Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • 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
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

A golf course that invades a hundred or more acres, and is actually visible in its garish intrusion from several points of observation, is an abhorrent spectacle. The less of man’s handiwork the better a course. PERRY MAXWELL

  

Thursday
Oct112012

"Poulter’s remarkable feats at Medinah illustrated 
what nonsense it is to attach too much importance to the role of the captaincy."

Nice mini-rant from Tom English about the over-importance of Captains in the Ryder Cup.

Colin Montgomerie is a “winning captain”, as he constantly told us on Sky Sports, but he’d have been a dud captain had Graeme McDowell not held his nerve in the last match on the golf course at Celtic Manor and won the day for Europe.

The same with Jose Maria Olazabal, another lucky captain whose shortcomings in the job will be buried for posterity because Ian Poulter played like God. Poulter’s remarkable feats at Medinah illustrated 
what nonsense it is to attach too much importance to the role of the captaincy. As long as they’re not Mr Bean – or Nick Faldo – they should be okay so long as their players are on form.

The captain has to be respected and needs a touch of the statesman about him, as well having very deep pockets for all the cash he can make from the job, but spare us the cosmic talk of strategists and tacticians.

Thursday
Oct112012

Shorts Or No Shorts?

About the only thing of real interest to come out of Turkey this week is a renewed debate over pros wearing shorts. I've always been for it but then when I see grown men in anklets contrasted with players in pants, I'm opposed. (Just look at this photo of Obama and Kasich in pants vs Biden and Boehner in shorts as proof in the Golf Digest slideshow.)

Chris Millard makes the case that it's time to let pros wear shorts:

But the tour, in all its antiquity, still feels that shorts on players would diminish the image of its product (Pssst, Tim. Your biggest star ever was revealed as one of the sleaziest people on the planet. You think knobby knees could hurt your image?). Some of the greatest professional athletes in the world perform in shorts. Imagine Usain Bolt taking on the 200 meters in corduroys. Not cool. Literally. Shorts, even very short ones, served John McEnroe pretty well in the 1970s and 80s. Even the NHL, whose rinks are maintained at between 20 and 22 degrees, requires shorts after a brief and unpopular experiment in 1981 with long pants. In fact, aside from cricket and bowling, I'm hard-pressed to find another sport that's so beholden to pants. Do we really want to model ourselves after the PBA? Again, eew.

Let's settle this once and for all with an instant poll...

Should professional golfers be allowed to wear shorts?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Thursday
Oct112012

"Missing cuts is like forgetting your lines during your dramatic soliloquy on stage, every night you perform."

Thanks to Irish Golf Nut for another engaging Colin Byrne column, this time with the literate caddie writing about his year on the bag of struggling young golfer Tom Lewis.

Lewis, you may recall, contended at the 2011 Open Championship and a year ago won the Portugal Masters. It's been a battle since.

To live with huge expectation at the tender age of 21 is understandably stressful. This, of course, is coupled with your own expectation as an instantly proven winner. Where do you go after such a perfect start to a new career? Well, on hindsight the answer is down.

This is a new and dark space for a hopeful youngster to inhabit at a stage of life when the only concern should be having fun. I understand why those looking from the outside assume travelling the world in relative luxury to play the game you love (sometimes) and earn a good living to be a dream existence. It is a good life on tour, but to finely tuned performers, missing cuts is like forgetting your lines during your dramatic soliloquy on stage, every night you perform.

The last time Tom made a cut was at the start of June this year. We have had four months of floundering with only a couple of rounds under par and the rest way off the mark. This is hard to take for any new player, least of all an ambitious 21-year-old who won his third event as a professional.

Thursday
Oct112012

PGA Tour Ratings '12: NBC Pulls Well Ahead Of CBS

Sports Business Daily's Austin Karp sums up the PGA Tour's numbers rising in 2012, with NBC showing a 45% increase (3.43 avg viewers) and CBS a 20% spike (2.75 million). Golf Channel was up 23% with a average of 847,000 viewers.

But check out the chart with Karp's item. It includes 2011 numbers, where NBC and CBS posted nearly identical average viewer numbers (2.3 million for NBC to 2.2 million for CBS).

I'd be curious to see if this lead in 2012 is the product of CBS having more telecasts and a few rainouts, or perhaps the NBC-Golf Channel synergy providing better promotion and telecast lead-ins?

Thursday
Oct112012

The World Hickory Open Was This Week...

I'm a bit horrified to have acknowledged this cash grab in Turkey when soulful golfers were teeing it up in the World Hickory Open. The event was Monday and Tuesday at Monifeith and Carnoustie Burnside, reports the Scotsman.

The World Hickory Open Championship was established in 2004 and played at Musselburgh Golf Course, the oldest surviving playing surface in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

Hickory clubs are available on the day, which is primarily to encourage parties of all abilities to participate.

According to regular hickory golfers, one of the main attractions of using hickory clubs is being able to ‘feel’ every shot - and also allowing classic golf courses to be played as intended.

A BBC preview story featured this:

This year's event has attracted about 100 players from more than 30 countries.

Competitors are limited to clubs made before, or made to replicate those manufactured before, 1935.

The World Hickory Open Championship was first held in 2005 and has become popular across Europe and the United States.

The event's chairman, Lionel Freedman, said: "It is a lot to do with the fact that the game has changed out of all recognition in the last few years and there are people who enjoy the challenge of playing with clubs that were made after the Great War.

"It brings back into play the courses that are far too short for the modern club and ball."

The official website didn't have scores but it did have this fantastic featurette with the sweet-swinging Perry Summers and Randy Jensen talking about the joys of hickory golf, a famous challenge match between Old Tom Morris and Willie Park, and showing off the magnificent Musselburgh.

Wednesday
Oct102012

Spencer Levin Injured By His Belly Putter

Steve Pajak reports on season-ending surgery for Spencer Levin who "tweaked his thumb while handling his belly putter, which is longer and heavier than a conventional model."

Ban them now before anyone else gets hurt!

Wednesday
Oct102012

"That the European Tour could come to a decision less than two weeks after the Meltdown at Medinah is truly remarkable."

Fantastically cranky stuff from Brian Keogh as he senses that Paul McGinley has been pushed aside for Lee Westwood's favorite public speaker Darren Clarke in the 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy stakes.

It’s a fait accompli anyway if you believe Her Majesty’s Press and one that will prove “popular with club golfers up and down the land, who identify with Clarke’s obvious struggles with his volcanic temperament on the course and his love of a pint off it.”

If that’s the case, so much for the transparency of the selection process, the opinion of the Tournament Players Committee and the general intelligence level of the sporting public, who have surely learned to see beyond the comic cut caricature of Clarke’s public persona.

Clarke, McGinley and captaincy candidates Thomas Bjorn and Miguel Angel Jimenez are also members of that august Committee alongside Colin Montgomerie, Felipe Aguilar, Paul Casey, Gonzalo Fernandez Castaño, Richard Finch, Joakim Haeggman, David Howell, Robert Karlsson, Barry Lane or Henrik Stenson.

Perhaps they’ve all agreed already that there really is just one man for the job given Clarke’s inexorable slide into irrelevance as a player since he captured the 2011 Open Championship at Royal St George’s.

And...

It’s not that Clarke would be poor but is he really a better candidate for the job that McGinley who led two understrength GB&I teams to Seve Trophy victories and played a blinder as a vice-captain in 2010 and this year. It’s certainly debatable and that the European Tour could come to a decision less than two weeks after the Meltdown at Medinah is truly remarkable.

Wednesday
Oct102012

Headbutting Turk Official Serves Up Fantastic Futbol Analogy

From Phil Casey's Independent story on the first tee skirmish that livened up the Turkey Final and led to Turkish Golf Federation Head and Stevie Williams wannabe Ahmet Agaoglu serving up this explanation.

But give the man credit, he's doing his part to put the incident to bed.

"I was there explaining this is not like other sports - while Messi is going to take a penalty you cannot go into the six-yard area to take a picture - and while saying this there was a reaction saying 'You cannot push us back, you cannot shout at us'.

"I was being pushed by one of them and pushed them back as well, the poor guy (local journalist Cihat Unal) was in the wrong place in the wrong time.

"While organising such tournaments I shouldn't have to be there, but I am trying to make everything so perfect. It was unlucky it happened and I will given a written apology because one way or another it was not nice.

"He stumbled back and I was almost going to fall over him."

Wednesday
Oct102012

Battle Looming: Calendar Year Kick Off Vs. European Tour Playoffs!

The ResetCup's resets may come back to haunt the PGA Tour when it goes to the "calendar year" schedule in 2013 as the possible new European Tour membership rules reported this week may create dual-membership players who want to soak up the late season money in Europe.

Rex Hoggard with a lengthy but worthwhile column on the many potential elements of a potential battle for late season attention.

According to multiple sources the Turkish Open, BMW Masters and WGC-HSBC Champions will serve as a run-up to the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour’s year-long finale. Replace the phrase “run-up” with “playoff” and “Dubai” for “Atlanta” and one sees where this is going. All that’s missing is a FedEx Cup logo and an endless parade of points projections.

The Tour’s move to a split-calendar schedule, combined with the rumored “run-up” events to the Dubai finale, could, in theory, change that dynamic and put the Tour and events like the Frys.com Open, which is slated to kick off the 2013-14 season next fall, in a bind.

What if push suddenly became shove, and the Tour was dealt a pair of globetrotting superstars in Woods and Rory McIlroy, who is already a European Tour member, with divergent agendas?

What if quid pro quos, like this week’s agreement with the “Turkish Eight,” became less accepted and more acrimonious? How far would the Tour go to protect its sponsors and its brand?

Wednesday
Oct102012

Why Tiger Joining The European Tour Would Have An Impact

I saw the news out of the Turkey Final about Tiger suggesting he might take up European Tour membership if the rules are changed to include the various Cups as appearances. And I yawned, then moved right along.

But Bob Harig explains that such a membership requirement change, coupled with a few other factor$, makes the scenario increasingly likely and would certainly mean fewer appearances in the U.S. Perhaps as many as 3-4 events shaved off his PGA Tour schedule.

Because he is formalizing an endorsement deal with Turkish Airlines, it would make sense that Woods add a new Turkish European Tour event to his schedule -- which will be played in November 2013, just a week prior to the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

So four majors, four WGCs, Abu Dhabi (or something similar early in the year), Ryder Cup/Presidents Cup, Turkey and the season-ending Dubai event would bring the total to 12. He could, possibly, add the European Tour event in China prior to the WGC; or he could play another event around the time of Abu Dhabi during the tour's Gulf Coast Swing.

Wednesday
Oct102012

More On The Match Re-Match

Alan Shipnuck has gone beyond the Tweets to offer an account of Tuesday's Cypress Point First Tee fat cat get together where "The Match" was to be recreated. But as Shipnuck points out, with Fred Couples WD'ing, the old guys v. young guys vibe of the original could not be recreated.

More important though was Cypress holding its own against today's players. Granted, it took tucking the holes in wacky places, but with Tom Fazio and a sector of the membership itching to turn his mediocre mitts on another masterpiece, we'll take anything that convinces the membership the course is just fine the way it is.

The club has steadfastly -- some would say heroically -- refused to touch its timeless 6,524-yard layout. There is a feeling among much of the membership that by not supersizing Alister MacKenzie's original design, Cypress has become a living, breathing monument to how much modern equipment has affected the game. On the subject of retrofitting Cypress, Tom Fazio, who has overseen the lengthening of Pine Valley and Merion, once told me, "There have been some discussions, but nothing official. Defiance is too strong a word, but Cypress is a unique place, and change is not a priority."

Ugh.

Anyway, the players loved it...as you'd expect.

The match ended on the next hole, 2 & 1. For the round Love shot 67, Watson 70, Watney 71, Fowler 73.

Love called it "a newspaper 67" in a nod to a few gimmes, but PGA Tour rules official Mark Russell defended his scorekeeping.

"It's about as official as the first time around," Russell said. "If Hogan made a 30-footer for birdie I don't think Byron was grinding over his five-footer for par."

On a windless day, with soft greens, the scoring wasn't nearly as torrid as what the old-timers managed with their pre-historic equipment; in addition to Hogan's 63, Venturi shot a 65 and each of their partners carded 67.

Fowler ranks 58th on the PGA Tour in driving distance, at 293.2 yards a pop, but he found Cypress Point spacious enough to hit driver 10 times. "I think it stands the test of time," he said.

Love opted for more 2-irons and 3-woods off the tee. "Any MacKenzie course you have to think your way around it," he said. "This place is going to give you some birdies, obviously. But if you get out of position you can make a double bogey in a hurry."

Wednesday
Oct102012

Bookies Drop Darren Clarke To Even Money!

Paul Mahoney tweeted the new William Hill 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy odds and even better, Clarke Tweeted a Montyesque "the rumors are not entirely true but I really hope they are."

The decision will be made in January. Supposedly.