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

It is a wonderful tribute to the game or to the dottiness of the people who play it that for some people somewhere there is no such thing as an insurmountable obstacle, an unplayable course, the wrong time of the day or year.




"We concentrated on items made or distributed on Long Island"

Thanks to John Strege at the Local Knowledge blog for catching Sophia Chang's story on the food preparation for U.S. Open contestants. What recession?

Unlike the mere mortals who must satiate their appetites with hot dogs from the concession stands at the Bethpage Black Course, the Very Important Golfers at the U.S. Open will have their pick of more than 200 gourmet offerings every day, prepared by a kitchen staff of 200 working nearly around the clock at the golf course clubhouse.

"We concentrated on items made or distributed on Long Island," said Steven Carl, the chief executive of caterer Carlyle on the Green that is handling the clubhouse food and who presented the menu at a news conference Wednesday.

The local focus includes knishes, Nathan's hot dogs, New York pickles, and black and white cookies, he said.

Here's a video version of the story:


Christina Kim To Be Mic'd; Golf Channel Goes On 45-Second Delay

I figured it was just wishful thinking when Shipnuck and Herre pondered this in the weekly "Confidential" book:

Shipnuck: For the first round Christina Kim has agreed to wear a microphone for ESPN. It has a chance to be the most entertaining day of golf for all of 2009, if not ever.

Herre: I will definitely tune in for that. We've talked about this before, but miking the players adds a lot IMO.

Sure enough, Golf Channel confirms:

LPGA professional Christina Kim will be mic’d up Thursday during GOLF CHANNEL’s opening round coverage of the McDonald’s LPGA Championship presented by Coca-Cola. Kim will be paired with Michelle Wie and Shanshan Feng. Live coverage will begin Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET, with a prime-time re-air at 7 p.m. ET. This will be the second LPGA event in 2009 GOLF CHANNEL will mic a player during live tournament coverage. Kristy McPherson was wired for sound during the opening round of the LPGA Corning Classic, where she also played alongside Michelle Wie.

Considering her Tweets of late, this could be good.


Bookies Down On Olympic Golf; Must Be The Decision To Go With 72-Hole Stroke Play

Ashling O'Connor looks at the possible 2016 Olympic sport add-ons as suits convene on Lausanne for a June 15th presentation to the IOC.

Golf has pledged to field the world's best male and female players in 60-player strokeplay tournaments in each week of the Games, while using the Olympics to dispel its “country club image”. The stars and the sponsors that golf would bring to the Games will be hard to reject.

Yet it is by no means a done deal. Squash still presents a good case for inclusion as it tries to shake its yuppie image immortalised by Wall Street, Oliver Stone's 1987 film about corporate excess.

At the end of the piece, O'Connor lists what the bookies think of each sports chances.

I still say the 72-hole, World Ranking stuffed, prefab WGC-Olympics concept has the bookies down. If only they'd gone with a more athletic, daring and exciting format...ah forget it. At least golf still has the edge over poll pole dancing.


"The European Tour's chief executive George O'Grady insists the deal with Leisurecorp is secure. Maybe it is - but at what terms?"

On his new Guardian golf blog, Lawrence Donegan adds to the growing list of evidentiary items suggesting that LeisureCorp's troubles will inevitably impact their massive European Tour sponsorship deal.


Improved Lie?

Thanks to reader Aleid for pointing out that the replay of Richie Ramsay's incident during Saturday's Wales Open is now posted. 



"Stabs are like random."

Geoff Calkins talks to court-order-defying John Daly-wife Sherrie, who offers this forensic evidence to dispute claims she tried to stab her still-husband two years ago.

"It was a complete lie," she said. "He did it to himself. It looked to me like scratches. What did I do, cut him? And then he turned around and let me cut the other side? "Stabs are like random."

Shouldn't there be a comma after like?

As for her restraining order this week...

The woman who has been traveling with Daly of late is his girlfriend. At least until this morning -- when a hearing will be held as to whether to extend a temporary restraining order -- Sherrie is barred from the course.

Which, frankly, ticks her off.

"I live at Southwind," she said. "If I want to go visit with friends over the weekend, I should be allowed to go. If I want to follow Doug Barron, well, he's a friend. But I assure you, the last thing I want to do is get involved with John and his mistress."

And what a lucky lady she is. Calkin then asks, "OK, so, again, why blast Daly now?"

"I'm so sick of this good guy image, this sweet guy who just loves kids and is so good to charity," Sherrie said. "If you're this nice guy, and you care all about these stranger kids and now you're wearing pink pants for Amy Mickelson, how come you have ... "

And here Sherrie launches into a sordid tale, the tale of a horrendous divorce, and you know how that goes.
He did this. She did that. Who knows where the truth lies?


"Truth is, we would love to apply a one-stroke penalty if the opportunity arises because the message this sends out is very powerful."

Mark Garrod talks to the European Tour's Andy McFee about why Christian Cevaer was not assessed a slow play penalty during the recent European Open.

This McFee comment was interesting in light of the PGA Tour's hasn't doled out a penalty in 17 years.

"Truth is, we would love to apply a one-stroke penalty if the opportunity arises because the message this sends out is very powerful.

"But we will always treat all players fairly and we will not seek to penalise when the circumstances don't warrant it.

"Incidentally, 17 one-stroke penalties have been earned (and I use that word deliberately] since 1997 - hardly inaction.

"True, most of the penalties fall to those who don't know the system, but you have to be either naive or dim to have a second bad time after a ref has told you that you already have one bad time and one more will be an instant penalty of one stroke.

"Most hard-nosed pros then manage to get business done inside the limits, meaning they either get back in position or we have no opportunity to act further."


"What I saw was very strange, very strange indeed."

Since there was so much complaining about coverage of Kenny Perry's FBR Open pre-shot routine, and since there is no video posted (yet), I've held off posting something on Richie Ramsay's rules incident Saturday. I had hoped video would be posted now, but we'll just have to rely on the accounts until someone at Sky puts it up on YouTube.

Here's a straightforward AP story, a more titillating tabloid report from Jim Black quoting rules official John Paramor.

Also, Mike Aitken reminds us that Ramsay has had other run-ins with the rules.

And I don't quite understand Douglas Lowe's logic here.

Let's make one thing clear: Richie Ramsay's integrity is not under question. He is an honest broker of the fairways and, yes, I would buy a second-hand car from him. A question mark, however, does hang over his knowledge of the rules of golf and, as they say in the best of legal circles, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

This Norman Dabell story recounts how the day after the incident in question, Ramsay did receive a one shot penalty for another violation.


Celtic Manor Boss: Monty For Office!

Douglas Lowe reports Sir Terry Matthews--lucky 2010 Ryder Cup purchasee--is madly in love with European Captain Colin Montgomerie.

Montgomerie has had a long relationship with Matthews and the resort and he has even designed one of the three courses there.

"I would say he is over passionate about golf and I get on with him incredibly well. He brings his family here," said Matthews.

"I always wanted Monty to be the captain. I get on with him really well, he's a dynamite guy, and no matter where you go they know him.

"He looks good and plays well. He also plays to the audience well. He's more popular than probably any other player than Tiger Woods because he's charismatic and people like that get icon status. They all know Monty. He is the European equivalent of Tiger.

"If he ever wanted to go down the political road he could. He speaks well and is well educated, but he's too busy to go into politics and I wouldn't want to see him lost to golf. The golf industry needs him.

So does the blogosphere!

 "If I was in charge of the PGA and European Tour I would find a way to keep his face in front of the cameras talking about golf because he is more of an icon than George O'Grady European Tour chief executive or Richard Hills Ryder Cup director or any of those guys. He is the star.

There's a high standard. I wonder if Matthews would also tell us that Tiger should be the front man for the PGA Tour instead of Tim Finchem?


"Finding an emotional balance will be more difficult than finding the first fairway."

Craig Dolch files a very nice column about the emotional mixed-bag that Phil Mickelson faces this week and compares. Uh, editors, did we really need this tagline at the end of the column?

Craig Dolch is a freelance columnist for PGATOUR.COM. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR.

Look, we all understand that Craig's a subversive rebel looking to undermine the integrity of the PGA Tour and most weeks you need a disclaimer to distance yourselves from his radical views. But on this column? On this topic? Really? Let's give it a week off, eh?


"I challenge anyone to say there is a more democratic golf competition"

Doug Ferguson files a nice look at the beauty and unique nature of U.S. Open qualifying.

Max Adler wraps up his diary series with an entertaining look at the Century Club qualifying and some of the decisions that alternates face.


"But the answer is, you don't earn that money back."

In one of those wonderful golfing traditions, David Fay made his annual reiteration that the USGA is committed to an 18-hole playoff. But this year there's a twist. We get to find out just what those 18 holes cost thanks to Doug Ferguson's report:

Fay said the USGA had to spend nearly $120,000 for an extra day of buses, $45,000 for the smaller buses, $30,000 for parking, $60,000 for security to stay an extra night and day. Throw in lunches for bus drivers, media, volunteers, parking for the media and travel costs for the USGA staff.

"When you round it up, and throw in the ever popular 'miscellaneous,' it came out to $513,000," he said. "Sure, we hope to see a few more hot dogs and beers and shirts. But the answer is, you don't earn that money back."


"You'll see Bethpage probably play a bit more consistent than it did in 2002"

Jason Sobel interviews Mike Davis about Bethpage and one of the more interesting subjects is the current USGA's notion of trying to prepare the course conditions to play similarly each day, instead of the old mentality of starting at a point and, weather permitting, letting the rough grow and the conditions speed up over four days. Obviously there are compelling cases for both sides, though if it means debacle-free tournaments, the current approach is obviously more attractive.

But on the other side of things, you'll see Bethpage probably play a bit more consistent than it did in 2002, with respect to our intent of not making it harder every single day, which I think was the case back in '02. The rough got higher every day, the greens got a little faster, maybe firmer, so that shouldn't happen this go-round.

Q: Well, if it's not the USGA's belief that the course should be set up more difficult for each progressing round, is it possible that we could see Bethpage actually play easier Sunday than it does Thursday and Friday?

A: I think it could. To a large extent, it's going to depend on what Mother Nature gives us; if it's windy, then obviously it will play tougher. But yes, that is a definite possibility. I think if you look back at Torrey Pines last year, you'd find that Sunday was actually the easiest of all four days and that didn't just happen out of coincidence. There was a mindset that on certain holes we really wanted to give the players some opportunities to score, give them a little bit more risk-reward, and I think that certainly bears out in how they played.

And Sobel asked Davis about players he seeks out, player input in general, and this about the debate over Bethpage's design lineage. Mike should run for office with an ability to answer like this!

Q: I know there's been some debate about this, but is the USGA sticking with the idea that Tillinghast was the original and sole designer of Bethpage Black? A: Yeah, on the materials that we have put out, Tillinghast has been the architect of record. I think we have also said we don't really want to get in the middle of that debate, but having said that, we have certainly seen drawings that Tillinghast did of Bethpage Black. We know that [Joe] Burbeck had a big part in the construction, but I think that we're going to try to stay out of that argument. If asked, we certainly would want to give Tillinghast some credit. Certainly, Burbeck during the construction should get some credit, and I think Rees Jones during the renovation should get some credit.


"The improved course setups are allowing players to play a little more quickly."

Peter Kostis praises the shift in PGA Tour course setup toward a little less rough, a little more variety and a lot more excitement. He also offers this in another answer to readers at

5. From watching golf on TV, it's tough to tell whether or not slow play is as much of a problem this year. From what you've seen, are the players just as slow this year, and what can realistically be done to speed up the pace of play?

Be certain of one thing: The pace of play on the PGA Tour is still brutally slow. That said, I think the improved course setups are allowing players to play a little more quickly.

This makes the USGA pace of play policy look like an easy sell:

Here is something I would love to try: Hold a tournament in which half of the total purse was guaranteed to be distributed to the players, but the distribution of the second half would be pro-rated based on the field's average time to complete the round. Set some "time pars" so that if everyone plays quickly, the players will be awarded the full purse on Sunday night. I think this would really encourage professional golfers to be more outspoken on the issue—and willing to call out slow players—because there would be economic ramifications.

And just because slow play is tolerated on the PGA Tour, that does not make it OK for you to play slowly at home. In my home club in Arizona, Whisper Rock, all runs are completed within four hours because that's what's expected. There are very few reasons your round should take any longer.


"He's hit the course five times since late April"

Teeing off not long after returning Sunday from Paris, Barack Obama's avid golfing is analyzed by the Washington Post's Richard Leiby.

The attraction would seem simple. It's a great escape; the game demands such attention that nothing else matters. It's time spent with friends, an unhurried afternoon in loose clothing (shorts seem to be Obama's preference). Yet nothing is without deeper meaning where the presidency is concerned. The golfer in chief's approach to the game is subject to analysis in psychological and political contexts.

To some, Obama's frequent outings reflect a cool self-confidence. "Given all the things that are going on in the world and with the economy," says sports psychologist Bob Rotella, "you'd think he wouldn't be caught anywhere near the golf course . . . To some degree it says: 'I'm not going to worry about what people say about me. I'm going to do my job, and I'm going to play, too.' "


"An odd sight, perhaps, to see a veteran PGA Tour member working as a caddie, but not a U.S. Open qualifier, where the flavor of golf is purest."

Some more U.S. Open sectional qualifying links...

Official results from the USGA page here.

Golfweek's stellar coverage with scores and some write-ups about who got in.

Jim McCabe reports from the largest of the qualifying sites, Columbus. And he offers this commentary on the unique day that is sectional qualifying.

Sean Martin reports from Lake Nona.


"Taking the temperature of the LPGA Championship provides a fairly accurate gauge of the state of the tour."

Ron Sirak tries to figure out the LPGA's goals and mindset as they prepare to say goodbye to Bulle Rock and move their major to a site TBD.

The modest goal for the LPGA seems to be to put together a 2010 schedule in which there are not more off weeks than on weeks, and right now the break-even number of 26 appears to be a stretch. With Corning gone, Ginn gone, Phoenix and Kingsmill in doubt and others up for negotiation, where the LPGA Championship is played next year and by what name is a key to what the future of the tour holds.

Steve DiMeglio reports that a wet spring has left the course playing super long, wet and nasty.


AmEx TV's Are Back!

With all of the cuts at American Express I feared Bethpage spectators/cardholders would not get to hear Johnny talk about Bethpage's grainy greens or Gary Koch say "just a moment ago," but it seems my second favorite thing about the company (after T&L Golf, RIP) is back: those incredible spectator televisions (reviewed here).

Probing around their site I found a few answers and got more in a press release that explains other promotions they have planned for Open spectators with an AmEx card.

American Express CourseCast TVs and Radios for Cardmembers

Onsite during championship play at the 2009 U.S. Open on June 18-21, American Express is providing CourseCast TV and radio devices to enhance the viewing experience, bringing golf fans even closer to the game they love.

American Express CourseCast TV - Cardmembers will have exclusive access to hand-held televisions, powered by Kangaroo TV, that deliver a live telecast of the championship and player information from anywhere on the course so they’re guaranteed not to miss a swing. The TVs are free for Cardmembers to borrow daily June 18-21.

American Express CourseCast Radio - To stay fully connected to the action, Cardmembers can enjoy free radio devices to listen to the play-by-play commentary and live updates on Sirius XM, while they watch the excitement from the grounds. The radio can also tune into other FM stations, so the radio can be taken home for later use.

American Express Championship Experience
Located near the main entrance and open to all attendees, this onsite interactive facility will provide an opportunity for fans to get involved in the action. With highlights that appeal to avid players and general spectators, this year’s American Express Championship Experience will include:

Complimentary Swing Analysis - With cameras to capture swing and advanced motion technology to analyze form, golf enthusiasts can meet with a PGA Professional to improve their game. Cardmembers are offered personalized 10-minute golf lessons by appointment utilizing this dynamic technology.

Green Speed Challenge - Everyone is invited to pick up a club and test their putting stroke on simulated greens of varying speeds, and learn more about the USGA’s role in the development and education of turf grass. The exhibit highlights the work of the USGA’s Green Section.

I'm intrigued by the radio device and a "Green Speed" challenge in their pavillion where members of the Green Section staff will joyfully tell visitors why slower greens would be good for the game. They'll really earn their pay. I think I may have go all Borat on them and start asking brilliant questions. I don't have the clothes to do Bruno.


Memorial Ratings Success; LPGA Not So Hot

Tod Leonard on the weekend ratings:

Tiger Woods is back in the winner's circle, just in time for the U.S. Open and for golf's stagnant TV ratings.

With Woods winning in comeback fashion Sunday at the Memorial, the overnight numbers for CBS were a 3.8 rating and a 9 share. That is double what the Colonial received (1.8/4) the week before when Steve Stricker own a three-man playoff. Anything doubled is huge for the networks.

The golf also doubled up the French Open final, with Roger Federer winning his 14 major title.

The LPGA Tour made a rare appearance on network television on NBC, and though the finish was bunched, it didn't have big names, and the ratings were low. In-Kyung Kim's win Sunday drew an 0.6, or half of what the Prefontaine track event did for NBC, also on Sunday. Not a promising sign for women's golf


New 7th and 8th Holes At Olympic

Joel Stewart posts a study of Olympic's 8 hole then and now after Bill Love's renovation. I recently stopped in and saw the new holes and I can't say I was enthralled, particularly since the 7th had managed to confound players for so long and looks pretty uninspired now.