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

At least he can't cheat on his score because all you have to do is look back down the fairway and count the wounded.
BOB HOPE on Gerald Ford



   

Thursday
May282009

"It's hard to overestimate the impact that this has had on the golf world"

Impressive reporting job by Golf Mag's Josh Sens who went into the club world shattered by Bernie Madoff, revealing just how hard some were hit by the Ponzi schemer.

The tally so far registers in grim estates: a staggering $1 billion-plus purportedly swindled from the membership of Palm Beach CC; a reported $100 million from those at Hillcrest and Oak Ridge country clubs in Minnesota; and on. But the damage to the game can't be measured in dollars alone. In his wide-ranging betrayal, Madoff not only stole a fortune, he frayed the social fabric from which golf is stitched. His still-unraveling scheme has left some players questioning the sense of trust supposedly inherent among golfers, and others contemplating the cruel irony of having joined clubs that were built to keep the riffraff out, only to discover that the worst kind of riffraff was already in.

Thursday
May282009

IBF's 68 Has Clampett Dreaming Of Masters Return

After a stunning opening 68 in Ian Baker Finch's first competitive round since 2001 (!!), sources inside the CBS back-up announcer trailer report that Bobby Clampett was seen optmistically searching Travelocity for flight info to next year's Masters just in case IBF should go on to win the Crowne Plaza at Colonial.

We love Ian and are thrilled about his great play. But you better not abandon us in April. We can't handle any more Hogan's Bridge references.

On a serious note, Ron Sirak puts the performance in context.

What Baker-Finch accomplished in the first round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational may not live in my brain as one of the most memorial moments I have witnessed, but it will linger in my heart as one of the bravest and most touching. His two-under-par 68 nearly 12 years after he shot a 92 in the British Open was a testimony to his courage as well as his considerable skill.

"I'm older now," he said after the round in which he made five birdies and three bogeys about fighting his nerves. "I just tried to stay in the moment. I never had second thoughts about doing this. Hey, I can still play the game." Of that there is no longer any doubt.

Thursday
May282009

"This looks like the golf equivalent of a pump fake"

Steve Elling thinks the latest move to install Jerry West as part of the Northern Trust Open executive ranks is a move to distract us from recent events. If only they were so clever.

Thursday
May282009

"We're 'not' talking. We're just, talking."

John Strege finds the PGA Tour's silence on John Daly's suspension downright Seinfeldian, especially since PGATour.com featured a headline noting John Daly's return from suspension.

Thursday
May282009

"Suffice to say golfers who were critical of the first two holes and a few blind shots on Erin Hills will be pleasantly surprised."

Gary D'Amato updates us on the latest changes at Erin Hills and talk of the course possibly landing the 2017 U.S. Open.

Regarding the changes, is it odd that there isn't much talk anymore about architects Hurdzan, Fry and Whitten having a major hand in the work? Just course owner Bob Lang and contractor Bill Kubly are quoted.

Regarding the U.S. Open, it's reportedly a done deal, it will be fun to see if Lang lands the Open after what has to go down as one of the least subtle major campaigns ever (though there is always The Donald).

Wednesday
May272009

"It's a pretty seamless kind of change."

Looks like there was a new type of rally killer in Geoff Ogilvy's sitdown with what remains of the working press.

First, the rally...Geoff talking about the nuances of the Colonial course changes:

GEOFF OGILVY: Yes, it's actually quite nice that they've made some changes that you kind of keep looking at going, did they change that, did they not change that? It's a pretty seemless kind of change. Most of them I think is better, the course is better for it. A few extra bunkers here and there. The tees, a lot of them they look like they've just gone down a couple of feet which gives it a different look and probably makes it play a little longer in some respects because you are down a little bit. They cut the back of some of the greens, the ball is going to run away from a few more greens than it did before. All in all, pretty good changes. I would still like to see a couple of trees in a few places come out of this course. Apart from that, it's one of my favorites courses and probably nearly every guy in the field, if you polled them, it would be in their Top-5. And they haven't done anything to damage that by changing the course. A lot of times they change courses these days, that can happen. So fortunately that probably improved it. It's nice.

Q. Hi, Geoff, I'm doing interactive marketing for the tournament this week running the Twitter for the guys. I have a question from one of the followers. What part of your game is feeling best this week and what part of your game might not be feeling the best that you need to focus on to be successful this week?

The followers taking priority over the writers? Oh I smell an emergency meeting of the GWAA Directors! Wait, the new prez writes for the PGA Tour, maybe not!

Later on, Ogilvy on how the changes will impact play:

GEOFF OGILVY: In some cases for sure. I don't know if the fourth tee went back, but it feels like it's longer than it was. It definitely went down three or four feet. I think which makes it almost feel uphill. But that's always been a hard hole. The third is going to play a little trickier off the tee. It looks exactly the same, but the bunkers are 20 yards further to carry. They are not such an extreme carry, but our line has changed 20 yards from where it was the last 10 years. So getting it into your head you have to aim it 20 yards further right than you have been for the last eight or nine years is hard. You are used to teeing it up right next to the right-hand tee marker and hitting a driver in the normal spot, r the 3-wood in a normal spot. That line is now moved over and that's hard to get into your head. When you change a golf course subtlety like they have here, that we've played so many times. 12 is the same. 12 we've always blown it over the left bunker. Not many guys will be able to get it over there now. So it's hard to get it in your head you have to aim it up the fairway as opposed to aim it over the bunker. So it's more that sort of trickiness. The par-3, 13, I think it might actually be easier than it was before, even though it's 10 or 15 yards longer. 14, it's adjusting to the bunkers that are on the inside of the dogleg, not the outside of the dogleg. You are so used to stepping it up, autopilot, the normal spot, your driving lines are going to change on the 14th hole. It's more awkward changes like that, rather than out and out difficulty.

Wednesday
May272009

"We won't know anything about her diagnosis and treatment, and exactly what it is we're facing, for a few more days"

Steve Elling gets a nice phone call from Phil Mickelson with a thank you for a nice column and an update on wife Amy's care.

Wednesday
May272009

"Can you imagine having the Shore Course, Spyglass and Pebble? It would be epic." 

Ron Kroichick reports that the MPCC Shore-in-place-of-Poppy swap is almost here and talks to Arron Oberholser about it.

"I think it would be absolutely phenomenal," said Arron Oberholser, the 2006 AT&T champion. "It needs to happen. No disrespect to Poppy Hills, but can you imagine having the Shore Course, Spyglass and Pebble? It would be epic."

Let's forgive Oberholser's exuberance, because it would take Cypress Point's return to truly reach "epic" (and that's not happening anytime soon). Even so, the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula counts as a significant upgrade - in the quality of the course, the coastal setting and, most importantly, the perception of players.

Wednesday
May272009

"Daly the golfer ought to consider making it a onetime deal this year on the PGA Tour and sticking to Europe."

Interesting take on John Daly's acceptance of an exemption to the Memphis event by Bob Harig. It's a view that will be especially interesting in a few months to look back on if he tries to get a few spots in America, or if, as Harig advocates, Daly spends much of his summer in Europe rebuilding his confidence.

Why? Because that is where he has a better shot at success, where he could gain some confidence, make money and be productive.

The chances of that on the PGA Tour, where he has to rely on sponsors' exemptions, are remote. Daly has not earned enough money in each of the past three years to retain playing privileges. But he'll do it this year starting his season in June?

And to his credit, Daly seems to recognize this.

"I don't really have any goals at home now because I'm so far behind," Daly said last week in England, where he played in the BMW Championship at Wentworth and tied for 72nd. "I'm kind of a little far behind here, but I feel like I could maybe make a move and maybe get in the Race to Dubai here. So I definitely will try and get some tournaments in the States, but there's no way I'm going to get 15 in.

"All I know is there's two or three exemptions I know I'm getting right now. The Fall Series, you never know. So I want to go. If I get into Memphis, I would like to play Memphis, but after that, I don't know what I'm going to do."

Tuesday
May262009

"The LPGA boasts a strong history in Texas"

For a super short AP item, two jabs in a Twitter-length filing does not say much for the LPGA's Stanford Financial-free Tour Championship.

Steve DiMeglio notes that the Brand Lady isn't entirely to blame for this.

IMG, a worldwide sports, entertainment and media company, is responsible for the estimated $3 million annual payment or finding a new title sponsor for the Tour Championship. The tournament is one of three LPGA tour events owned by IMG, which also operates the Ricoh Women's British Open and represents LPGA stars Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel and Yani Tseng.

I, of course, am much more positive and won't dwell on those jabs or the way ADT was lost as a sponsor, and instead will highlight the poetic press release's lone questionable comment.

WOMEN’S PROFESSIONAL GOLF MAKES WORLD-CLASS RETURN TO TEXAS WITH
LPGA TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, ‘THE CROWNING MOMENT’ OF 2009 SEASON
The Houstonian Golf & Country Club named site for first LPGA tournament in Texas since 2003

Houston, TX – Long considered one of the top sports cities in the United States, it has been almost six years since the stars of the LPGA Tour have competed in Houston, Texas. But this fall, golf fans can look forward to the return of women’s professional golf to Texas when The Houstonian Golf & Country Club plays host to the LPGA Tour Championship.

The 2009 LPGA Tour Championship, to be held November 17-22, will feature a field of 120 of the top LPGA professionals in the world, a $1,500,000 purse, and a unique format that will see a cut after 36 holes to the low 70 professionals and an additional cut after 54 holes to the low 30 pros.

“As the crowning moment of the 2009 season, the LPGA Tour Championship promises to showcase the very best in women’s golf, both on the course and in our ‘Outside the Ropes’ commitment to the community,” said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens. “Houston is a premier sports city that will embrace a season finale featuring the game’s greatest stars. LPGA players have been eager to return to the great state of Texas, and they’re thrilled that they’ll do so on such a spectacular course.”

The LPGA boasts a strong history in Texas, with some of the biggest names in women’s golf winning tournaments including Nancy Lopez, Jan Stephenson, Betsy King and Annika Sorenstam. Apart from Houston hosting the Samsung World Championship in 2003, the last regular LPGA Tour event held in the city was in 1986. The 2009 LPGA Tour Championship not only marks the long-awaited return of the LPGA Tour to Houston, but brings perhaps the most prestigious women’s golf tournament in the area’s long sports history.

The strong history in Texas also includes moving their headquarters from Houston to Daytona Beach.

Tuesday
May262009

"What was he doing making sand angels in the bunker on the final day of the 2009 Masters?"

Thanks to reader Warren for spotting Brad Rock's in-depth story on the antics of Steven Davis, the genius  bonehead  loser  patron who made a splashy but little untelevised spectacle on the 17th hole of this year's Masters finale. Turns out, he can't blame the alcohol. He's just that big of a loser.

"I was turned off by all the stuffiness and arrogance, and even the players seemed so arrogant," he said.

Despite the big stage, he didn't get picked up by the TV cameras, and only small stories appeared in the newspapers, detailing how a fan had jumped into the bunker to retrieve his billfold and sunglasses.

"It was a lot more than that," he said.

He suspects there were photos taken of his stunt, but Masters officials blocked their release. Only credentialed photographers can shoot the event, and cell phones and private cameras are not allowed.

"I ran maybe 100 yards up the fairway, past the players. I was running as fast as I could," he said. "I was jumping and hooting and hollering and then I jumped as high as I could and dove into the bunker like a swimming pool."

And they include this proud moment in his obituary...

The highlight of the day — at least for Davis — was while he was lying on his back in the sand, as Mickelson peered warily over the lip of the bunker.

"The look on his face was priceless. His jaw dropped so far," said Davis. "He looked me in the eye and was shaking his head like, 'What's going on?' I fist-pumped and said, 'Go, Phil!' while I was doing an angel."

Tuesday
May262009

Colonial Changes, The Details

Stewart Cink gave the revamped Colonial a big thumb's up on Twitter ("I really like the "new" Colonial. Smart changes and not too drastic. Great condition too."), but I was hoping for more details and haven't seen any other reporting except for this GCSAA summary.

This week the PGA Tour returns to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent Scott Ebers (pronounced E-brrs) completed a significant renovation last summer immediately following the 2008 tournament. Improvements include new tees, bunkers, and a new green at No. 13. Native stone walls were installed on two of the water features and trees were repositioned in a few strategic areas. The tournament yardage was increased to 7,204 yards.

Ebers caught a break from a wet and cloudy month, with warm, sunny weather last week and has the bentgrass greens rolling at 11.5 feet on the stimpmeter, and the bermudagrass rough at three inches tall.

Tuesday
May262009

"The evil of slow play is that it imposes the will of a minority upon the majority."

Thanks to reader Jordan for finding this slow play story from "USGA Journal and Turf Management" with a killer opening line by Mrs. Harrison F. Flippen. Nice to see some things haven't changed. Well, except that we now acknowledge female first names.

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday
May262009

"They suggested things that looked out of play for me but at this elevation are in play for a really good player."

Tom Kensler profiles the new Renaissance Golf Design work at the former Mira Vista Golf Course, renamed to sound like a drug rehab center CommonGround), but thankfully serving a greater purpose (at least, if you are a golfer).

CommonGround is a 7,198-yard complete redo of the former Mira Vista Golf Course at Lowry. Co-owned by the Colorado Golf Association and Colorado Women's Golf Association, CommonGround was constructed with a budget of $4.8 million. By comparison, Doak recently completed work on $100 million courses in Palm Springs, Calif., and in the Hamptons on Long Island.

I don't even think Fazio can say he has two $100 million jobs!

The Mira Vista redo was a natural because three Renaissance Golf Design staffers grew up in Colorado. They contributed their "local knowledge" to the project. For example, their familiarity with playing golf at elevation convinced Doak that bunkers and other hazards must be placed farther down the fairway.

"For those guys, it was a rare 'home game,' " Doak said. "They suggested things that looked out of play for me but at this elevation are in play for a really good player."

That's not to say that Doak was a newbie to Colorado. Early in his career, in the mid-1980s, Doak worked for Pete and Perry Dye on Riverdale Dunes near Brighton. In 2006, Ballyneal Golf and Hunt Club opened in Holyoke to much fanfare. Meandering through natural sand hills, Ballyneal is ranked No. 8 among Golfweek's top-100 modern (1960-present) golf courses in the U.S.

Apparently at press time the names of Eric Iverson and those other staffers who did the dirty work, were unavailable. Either way, nice work Team Renaissance, sounds like a great addition to Colorado golf.

Tuesday
May262009

"Cink To Miss Remainder of Season to Concentrate on Twitter"

Nice Stewart Cink exclusive reported by Bob Smiley.

Speaking of Cink and Twitter, he posted this Monday:

Heading out for CrownePlaza. Looking forward to seeing the changes at Colonial. Some angst when they tinker with the great tracks.about 14 hours ago from Tweetie

I doubt there's much to worry about since Keith Foster, who did such a super job at Southern Hills, also did the Colonial work. The ASGCA website features this short interview with Foster about touching up a beloved classic.

Monday
May252009

Stanford Who? Daly To Return At Memphis

It's a bit odd that John Daly is returning to the tour at the Memphis event considering some of the past events there, then again, what city doesn't have a Daly episode that might bring back bad memories? And besides, he'll serve as a great distraction from the memory that it was once the Stanford Financial St. Jude Classic.

PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said the tour does not comment on player discipline; it never confirmed that Daly was suspended and now cannot confirm that a suspension has been lifted.

Daly told The Associated Press over the Christmas holidays that he had been suspended for the second time in his career, and he said he found out two weeks ago while playing in Ireland that he had been reinstated.

"I don't really feel I deserved to be suspended," Daly said. "But I'm not going to dwell on it. I'm going to turn it into a positive. I'm getting my life back in order and I'm more organized."

Monday
May252009

Vagaries Of Match Play Warning: NCAA Men's Championships

I've spared you the various stories over the last few weeks where college coaches whine about the new NCAA championship format because, well, I can only take so many ignorant comments about the "flukiness" or "vagaries" or "luck involved" with match play.

To review, from the Golfweek staff (you can also read their picks here):

Teams will play 54 holes of stroke play to determine the individual champion and the eight teams that advance will play match play. The quarterfinals and semifinals will take place Friday, with the championship match being held Saturday.

Personally, I think it's a more pure and logical way to find out who has the best team. Sure, the 54-holes to determine the individual winner isn't ideal and there is still a reliance on stroke play to determine the final 8. And oh yes and there's the motivation behind the move: to lure television.

Regardless, doesn't this have the potential for excitement and to deliver a more worthy team champion than a traditional stroke play event?

Ryan Herrington thinks so provided the weather doesn't become a story, and he also makes his picks for the week:

Think of how much grinding we're going to see in the final stroke-play round as the 30 teams try to earn a spot in the Elite Eight?

And if that doesn't seem compelling enough, think of how intense the head-to-head, school-versus-school showdowns will be as we narrow the field to four teams, then two and ultimately a national champion. Tell me you don't think a Georgia vs. Georgia Tech match-up in any round won't be interesting? What if UCLA must face USC to get to the championship match?

Monday
May252009

"Campbell, who swings like Ben Hogan, managed a carry of 232 yards using an old balata ball."

Thanks to reader Jim for the heads up on this note in Bill Nichols' Dallas Morning News coverage of the Nelson.

Pros go old school with equipment: Curt Sampson, working on a story for Sports Illustrated, drew a crowd on the practice range when he unveiled a MacGregor Byron Nelson persimmon driver. Everybody wanted to hit it. Vijay Singh went the longest at 253 yards, one yard farther than Colleyville's Chad Campbell. Campbell, who swings like Ben Hogan, managed a carry of 232 yards using an old balata ball.

Monday
May252009

Tail Of The WD Tape

At the end of Jeff Rude's story, Golfweek.com lists the Open Championship qualifiers in Texas, which included Davis Love. It's fun to see who tried, and also to note who threw in the towel after one round.

I couldn't find a listing of scores and WDs from Europe for the U.S. Open qualifying, just this story.

Monday
May252009

"With the passing of the Corning Classic the tour was losing a massive block in its foundation, a vertebra in its backbone."

Ron Sirak covered the final Corning Classic (won by Yani Tseng) and had this to say:

The Corning Classic truly captures the spirit of the LPGA, an organization that throughout its 59-year history had relied on the love and support of small-town America. And there is no market smaller or more supportive than Corning, a town of fewer than 11,000 people that managed every year to turn out 850 volunteers and upwards of 50,000 spectators.

While the community was losing the Memorial Day event that kicked off the summer tourist season in the Finger Lakes region of New York, it felt like the LPGA was losing much more than Corning. With the passing of the Corning Classic the tour was losing a massive block in its foundation, a vertebra in its backbone.

For as long as this tour has existed, places like Corning and Rochester and Toledo have been its heart and soul. And there is a sense now that is going away as the LPGA tries for bigger-market events with a more international accent.