting instead of being caught by the tour lab, yet earning no special consideration. And there's the secrecy of violations such as Dustin Johnson's alleged suspension for use of recreational drugs, while a Stallings' case is made public.

This part is just creepy and pathetic that Finchem--vehemently opposed to drug testing at one time--personally dishing out the punishment that does not fit the crime:


The golfer reviewed his talking points in his head. He had made a mistake, but he also had immediately reported himself, as golfers are supposed to do, and apologized. Surely, the Tour would forgive him for acting hastily when his health was on the line. Finchem, he thought, would understand.

"I walk into a room, Finchem is there with a few other guys, and before my butt hits the seat, I'm handed a piece of paper telling me I was suspended for three months," Stallings recalled. "I was very much in shock."

The decision to make Stallings the newest member of the most exclusive club in golf had already been made. He joined Doug Barron, Vijay Singh and Bhavik Patel as the only players known to have run afoul of the Tour's Anti-Doping Program since its inception in 2008, his name forever etched on a public naughty list in perhaps the only sport that prizes integrity over success. That culture is so strong that golfers routinely add strokes to their scores for missteps both real and imagined rather than risk the perception that unfair advantages were gained over the field.


Gary Van Sickle summed up the reporting by Madden this way:

DHEA is a hormonal supplement you can buy off the rack at CVS. The fact that it is somehow illegal is ridiculous. It is not a PED. I took it for several years with the understanding that it helped middle-aged guys have the energy to keep moving and maybe lose weight. Not sure that worked. The Stallings case, like Shaun Micheel’s, shows how much the tour just can’t wait to crack down to prove how effective its drug policy is, even if it is unrelated to reality. Stallings got hosed; Micheel got hosed. The guys who went to rehab over the years—whoever they were—for substance abuse, they got nothing. It’s just not a level playing field.

Sunday
Jul242016

du Toit: Cinderella Story Of All Cinderella Stories?

Jason Logan at Score Golf explains that there were signs Canadian amateur Jared du Toir was playing well. But the last group of his national open in his first PGA Tour start, where no Canadian has won since 1954?

With a field including Day and Johnson? No matter what the ASU golfer does Sunday, it's an incredible achievement.

From Logan's story:

The young Canuck came into this tournament on a roll, having won the Glencoe Invitational in June and having fired a competitive course-record 63 at San Francisco’s Olympic Club at the Trans-Miss Amateur Championship three weeks ago. But this? Rounds of 67-72-70 in his first PGA Tour event to sashay his way into a Sunday game with 2013 champ Brandt Snedeker?

 

“I’ve never been in this kind of pressure, this atmosphere before,” du Toit said. “I’m here having fun and trying to go and play golf. It hasn’t set in so far, but I’m loving every minute of it.”

His Saturday eagle will be a memory for life:

 

Saturday
Jul232016

Euro Tour Considering Radical New Format To Lure The Kids

Chris Cutmore of the Daily Mail reports that new European Tour Chief Keith Pelley is following the lead of Twenty20 and floating the idea of a radical format event, with just six holes, shot clocks, music (!?) and attire twists.

Cutmore writes...

'It would probably be a country competition,' Pelley told BBC Radio 5 Live. 'So you could see England playing Scotland in a six-hole matchplay.

'If you're not prepared to change, you're not prepared to be innovative, if you're not prepared to actually take chances, then sports will fall behind.'

He added: 'Yes, there'd be a shot clock. Yes, there'd be music and players would probably be dressed a bit differently.

'Maybe they'd only play with five or seven clubs.'

Throw in stymies and I'm in!

I feel like we've seen a precursor of this already

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 953 Next 20 Entries »