Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    by Matthew Futterman
  • 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

As far is possible, there should be presented to each golfer an interesting problem that will test him without being so impossibly difficult that he will have little chance of success. There must be something to do, but that something must always be within the realm of reasonable accomplishment.
BOBBY JONES


    

Sunday
Mar292009

Two Weeks Of Green

Yes, we're starting the Masters coverage early here, with all due respect to this week's first ladies major, the Nabisco. After lengthy discussions with my staff, it was determined that most of the site content and daily quotes will be Masters or Augusta related. Therefore I made the executive decision to subject you to Masters green with hints of red and yellow.

I'll be posting more about what's coming up tournament week, but expect daily live blogging using CoverItLive's interactive format, daily clippings from the five newspapers remaining, and everything else you need to know to make your pool picks get you through what has the makings of an exciting week. In the mean time, notice the sidebar links to just some of the major media and official sites. More to come!

And to get us going, check out Will Hersey's short piece on why he loves Butler Cabin. I love it for slightly different reasons.

Sunday
Mar292009

"It all came down to a shot by Pat Perez on the 18th hole at Bay Hill that cleared the rocks framing the water by about a foot."

Doug Ferguson explains how Davis Love just missed out on qualifying for the Masters. Surely there must be a better method than using the Official World Golf Ranking:

Love fell out of the top 50 in the world ranking Sunday by four-hundredths of a point, and it all came down to a shot by Pat Perez on the 18th hole at Bay Hill that cleared the rocks framing the water by about a foot.

Perez was able to play his next shot from short of the green and made bogey to tie for fourth. That gave Perez, who already was eligible for the Masters, enough points to move up to No. 48 and knock Love out of the top 50.

The field was, however, rounded out with some nice and certainly worthy international additions:

This week’s world ranking was the cutoff for the top 50 to qualify for the Masters, and four players earned invitations—Alvaro Quiros of Spain (No. 25), Prayad Marksaeng (No. 47), Mathew Goggin of Australia (No. 49) and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (No. 50).

The only remaining ticket to Augusta National is to win the Shell Houston Open this week.

Sunday
Mar292009

The New Yorker On Stanford Financial

You have to be a subscriber to read the entire piece, but Alec Wilkinson's March 9 issue profile of Allan Stanford and his alleged Ponzi Scheme really makes you wonder how so many missed (ignored?) the red flags.

Sunday
Mar292009

Tiger Secures Largest Comeback Win And Much Needed FedEx Cup Point Boost Heading Into The Masters

Overcoming absurdly slow playing partners, too much sand raked into the bunker faces, really dated looking pitch out rough, pesky grain on nearly shot according to Johnny and Arnold, wind, rain and a grueling course setup, Tiger Woods captured his sixth Arnold Palmer Annuity Invitational to the relief of NBC executives who normally would have shipped the delayed finish off to the Golf Channel if it weren't for Tiger contending gambled and kept the final round coverage on in east coast prime time.

ESPN.com featured Phelan Ebenhack's AP photo as well as this video of the putt. Doug Ferguson reports on the win, the third Tiger has secured on Bay Hill's 18th green.

Saturday
Mar282009

Woods' Masters Prep Includes Brushing Up On Lost Ball Search Skills 

I was about to bang out a post suggesting Tiger can't be long for The King's event at Bay Hill, what with a family move someday to McArthur and all this hay-harvesting that can only cause a pre-Masters injury or unnecessary swing quirks.

But then I got to see him looking for his ball on 18 Sunday (photo by Fred Vuich's golf.com gallery) en route to a miraculous bogey. Now, you could say Tiger is accruing too many negative vibes while Mickelson and Ogilvy are lounging around, patting themselves on the back for skipping yet another freak show engineered by The King.

But then I realized they could be jealous. After all, look at the lost ball prep Tiger is getting under his belt. Imagine if he airmails the 12th green at Augusta and it's just a cameraman and one of those 93-year old rules officials up in the azaleas with not a clue where the ball ended up and no Bobby Clampett to come find it a few hours later?

After Saturday, Tiger will be ready for such a nightmare scenario. Thanks Arnold!

Doug Ferguson reports on the wacky Saturday, which proved once again that if you want to have a goofy setup, you better hope the wind doesn't blow!

Here's how crazy the wind can make Bay Hill: Zach Johnson started the third round nine shots out of the lead, shot a 68 and will play in the final threesome with O'Hair and Woods.

"I don't know how you're supposed to play a golf course like that," O'Hair said. "So I just think everybody tries to hang on for dear life. Sometimes bogey is not a bad score. I think bogey is almost par for some holes."

Saturday
Mar282009

Wie Drama No Drama At All

Beth Ann Baldry explains that a simple typo/oversight led to the latest Michelle Wie drama, this time at Papago where Jiyai Shin is going for her fifth win in the last eight months. Also, it seems Lorena Ochoa doesn't appear to understand the meaning of a hazard.

Ochoa also said that the sand felt “heavy.” And “it seems like there is a lot of sand under it,” she added.

It will take a near-miracle Sunday for her to win the title for a third consecutive victory.

“Maybe tomorrow (Sunday) I won’t hit any bunkers and I’ll make putts,” she said.

Friday
Mar272009

3 Missing Spectators Located In Bay Hill Rough, 2 More Still Unaccounted For And Presumed Bored

From what I watched today and pick up in Doug Ferguson's round two game story, it sounds like the U.S. Open-light setup at Bay Hill is keeping The King happy. But there seem to be quite a few big names taking a pass. I wonder if he makes the connection?

Seems Jack Nicklaus has gotten the message, according to Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com.

According to tournament director Dan Sullivan, the 2009 Memorial, played June 4-7, will feature shorter rough, two rebuilt greens and none of the furrowed bunkers that were introduced in 2006.

“Last year we made it a little more severe than the Tour was comfortable with,” Sullivan said. “Jack is very reasonable about the way he wants the golf course to perform. He is a player and he’s built the tournament and the golf course to be a fair test.”

The first step in that direction was the length of Muirfield Village’s rough. Weather permitting, Memorial officials plan to have the rough at about 3 to 3 ½ inches to begin tournament week, at least an inch shorter than it was last year.

“We paid particular attention to rough length and how the golf course was performing,” Sullivan said. “Because of the density and length it was very tough.”

Friday
Mar272009

"The USGA and R&A have effectively fenced in the driver and golf ball, so that there is little or no more distance to be had from equipment under the current rules and regulations."

Mike Stachura makes a strong statistical case that the golf ball can't fly any longer and asks if distance at the elite level has been capped.

If no, then how much more is left out there? We went to those who seemingly would have the most to gain from statistical displays of technology's impact on golf to see what to make of the number: the equipment industry. Their opinions, curiously, were mixed. Most believe technology's role in the future is somewhat limited, thanks to the rules.

Specifically, Wally Uihlein, CEO and Chairman of the Acushnet Company, cited "the most activist 10-year period in the history of golf ball and golf club regulation," along with "the S-Curve of invention maturity" as the primary causes for flatlining tour driving distance.

"A very 'bold and rigid' line in the sand has been effectively drawn by the game's regulatory bodies," he wrote in an e-mail to GolfDigest.com. "The statistics since then speak for themselves. The USGA and R&A have effectively fenced in the driver and golf ball, so that there is little or no more distance to be had from equipment under the current rules and regulations."

So if we've drawn a line in the sand, and there is a belief among those designing, maintaining and operating courses that a slight rollback would ensure that skill is more important than equipment while making courses safer, more strategically interesting and maybe a bit faster to play, then why not rollback?

Because what's the point of drawing a line in the sand? Ah yes, to ensure skill, course safety, preservation of strategy and to help speed of play.

Oh faithful shoppers and suckers for $5 pelotas, please tell me why I'm wrong.

Friday
Mar272009

"We had a great time; it was a great group of guys."

Dave Shedloski quotes Tiger Woods about his recent clinic to cheer up sponsoring CEO's, as first reported by Steve Elling earlier this week.

With sponsors under fire from the political class in Washington and the global economy still roiling, Finchem asked Woods if he would consider hosting an outing comprised of influential private sector leaders whose companies underwrite Tour events. Woods delivered on Monday when a dozen CEOs, all of companies that are on board as tournament sponsors for 2010, joined him for breakfast and a clinic at his home course, Isleworth Country Club in nearby Windermere.

"We're in a time when we need to do whatever we can to help the Tour," Woods told GolfDigest.com Thursday after shooting a 2-under 68 in defense of his title at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. "The commissioner asked me if I would be willing to do that, and I said, 'Sure.' You know, it was good for everybody.

"We had a great time; it was a great group of guys."

Interesting we're not divulging names of CEO's present to protect the innocent. But doesn't this clinic really just confirm that for all of value stream talk about demos, the marketplace, b-to-b facetime, global platform exposure and everything else Commissioner Finchem cites, the decision to sponsor still just comes down to a happy and willing CEO?

Friday
Mar272009

Masters App Coming To iphone

Thanks to reader Stan for noticing this on the Masters.org site.

Thursday
Mar262009

"B------t. It's today's ball more than the composite clubhead, the graphite shaft, the pushups and weight lifting."

This week's Golf World features the Backspin issue, an opportunity to see how cruel the aging process is to catch up with legends and other fascinating figures.

I really enjoyed Al Barkow's cover story catching up with Tom Weiskopf, whose forthright nature is sorely missing from today's game. Thankfully, along with many great insights, Barkow included this Weiskopf rant on the ball.

"You know, awhile ago I got one of those chewing gum cards to autograph and the stat of my average drive was 275.3," he continues. "That was from my last three years on tour, which is when they started taking those statistics. I was in my prime then, and one of the longest hitters out there. Now, you're telling me that today's players are 40 or 50 yards longer than I was. B------t. It's today's ball more than the composite clubhead, the graphite shaft, the pushups and weight lifting. And something should be done about it. Slow it down, make it so it curves more, doesn't correct itself in flight, and have everybody on tour use the same ball."

This marks Tom Weiskopf's addition to The List. You go Tom!

Thursday
Mar262009

"I never forgot that story."

Nice story on round one at Bay Hill from Doug Ferguson that included this Jason Gore-Arnold Palmer anecdote. Gore received a sponsor's exemption this week from Palmer.

He was 11 when his family went to Pittsburgh one summer and Gore had his mother drive him to Latrobe Country Club. They walked into the pro shop and asked if the King was around, and before long Palmer drove up in a cart that looked like a tractor.

"He took a picture with us, signed a scorecard and he said, 'Son, I'm going to go hit balls. Would like to come watch?'" Gore said. "I sat right on the little slope right behind the first tee and watched Mr. Palmer hit balls for about 45 minutes. And from that point on, I knew I wanted to be a professional golfer."

And...

Gore told Palmer last year at a corporate outing how much he had influenced his life. When he saw him earlier this month at Seminole, he thanked Palmer for the exemption. Palmer winked at him and replied, "I never forgot that story."

"The littlest things he does for a punk dressed in surf clothes who was trespassing on his property changes lives," Gore said. "He's got that power, and that's what makes him the King. And that's why he's the greatest person to this game."

Thursday
Mar262009

Ty, If You'd Only Stayed At The LPGA You'd Be Making $184 More A Year By Now

In the April, 2009 Golf Digest writer Alan Pittman compiles the magazine's annual "Money List" of executive compensation in golf.  I have to say, it's wonderful to see all of these non-profit organizations able to pay their top margin men so well as they face major cost cuts elsewhere. But hey, if they didn't pay them this well, they'd get scooped up by other corporations the US Postal Service errr...by someone.

Let's giggle at some 2007 compensation numbers, shall we?

Tim Finchem: $4,757,458

Pittman notes that Finchem's compensation broke down as follows:$1.3 million in salary, $3.2 in bonuses and $240k in benefits. Since Finchem's bonus is believed to depend in part on purse growth and other "growth" (explaining why it's his mantra), you have to figure the bonuses will be coming down in the coming years. Frankly, I'm worried for his well being.

  • Ed Moorhouse/Charlie Zink, PGA Tour VP, C-COO's, $1,611,106 and 1,534,771

Ed has pulled ahead by more than $75k, but considering both were making a paltry $1,227,634 just a few years ago, I'd say there are no 3-series in their future, unless they are looking for a cute convertable to cruise I-95 on those sweltering summer weekends.

  • Ron Price, PGA Tour VP, CFO and Tom Wade, VP, Chief Marketing Officer, $1,081,595 and $1,028,879

Two more millionaires in the PGA Tour executive ranks! I bet the players love reading this exciting news.

  • Joe Steranka, PGA of America CEO, $1,010,998

Poor Jim Awtrey only made $662,751 in his final year with the PGA of America. I'm getting weepy, but then there are the USGA salaries which really tug at the heartstrings.

  • David Fay, USGA Executive Director, $746,905, Dick Rugge, Senior Director Equipment Standards, $549,727, Mike Butz Deputy Ex. Director, $493,090, Barry Hyde, CMO, $307,314, Peter Bevacqua, CBO, $293,900

$2.391 million for the top five in executive compensation. You just can't find bargains like that these days.

  • Carolyn Bivens, LPGA Commissioner, $521,699, Ty Votaw, PGA Tour Exec. VP Communications and former LPGA Commish, $521,515

Well, I suppose you have fewer headaches in Ponte Vedra than Daytona Beach, Ty. That should ease the $184 deficit blow.

And finally, your LOL, You've-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me Award winner for 2009:

  • Stephen A. Hamblin, American Junior Golf Association Executive Director, $352,050

For the entire list, see your April Golf Digest, page 52.

Thursday
Mar262009

Plugs, Plugs And More Plugs

Two new sites worth monitoring, especially if you love golf course design.

Former T&L Golf writer and editor Tom Dunne has launched a blog called Out and Back and already has a couple of interesting posts worth checking out.

Will Smith and Colin Sheehan have officially launched Punchbowl Golf, with an emphasis on video interviews and features focusing on the course design world. Their most recent posting includes a chat with the Chambers Bay superintendent David Wieneke about the design and grow in process. Plenty of great shots of the course too.

And Rob Matre who posts his beautiful images at Golf In Context has an upcoming exhibition at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art.

Thursday
Mar262009

"When I am at home there are now seven children making calls upon my time, the Ryder Cup, my golf course design work and we are having a new house built"

As quoted by Graham Otway, Monty is starting to sound like the Octomom:

He said: “When I am at home there are now seven children making calls upon my time, the Ryder Cup, my golf course design work and we are having a new house built. At a tournament, all I have to do is play.

But at least he has his on course priorities squared away...

“One of the interesting things is the page and a half of statistics that have been produced this week. I’ve discovered that I have also had 182 top-10 finishes and that’s a Tour record. And if I could, I would like to get it to 200.”

 

Wednesday
Mar252009

"I grew up maneuvering the golf ball. The golf ball doesn't move as much now."

Tiger sat through some excruciatingly awful questions at Bay Hill Wednesday. This was the very last and a decent answer considering how numb he must have been at this point:

Q. You do a lot more shot-making than most guys, don't you? Do you see that?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think that's how I grew up. I grew up maneuvering the golf ball. The golf ball doesn't move as much now. It's like Hank and I were talking about this not too long ago actually. The game of golf has changed with the new golf balls where the ball doesn't move from right to left or left to right as much as it used to. So shot making more now is in trajectory control, moving the ball up-and-down, changing your trajectory to control your distances, rather than shaping the ball into the wind like you used to. It just has changed a little bit, and you just have to obviously change with the times. 

Wednesday
Mar252009

Ground Zero Of Golf V. Environment?

Julia Scott of the San Mateo County Times filed an intriguing piece on the Sharp Park situation because it the fight there seems to be heating up thanks to supervisors offering distinct proposals for the course.

This is what I took away from the story:

  • The course is proving to be a valuable wildlife refuge and habit for rare species, yet the Center for Biological Diversity wants it closed.
  • The city says the course is a financial drain, but figures are murky (Scott included a reference to $500,000 in profit last year but it was later taken down). Either way, the neighboring city of Pacifica has offered to take this burden off city hands and was turned down.
  • The course should be designated a historic landmark thanks to its MacKenzie ties, and such a proposal was hastily made by Sean Elsbernd: "Do I genuinely believe it will be landmarked? No. One side is throwing a bookmark down, I'm throwing down another," said Elsbernd, who said he would "fight" to retain the public 18-hole golf course in Pacifica. "Golf and the environment are not mutually exclusive. They can wok together and I have every expectation that we can make that happen."
  • And this rational logic from the golf side: Longtime Sharp Park golfer David Diller, president of the Sharp Park Golf Club, doesn't like the idea that he and his fellow golfers may be an endangered species themselves. Flooding on the course, a seasonal occurrence, has partially closed the 14th fairway, and existing protections for red-legged frogs prevent pumping the water out when the frogs are laying their eggs in the spring.  There's always this misconception that if you're pro-golf you're anti-environment — but nothing could be farther than the truth," said Miller. "(Sharp Park) has been there for over 70 years. If we're doing such a terrible job, why are there still San Francisco garter snakes and red-legged frogs? 

It seems to me that if a place like Sharp Park with such heritage and clearly one making a positive impact environmentally can't be shown to be an essential place to keep around, the game is really in trouble. If golf's leadership is genuine in the game's future, they would be descending on San Francisco to take up the cause of Sharp Park.

Wednesday
Mar252009

Another Iffy PGA Tour Partner

Thanks to reader Eric for catching this item about a Champions Tour sponsor in Pablo Torre's look at athletes who get lured into bad investments. (No truth to the rumor that Torre is next working a feature detailing how golf administrators signed up a few too many swindlers as sponsors.)

Triton is an official partner of the Heisman Trophy Trust and the sponsor of the Triton Financial Classic, a PGA senior tour event.

Sorry, must interrupt. Isn't SI a little too old to still be using "PGA" instead of PGA Tour. Naturally, the lack of a Champions Tour mention can't happen if you don't know the difference between the PGA of America and the PGA Tour. Please, continue...

Its CEO, Kurt Barton, told SI that the firm manages "about $300 million" in assets, and he claimed that Triton registered with the SEC (as is required by law of investment adviser firms with at least $25 million in assets under management) "roughly six months ago, around October." But the Texas State Securities Board and Triton chief compliance officer David Tuckfield said that the company has not, in fact, done so. "Right now, we're only registered with Texas," Tuckfield said. "But we're passing the [assets] threshold, and we're confident that we'll need to file this year."

The event is currently scheduled to be played June 1-7.

Wednesday
Mar252009

The King Prepping For Annual Bay Hill Makeover

Doug Ferguson reports that Arnold Palmer is preparing his seemingly annual redo of the course and is contemplating making it a par-72 layout again. He seems to have gotten the message that the last five redos got a bit carried away.

"We're not going to try to make it any more difficult than it is,'' he said. "We'll probably go back to a par 72, I don't know. That's something we can talk about. ... What we do to Bay Hill for next year will be something that we hope will make it more exciting and bring the golf course back to where we'd like to have it.''

Wednesday
Mar252009

WMA: Wie'd Had Enough!

Steve Elling says that William Morris Agency dumped Michelle Wie, not the other way around as first reported.