Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • 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
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

It is often suggested that we have already got to the limit of flight of a golf ball. I do not believe it, as there is no limit to science. During the war, experts told us we had got to the limit of flight of a cannonball; then the Germans invented a gun which propelled a shell three times as far as it had ever been sent before. ALISTER MACKENZIE




"A look at Fowler’s future"

Check out the impressive Facebook/Rickie Fowler-hype-machine parody by Golfweek's Monday scramble team.


"It's not going to affect the way you play."

Geoff Ogilvy's post-SBS Championship win transcript reads like something spit out by voice recognition software, but we'll make the best of it.

Q. Geoff, talk about the grooves now that the first PGA week is in the books. Can you assess how it played any shots that were squirrely or you approached differently strategy-wise?

GEOFF OGILVY: My only different groove clubs are my wedges. My irons have always been 10 legal, I guess. There is definitely a difference. Especially out of Bermuda rough. I had a shot into 10 from the left rough, I don't know if any of you remember it, it was a pretty good lie. The old stuff I would have been confident with a lob wedge and feel I could get some sort of spin on it. It wasn't sitting down. It was sitting nicely. It [rolls|roles] up the face with lob wedges. When I was a kid, I used to hit it. It's doing that now, sand wedge passed the hole. I can't be as aggressive on that shot. It's definitely an impact. Normal shots, no, like out of grass, out of short grass, fairway is pretty good. Once you get half wages out of that stuff, it's different.

Half wages!

So he's saying things are different with the wedges. Victory USGA/R&A! Sort of...

I think it's good because I think we've been getting away with it too much. At least in this Bermuda rough. In other grass, I don't how much difference it will make. It's not going to spin out of the rough. It's going to roll up the face. It's a bit of a difference. In some aspects, like the shot on 14, it's an easier shot. But the club is not going to spin quite as much. You take some away here, and you get some back over here.

Q. That was with from the fairway though, is it different from the fairway?

GEOFF OGILVY: Not significantly different but there is enough. There is a little difference. It's not going to affect the way you play. It's not changing the way we play. The shots are slightly different. The rough there is a difference for me. So I'm sure guys who had big grooves in their irons, having to make big adjustments with their irons. I've been hitting a flier now and then with my irons for years. If guys hadn't been doing that, it's going to be an adjustment. But for us, it's a similar change. When they did spin a lot, you didn't know if it was going to spin. Sometimes it did and sometimes it didn't. Now you know. It's not going to spin. There is something to be said for 9, what it's going to do. It doesn't matter what it does. If you know what it's going to be, it's playable. We lost a bit, but we gained some somewhere else.

No mention of throttling back off the tee for the much-hoped-for backdoor ball rollback. Well it's only week one. There's always hope.


Tiger's Indefinite Leave Clippings, "Unfaithful" Edition

Kevin Mitchell reports on Butch Harmon's expanded on-air comments about how Tiger needs to handle his return. I'm sure Tiger appreciates the input:

"The golfing public would like to see Tiger Woods do a press conference," Harmon said. "To stand there in front of everybody, take his medicine, be humble, be embarrassed, be humiliated, and answer the questions. But where the hell is he? We could find Osama bin Laden easier than we can find Tiger Woods. How long can you spend on a yacht in the middle of the ocean?"

There have been suggestions that the Ryder Cup could be tricky, and Butch gets right to the point:

"The difficult part, in my opinion, is going to be the heckling from the galleries. He's going to get it. If he plays in the Ryder Cup [in Wales in October], which I happen to think he will, that's going to be very interesting."

Paul Harris notes that Tiger's disappearing act continues to be a public relations fiasco.

His rumoured whereabouts range from a series of exotic locations around the globe to the idea that he might still be holed up in his Florida mansion, undergoing lengthy sessions of marriage counselling in the wake of revelations of his serial adultery with numerous women. But only one thing is clear: no one has any idea where he is.

"It really is amazing. Anyone wanting, in effect, to disappear from the face of the earth should take a leaf out of his book," said Ashley Dos Santos, an executive at Crosby-Volmer International Communications and an expert on crisis PR.

In fact, Woods's achievements in disappearing would seem to match any of his many astonishing sporting triumphs when it comes to skill, perseverance and triumphing against the odds.

But nearly all experts agree that Woods cannot hide for ever and that the longer he stays hidden the more obsessed the world will become when he does finally emerge. "This is a classic case of what not to do in a crisis," said Dos Santos.

As for his future golf media relations, the SI/ team kicked this around and Jim Herre probably summed it up best:

Herre: I think the way Woods has handled the scandal to this point is a pretty good indicator of how he intends to handle things when and if he returns.

People posts an Elin update on her holiday ski trip and concern for her children, as does this extensive James Desborough News of the World story suggesting she's keeping them away from Tiger because of his sensitive mental state. There is also this, which makes sense based on his incredible and increasingly disturbing disappearing act.

A source told us: "He has been extremely moody, with his conversations to managers and friends as brief as possible.

"He has cut off others from his entourage. Even his caddie Steve can't get hold of him at the moment.

"And he's made it clear that he doesn't want to do anything on the golf course for a long time, even until 2012. He realised that his golf tour life has become a decadent, no holds barred non stop party.

"Some of us are worried he may never return."

Cindy Adams of the NY Post (thanks reader Rick) suggests there is a 24/7 Tiger PR team--really--looking for damage control specialists.

Now hustling around -- not to lawyers, which they already have -- but to damage-control specialists with a track record who know the streets and can also handle financial issues. A whole other war's brewing relating to shareholders in companies that have canceled endorsements. Besides whatever's being promised to the wife, there exists wrangling businesswise. Endorsers who pulled out, what do their contracts stipulate? Can more money be due? While everything's based on image, not all the contracts have morality clauses.

They're hunting a honcho plugged into the press who has heretofore handled scandalous stories. They're figuring a two-year project. One year to let it all shake out and damage-control it. Second year to rebuild. As in Operation Clinton and Spitzer.

So, for the nonce, Humpty Dumpty must stave off financial lawsuits and stay cozy with all the endorsers whom he basically thinks have put a shiv in his back.

Denver's KUSA television reveals a case of product placement involving Tiger and Gatorade:

And finally, the Wanda Sykes show chimed in on the Brit Hume remarks:


SNL On The Haney Project


Why Did Kapalua Have To Go Soft? **

It's hard to think of Kapalua without quickly recalling the epic 2000 duel between Tiger Woods and Ernie Els (it's briefly touched on in this PGA Tour Productions film, though we're deprived of seeing the ball landing and rolling into 18).  While their back and forth birdies were thrilling, I don't think it's a reach to suggest that the 2000 event sticks with many of us because of the incredible sling-shot approaches they played on the 18th.

Could they play those shots in the 2010 event? By the looks of the last few SBS/Mercedes Championships, Kapalua is a lot greener and softer than it used to be. And despite HD and Golf Channel's many nice production twists (which seem even better this year), Kapalua is a lot less interesting to watch.

I went back and looked at Ran Morrissett's write up at GolfClubAtlas and his enthusiasm for the Plantation Course confirms my memories. It's tough to see Morrissett raving about the shotmaking possibilities today.

In one caption he wrote:

Who will ever forget the finish that Tiger Woods and Ernie Els put on at the thrilling Home hole during the 2000 Mercedes Championship? Great architecture does indeed inspire great golf.

In another caption for the photo posted at right of 18th hole, he notes:

The thrilling 18th - 290 yards out and still going for it in two!

With the approaches as soft and lush as they are today, would that still be the case for Morrissett?

And would the below described shot be possible?

17th hole, 485 yards: Broadly speaking, this hole is similar to the 18th hole at Harbour Town if that hole were laid down a ski slope. The fairway is 100 yards (!) wide. The golfer seeking the shorter way home must play over a deep gorge to a green the size of a small colony. Watching a well-played approach drift across the green from right to left toward the hole is satisfying indeed.

It was satisfying to watch too...

18th hole, 665 yards: Believe it or not, this is a gambling three shotter even though it is 200 yards longer the 13th hole at Augusta National. How far downhill, down wind is it? In a shot that he will remember forever, my (then) sixty one year old father reached the edge of the green from 315 yards out! As has been noted throughout these course profiles, this type of hole where big swings are possible (anything from a 3 to a8 awaits) is the author’s favorite type finishing hole. Just hitting this 16,000 square foot green from just 30 yards short of it in the fairway is one of the single most demanding shots on the course, all because of the front to back tilt of the green.

That 30 yard shot may still be tricky, but it's hard to envision those long sling-shot approaches on today's Kapalua. This would be tolerable if more PGA Tour venues provided similar thrills of watching the ball land doing strange things.


Tiger's Indefinite Leave Clippings, Jack Speaks Edition

Jack Nicklaus was corralled into talking about his upcoming 70th birthday (you've been warned, here come the Jack At 70 stories). Naturally, the conference call talk turned to Tiger Woods and Jack issued this rather surprising suggestion, reports Doug Ferguson:

"If Tiger is going to pass my record, this is a big year for him in that regard," Nicklaus said Friday.

But it starts with Woods playing, and not even Nicklaus knows when the world's No. 1 player will return from an "indefinite break" while he tries to salvage his marriage from the blockbuster publicity of extramarital affairs.

Woods has never missed a Masters or a U.S. Open since 1995.

"I don't know the answer what he's going to do and what he's going to play. He's the only one who can answer that," Nicklaus, who won 18 majors in his career, said during a conference call ahead of his 70th birthday on Jan. 21. "Certainly, this year with where the majors are ... he basically owns all three places.
"If he doesn't play this year, the chore will be a little tougher."

Oh a little challenge from Jack! Aren't we feeling frisky sitting on 18 majors.

Bob Harig noted this from Jack:

Nicklaus has long maintained that he expects Woods to break his record.

"The game will continue to move forward," Nicklaus said. "Tiger is a big influence and the largest one we've ever had. Certainly I hope he comes back and plays. [But] last year the tour had a lot of events that were larger than they ever were and charity [contributions were] up. It's not all about once person. The game is a big game.''

Jose Lambiet reports that Elin Woods oversaw the removal of several boxes of documents from Tiger's office yesterday under the supervision of his business manager.

What’s going on here?

Several lawyers are telling me that, in Florida, the wife is entitled to see most of the husband’s financial documents in case of a divorce. Speculation is that financial documents, contracts and other business papers were in the boxes.

Can a Woods legal split be just around the corner?

Woods, by the way, didn’t appear to be at the office but his business manager, Chris Hubman, was.

Butch Harmon predicts Tiger will be back in March.

Dave Shedloski has taken to labeling Tiger the Absent One and quotes various players about Tiger's absence, including Pat Perez.

"He has a real problem; I think he is going to have to face it. But he may not," said Pat Perez, one of eight players making his first start at the Plantation Course. "He may not come back. It's his choice. It's really none of my business to say that. I would like to see him come back. I think he has a lot more to prove and he has a lot more to do. I think he believes that as well. He is in a real mess right now. He is still getting out of the mess, and I think he will."

And finally, Brian Keough reports on Gary Player hilariously warning Rory McIlroy not to be like…baseball players or presidents tempted by "young girls."

Q With Tiger Woods taking time out at the moment, the Americans are taking a big interest in McIlroy. His parents and advisers will have to be careful.

Exactly. I assume that Rory has learnt a lesson not only watching golfers but watching some of the baseball players that have got into big trouble. And even the President of the United States, not just golfers. So they have got to watch him very carefully. There are a lot of young girls out there that will try and set a trap for him.

Q What’s your take on what’s happened to Tiger Woods and when do you think he will be back playing?

First of all, I have made a point of making no comment on the Tiger Woods issue and secondly, I don’t know when he will be coming back to play. But I think he will come back and play as well as he ever did.


Tiger's Indefinite Leave Clippings, The Six-Week Anniversary Edition

44 days after the accident, Bob Harig at brings up the nagging Tiger/media-relations/law enforcement question that refuses to go away:

Many thought last week's report by an Orlando television station recounting the FHP's handling of Woods' Nov. 27 accident was old news. But it wasn't. WESH-TV, an NBC affiliate in Orlando, got an exclusive interview with an FHP spokesperson who acknowledged that Woods had been interviewed on Dec. 1 -- the same day the organization announced that Woods had been fined and the case was closed.

But on that day, the FHP let the world believe that Woods never consented to be interviewed. And that led to a month of speculation about Woods' whereabouts, whether he had been more severely injured in the auto accident, if spousal abuse had been involved and if he needed surgery to correct any problems.

According to the Dec. 30 WESH report, Woods suffered only a "fat lip," which would seem to put to rest many of the wild theories that have been going around.

And it makes you wonder why anyone -- the FHP, the Woods camp -- would let it get to that point.

For what it's worth, I've twice emailed the spokesperson in question--Sgt. Kim Montes--asking about the FHP's decision to reverse policy and to comment on the chain email. Both replies have gone unacknowledged.

Alan Shipnuck answers reader email and explains why the golf media did not investigate or report on Tiger's affairs:

Let's suppose that, pre-Thanksgiving, SI had obtained some kind of smoking gun – pictures of a parking lot tryst, or R-rated text messages – I still don't know if that's a story we should break. Prior to his mysterious car accident, Woods's private life was still private. Is it the responsibility of a sportswriter to reveal the details of an athlete's sex life? The answer is yes, if it's affecting the game itself. When two NBA teammates are courting the same pop singer and thus disrupting team chemistry, that's clearly a story. What's happening behind closed doors at the Island Hotel between consenting adults? I don't think so.

As soon as Tiger mysteriously cracked up his Escalade, and then went underground, his life away from golf became fair game, but he is the one who set this story in motion, not the media. Bottom line: it's a bummer to have been hoodwinked for so long, but I'm not sure what more the golf media could have done.

He also answers a reader question about one of golf's great mysteries.

If you have positively nothing better to do, listen to the Orange County Sheriff's dispatch tape released today after WKMG-6 in Orlando obtained a copy.

Jose Lambiet says construction continues on Tiger and Elin Woods' home in Jupiter. And it's still looking like a Motel 6, Lambiet writes.

Kevin Blackinstone at the FanHouse blog notes this about Vanity Fair's cover and Buzz Bissinger story:

That is one of the great ironies to this seemingly never-ending story about the first billionaire athlete. Ever since his fateful car wreck in the wee hours after Thanksgiving, Tiger is the only person not making money off of Tiger. Yahoo! Inc. CEO Carol Bartz crudely admitted last month what a boon Tiger's tales are to Internet traffic. Now Vanity Fair, feeling the trembles in the wracked magazine business, is cashing in with a quick mock-up of heretofore unpublished partially nude photos of Tiger. Leibovitz can use a little extra loot, too. Late last year, she was reported to be near bankruptcy.

Connell Barrett picks apart Bissinger's Vanity Fair piece, breaking it down into the lazy and the inaccurate. Frankly, he was kind not to point out that there was an egregious mistake in the opening paragraph.

WSJ's "Numbers Guy" Carl Bialik analyzes the UC Davis study of the impact on corporations associated with Tiger Woods and finds the same flaws that others discovered.

Playing among these analytical sand traps, the Woods study added a few of its own little bogeys in the initial rounds. In its first version, the study said it included stock movements through Dec. 17, though it instead ended the day before. It also included American Express as a sponsor, though the company dropped its Woods relationship in 2007.

And Gatorade, which has sponsored Mr. Woods, is owned by PepsiCo, which suffered a big drop in share price. But that decline coincided with the company's downward revision of its forecast for revenue and profit.

Michael Gerson rebuts the column of fellow Washington Post writer Tom Shales and says this about Brit Hume's remarks:

Hume's critics hold a strange view of pluralism. For religion to be tolerated, it must be privatized -- not, apparently, just in governmental settings but also on television networks. We must have not only a secular state but also a secular public discourse. And so tolerance, conveniently, is defined as shutting up people with whom secularists disagree. Many commentators have been offering Woods advice in his travails. But religious advice, apparently and uniquely, should be forbidden. In a discussion of sex, morality and betrayed vows, wouldn't religious issues naturally arise? How is our public discourse improved by narrowing it -- removing references to the most essential element in countless lives?

True tolerance consists in engaging deep disagreements respectfully -- through persuasion -- not in banning certain categories of argument and belief from public debate.

Another purported mistress is pitching a book, wants $1 million and according to her rep: "She wants to use part of the proceeds and the exposure from the Tiger Woods scandal to promote healthy living by opening a transitional home for women who wish to escape or who have already escaped the sex industry."

No one ever accused me of being quick to post. Here's George Lopez on Sunday's People's Choice Awards, with a follow up joke from Sandra Bullock:

And finally, Dave Chappelle, who once completely lost his mind and has a career again, offers this "Race Draft" featuring Tiger:

Chappelle's Show  
The Racial Draft
Buy Chappelle's Show DVDs Black Comedy True Hollywood Story

"Why not simply delay the start of the PGA Tour season a few weeks?"

Two excellent suggestions from Bob Harig to cure what ails the season opening SBS Championship at Kapalua:

Why not simply delay the start of the PGA Tour season a few weeks? A perfect place to begin would be the week presently occupied by the San Diego Open. It is the open week between the NFC and AFC title games and the Super Bowl. No matter where a tournament is played that week, it would get a nice run, unopposed. The following week perhaps you could play a tournament that ends on Saturday, the day before Super Bowl Sunday.

To help, perhaps a new format for the season-opening tournament -- whether it is in Hawaii or elsewhere -- is in order. Does any sport have a meeker opening than golf? A winners-only event sounds fine, but just 28 players are in Hawaii this week.


"Not to knock on Golf World but it does have a rather PGA Tour-centric view of golf."

John Hopkins, talking to publisher Jim Nugent about the launch of Global Golf Post, which posts its first official issue January 11th. This, from editior Brian Hewitt:

"We will make money strictly from advertising...mostly from golf equipment companies, travel marketers, and some of the global golf sponsors, such as BMW, HSBC etc. We put out a rough prototype in November; with no promotion except word of mouth, we quickly got to 7,000 subscribers. Our goal is to get to 100,000 subs by the end of the year."

GGP won't work unless it offers something significantly different from that currently available in Golf World and Golfweek magazines both of which are available online. "What we hope to do that they can't do is have GGP in our readers' hands, so to speak, by 7.00am Eastern time on a Monday morning" Hewitt said. "Their readers have to wait until Thursday or Friday morning for their copies. We are going to emphasize the global aspect of GGP. Not to knock on Golf World but it does have a rather PGA Tour-centric view of golf."

No that's not a knock...just a tweak!


Kapalua, Day One Groove Comedy

I've only caught a few minutes of the SBS Championship from Kapalua and it happened to be after Kelly Tilghman and Nick Faldo started talking about grooves. Kelly reported that she was subjected to a USGA briefing in which they were told how driving accuracy has not correlated to money won but armed with less spinny-grooves, the USGA believes players will have to be a lot more accurate off the tee this year if they want to enjoy success.

Faldo went on about how giddy he was at this development, then Frank Nobilo chimed in with some comments about the impact being greater around the greens as Bo Van Pelt was trying to get up and down on No. 8. That was followed by Mark Rolfing's thoughts on how different things will be.

Cut to Angel Cabrera pulling out driver and having a go at the 398-yard par-4 sixth.


The Donald Looks To Lure Pine Valley Members Tired Of Playing Their Course

Purchasing Pine Hill near the No. 1 course in America should entitle us to a ridiculous Donald Trump quote, but he disappoints. Thanks reader Ari for Maria Panaritis' story:

"Pine Valley is rated the No. 1 course by virtually everybody," Trump said in a phone interview. "And this is the same land, same trees, same soil conditions, same grass and, quite frankly, we have many Pine Valley people playing the course all the time."

And? Come on, Donald...say it, you know you want to. It will be better than Pine Valley when you're done. You know it! Just say it.

Wait, turns out Donald is going all cost-conscious on us:

The club will charge lower prices, to attract a more cost-conscious golf tycoon, so to speak. The Pine Hill course will be among the more affordable of the 11 clubs owned and managed by the golfing division of The Trump Organization, Scavino said.

For example, Trump's course in Westchester, N.Y., charges $300,000 to join and $37,500 a year in dues. That will not be the case in Pine Hill, Scavino said.

Given that Pine Valley is so difficult to join - one must be invited to play there - the Trump marketing team says Pine Hill will attract the region's attorneys, physicians, dealmakers, and others in search of a similar experience.

Trump has not yet set new rates, Scavino said, but officials were looking into building a heliport to accommodate Trump's helicopter and those of prospective members in the deal-making or moneyed set.

"They will have the opportunity to fly off their rooftop in Philadelphia," Scavino said, "and land on our golf course in Pine Hill."

Ah that's more like it.


Rickie Fowler The Only Tour Player Young Enough To Wear Ugly Puma Shirts 

They're apparently looking to skew younger and Geoff Ogilvy is too 1.0 at the ripe old age of 32. Though somehow I don't see him as a white Footjoy Classics and white blazer guy quite yet, do you?

The Chapeau Noir blog is pleased for Ogilvy's sake:

For Chapeau Noir the switch for Ogilvy is a welcome change, as the Ogilvy-Puma union was always a somewhat awkward pairing because the rugby pant style Puma trousers always seemed a bit too baggy to be an effective compliment to his slimmer shoulders.

Gene Yasuda explains Ogilvy's new Titleist/FootJoy deal. No word on what happens to Geoff if he suggests a ball rollback.


Tiger's Indefinite Leave Clippings, The Golf Goes On Edition

Mark Lamport-Stokes talks to players about the start of the season and shares these candid comments from Geoff Ogilvy on the eve of the season opening SBS Championship.

"It's an interesting time right now," Ogilvy told reporters on Tuesday while preparing for his title defense at this week's SBS Championship on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

"No. 1 in the world might be up for realistic grabs this year, depending on how it all takes shape," he said. "Even if he does come back [this year], I imagine it will be a very limited schedule. Even if he comes back and wins, nobody knows what's going to happen.

"A lot of guys will be thinking 'here is my year,' " added the 14th-ranked Australian, who climbed to a career-high third in 2008.

Steve DiMeglio also previews the year and noted this about Tim Finchem, which was not in the transcript from his disastrous Tuesday press session.

Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who said the scandal surrounding Woods was the biggest "curveball" he's ever faced, rejected the "gloom and doom" outlook for golf in 2010.

Larry Dorman on the mood at Kapalua:

Whether that is for good or ill, Woods, who won 7 of the tour’s 10 money titles in the past decade, is hanging like a specter over all things golf. The questions that hang in the air with him are too numerous to mention, but the ones undergoing the most scrutiny on tour have to do with the competitive fallout of his absence because of a sex scandal.

They concern whether he will return, when that may be, the shape his game will be in and how he will deal with pressures he has never faced before — like the possibility of jilted fans jeering him or chilly receptions from sponsors.

Lawrence Donegan talks to various suits about the business of golf without Tiger.

"There were two other times in the last three years where he [Woods] took a prolonged leave of absence and on both occasions we came through it very well," says Ty Votaw, a PGA Tour spokesman.

"It isn't ideal that he isn't around, but maybe it behoves everyone in the sport to explore other stories and look to other players. People say Tiger Woods is the greatest ever but I have never been in that boat. There have been great players in the past and there will be great players in the future," says Brandel Chamblee, a commentator on the Golf Channel.

"When Arnold Palmer stopped playing the PGA Tour didn't grind to a halt. Tiger is a great player and he will be back at some point, but maybe this is a chance for other players to shine," says David Yates, president of Gaylord Sports Management, which represents 20 PGA Tour players, including Phil Mickelson.

Jeff Rude quotes several players about when Tiger may come back. No one goes on the record and several seem to actually think his marriage is a priority at this point. Apparently they haven't seen the latest photos of Elin in public (again) not wearing a ring.

And for those of you keeping track at home, Privacy is on the move.

US Weekly has Tiger staying with Knicks owner Jim Dolan, but his rep issues a strong denial to the New York Daily News.

Darren Rovell profiles Tiger impersonator Canh Oxelson, who is refusing to take advantage of Tiger's situation and may be losing work because of it.

“I was supposed to be a stand-in for a commercial a week after this all came out and that never came to fruition,” Oxelson, whose day job is the dean of students at a high school in southern California. “And since then, I’ve had other people pull contracts off the table.”

Stephanie Wei with help from Ryan Ballengee explains how Tiger has his corporations structured and named. Both are tied to private jets being tracked by those hoping to figure out where Tiger is.

Jaimee Grubbs is in minute 13 of her fame run, posing for Maxim and talking about her photo shoot in this video.

The Daily Beast talks to several clairvoyant folks including an "Intuitive Medium Metaphysician," a "Spiritual Teacher & Channel for Healing," and my favorite, Mama Donna a self-described "Urban Shaman." They offer thoughts on Tiger's well-being and his whereabouts. Mama Donna goes out on a limb:

I did a tarot card reading for Tiger. His year doesn’t look good. The theme of the reading was an upset balance. All of his cards were upside down. He is resisting learning a lesson here. He’s coming out of a period called Devil’s Play. I call the card “Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll.” He’s also dealing with the Emperor card, and the card is reversed, meaning his empire is upside down. There’s a denial and refusal to deal on his part. The opportunity for spiritual growth is not going to be fulfilled. He’s partially disappointed in himself, and also disappointed that he got caught. Bottom line is, he doesn’t get it. And his marriage wasn’t in the cards at all—that’s not so good.

Finally, Rick Sanchez talked to Buddhist Ethan Nichtern about Brit Hume's comments and what Tiger may be getting out of his Buddhist teachings:


"Anybody who hasn't talked about the Tiger thing in the last two months was on the moon."

It seems the SBS transcripts are posted on a new provider (not ASAP) and I got to learn a new buzzword from Commissioner Finchem. Here are the highlights, minus yesterday's cranky exchange.

On the topic of San Diego and a possible last minute sponsor signing:

We still prefer to close, as we always would, a multiyear commitment. But because of the activation time, it's increasingly and unlikely that we are going to get things done. We already can't get things done in a way that a sponsor can adequately, or even begin to adequately activate the sponsorship. It takes a long time. Which is why, when we do a sponsorship, we give ourselves a year and a half between the time a sponsor has to decide an extension, and the next affected tournament, because it takes that long, usually six months or eight months to bring a sponsor in and they want usually a year to activate.

When I say activate it, that means, who are the customers that I'm bringing? Can I get them there?

So thaaaatttttt's what activate means!

I got to invite them. I got to give them notice, save the date stuff, so you all understand that.

Not really, we writers don't get invited to those kinds of things.

Okay, get ready for the new word.

On the tournament side, it includes television sales to companies that buy media late in the game. We've done it before. You've seen it happen on the TOUR. So we have some things in place that if we don't have a longer agreement. I'm comfortable with how we are going to get through this year. I don't have any hesitation saying that there is enough marketplace interest in these events that I don't see a problem with them moving forward. So I doubt that we will need bridging. I doubt seriously we will need bridging again, but you may see it those two weeks this year.

Bridging: a short term sponsor who fills in after long time sponsor files for bankruptcy and the ironclad contract no longer is ironclad.

Q. Tim, it was announced Tiger will not be hosting the AT&T National. I'm wondering if that's a natural extension of the spirit of the privacy issue that you are bound to uphold?

Bound? Oh these writers get snarkier every year!

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, I'm not going to go into all of the reasons behind it. All of the parties involved with the tournament got together and based their decisions and that was one of them.

Q. Tim, were you involved at all or was anybody involved with the discussions with AT&T as they deliberated on what their actions would be with regard to Tiger and the tournament?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We were not involved in discussions with AT&T as it relates to AT&T's contractual relationship with Tiger.

Uh, that wasn't the question Tim!

We are not a party to that agreement. We did not have discussions with AT&T about their decision as it related to that decision. We've had discussions with AT&T about those issues where we are contractually related, for example, a tournament. But not the personal representation of the contract.

Q. So during that time that you talked to them about the contractual relationship in regard to the tournament, did any of the discussion pertain at all to what happened, and why they took their decision to take themselves off his bag, and how that might reflect on the tournament or anything?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: No, no. When we discussed the tournament with AT&T, they had made the decision on a personal representation and reported the decision to us. They did not discuss with us the details of how they came or arrived at that decision.

Well what good was it then for Finchem to play in the AT&T National Pro-Am with the AT&T Chairman? I thought these were bonding exercises over the course of six excruciating hours?

Q. I'm sorry, I want to be really clear on this. On Tiger as the host of the tournament, whose decision was that, or who was involved in the discussion that he would not be the host this year?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: The foundation, the AT&T and the PGA TOUR.

Q. All three parties?



Amazing they could make that decision entirely separate of any possible discussion about Tiger's relationship with AT&T. Now that takes skill!

Q. Tim, in regards to sponsorship, do you have specific focuses
that you are looking at? I mean in the past obviously there were automobiles, those went away, then the financial institutions, now that's obviously a difficult area, do you have certain focuses that you are looking at specifically?

And second, how much, if any, has the discussion of Tiger come up in discussions with potential sponsors?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I'm not going to answer the second question. It's not really relevant to anything. Anybody who hasn't talked about the Tiger thing in the last two months was on the moon. The first part, we look at companies in all industry circuits.

Tiger's situation is not relevant to anything related to potential sponsors?

Sorry, tell us about those industry circuits. On second thought, don't.

Q. Just last year, around this time, some things sort of started occurring on Capitol Hill and there was some negative reactions from members of commerce toward golf. Have you been able now to sort of calm those waters and make lawmakers understand what the mission is here for golf and for the PGA TOUR specifically?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I don't think you can make lawmakers understand anything. You can try to make them understand.

I hope that was said with a wink and a smile, but somehow I doubt it.


"The Temple Of Hume"

The Daily Show offered this follow-up/apology of sorts for their previous night's panel on Brit Hume's suggestion for Tiger's next religion.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Fantasy Leagues...

I talk a lot about how the PGA Tour needs to embrace them and gambling a bit more if it ever wants to be more popular, yet I can't bring myself to join one (and unlike a certain writer duped into a $750 buy in), I have little desire to pony up.

But I'd love to hear about your favorites, the reasons you enjoy the fantasy golf leagues, etc.... (frankly, I want to not fall asleep as much during PGA Tour telecasts and I'm thinking that playing fantasy golf might help).



"The tone of the news conference and the demeanor of the usually unflappable Finchem changed direction faster than a putt on the slick and tricky greens of the Plantation Course."

Alex Miceli reports on Tim Finchem's testy sitdown with the scribblers just a few weeks after he put on a brave face to talk about Tiger's leave.

It appears that ASAP has not been hired to do transcripts for the Kapalua event, but we thankfully have Golfweek's Miceli to share the key exchanges with us:

Question: Have you talked to Tiger or attempted to talk to him?

Tim Finchem: Have I talked to who?

Q: Tiger.

Finchem: I answered this question before. The answer is, I have not.

Q: When?

Finchem: The day I did my press conference (Dec. 17).

Now that's a weird answer. Or just a wee bit smart assy...take your pick.

Q: It’s a few weeks later.

Finchem: No, I have not talked to Tiger. No, I have not talked to him. I don’t know when I would talk to him.

Q: It’s been three weeks. I just thought I would ask.

Finchem: When I addressed that, I thought I addressed it in this context, that he asks for privacy. We pledged our commitment to give him privacy, so that would include me trying to talk to him.

Q: I understand that. I thought with a personal relationship, if you tried to reach him at all.

Finchem: No.

That's just bizarre  he did not try to reach out and touch someone. Actually, this is more peculiar:

Q: You were asked about Tiger’s relationship with (inaudible). You said you had no concerns...

Finchem: No, what I said was that I was not involved in evaluating it myself. That our anti-doping team, which includes internal people and external people, had reviewed the procedure that was given to Tiger in media reports, and they had no concerns that that procedure violated our anti-doping policies. That’s what I said.

Q: You also said, according to the transcript, ‘I have no reason to have any concern.’

Finchem: Because of that report, I had no reason.

So they reached their conclusion about Tiger's work with Dr. Galea based on news reports? Granted, Dr. Galea did blab excessively to the New York Times but that sure seems like an odd way to conduct an investigation even if it was the paper of record.

Q: That comment was widely panned by a number of doping experts, including the head of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), who accused you of having your head in the sand.

Finchem: Was he talking about the procedure or the possibility of using HGH (human growth hormone)? I had no report that they said anything about me having my head in the sand.

Q: Well, he said, I quote, unquote, As a doping expert, when I hear in the same question, blood spinning, HGH and Actovegin, I tend to straighten up and have a better look. At least you look into it.

Finchem: I appreciate his advice. I will stand by the response I gave during the press conference. I had no reason to be concerned about the procedure that was reported. I’m not so sure that that’s inconsistent with what he said. I’m not suggesting it is, but I will stand by my response. Do you have another question?

Oh, a do you have another question! I believe that's MBASpeak for, go...oh wait, this is a family website.

Q: You don't think maybe you could have phrased it differently?

Finchem: I’m not going to play word games with you.

He would never do such a thing. Well there was the time he used Latin. And there was coterminously.

I answered your question. If you have another question, I will try to answer that one.

I think someone needs a Kapalua Spa day! Get this man a Waihua’s Lomilomi Massage, followed by a Blueberry Soy Slimming, a Vitamin C Firm & Tone and top it all off by throwing a Microdermabrasion & Yam Enzyme on the old PGA Tour expense account. (And you think I'm making those's the menu.)


Tiger's Indefinite Leave Clippings, "And where the hell is he?" Edition

Day 44 of where in the world is Tiger Woods kicks off with a report from Kapalua. It sounds like he's the only thing anyone is talking about.

Doug Ferguson says "every season contains questions, yet every answer winds its way back to one player."

Pat Perez was asked for his list of questions about 2010 on the U.S. PGA Tour, and he wasted no time rattling off two of them.

"When is Tiger coming back?" he said. "And where the hell is he?"

SI's Ann Killion brings up the Nike question and writes:

Because the lens has changed, we'll never see Woods the same way again. AT&T and Accenture -- another corporation that severed ties with Woods -- realize that even if Nike's Phil Knight doesn't.

Knight, who linked Nike to Woods' star from the start and has invested millions in the golfer, claims that we will "look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip." But he has to say that, otherwise he has an entire line of golf gear and apparel and a multi-million dollar investment that is essentially worthless.

Bloomberg's Matthew Lynn takes a very different approach to the question of corporate ties to Tiger:

And yet, the companies dropping Woods, 34, are guilty of two sins, both of them worse than anything he might have to put down on his scorecard when he finally checks in with St. Peter.

Stupidity, most obviously. Woods will come back from this major setback, just as celebrities from Kate Moss to the Rolling Stones have done, and probably stronger than ever.

And, more seriously, the sponsors have misunderstood why they wanted celebrity endorsements in the first place. They need authenticity, not bland corporate perfection. If corporations aren’t willing to accept that their “ambassadors” are real people, with all the flaws and fallibilities that come with that package, there is no point in having them on the payroll.

Tom Shales tackles the Brit Hume comments and writes:

Hume has a message for Woods; lots of people will have a message for Hume. First off, apologize. You gotta. Just say you are a man who is comfortable with his faith, so comfortable that sometimes he gets a wee bit carried away with it. If Hume wants to do the satellite-age equivalent of going door-to-door and spreading what he considers the gospel, he should do it on his own time, not try to cross-pollinate religion and journalism and use Fox facilities to do it.

At the same Republican convention where Hume bemoaned his advancing years, he spoke of knowing when to leave the party and go home. "I'd like to walk away while I'm still doing okay," he said, "and not have people say, 'He was fading.' " It's easy to understand the sentiment, but Hume ought to know that what people are saying right now is a whole lot worse than that he's fading.

Lisa Miller at the Newsweek blog "The Gaggle":

In the ridiculous, gratuitous world of nonstop news, Hume was using his platform and his airtime to give Tiger some free advice, just as a recovering alcoholic might recommend a 12-step program. Hume's pronouncements might not be the most edifying television. They might lead viewers to wonder about his journalistic neutrality when it comes to delivering the news, but that's all. You have the remote control. If you don't like it, you can turn it off.

Stephanie Wei reports that former Canadiens coach Pat Burns is even more out of touch with reality than last week's old media superstars and is repeating the Tiger chain email as if it's his insider dirt. Wei also notes the far more pathetic news that the Canadian press is picking up the Burns account.

Wei also highlights some of Buzz Bissinger's more ridiculous Tiger and Lee Trevino comments during his Today Show interview and you can torture yourself watching Buzz and his earring here on Deadspin. At least he didn't repeat the whopper that Elin was a regular in the press center, sitting in on Tiger's press chats.

And finally, thanks to reader Brian for this AOL story on ways to tell if your man is sneaking around ala you-know-who.

Call it women's intuition. A sixth sense. "Just a feeling" that there's some action going on in your guy's love life that has absolutely nothing to do with you. If he's sneaking around like Tiger Woods, he may think he's slick, but chances are he's dropping clues like loose change. These 5 bad-boy behaviors could be flashing-red warning signs:

1. He starts acting overprotective of his cell phone or computer. This is one classic sign of a cheating heart that you shouldn't ignore. When simple phone calls or text messages put him on edge before he even picks up the phone, you know there's something fishy going on. If there were nothing to hide, he (and you) would have no reason to worry. And when he erases voice mail messages, hastily shuts down his laptop when you walk in the room or has lots of hushed phone calls, you've got a reason to worry.

Really? You think? Sure he's not working as a double agent?

2. He starts picking you apart. All of a sudden, quirks that he used to find charming (the way you sneeze, your tendency to snort when you laugh, your habit of chewing on the cap of your pen when you're deep in thought...)

Oh yeah, adorable stuff...

are targets for his ire. He can't resist making snarky or outright critical remarks toward you about things that really shouldn't matter. But don't try to reason with him. He's knocking you off the pedestal for one reason or another. It could be to demonize you so it's easier for him to "justify" his Tiger Woods-style transgressions.

Is Tiger on the way to becoming a verb for sleeping around? Now that's some accomplishment.


"It already seems likely that players who prefer employing heavy spin with their wedges will be changing out those clubs as often as every tournament to get the sharpest grooves possible."

The groove rule change has players flapping their gums not because they find it that interesting. It just beats answering Tiger questions.

Before reading the pre-Kapalua coverage, check out Jaime Diaz's Golf World primer on the rule change and his predictions. 

6. More variety of shots around the green: Because of less available spin, especially from longer grass, players will either play for more run or try to stop the ball with soft-handed high shots that land gently. The low spinner that checks after one bounce will become more difficult. When extra spin is necessary, there will be an increased premium on clean contact and correct use of the club head -- in short, skill.

7. Wedge lofts will go down:Although the need for more loft would seem to suggest more 62- and 64-degree wedges, the way the new grooves cause the ball to ride up the face and launch higher will make high-lofted wedges risky and probably inconsistent. Chances are good the highest-lofted wedge players carry will drop from the customary 60 degrees to 58 degrees.

Mark Lamport Stokes talked to several players about what they're experiencing, including a man who is a master with the wedge when his ball's in the rough, Kenny Perry.

"It will cause some problems but I don't think it's going to be a real big issue," Perry, 49, told Reuters on the eve of Thursday's opening round at the Kapalua Resort. "I think guys will adjust pretty quickly and you will still see good scores.

"I have struggled a little bit with my wedges. My sand wedges and stuff don't bite like they used to bite, they want to release on out. But out of the fairway with my irons I haven't noticed much difference at all."

As of January 1, new rules relating to club-face grooves were implemented at the top level after research found modern configurations could allow players to generate almost as much spin with irons from the rough as from the fairway.

"Chipping the ball is a big difference but even from the rough I have been hitting little jumpers, not big jumpers," added Perry, a 14-times winner on the PGA Tour.

"They are all great players out here and I think guys will adjust in a hurry."

Steve DiMeglio looks at the rule change and features a sidebar of player quotes about the grooves.

"It's quite different when anything other than a perfect dry lie is encountered." - Stewart Cink

"There will be some gains from using the new grooves, but there will be some loss. What that means in the overall context, I'm not sure, but definitely there's places it's to our advantage to have the V-grooves and there will be other places where we're caught out a little." - Padraig Harrington

"I'm sure there's going to be times where we hit flyers and we're going to complain about the grooves. You've just got to understand everyone is going to go through those things, so just don't hit it in the rough." - Anthony Kim


"The fact that I can play the Biltmore for $55 in December, it blows my mind"

J. Craig Anderson files a largely depressing story about the state of golf in Arizona.

So far, only about 5 percent of Arizona's roughly 340 golf courses have exhibited overt signs of financial trouble, experts said, while the number of "at-risk" courses across the U.S. is closer to 15 percent.

Roger Garrett of Phoenix-based Insight Land & Investments said golf-course owners are getting hit from all sides: Tourism is down, fewer locals are playing, water and labor costs are up, and too much competition has forced course owners to lower membership fees and greens fees.

Adding to those challenges is a decision by some lenders to place golf courses on their "toxic-asset list," he said, which means they won't consider lending money for a golf property under any circumstances.

Three lenders that once provided the bulk of financing for golf courses - GE Capital, Textron Financial Corp. and Capmark Financial Group

Inc. - "have all three closed their doors" to buyers, Garrett said.

For many Arizona golfers, the net result of these troubles is a positive one: Most courses have lowered their fees, and several members-only clubs have opened their doors to the public.