Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos

In my experience, the decision to increase green speeds has definitely hurt the game of golf. This development has not only caused many of the greens on the great golf courses to be nearly unplayable, but has really hampered the ability of a number of players to negotiate the new speed levels.  PETE DYE


    

Saturday
Apr162016

Video: France Would Be Really Good At Relay Golf

Here's another form of golf that would be more fun that 72 holes of stroke play in the Olympics. Ok, the cart part is a little strange, but we could work through that.

Judging by the scores, and this comment from Paul Lawrie (thanks reader Brian), this is the most fun the European Tour's finest had this week at Valderamma in the Real Club Valderrama Open de España, Hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation:


Thursday
Apr142016

Poll: Post-Masters Distance Average & Bifurcation

Mike Stachura points out at GolfDigest.com how the PGA Tour driving distance average is on course for a new record high in spite of tough driving conditions at Augusta National this year.

This is news because we've been told by the governing bodies that things have flatlined, but any further "significant" increase on top of the significant increases of the last twenty years might lead to action.

The average drive of 277.8 for the week at the Masters was the lowest number for the tournament since 2008, and nearly 10 yards off of last year’s average of 286.2. But the PGA Tour average driving distance year to date is still almost 290 yards. The current 289.4 average marks the highest all-time, 1.6 yards over last year’s high mark.

But here's the one that'll make men in navy sweat.

Curiously, the PGA Tour record for average driving distance at the end of any year was set in 2011 at 290.9, but by Masters week that year, the average was 285.3, four yards shy of this year’s hot pace.

Now that more people have more understanding of the issues ramifications than ever thanks in part to an economic crisis, water issues, the lack of pleasure found in a 7,500 yard couse and a greater understand that distance is all relative for the elite player, it seems more people than ever understand the sensibility of bifurcating the rules between elite and hacker.

Adam Scott's recent comments to PGATour.com's Brian Wacker about limiting driver head size became more appealing to me (in light of what he said about the change in the driver's role). I don't know how much of an impact distance-wise such a size reduction would have, but given all of the whining about how difficult it would be to regulate the ball, this could be a solution that is more easily enforced and allow manufacturers to sell something to wannabe pros (and slightly larger versions of the same club to the general public).

But most of all, such a reduction in driver head size could return the reward for driving the ball with length and accuracy, while allowing the sport to put an end to the unproductive expansion of its 18-hole footprint.

What is the most sensible bifurcation solution for golf?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Thursday
Apr142016

Video: Camilo Doesn't Like A Ruling Everyone Else Agreed On

His scorekeeper and first round leader Brendan Grace didn't see the ball as embedded, and the first official on the scene (John Mutch) did not see it either.

Add the second official, Gary Young, and you'd think the trifecta of opinions would have made Camilo Villegas more accepting.

Nope.

As Alex Myers notes, Villegas was pretty displeased. As I watched this live, I was more amazed by how close the camera man got to the action. The sound was pretty swell too, so nice job by the CBS crew to capture a PGA Tour pro at his whiniest!

Thursday
Apr142016

Had To Be Done Files, Rookie To Weir Edition: #hangitupmike 

The second alternate at Harbour Town for the RBC Heritage, tour rookie Dawie van der Walt was a bit miffed to see sponsor's invite Mike Weir post a 78 and WD.

Weir is a neverending saga of injuries and short starts--24 weeks in a row with an MC or WD--a once great player sadly taking up a spot when he plays tour events these days. So I can understand the frustration of van der Walt, whose original Tweet disappeared.

And that's why we have Will Gray at GolfChannel.com to summarize the event, with some pretty stunning stats on Weir's recent run of futility.

"Gota (sic) love a guy who gets an invite into a Tour event and then WD after the first round," van der Walt wrote, closing his tweet with the hashtag, "#hangitupmike."

Van der Walt later backed off, sort of.

Thursday
Apr142016

Jordan Spieth Did Not Cause Under Armour's Stock To Tank

Several stories (like this one) coupled Jordan Spieth's Masters loss with an analyst report as the cause of an early week plunge in Under Armour shares.

But the Baltimore Sun's Christopher Dinsmore says the plunge was all about a Morgan Stanley analysis that affirmed an "underweight" rating on the UA stock.

Morgan Stanley analyst Jay Sole, who follows Under Armour, reportedly issued a downbeat report this weekend that said he is worried about weakening demand for women's apparel and running shoes and affirmed his "underweight" rating on the company's stock.

He called Under Armour's growth in running shoes "unsustainable" and, coupled with slowing sales to women, will result in an earnings miss in the near future.

Under Armour reports first quarter results on April 21.

"We think a large part of the issue is UA is fully penetrated in its traditional sporting goods channel and perhaps more importantly, the industry is experiencing a slowdown," explained Sole, according to this report on Benzinga.

Wednesday
Apr132016

They're Back! China Says It's OK To Play Golf 

Thanks to reader Tom for Tom Phillips' Guardian piece on the Communist party of China issuing new thoughts on golf via articles in party-controlled media.

Phillips is working off a translation of this story.

“Since it is only a sport, there is no right or wrong about playing golf,” an article in the Discipline Inspection and Supervision News, the official newspaper of China’s anti-corruption agency, declared.


The newspaper pointed to article 87 of the Communist party’s disciplinary regulations which deals with potential punishments for the illicit possession of golf membership cards.

“Can officials play golf while the nation steps up efforts to clamp down on corruption and promote austerity?” the China Daily asked. “The answer is yes - if they pay out of their own pockets.”

“Playing golf itself is not a wrongdoing,” the newspaper confirmed.

Just a few weeks ago a course that had been approved and deemed environmentally sound was destroyed in a bizarre show of force against golf.

Wednesday
Apr132016

The Donald Files: New Column Credits Scotland, Spieth Chokes

As Dominic Hinde of The Washington Times notes, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is now writing a column for The Press and Journal in Aberdeen and in his opening effort, compared his fight to get Trump International Scotland build with his campaign.

Many Scots will be glad to know The Donald credits the Aberdeen fight with making him a stronger candidate.

I am also known as a great golf course developer, and since Scotland and golf go hand in hand, it is no surprise that I would be passionate about developing a golf course there.

I think what surprised people is just how passionate I was about it – it’s kind of like how I feel about America.

When I first arrived on the scene in Aberdeen, the people of Scotland were testing me to see just how serious I was – just like the citizens in the United States have done about my race for the White House.

I had to win them over – I had to convince them that I meant business and that I had their best interests in mind.

Well, Scotland has already been won – and so will the United States.

And he compared Jordan Spieth and Mitt Romney as chokers, notes Joel Beall.

Wednesday
Apr132016

Michael Greller On The 2016 Masters Loss

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

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

 

 

Tuesday
Apr122016

A Few Final Masters Reads, Photos And Videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday
Apr122016

Bryson DeChambeau Goes With Cobra/Puma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday
Apr122016

Nightmare Scenario Averted: Vijay To Pass On Rio Games

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

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

Rex Hoggard reports.

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

He won't be missed. 

Tuesday
Apr122016

Can Steve Stricker Still Be A Ryder Cup Captain Too?

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

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

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

Tuesday
Apr122016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday
Apr122016

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

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

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

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

Monday
Apr112016

Spieth Reads: Some Of The Reactions To His 2016 Masters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michael Bamberger on the shame and shock of it all.

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

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

Monday
Apr112016

First World Files: The Technology Gap At Augusta National

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

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

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

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

Monday
Apr112016

Mike Whatney, Bryson's Dad And A New Kidney

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

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


Monday
Apr112016

ShackHouse Episode 4: 2016 Masters In Review

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

The Soundcloud page for those so inclined.

The iTunes link to this week's show

The iTunes link to the show page.

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

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

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

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

Monday
Apr112016

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday
Apr102016

Golfweek's Review Of CBS's 2016 Masters Coverage

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

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

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

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

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

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