Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer
  • 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
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

Neither should golf be specially selected as a selfish game--a view that is sometimes indicated for the reason that only on occasions is it a team game. After all, is any game necessarily altruistic? We play to amuse ourselves or we play because circumstances compel us. But what perhaps encourages this idea of selfishness is that golf has a more than ordinarily isolated side to it, that it is intimately bound up with the individual...How intensely psychological it can all become!
TOM SIMPSON and H.N. WETHERED

 

   

Thursday
Aug062009

"However, once again Mr Trump has made himself look as ridiculous as the thatch he wears on his head."

Severin Carrell reports that an anonymous package featuring a 14-year-old Donald Trump documentary and interview with Selina Scott has made its way to "all 68 councillors on Aberdeenshire council." The package was labeled, "Know who you are dealing with."

Incensed by the implied attack on his integrity, Trump again attacked Scott – who had no known link to the DVD's distribution.

"Selina Scott was a third-class journalist who is now ancient history and she treated me unfairly," he stated. "It was a boring story then and she has since faded into obscurity where she belongs."

Scott replied in kind, telling the Scotsman: "Whether beautiful, protected, wild country should be ploughed up for hotel accommodation in order to enhance Trump's corporation in America is a matter for the good citizens of Aberdeenshire.

"However, once again Mr Trump has made himself look as ridiculous as the thatch he wears on his head."

The package seemed to be timed for an important family visit.

Today, Trump's son Donald Trump Jnr flew into Aberdeen for a two-day long series of business meetings and press events to promote the golf resort. He said his father was anxious to proceed with the development.

"We have put in over $50m to where we are today, pure cash, and unlike everyone else we are in the fortuitous position to not have to go to talk to banks – we can do this project without them," he said.

Thursday
Aug062009

"The First Duffer"

Thanks to Michael Walker for catching Michael Sherer's update on Barack Obama's apparent golf addiction. Naturally, it's fun to read some more anecdotes about his rounds and who he's playing with.

Whereas Clinton was known to shout, curse and rehit balls until he liked his shot, Obama never cuts a corner in golf, say his companions. No mulligans. No five-foot gimme putts on the green. "I've never seen him get to the point where he just picks up," says Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director and a regular partner. "I've seen him write a 10 down. I've seen him write an 11 down."

Looks like Tiger has some work to do:

Most of the President's longtime golfing buddies say the First Game is improving. After a brief flirtation with a new Nike driver, Obama has returned to his Titleist and is still struggling to master his new hybrid woods. He putts solidly and is working on his bunker shots, once an Achilles' heel.

Thursday
Aug062009

"It is almost postseason time, but it is also open to debate as to just what sort of motivation that provides players."

Everyone has their own barometer for the arrival of fall. Maybe it's the sun at a little lower angle or a simple glimpse of the sun if you happen to be vacationing in the Hamptons. For others, it's receiving the first of five SI covers devoted to the spellbinding world of NFL training camp coverage.

For me, it's the first FedEx Cup bashing column.

Jim McCabe kicks off this favorite fall tradition by pointing out that players are not really playing more to get themselves in the hunt for East Lake and the finale.

It is almost postseason time, but it is also open to debate as to just what sort of motivation that provides players. Consider, for instance, the playoff push these marquee names have unleashed:

• Garcia has played in 11 PGA Tour tournaments this year, including just five of the past 13 weeks.

• Scott has played 14 times, but just three of the past nine.

• Els has 13 tournaments to his PGA Tour credit, but only four of the past 13.

That’s not exactly a sense of urgency resonating, is it?

Well, right. Except this fascination with the “limited-field” concept has led officials to trim back the Barclays to 125 from 144, the Deutsche Bank from 120 to 100, while BMW stays at 70 and Tour Championship at 30. If that were supposed to inject playoff mentality into the drama, what it has seemingly done is ensure that a lot of crowd-pleasing names won’t be there. Granted, the Tour never could have imagined that so many great names would play like journeymen for months at a time, but any tournament director will tell you that having 144 players is more consumer-friendly when you’re dressing up a 200-acre stage and trying to bring in tens of thousands for day-long golf.

Wednesday
Aug052009

"Once the contract is extinguished, you can call and ask, it would be a good conversation, but nothing would come of it."

Tim Finchem and others held a limited audience (translation: yours truly wasn't invited) conference call to announce the new Greenbrier event and to close the door on Buick...for now. It was nice to see Finchem give some props to C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor. And impressive they locked an event in for six years, though as I noted yesterday, not too many people outside of PGA Tour headquarters are so sure this is going to be a success for a number of reasons, most of them logistical.

Only part of the Finchem transcript made it up online at PGATour.com and ASAP, but I was able to get the long version which, like a lot of ASAP transcripts lately, was a complete mess.

Still this was interesting:

Q. I was just curious, the two Buicks each had a year left. Did the bankruptcy void the contracts, or do you guys wait for your pennies on the dollar on the settlement? How does that work?

TIM FINCHEM: They set aside the contracts were extinguished during the bankruptcy proceeding. Of course they come out of bankruptcy, they can do whatever they want. But they are also very much in a movement of downsizing and reducing of budgets, and they had to make some decisions. And in fairness to the time to get a new tournament ready, they went ahead and made a call on the Buick Open. Although we were talking to them right up until very recently about that because it's interrelated with some other arrangements we have with Buick.

But we determined to move ahead today, and it then allows us with Buick to focus our attention on these remaining issues we have and see if we can bring those to a head the next two or three months.

Q. So is there a buyout, per se, to get out of those?

TIM FINCHEM: No, the bankruptcy, once the contract is extinguished, you can call and ask, it would be a good conversation, but nothing would come of it.

I'm not sure if this was just a semantics issue or a contractual misunderstanding at PGA Tour HQ, but this talk of "extinguishing" seems odd considering this was the tour stance on contracts last October when Ginn and Jeld Wen were withering up.

“There’s no technical ability to get out,” said Jon Podany, head of sales for the PGA Tour. “The contract is ironclad.”

Odd that the PGA Tour folded so quietly with Buick yet put up a fight with Ginn. Hopefully this speaks to their desire to get Buick involved again sooner rather than later. Or maybe the contracts technically are not ironclad?

Meanwhile, Bob Harig offers an updated assessment on the state of various events and sponsorship money.

Wednesday
Aug052009

Even Monty Doesn't Want To See Sandy Lyle Fined For Telling The Truth

Well, maybe that wasn't his motivation, but it in a "bizarre" twist, Mark Reason reports that Monty apparently intervened to see to it that Lyle was not fined for his suggestion that Monty cheated.

Wednesday
Aug052009

"Mindful that global warming could provoke more and longer dry spells, state governments are increasingly consulting golf courses on water strategies."

Nice to see Leslie Kaufman's positive story about golf's contributions to helping better understand water management in a New York Times "Environment" section.

It took a while, but from the South to the arid West, their wish is coming true. Mindful that global warming could provoke more and longer dry spells, state governments are increasingly consulting golf courses on water strategies.

In Georgia, golf course managers have emerged as go-to gurus on water conservation for both industries and nonprofit groups.

And...

Water is just one area where golf courses and environmentalists may find a rapprochement, said Anthony L. Williams, director of grounds at Marriott’s Stone Mountain public courses just outside Atlanta.

As metropolitan areas sprawl outward, golf courses may be the only large-scale green space for miles around, offering crucial potential habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife.

Unfortunately I doubt that will help offset the lousy ink golf's been getting thanks to the embarrassing press coming out of Rochester, Indiana, where they're taking a little too much pride in killing off Canada geese inhabiting a golf course in the way suggested by Kaufman.

From an NPR commentary:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. A golf course in Rochester, Indiana will be giving a whole new meaning to the sentence, I got a birdie. Up to 1,000 Canada geese spend their winters on the golf course making a mess. Golf course management blasted air horns to scare the geese away. The geese ignored that. They fired starter pistols and the geese were unimpressed. So this winter five fully armed off-duty cops will organize a golf course goose hunt.

And we wonder why some people despise golf.

Wednesday
Aug052009

Slow Play Leads To Another Assault Arrest

Thanks to reader NRH for the latest slow play blow up and assault story. This time Donald Sauvageau, 57, was charged with felony aggravated assault after smacking a slow golfer with his sand wedge, knocking 55-year-old Albert “Sonny” Skar out. Sauvageau did this in front of his wife, who was playing with him.

Skar’s golfing partner, Ethan Olson, told police that Sauvageau and his wife had been golfing behind them and had argued with them about how fast Skar and Olson were playing and said that they were slowing them down on the course intentionally.

Skar went to return the golf cart and told police that Sauvageau then asked if he had something to say to him.

Skar said he told him, “I don’t like your attitude. You pester everyone and you push everyone.” Skar said he also told Sauvageau, “One of these days I’m gonna knock you out.”

Sauvageau and his wife told police that Skar threatened to kill Sauvageau.

Sauvageau’s wife told them to grow up and knock it off and Skar told her to shut up.

Skar said Sauvageau then struck him in the head with a golf club, saying he saw stars and thought Sauvageau was going to hit him again.

Sauvageau told police he was upset that Skar yelled at his wife and reached in to his golf bag and took out a sand wedge. He said was holding it up half way the length of the club and made what he called a tomahawk chop motion trying to hit Skar on the right shoulder because he felt threatened by Skar.

Sauvageau said he accidently hit Skar in the head, causing him to fall to the ground. He said he immediately went up and apologized and told police it “was a stupid thing to do. I had no right to smack him.”

Wednesday
Aug052009

“Golf needs to reinvent itself"

Lorne Rubenstein considers the collapse of the golf architecture and course development business and raises some wonderful points. First this from architect Tom Mackenzie:

“Golf needs to reinvent itself,” Mackenzie suggested. “It has become too expensive and too slow and perhaps this uncomfortable period will prove there is a market for shorter and more enjoyable courses that can be designed, built and managed more affordably. This may mean dropping course lengths beginning in 7 [7,000 yards], and perhaps even pars below 70 – shock, horror.”

I wonder how it got too expensive, too slow and too long? The grooves?

With the course architecture business all but frozen, developers and architects will have to respond with imaginative ideas. We’ll soon learn whether they’re equal to the task, and whether golfers themselves will be open to the game reinventing itself.

Are golfers really open to shorter, browner, funkier courses that cost less to build and maintain?

I'll believe it when I see more than 30 courses on the Golf Digest Top 100 list that you'd actually want to play more than once.

Wednesday
Aug052009

Fartgate Latest: "I wonder what the running count is."

Stephanie Wei has a "highly placed source" implicating Magruder as the fifth name to control the fund that financed the Watergate burglars David Feherty made the fart noise on national television that caused Tiger Woods and Valvoline Williams to start laughing.

Wei also suggests that Feherty and Woods have an ongoing flatulence contest and that this was just their latest exchange. Nice of them to take it to a national stage! I'm sure the CBS brass were thrilled.

Tuesday
Aug042009

"You can be as mad as you want at them, [but] they always win"

There's so much to consider in E. Michael Johnson and Mike Stachura's latest Golf World story on grooves. The tone clearly is negative toward the USGA, which speaks volumes considering that the duo has been sympathetic to the groove rule change in their blog posts. But in the new piece they explain how grooves could technically appear to be conforming and still turn out to be non-conforming based on the USGA's unintentional intent.

"We are trying to make it crystal clear that the rule was intended to return the grooves' effectiveness on shots from the rough to that of traditional V-grooves," says Dick Rugge, senior technical director of the USGA. "That's an important factor. It was our clear intent. We developed a number of helpful provisions in the rule for manufacturers. These provisions are not meant to be ways to get around the intent of the rule. If we chose to look the other way in these areas, we wouldn't be upholding our responsibility."

As you can imagine, the manufacturers are not pleased and there are some pretty juicy quotes:

"It is not a rule, it is a process to control the future," says Benoit Vincent, chief technical officer for TaylorMade. "It's like the adjustability rule. The USGA said submit your adjustability and we will tell you if it's OK. I said 'That's not a rule. That's submit your stuff and if we see something we don't like we will rule even further.' If it's outside what they have studied and what they know, then they will rule against it. So what they are doing here with grooves is typical of what they do."

And there was this story ending quote from Taylor Made's Benoit Vincent:

But despite manufacturers concerns, Vincent sounded perhaps the most important sound of all -- one bordering on resignation of the reality.

"You can be as mad as you want at them, [but] they always win," he says.

So if they always win, wouldn't it have been easier to do something with the ball first before tinkering with more complicated issues?

Also, does anyone else think it's odd that there is no mention of the R&A in all of this latest groove talk?

Tuesday
Aug042009

"It sounds different, but good. The ball takes off."

Steve DiMeglio on Spain's Alvaro Quiros' latest driving range show stopping moment:

Quiros, who averages 315.6 yards with his driver to lead the European Tour, was hitting 280-yard rockets into a net at the end of the range on Monday — with a 1954 MacGregor Tourney M85 persimmon driver. Contact sounded like a baseball bat hitting a golf ball. The size of the wood driver head was smaller than his metal 3-wood. Quiros said he was hitting the ball as far as he hits his metal 5-wood.

"I like it," Quiros smiled. "It sounds different, but good. The ball takes off."

Tuesday
Aug042009

"So there it is: 51 years and not even so much as a decent goodbye."

Jim McGovern takes Buick/GM to task for not having the courage to announce that the final Buick Open was indeed, the final Buick Open.

So there it is: 51 years and not even so much as a decent goodbye. The largest company in the free world goes bankrupt, abrogates their contracts and can't even find the dignity to stand up, look you in the eye and say, "Thanks, we know you worked hard for us and we appreciate it. You're the best and we wish it could have turned out better. Good luck."

Though he's probably correct, Doug Ferguson does note this in his story on the official announcement that Buick was relinquishing both the Open in Michigan and the Invitational at Torrey Pines.

The tour said it remains "very interested" in keeping a tournament in Michigan and was exploring opportunities. One of the officials said General Motors was trying to put together a consortium of sponsors to keep a tour event in Michigan, but the tour signed off on The Greenbrier before that could be pulled together.

Since Adam Schupak revealed that The Greenbrier had landed a tour stop, I've heard from several well connected people who can't fathom how the Ponte Vedra brass signed off on a non-Fall season spot for the place. Of course, we don't know yet that it's going to be put in the regular season schedule.

Back to Buick. Here's the release from the tour. Note how the courts were artfully blamed, and note the line about phenomenal PGA Tour growth. No mention of Buick's sold thanks to the partnership.

Joint Statement re: Buick and PGA TOUR Relationship

The PGA TOUR and Buick jointly announced today that as a result of the recent court-supervised restructuring of General Motors, all agreements between Buick and the PGA TOUR have been withdrawn.

This brings to an end the Buick Open at Warwick Hills, (Grand Blanc, Mich.) and Buick’s sponsorship of the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, (LaJolla, Calif.). While this is disappointing news, both the PGA TOUR and Buick remain in discussions regarding future sponsorship possibilities.

An announcement from the PGA TOUR will be made tomorrow regarding a replacement for the Buick Open's tournament date on the 2010 PGA TOUR schedule. The TOUR, meanwhile, remains very interested in maintaining a tournament presence in Michigan and is currently exploring opportunities.

The PGA TOUR and the Century Club of San Diego will continue discussions regarding sponsorship of the Invitational.

Buick and the PGA TOUR have shared a strong five-decade long mutually beneficial relationship that has seen phenomenal growth in professional golf through the years. Buick would like to express its appreciation to the TOUR, which has been a fantastic partner and good friend.

The PGA TOUR expresses its sincere appreciation to Buick for its longstanding support and being such a valuable partner of the TOUR, dating back 51 years with the Buick Open, and looks forward to continuing discussions about the future.

Tuesday
Aug042009

"I'm embarrassed for players coming out here today"

You never like to hear about an incident like Harding Park's fertilizer burn as the Presidents Cup approaches, but you have to love superintendent Wayne Kappelman's immediate concern: the daily fee players. Ron Kroichick reports:

"I'm embarrassed for players coming out here today - I wish we didn't have temporary greens," Kappelman said. "I'm not happy about this, but I'm pretty confident we'll get through it."

Monday
Aug032009

Race To Dubai Purse Drops 25%; Anthony Kim Will Learn The News In Late 2011

Lawrence Donegan reports that the once vaunted $100 million Race To Dubai which lured Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim to join the European Tour has taken a major hit.

The European Tour's flagship tournament is expected to lose its claim to being the richest in professional golf this week when officials will announce that the prize fund for the much-vaunted Race to Dubai is to be cut because of the economic troubles that have beset its sponsor.

Details of a new deal struck between the tour and Leisurecorp, a Dubai-based developer, will be announced this week but it is understood that the world's leading players will be playing for at least 25% less than had been promised.

In a separate blog post, Donegan analyzes what this means and concludes that the European Tour and PGA Tour are locked in a battle over several regions. He concludes that the PGA Tour's interest in the Olympic movement is driven in part by the desire to expand beyond the U.S. borders.

And don't forget golf's Olympic bid, which is being run by the PGA Tour's very own Ty Votow. It wasn't so long ago the PGA Tour was agnostic (at best) about the idea of golf in the Olympics. Now it couldn't be more enthusiastic. Why would that be? Because the PGA Tour wants to grow the game, would be the "corporate" response. The cynic's response would be that it wants to grow the game in a way that most benefits the corporate interests of the PGA Tour.

Assuming golf is accepted into the 2016 Olympics (and it seems that it will) then most of the credit will go to Votaw, and by extension the PGA Tour. Given the goodwill that will follow a successful bid, one would have to assume that Votaw and friends would then be perfectly placed to advance the interests of the PGA Tour in places where hitherto it has had no presence whatsoever.

In last week's Golfweek, Alistair Tait looked at the Olympic push as the August 13 decision date looms. Sadly missing from the piece was the lovely Annika family photo featuring the gang that took Lausanne by storm.

Anyway, Tait writes of Votaw and the growing the game point that Donegan is questioning.

He simply points to the impact the Olympics has had on other sports in the world’s most populous nation.

“There are 300 million people now playing basketball in China,” Votaw said. “There wasn’t anywhere near that number before the (U.S.) Dream Team played in Barcelona (in 1992). I’ll take 10 percent of that. The estimated number of golfers in the world is around 60 million, so if we get another 30 million then we’ve grown the game by 50 percent. Even if it’s 1 percent, 3 million, then we’ve still grown the game.”

Monday
Aug032009

"A case of one (copyright) rule for some, another (copyright) rule for the rest?"

Since the Kenny Perry unintended-lie-improvement video remains on YouTube, Lawrence Donegan wonders why the PGA Tour and CBS keep taking down the final round Buick clip featuring a robust passing of gas, prompting an "Are you serious?" from Tiger Woods. Either way, TMZ.com has the clip for posterity.

Will Brinson thinks it's an iphone ifart sound, but I checked with an unnamed reader who has downloaded the app and he confirms that while it sounds similar to Dirty Raoul, Wind Bag, Jack The Ripper and The Sick Dog, it does not match any of the pre-loaded sounds that come with the app.

And of course if it were an ifart sound, why then we'd have a mobile device inside the ropes issue as well.

Monday
Aug032009

"FartGate -- CBS Denies Tiger Supplied It" **

You forget that in our little golf world, when Tiger might be involved it becomes national news. Case in point: TMZ actually went to CBS for a statement about who was responsible for Buick telecast's final round flatulence (not Tiger!), which the PGA Tour took down from YouTube.

Monday
Aug032009

Yet Another Tiger Ratings Bump

You get the sense that they could just show Tiger walking and more people would tune in than a regular tour event.

RATINGS SOAR FOR CBS SPORTS’ COVERAGE OF PGA TOUR’S “BUICK OPEN” FINAL ROUND WITH 167% INCREASE

CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the PGA TOUR’s BUICK OPEN, which saw Tiger Woods win his 69th golf tournament on Sunday, August 2 (3:00-6:00 PM, ET) scored an overnight household rating/share of 4.0/9, up +167% from last year’s 1.5/3 in the metered markets.

Sunday’s 4.0/9 was the highest final-round rating for the BUICK OPEN since a 4.3/10 in 2006 when Woods won the tournament.

Sunday’s final-round rating peaked at a 5.3/12 from 5:30-6:00 PM, ET.

CBS Sports' third-round coverage of the BUICK OPEN on Saturday, August 1 (3:00-6:00 PM, ET) earned an overnight household rating/share of 2.4/7, up +140% from last year's 1.0/3 in the metered markets. Saturday’s 2.4/7 also was the highest-rated third round for this event since 2006 (2.9/8)

Monday
Aug032009

Golf In America Takes On Ginn

Looks like there's a provocative story about Bobby Ginn on Tuesday's Golf in America.

Sunday
Aug022009

Funk Shoots 20-Under To Win Senior Open; Laura Norman Probably To Blame

Clearly Greg Norman's ex, who cost her man majors compared to the trophies Chris Evert has helped him bring home, haunts the Shark and forbids him from making a final day run at majors. It happened again at Crooked Stick, thus allowing Fred Funk to bludgeon Pete Dye's Indiana masterpiece.

But at least Norman handled it well, reports Keith Robinson:

Still, he said his round “just wasn’t good.”

During an interview session, he was asked to briefly review his round.

“I don’t really want to review my round, no,” he said.

That exchange is part of the official Norman interview transcript.

Sunday
Aug022009

Matthew Win Provides Much Needed Lift For Downtrodden Heterosexual White People

As Mark Reason noted in his round three game Women's Open Championship story, these are tough times for long-discrimated-against, fair-skinned folks of the world who've been pushed aside by ambitious, predatory young Asian women of great golfing skill.

Yet eleven weeks removed from giving birth, Scotland's Catriona Matthew held off the same Kurosawa-film extras killing LPGA Tour golf that Reason warned about, capturing the Ricoh Women's Open Championship. No mention in today's story about non-King's-English speaking menaces who have "taken over" the LPGA.

On a serious note, Susan Smith and Elpseth Burnside tell her amazing story, including a reminder that her husband/caddie was injured just last week in the Evian Masters hotel fire.

The Scot had her husband, who is also her caddie, at her side as she picked up her the tournament trophy and a first prize of £197,000 last night.

"I really can't believe it," she said. "I had a tear in my eye there coming up the last and I'm overcome by it all.

"It was always an aim to win a major and the British Open was the one for me. You wonder if your chances are running out but I'm just absolutely delighted."