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
  • 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

You get no points in style when it comes to putting. It's getting the ball to drop in the cup that counts.  LAURIE AUCHTERLONIE

 

    

Tuesday
Apr282009

"It's just been fun getting out the phone and typing in a little piece of B.S. or whatever"

Jason Sobel talks to Stewart Cink about his newfound stardom as a Twitter user, and while he may be jokingly calling some of his posts "B.S." (okay, I didn't need to hear that some Georgia Tech guy was drafted in the sixth round), he's definitely posted more than his share of insights.

Q: Other than that, what have been some of the advantages of being able to interact with fans?

A: Well, I think the biggest advantage is that I can get my personality out there, because it's not always easy if you're not Tiger Woods or Anthony Kim or Phil Mickelson to get a personality to show through the camera lens and into living rooms. That's difficult, because in golf -- depending on the kind of person you are -- most of the time it's better to remain kind of even-keeled and not let your emotions come out. You just want to stay focused and you've got to bear down. It's so different from other sports.

So the best thing for me is that now I've got 100,000-plus people who are getting a glimpse of Stewart Cink the person and not just what they see on television. I think it's been great for me to build a little bit of a fan base out there among the group that may not be into golf too much.

Tuesday
Apr282009

"In fairness, over the last couple of years we have started to see that the USGA, R&A and Augusta are starting to see the picture."

Interviewed by Robin Barwick using questions questions from Mark Reason, there was an entertaining round table to promote the Ballantine’s Championship. The participants were Paul McGinley, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Fred Couples. Plenty of highlights, including talk of Bethpage, golf in the Olympics, Stanford Financial (awkward!) and this technology exchange:

In the arena of equipment technology, is the golf ball flying too far now?

McGinley: I think the horse has bolted. The problem should have been addressed 10 years ago, when the scientists that the USGA and R&A had were not as good as the ones the manufacturers had. The manufacturers basically broke through the gates and went too far with the ball.

Els: I am against stopping technology, but people also need to be careful how they set-up golf courses. Look at Oakland Hills last year [in the US PGA Championship]. Some of those fairways were un-hittable. Look at Shinnecock Hills. A great golf course, but they were scared of the technology and scared of a low score winning, and they screwed up the golf course.

Stenson: Longer is not always better.

Els: Exactly. They need to be careful not to take a great, classic golf course, and just for the sake of stopping someone going low, screwing up the golf course.

McGinley: In fairness, over the last couple of years we have started to see that the USGA, R&A and Augusta are starting to see the picture. Augusta was great this year, Torrey Pines was great last year and Birkdale was great last year, so they are starting to get it now. Mistakes have been made in the past though, no doubt about it.

Stenson does point out that not everyone thought Birkdale was so great last year. But more importantly, it is interesting that when this topic comes up, almost no one suggests that improved athleticism was the cause. Even better, you have folks like Els openly making the connection between over-the-top setups and poor regulatory practices. Just a few years ago only select players like McGinley understood the connection. 

Monday
Apr272009

"11. Four Chinese players"

They finally got around to satisfying IMG's deal points to announcing the WGC-HSBC event in China and the field qualifications offer what I think may be a couple of buried ledes:

3. Winners from 23 PGA TOUR cosponsored events in 2009, which shall be identified as those 23 PGA TOUR events from 2008 with the highest Official World Golf Ranking Strength of Field Rating, having a rating of 40 points or more.

Bear with me. First this:

11. Four Chinese players

And? Nothing else? Just "Four Chinese Players" as a category?

So stringent!

Alright here's what I found interesting:

13. If necessary to fill the field to 78 players, additional Tournament Winners from the 2008 HSBC Champions through the event preceding the 2009 WGC-HSBC Champions, which shall be identified as those winners of events from the 2007 HSBC Champions to the 2008 HSBC Champions with the highest Official World Golf Ranking Strength of Field Rating, having a rating of 40 points or more, not listed in an above category:

2008/2009 Events    Winner
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic     Perez, Pat
Buick Open
Justin Timberlake Classic
John Deere Classic
Wyndham Championship
RBC Canadian Open
Fry's.com Open
Valero Texas Open
Turning Stone Resort Champ.
Casio World Open           Oda, Koumei
Viking Classic
BMW Italian Open
Madrid Masters
Estoril Open de Portugal           Hoey, Michael
Mitsubishi Diamond
US Bank Championship
Munsingwwear Open
Japan Tour Championship

World Ranking gurus out there, I'm wondering if this is the first time that the line has been so publicly drawn with event winners needing to come from events "having a rating of 40 points or more?"

If so, seems it could set an interesting precedent for other world events or majors?

Monday
Apr272009

"If Mickelson ever gets wind of these numbers, we may see him retire the white belt for good."

I think Jason Sobel is right, the numbers-cruncher in Phil Mickelson will have a hard time looking past the white belt jinx, as researched by David Axelson in Atlanta:

In five of those rounds the cursed belt was worn, only once was he able to break par -- at Poppy Hills in Round 2 of the AT&T -- for a stroke average of +1.8 compared to a -1.2 season average and -2.3 in dark belt rounds.

In wins, the white belt was only worn for the second round at Riviera, a 1-over 72 after shooting 63 in the first round. No white belts at Doral, although three white shirts -- a decision that may have won him the championship.

At the Masters, he wore the white belt in the first round (1-over 73), but never again, posting scores of 68-71-67 in the final three rounds.

Monday
Apr272009

"I don't know if it's ever going to become a rule or not. It might."

Stewart Cink's Traveler's Championship media day press conference was crashed by Chris Berman, U.S. Open lead announcer on ESPN and legendary flip out artist.  With such extenuating circumstances, it was tough for the normally wise Cink to do anything but dumb down his comments. After all, isn't that a natural reaction when Berman is in the room?

Anyway, this was interesting:

STEWART CINK: There's a pretty popular proposal right now that's circulating around the players and staff to play one in four, sort of called the one in four thing, where everyone would be required to play every tournament on TOUR at least once out of four years. It's gotten some traction. I don't know if it's ever going to become a rule or not. It might.

There's positives and negatives to it. Obviously the positives are Tiger Woods is going to come to every tournament eventually. That's a great thing for all tournaments. The negatives are, when you start imposing rules on that like independent contractors, they can also choose to not play at all. There would be nothing stopping Tiger Woods from playing the European Tour for a few years or the rest of his career. He's got that kind of power. Unfortunately he could do that. That would be a serious mistake if we did that. Got to look at things from both sides.

Later on, sensing the media questions were making too much sense, Berman chimed in with this dazzler:

CHRIS BERMAN: Being a defending champ, once you tee it up, that and $4.95 will get you a latte at Starbucks. You did it before. You've won other events. Is it important to defend well? I don't know if that's the right question.

No, no Chris, that was wonderful. Keep going.

Then again, as defending champ, you have more obligations. Finally getting to the first tee, you exhale a little bit. Having done it here and a few other places, do you think you'll be better prepared?

Monday
Apr272009

Now That's The Image Of A Rivalry!

Donald Miralle of Getty Images shot from golf.com's gallery showing Suzann Pettersen and Lorena Ochoa in a stare down looked ominous. Borderline on-course cat fight stuff.

Then I saw Claudio Cruz's shot from the same point in the round (featured with SI's PGA Tour Confidential). Turns out, they were talking white skirts or cut quality or hemlines or whatever fashionista's talk about.

Monday
Apr272009

"Industry sources estimated the category could be worth up to $50 million a year in new sponsorship dollars."

Jon Show reports that the PGA Tour is considering--brace yourselves at the horror of it all--taking sponsorship money from purveyors of the last legal drug.

Industry sources estimated the category could be worth up to $50 million a year in new sponsorship dollars.

The PGA Tour has considered such a move before but didn’t take action because of the stigma attached to the category, said a tour source. The PGA Tour’s board of directors would have to approve any change in the rules, and there is no firm timetable for a decision.

Only in America could alcohol--consumed by millions on a daily basis and freely available on nearly every street corner--somehow have a stigma attached while companies can freely advertise expensive, prescription-required boner pills.

Monday
Apr272009

Daly Tweets First Jab At Ex-Wives 

So if you took that bet on an ex-wife reference before 1000 Twitter followers for Long John, collect! The "tweet":

such fun when ex's & her friends want to play games & talk their smak on twitter & I'm here for my fans & friends--lord help me

Sunday
Apr262009

President Obama Tees It Up; Changes Shoes In The Parking Lot!**

Well, it wasn't a public outcry, but nearly one when sixty commenters chimed in on the all-vital question of appropriate shorts construction.

I must say it's a bit shocking that President Obama passed up the chance to watch day two of the NFL Draft coverage and its orgy of over analysis providing exhibit 1A that America is doomed when it's spending a spring weekend hanging on Mel Kiper Jr.'s analysis of a 7th round pick.

Anyway, the Prez answered one of the most pressing questions of his first 100 days, as posed by Leonard Shapiro: where would the first Obama round be played? Andrews Air Force Base GC. Wait, the high-paid branding experts have even managed to get their hands on a government golf course. Excuse me, The Courses at Andrews Air Force Base.

Note that in the photo gallery accompanying the AP story, the President is changing his shoes in the parking lot. Isn't that forbidden at courses titled The ___ at _____?  I smell a new controversy!

Sunday
Apr262009

The Caddie Soccer Game?

Randell Mell served up this note about Lorena Ochoa looper Dave Brooker:

Brooker broke a foot in the caddie soccer game at the course on Saturday night, LPGA officials confirmed. Ochoa has a trustworthy sub, though. Rafael Alarcon, her coach, is toting her bag. Alarcon has been her coach since her junior days.

Don't they get enough exercise in by day to be playing a night soccer game? And at the host venue?

Then again, wouldn't you love a PGA Tour caddy soccer game on the 18th fairway at TPC Sawgrass Wednesday night after the caddie competition? How long would they go before Mark Russell issue Stevie a yellow card, only to see the master luggage toter flip out and pay homage to Jerry Pate by hurling a couple of rules staff members into the drink?

Saturday
Apr252009

"Poor Phil doesn't really wear clothes well; he's just built a certain way"

I'm not sure what I enjoyed more, John Paul Newport's look at the return of white belts and shoes, and the resulting attention drawn to the matter by Phil Mickelson's fashion choices, or the fact that John Daly responded to Newport's piece on Twitter:

@jpnewport you will see me sportin white belts & white shoes on tourabout
24 hours ago from web in reply to jpnewport

Friday
Apr242009

Tiger-Visits-Oval-Office-Photo Caption Fun

Wonkette has White House photographer Pete Souza's images from Tiger Woods' visit to the Oval Office. Alright, what are they talking about?

Friday
Apr242009

"Any time you see where a Lowe's or Wal-Mart or Home Depot and Sam's Club [is being built], that means they know where the growth corridor is."

Nice spot by Geoff Russell who suffered through Greg Norman's Legends of Golf press conference transcript to glean this valuable piece of business wisdom.

I always love the Savannah growth corridor. Any time you see where a Lowe's or Wal-Mart or Home Depot and Sam's Club [is being built], that means they know where the growth corridor is. And when you get in the development business, you kind of follow where it's going to be five, seven years down the line. Sure, you're going to have hiccups in the real estate market, but if you stay the course, you know you're going to come out pretty good at the other end."

Glad Greg sees this as a hiccup.

Friday
Apr242009

I'm Not Really Sure What This Has To Do With Shaving...

..but it's an improvement over their last campaign. Are those Footjoy Classics Tiger is wearing?

Thursday
Apr232009

"The fact is, we are coming off the most activist 10-year period in the history of golf ball and golf club regulation, and a bold and rigid line in the sand has been effectively drawn by the game's regulatory bodies."

Thanks to Chuck Stogel at CBSSports.com for highlighting Wally Uihlein's latest essay on the sheer hopelessness of modern technology progress. Since the Titleist "News and Technology" propaganda page had been quiet for so long, I deleted it from my RSS feed reader.  And look at the giggles I missed!

As the march to the Masters gets closer, the drumbeat of anti-technology activists will inevitably get louder over the next week.

Activists! Bet Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus never thought they'd be considered activists.

The fact is, we are coming off the most activist 10-year period in the history of golf ball and golf club regulation, and a bold and rigid line in the sand has been effectively drawn by the game's regulatory bodies. The statistics speak for themselves. Driving distance has flatlined, and actually has decreased in each of the past two years. 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.

Shut down those R&D departments, send the Tour vans to the junk yard and throw in the towel! Hope as we know it is gone and it's all the big, bad USGA/R&A's fault!

In fact, I bet Dick Rugge and the boys are probably brushing up their resumes as we speak, now that the door to progress is locked and shut!

The size, weight, initial velocity and overall distance of the golf ball are controlled. Optimization of the aerodynamics package of a golf ball is near complete. Higher compression golf balls might provide more ball speed, but will also have more spin, which will reduce distance. Spin and launch angle are coupled, so if you change one, the other will change as well. The bottom line is that when you attempt to tweak a golf ball parameter for more distance, other parameters are affected that limit the distance opportunity.

Based on our internal testing against the golf ball ODS limit under the current specified launch conditions, we are already 98 percent downfield towards reaching that absolute ODS limit (including the tolerance), and that is with our longest tour-played product. That translates into a maximum additional distance availability of approximately 5-7 yards.

You know I hate to sound like a broken record here, but...oh wait, one more jab...

The facts are the facts, and any suggestion of dramatic yardage spikes going forward is either disingenuous or propagandist. Take your pick.

I can't think of a single example in the last year when someone has suggested distance spikes have occurred again. Anyone, anyone? Bueller?

Was there any pre-Masters talk about the golf ball? Seems to me the focus was on the lousy course changes, which were a byproduct of the ball but more obviously now to a sizeable audience, the clumsy work of some fellows who shouldn't be tinkering with great courses.

So I'll say again: this transcendent moment of agreement is the perfect time to agree that distance peaks have been reached. So to do everyone justice and pay our respects to all of the great athleticism no longer cited for its role in spiking distance, let's roll back the ball just a smidgen to help courses with safety issues, make architecture more meaningful and motivate the kids to put in even more time at the gym.

What I don't understand is, why this strategy for Titleist? They've clearly mapped out this change of course and I think it's super. But it's starkly different from their previous stance of trying to present various reasons for distance spikes that were in no way bad for the game.

What do they hope to gain from waving the white flag?

Naturally, my hope is that they realize a majority of their customers who admire the high quality of their products (I used to be one!) support the USGA and R&A's efforts to protect the integrity of the sport. What do you think?

Thursday
Apr232009

"The greatly anticipated 2009 Masters was like going to a Broadway hit and finding out that the star, Sir Tiger Woods, was off that night, and his replacement was the cab driver who dropped you off at the theater."

Who else but Dan Jenkins in his Golf Digest Masters report. I liked this:

The biggest excitement on Friday was provided by Anthony Kim, the brash young talent and Ryder Cup hero who made 11 birdies in a round of 65. It was a good thing Kim also made two bogeys and a double bogey, or his score might have encouraged the Augusta National to buy up more residential property surrounding the course and add another 1,000 yards, giving Sergio Garcia something else to whine about.

Thursday
Apr232009

Pink, Rested And Slimmer Thanks To The Lap Band: Daly Preps For Spanish Open With Caddyshack Appearance

Garry Smits reports that the two time major champ is making an appearance in St. Augustine for the Murray Brothers' charity before heading to Spain.

Thursday
Apr232009

"At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur -- I always believed (and continue to believe) that the bedrock of the LPGA tour was the communities where women's golf was the biggest show of the year."

Geoff Russell, writing about the demise of the LPGA's Corning Classic and his days as an LPGA beat writer:

But the most successful events I attended, the happiest ones, the ones that consistently drew the biggest and most loyal galleries, and where the tournament officials and the players had the strongest attachment to each other, weren't the stops in the big cities. They were the ones in places like Springfield, Ill., and Youngstown, Ohio. Tallahassee, Fla., and Rochester, N.Y. Hershey, Pa. and Nashville, Tenn. Wilmington, Del., and Toledo, Ohio.

And, most especially, Corning, N.Y.

A lot of those tournaments are now gone. Meanwhile, the LPGA goes to a lot of places around the world now that it didn't when I was part of the traveling circus - countries such as France, China, Singapore, Thailand. I realize that in today's business world it's all about "going global" and "growing the brand," and it's probably exciting for the players to go to places like Evians-les-Bains and Shanghai. But -- at the risk of sounding like a dinosaur -- I always believed (and continue to believe) that the bedrock of the LPGA tour was the communities where women's golf was the biggest show of the year.

Corning was one of those places.

Thursday
Apr232009

"Doesn't exactly sound like a player who's ready to hang up the soft spikes while waxing poetic about the good ol' days, does it?"

I like Jason Sobel's proposed fixes to the World Golf Hall of Fame's bizarre embrace of players who are still active, which happened again with Jose Maria Olazabal's deserved but untimely induction.

Thursday
Apr232009

Environmentall Friendly Golf Guide

Earth Day led to a few interesting posts yesterday and sorry to say I'm only now getting to them

The gang at Links Magazine offers the first ever list of best environmentally friendly courses.

Finally a ranking that actually serves a purpose!

And at the USGA's official site, Mike Kenna pens a brief history of the Green Section's environmental efforts. Also included are links to a nice variety of green-related stories.