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

I would love it if we played a tournament every year where we had to use half a set. Or play with persimmon and balata on a 6,400-yard course. It would be fun for us to do a couple times a year. Low score would still win. The best player would still win.  TIGER WOODS

 

   

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."

Sunday
Aug022009

Tiger Woods Finally Captures Elusive Nationwide Tour Win

Geeze, did the big boys think Buick couldn't pay out the purse? I know some people pointed out the quality of field for the final Buick Open, but this stat from CBS was scary.

Tiger broke from his tradition of guarding his top secret Nike balls by tossing a few to the 17th and 18th hole crowds.

Larry Gage reports:

“I’ve played all around the world, and I’ve never seen a day like this,” said Woods, also the 2002 and 2006 winner at Warwick Hills. “This event has always been special, but today was something else.”

He acknowledged thinking about his walk up 18 at Warwick Hills being his last, leading to him throwing his ball with a lot of velocity back down the fairway to fans. He also tossed a ball into the gallery at 17.

“I never do that, but today was different,” Woods said. “We aren’t coming back here, and I wanted to thank all these people.”

It also seems there was a moment of gastrointestinal humor for those watching the CBS feed. Bob Weeks would bet his house that it was course reporter and well known flatulence conoisseur David Feherty. You be the judge:

Saturday
Aug012009

"Matthew is almost the lone westerner left on the walls as the women from the Orient line up for the final attack like warriors in some film by Kurosawa."

Mark Reason's third round Women's Open Championship game story takes a shot at the emergence of Asian players in women's golf and features some quotes from Marsha Evans about how to deal with this uh, matter.

Heaven knows the women’s game in these parts needs a boost because it is in danger of being inundated by an Asian Tsunami. Matthew is almost the lone westerner left on the walls as the women from the Orient line up for the final attack like warriors in some film by Kurosawa. Ten of the top 13 players after the third round are from Asia or have Korean dads.

In recent years they have taken over the LPGA Tour. Asians have won five of the last seven tournaments on the LPGA and four of the previous seven majors. How many of you out there can name the current holders of the women’s majors. Indeed how many can even name the four majors.

None of this would matter a jot, of course, if the game was amateur. But it is not and the thing that distinguishes professional golf from the amateur game is the need to entertain people. If no one in the west is identifying with a lot of these players, then the women’s game is heading for a massive commercial crash in America and Europe.

Why is it that in these racially divisive rants--this one the edgiest I can recall--never question why non-Asians are doing such a lousy job developing great female players?

I guess that would require a look inward and well, we know that's not a favorite pastime of the race in question.

Saturday
Aug012009

Colorado GC Lands 2013 Solheim Cup

This, after getting the 2010 Senior PGA. You have to admire how they are doing what it takes to build up to what seems like an inevitable major. Perhaps a PGA/Ryder Cup package down the road?

Saturday
Aug012009

"They hit a huge drive, they hit a short iron -- it's a different game."

While Bob Kravitz's column on technology does not contain any breaking news, in the context of the technology debate it's interesting to see a newspaper columnist do such a nice job considering the topic and ramifications. He also considers how rollbacks have played out in other sports, and I was particularly intrigued by the insinuation that the Indy 500 attendance has been hurt by slowing the cars down.

Either way, he comes down on the side of rolling things back. No doubt after spending some time with Pete Dye talking about the death of the long iron.

"For years, one of the great things about golf was, on a par 4, you'd have to hit a good drive, then hit a good 3- or 4-iron into the green," Dye said. "Years ago, Byron Nelson and the other great players, they were great long-iron players. But that doesn't happen with these top players. I'm sure the kids now could be excellent long-iron players, but they're not required to do it. So they're practicing with a 9-iron or wedge.

"They hit a huge drive, they hit a short iron -- it's a different game."

And also nice he touched on the impact on maintenance costs:

In an effort to offset increased length of the tees, courses have resorted to making fairways and greens more slippery. That means more cutting, more sophisticated growing techniques, more agronomic issues that concern only Dye and certain Purdue graduates.

"You go to Scotland and Ireland, their courses are more like ours used to be," Dye said. "And they can maintain them for half the cost."

When John Daly brought Crooked Stick to its knees in the 1991 PGA Championship, his season driving average was 288.9 yards. On today's PGA Tour, that 288.9 mark would rank 76th in driving distance.

The current PGA Tour average is 286.2 yards per drive. In 1991, that number would have ranked second behind Daly.

An even bigger victory: not even a hint of suggestion that improved athleticism has driven the increase!

Saturday
Aug012009

Now Daly Is Starving Himself?

Doug Ferguson talks to Rick Smith after JD's second round 88 at the Buick. It seems the lack of trying is part of the latest attempt to kill himself: starvation and sleep deprivation. Worked well for Michael Jackson.

Smith said he followed him along Warwick Hills and almost didn’t recognize him.

“I saw a guy I didn’t know existed,” Smith said. “What I saw today was scary. It was a literal disconnect. He hasn’t eaten or slept in a week. His body needs food, and it’s going to the muscle, and the muscle is breaking down to the point he’s in a toxic state.”

Daly says he has lost more than 80 pounds in the last four months after having Lap-Band surgery, in which a tube place around the top of the stomach helps control the appetite. He was eating only 1,200 calories a day, but now says his intake is about 600 calories daily.

Daly said he weighed himself this week at 205 pounds.

“He’s gone through it so quickly, faster than most,” Smith said. “He hasn’t felt well, he hasn’t slept. He’s starving himself. His doctors say if he doesn’t have 80 to 90 grams a day of protein, he’ll be in trouble. He needs to eat the right food and get himself back so he can even play golf. Looking at his swing today, it was irrelevant.”

On Twitter Daly did note that he's going to visit the doctor next week. The eye doctor.