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

Wise is the man who knows how to play each hole as he should play it, and skillful the golfer who can place his shots after he knows where they should go. Such a player is exceedingly hard to defeat on a course with proper strategy. GEORGE THOMAS

 

    

Monday
Apr202009

Golf At Mount Everest!

Reader Phil Young saw today's Pete Dye quote atop the site ("The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody would put a flagstick on top) and says that that an ardent golfer did play Mt. Everest, almost two years ago.

His name is Robie Vaughan. He is a member of the Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas, Texas. He climbed Mt. Everest and actually reached the summit, at which point he took out a three-piece golf club he had designed for carrying in his pack, put it together and hit three balls off the summit!

His golf club was donated to the USGA & is now part of the exhibit with Sheppard's club from the moon.

Monday
Apr202009

Mr. Woods Goes To Washington

He testified today...on a conference call/press conference that only lucky scribblers were invited to (my invites keep getting lost in cyberspace!). After the appearance, Tiger stopped by the White House where he's apparently welcome anytime (Thanks to reader Tim for this):

As for his presser, he was grilled mostly about the Masters. Steve Elling reports and Tiger offers this on his rusty performance:

While his assertion isn't supported much by statistics -- he had the fifth-worst putting numbers and the eighth-worst driving percentage among players who made the cut -- Woods said he and his caddie spoke at several points about how small misses can prove embarrassing at Augusta National, with its humps and swales on mega-fast greens.

"Being off by that one yard is 30 or 40 feet at Augusta," he said. "It seemed to happen all week. Hopefully, the next tournament will be a little sharper than that."

Far more disturing than that, Barry Svrluga reports that Tiger wants his event to stay at Congressional beyond 2014.  Now that's depressing.

Monday
Apr202009

"You wonder how long Tiger's patience will last."

Mark Reason reasons that Tiger Woods is about to get tired of being humiliated by lousy driving and will switch teachers. I'm not sure I buy the humiliation angle just yet, since he's 0 for 1 post knee surgery in the majors.

This is an intriguing stat, though I'm curious how it was tabulated:

Woods has been with Haney now for five years and his driving remains something of a joke. In the six or so years that Woods spent with Butch Harmon he hit the fairway on average 68.66 per cent of the time. In the Haney era that average has dropped to 57.82 per cent.

In golfing terms a 1 per cent margin is colossal. It's the difference between 28th and 140th place on this year's driving accuracy table. There isn't even a relative increase in distance to compensate. If anything, Tiger is a shorter hitter relative to his rivals than he used to be.

Naturally, it should be noted that in the years since the Harmon era, fairways narrowed quite a bit in an effort to slow down drives (and boy that worked!).

Monday
Apr202009

“It took a way bigger hit than we needed to"

Larry Bohannan looks at Davis Love's take on Congress and golf sponsorship and nominates Davis as an ideal lobbyist for the tour. I guess that's better than my dream golf lobbyist, Nick Naylor.

“It took a way bigger hit than we needed to,” Love said of the attacks on Northern Trust in the following weeks. “There were two members of Congress that said negative things about the tour. One of them didn't realize how much money we give to charity, and didn't realize what an impact a tour event has on the economy of that city that week and that state and that economy.”

Monday
Apr202009

"It was a great win for Oakmont."

Gerry Dulac reports that the folks at Oakmont are quite happy with Angel Cabrera's Masters win. For a while there, they were thinking maybe they'd have to rethink all that over-the-top rough and the narrow fairways for giving them a one-off major champ. But not now...

Club officials have been wanting to bring Cabrera back to Oakmont so they can officially -- and ceremoniously -- present him with their own version of the green jacket, symbolizing lifetime membership in the club. Oakmont does that for all players who have won a major championship at its club.

They also want to show him the room in the club's newest guest cottage, overlooking the swimming pool, that bears his name. Located on the second floor, the Angel Cabrera room is right down the hall from rooms that bear the names of Steve Melnyk (1969 U.S. Amateur champion) and Gene Sarazen (1922 PGA), other past winners at Oakmont.

Angel has to know he's made it when he shares something in common with Melnyk.

Sunday
Apr192009

"Damn, I found Anthony Kim obnoxious."

Jack McCallum, bought-out SI NBA beat legend, novelist and occasional golf scribe fresh off covering the Barkley-Haney show, joins this week's SI/AOL/Golf.com/ page-turner to kick around the state of golf. There's an interesting discussion about Rory McIlroy's decision to pass on a PGA Tour hall pass and comments about slow USGA sales in New York at the end, but McCallum's take on Anthony Kim didn't come as a total shock.

Jack McCallum: I hate to swing at the first pitch in such an august group of golf scribes, but since you asked ... Damn, I found Anthony Kim obnoxious. He came out to one of the Barkley-Hank Haney sessions I was covering for the SI story a few weeks back and acted like a 13-year-old. Then again, Charles acts like a 17-year-old, so it was kind of a draw.

Sunday
Apr192009

Askernish, Links and The New Yorker

Thanks to reader Dan for the abstract link to David Owen's New Yorker story on the resurrection of Scotland's Old Tom Morris original, Askernish (here's the link for subscribers).  There is also an audio slideshow by Owen. I mostly enjoyed Owen's explanation of links golf and the difference between old and modern design. Assuming the average New Yorker reader got that far, they would be in for an eloquent explanation as to why some of us take this architecture stuff so seriously.

John Garrity has also written about Askernish in this 1991 SI story, and more recently in T&L Golf last year.

Saturday
Apr182009

"Gee Nick, I didn't realise that you are such a big guy. How come you used to hit it so short?"

John Huggan examines the Phil-Tiger relationship and shares several juicy anecdotes. Two of my favorites:

Then again, Mickelson is hardly devoid of a sense of humour. Less than two weeks ago at the traditional Tuesday evening Champion's Dinner, he got stuck into, of all people, Nick Faldo. Standing next to the six-time major winner for the official photograph, the present world number two didn't miss the past number one. The trash-talking conversation went something like this:

Phil (loud enough for everyone to hear): "Gee Nick, I didn't realise that you are such a big guy. How come you used to hit it so short?"

Faldo: "Listen Phil, when you shoot 19 under par to win the Open at St Andrews you can start giving me a hard time."

Phil: "I understand that. But how come you hit it like such a pussy?"

Faldo: "I played golf the proper way."

Phil: "Yeah, like my wife."

And...

Still, even when Phil and wife Amy sent the Woods family a present to celebrate the birth of daughter Sam, there was an edge to the gesture. The miniature ping-pong table was a not-so-subtle reference to the fact that, at every Ryder Cup, Lefty is too good for his teammate when it comes to table tennis. (Rumour has it that Tiger has searched out expert coaching in order to rectify that situation next time round).

Saturday
Apr182009

Monty Blames Latest Row On Ignorance Of "Emerging Nations"; Also Hasn't Returned Captain Pavin's Call

But other than that, he continues to have really stabilized affairs after Nick Faldo's run as European Captain. First, this explanation, which never actually says that the photographers were snapping before impact. I'm just assuming...probably a mistake with ole rabbit ears:

Reflecting on the incidents, Montgomerie said yesterday: "It's very difficult. This is an emerging nation golf-wise, and is an emerging nation in most events. It's the understanding – the etiquette – of the game that sometimes the Chinese and the Koreans and the Thais and these emerging countries over here in the Far East tend not to appreciate."

Montgomerie's mood had not been helped by a disappointing round of 73 and a two-over score at the halfway point of the co-sanctioned tournament. "Unfortunately, they picked the wrong guy and the wrong time," he jokingly added.

Meanwhile, the Daily Record reports the Pavin snub:

Pavin said: "I phoned and left a message on his answering machine to congratulate him but he hasn't returned my call.

"And I got his number right because I checked it with about three sources." Monty has already spoken of being shocked by the workload of a Ryder Cup skipper but Pavin has no problem with it.

He said: "I'm not sure why he said that because it really hasn't changed much, it hasn't affected me."

Friday
Apr172009

Brendon Todd Puts Wrinkle In Nationwide Tour's Plan To Unveil 20 Greatest Moments

Even though they've probably already set the "20 Greatest Moments" in Nationwide Tour history, judging by the first two yawners I think they'll want to reconsider and add Brendon Todd's amazing feat at the Athens Regional Foundation Classic

Even more amazing, it was caught on tape! Oh, and he's a former U. of Georgia player pulling this off in Athens, Georgia.

 

Friday
Apr172009

Monty Throws First Hissy Fit Since Declaring That Captaincy Has Chilled Him Out

I believe Ladbrookes had the Chinese Open as the over/under event for the next Monty spat, so check your tickets to see what specific day was the cutoff. Michael Walker passes along a Scottish TV report that Monty, more relaxed than ever, had some issues with a photographer.

The Great Britain and Europe’s Ryder Cup captain, who says his new role has given him a new serenity, growled “don’t film me” at the man who had filmed him hook his drive into the water.

I don't know about you, but I'd like another source on this. Just doesn't sound like our man.

Friday
Apr172009

Lauer Hoping Shoulder Recovers In Time To Land Golf Digest Looping Gig

Justin Timberlake obviously didn't get tortured enough last year, so he and Ben Roethlisberger will be joining Michael Jordan and some really, really white guy in year two's NBC-Digest-USGA 7 hour round to be aired before the real 7-hour round at Bethpage.

FINAL TWO CELEBRITY PARTICIPANTS NAMED FOR 2009 GOLF DIGEST U.S. OPEN CHALLENGE

Ben Roethlisberger and Justin Timberlake to Join Michael Jordan at Bethpage Black

NEW YORK (April 17, 2009) – Golf Digest, the United States Golf Association and NBC Sports have announced that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Justin Timberlake will join Michael Jordan in the 2009 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge. The three celebrities will play with one amateur golfer who will be determined by online voting.

The foursome will play the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, the site of the 2009 U.S. Open, and attempt to break a score of 100. The 18-hole round will be taped by NBC Sports and air on Sunday, June 21st from 12:00pm – 1:30pm ET, immediately prior to the final-round broadcast of the U.S. Open.

All three celebrities have a single-digit Handicap and have been included in previous Golf Digest rankings of athletes and musicians. In the 2007 list of the top athlete-golfers, Jordan ranked T-30 with a Handicap of 1.2 and Roethlisberger ranked T-121 with a Handicap of 7. Timberlake, the host of the PGA Tour’s Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, was ranked T-15 with a Handicap of 6 in Golf Digest’s 2008 “Top 100 in Music” list. Timberlake played in the 2008 Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge and shot 98 at Torrey Pines.

Butch Harmon, who is ranked No.1 in Golf Digest’s “America’s 50 Greatest Teachers” list, will once again caddie for Timberlake. Fred Couples, the 15-time PGA TOUR winner and 1992 Masters champion, will caddie for Jordan. Roethlisberger’s caddie will be announced at a later date.

Matt Lauer maybe? Since he played last year with Greg Norman on the bag, he can help Ben get through the grueling Roger Maltbie interviews and offer tips on playing a marathon round...assuming he can lift a bag by then.

Thursday
Apr162009

"Am I alone in thinking that Tiger Woods was rude and ungracious at the Masters last Sunday?"

Look out Tiger, the Internet Writer of the Year doesn't like your 'tude!

He was curt in his handshake with Phil Mickelson, his playing partner, brief in his comments to reporters and disrespectful to his competitors when he described his play. "I fought my swing all day and just kind of band-aided it and almost won the tournament," he said. One possible translation of that last statement could be: even with a band-aid on my swing I almost won the tournament, which is hardly complimentary to his rivals.

Good news Tiger. A) he didn't mention the possibility of physical attack costing you a run at the all time major record, and (B) next week's column will be filled with blow-by-blow accounts of his golf, so you're off the hook...

The following itinerary sounds good, wouldn't you say? Golf at Turnberry on Monday, the Old Course at St Andrews on Tuesday and perhaps the Castle Course at St Andrews on Wednesday. That's my schedule for the next few days. I will let you know how I got on next week.

Thursday
Apr162009

"The California Senate has voted to make it illegal to hold events that require participants to speak English in a move prompted by the LPGA Tour's English-only proposal."

I have figured out why my state has a $42 billion budget deficit!

The women's golf tour wanted last year to require its players to speak English so they could talk with each other and the media and give acceptance speeches in English.

The LPGA backed off the plan after Sen. Leland Yee and others criticized it as discriminatory.

Yee says the proposal insulted women, minorities and immigrants and might disqualify the best golfers.

The San Francisco Democrat's bill makes such policies illegal in California without a "business necessity." It was approved Thursday 21-14 without debate.

The measure now heads to the Assembly.

Thursday
Apr162009

"I can just say what I want."

Justin Jarrett looks at the Twitter craze taking over the game, talking to Lee Bushkell of the PGA Tour about how the staff does such a stellar job sending out constant and informative updates. Jarrett also chats with Stewart Cink, who is up to 39,000 followers after having (I think) about 1800 heading into the Masters.

As the Twitter universe has expanded, so has the tour's dedication to getting updated tweets to its followers. What started as a one-person operation, with Beyer doing all the tweeting, has evolved into an army of tweeters with laptops and smartphones.

"I signed up for an account and started just messing around, sending out a few little, dumb messages," Cink said. "Pretty soon, I realized that my followers were growing and people cared about what I said.

"It turns out that it's really been a great way to make direct contact, unfiltered contact, with a fan base that's out there that I don't know otherwise," Cink added. "Without using the media, without using TV cameras or anything, I can just say what I want. Sometimes I share a little insight about golf, sometimes I just talk about my life. It's been great just to be able to connect with people in a way that I would have never, ever made a connection."

Thursday
Apr162009

North Shore Post-Madoff

John Hopkins reports this in his current Spike Bar column:

The latest news is that the North Shore Country Club on Long Island, New York, is in financial trouble after one third of its members, many of whom were clients of Madoff's, resigned, unable to afford the $16,000 annual membership. As a result the club has laid off 20 part-time employees and, having been in existence for 95 years, is struggling to reach its centenary.

Thursday
Apr162009

Bookmakers Hail Angel!

Dan Roebuck reports that 100-1 shot Angel Cabrera gave the bookies a profitable week, and he reports on some of the bigger winning bets. Well, all two of them.

Thursday
Apr162009

Get Your U.S. Open Tickets!

Michael Buteau reports that corporate hospitality sales for the U.S. Open at Bethpage are down, but there may be a silver lining for those hoping to buy tickets.

Typically, the USGA withholds between 8,000 and 10,000 weekly tickets for purchase by corporations, Jerris said. As the current allotment of 1,000 tickets is bought by the public, the USGA will likely release more tickets if corporations don’t buy them.

“We’re reserving tickets in anticipation of more corporate sales,” Jerris said. “It’s an ongoing sales effort. We expect by the week of the Open, we’ll be sold out.”

In other words, there should be plenty of tickets available.

But if not, apparently you'll be able to play along with the players during the event in a virtual sense. I'll leave it up to you all to deliver a verdict on this.

Thursday
Apr162009

Augusta's Day-to-Day Yardages

Since the club does not release the daily course yardages, Bill Fields breaks down the Augusta National yardages each day and while the overall change might not sound like much, remember that the disparity in yardage between back and member tees is so great that this is probably about short as they can play it without doing something pretty radical (like playing a member tee).

With the tee positions used each day, the course measured 7,342, 7,275, 7,266 and 7,335 yards from first through fourth rounds. (The biggest reason the yardage dipped much lower for rounds two and three is because the forward tees at the demanding par-3 fourth were used.) This averages to a 7,304-yard tournament course, 131 yards less than the scorecard says.

For 72 holes, 58 played shorter than the scorecard figure, 11 at the number and only three longer than the number (No. 2 Saturday, No. 6, Friday and Sunday).

The field got its biggest breaks at the following holes: No. 1, listed at 445 yards but played 10, 12 and 10 yards shorter the first three rounds and at its yardage for round four; No. 7, 450 yards, played 15, 17, five and 12 yards shorter; No. 15, 530 yards, played 15, 15, 13 and 17 yards shorter; No. 18, 465 yards, played 13, five, 10 and 17 yards shorter.

Wednesday
Apr152009

Final Masters Question: Is 60 Minutes That Important?

Other than providing a strong lead-in to CBS's Sunday night magazine show, I cannot comprehend any rational reason for continuing to decide Masters playoffs in sudden death.

Sunday's frenzied playoff was the latest example of the awkward, anti-climactic feel that has tainted past sudden deathers.

Just think: all of that work and all of that great play, yet the coveted first major often comes down to a missed putt or bounce when a three or four hole playoff could eliminate such concerns (as evidenced by widespread praise for the Open and PGA's aggregate playoff formats).

As a wise observer pointed out to me today, never has a Masters sudden death playoff gone more than two holes. In recent years, those holes have been played with the sun about to set. The observer couldn't help but wonder if the pressure of not finishing in the daylight adds to the chaotic nature of things.

Now, with the improved course setup this year, pace of play was significantly faster. Simply moving tee times up 30-40 minutes would open up enough of a window for three holes to be played while still providing that strong lead-in to 60 Minutes (Except on the West Coast).

So is it something about the late light looking a certain way that encourages the club to stick with the current "tradition," even though it would seem like an odd way to culminate a major championship?

Or is 60 Minutes and the lure of a big prime time rating just that important?

Or is it something else? Help!