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

Today, many are trying to obtain a temporary advantage by buying the latest far-flying ball on the market. It is often suggested that we have already got to the limit of flight of a golf ball. I do not believe it, as there is no limit to science. ALISTER MACKENZIE

  

Tuesday
Oct092012

So Much For The Turkey Final's Medal-Match Play

Who devised a format guaranteeing $300,000 for potentially just two days of golf?

We learned after day one of the Turkey Final--where Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy lost their opening day matches--that each must win their morning and afternoon matches tomorrow to have a chance of moving forward to Thursday's semi-final matches.

Unfortunately, the World No. 1 and No. 2 play each in the afternoon!

Wouldn't you play one match-a-day for three days, then have a 36-hole final day when you reduce to four players? That way you get three days of golf out of your big names, even if they throw in the towel as McIlroy did Tuesday.

From Corrigan's Telegraph story:

Kuchar said he believed his opponent “lost interest” after chopping around in the trees on his way to a triple bogey and McIlroy admitted as much. “I was playing pretty well until the 15th, then I hit it into the hazard on 16 and was just trying to get the round done,” he said

And from an unidentified wire story, McIlroy admitted as much:

"I was playing pretty well until the 15th, then hit a loose tee shot there and was messing about in the trees and making seven," said the world number one. "Then I hit it into the hazard on 16 and was just trying to get the round done. I lost a bit of concentration, went a few behind and gave up a bit."

This means the medal-match, designed to make players play all 18 holes, actually caused McIlroy to lose interest because he was so many strokes behind his opponent. Whereas in a normal match play event, he would have merely lost the hole.

So to review, other than the World No. 1 giving up, some of the press getting their plane tickets paid, the fantastic first tee assault by Turkey's leading golf official, no American television coverage and the look of pros in shorts, this has been an event for the ages!

Tuesday
Oct092012

Alec Baldwin Liked To Honk His Horn At The Top Of Backswings And Other Wacky Tales From East Hampton

The NY Posts' Kate Briquelet talks to looper Scott Werner about his new self-published tell-all, Caddie Tales ($1.99 on Amazon for Kindle readers).

The 48-year-old former financier turned caddie tells stories about the Hamptons elite at East Hampton Golf Club, a $400,000-to-join Coore-Crenshaw course.

Werner recalls one morning when a mogul just couldn’t take losing to his financial adviser. He threw his putter in the air, upbraided the golf ball, and stomped around the fairway in anger.

Then he lined up next to a wad of foam he thought was a ball and swung so hard, he collapsed.

“These are people controlling the financial world, and it’s amazing, the things they say,” said Werner, who travels as a caddy-trainer and once carried for Tiger Woods and Jack Nicholson.

And my favorite because it's so believable, so perfect for Alec and is just plain funny to imagine:

When the club first opened years ago, Alec Baldwin would terrorize CEOs by driving up to the course in a blue car and park with a cup of coffee, Werner recalled.

Anytime someone would take a swing, he’d honk his horn to faze them. It’s rumored he loathed the club for environmental reasons.

Tuesday
Oct092012

Turkey Final First Tee Scene Gets Ugly, Golf Federation Head Accused Of Headbutt!

Turkey is definitely ready to host the Olympics. Buying the press, a little bit of blood drawn and bingo, the 2020 campaign is off and running!

James Corrigan reports on the ugly first tee scene Tuesday that led to local news agency cameraman Cihat Unal pressing assault charges against Ahmet Agaoglu, president of the Turkish Golf Federation. Unal ended up with broken glasses and a severely bruised ego. And maybe more.

Agaoglu denied he headbutted Unal, saying: “He pushed me and I pushed him back and he fell over.”

Oops...that's a bogey. Make it double. Loss of hole.

Nevertheless, this is an embarrassing episode for the tournament’s organisers. With four of the world’s top five in the elite eight-man field, this matchplay event has been staged to showcase Turkey’s merits as a top golfing venue as well as advance the prospective bid for the 2022 Olympics. The crowds were bigger than expected with the majority drawn to Woods’s match against Charl Schwartzel.

Tiger Woods had never played here before and the anticipation was predictably frenzied. When he walked out to face the South African, the local media swarmed around him. Mark Steinberg, Woods’ manager, was heard to comment “the cameramen are out of control”, with the golfer’s heavy security detail struggling to contain the frenzy. It was at this stage that the tussle occured, although is not known if Woods witnessed the alleged assault.

Corrigan goes on to tell us who this man Agaoglu is and why European Tour head George O'Grady has a splitting headache tonight.

Tuesday
Oct092012

Shorts-Wearers Win Three Of Four Matches In Turkey Final

Derek Lawrenson in the Daily Mail, reporting on day one of the Turkey Final cash grab, which included of pro football pro-am participants...errr...golfers Lee Westwood and Charl Schwartzel in shorts.

The other thing of note was the fact, for the first time in a leading professional event, the players were allowed to wear shorts if they chose. Four of the eight-man field took up the option.

Intriguingly, all four matches featured one man wearing long trousers and his opponent wearing shorts.

The result of that little game-within-a-game was three to one in favour of the men trying something new.

Tuesday
Oct092012

"153 Golf Organisations unite to focus on sustainability as a core priority"

The International Golf Federation that spearheaded golf's return to the Olympics is broadening its scope by issuing a statement today announcing sustainability as its "core priority." You can read the statement in PDF form here.

"The future will present many challenged but the IGF and its member organizations are working to ensure that many more generations will enjoy golf and the facilities on which it is played."

A couple of screen grabs of the fine print:


We were doing so well until the last jargon dump of an item. Go on...

It's pretty exciting to read this kind of focus on the future and desire to shrink the footprint of golf courses. But this is all utter nonsense if the distance the ball travels is not reduced via some form of regulation. Otherwise, the game will continue to spend money on new tees, more rough, faster greens and bigger properties.

Tuesday
Oct092012

Euros Begin The Sensitive Process Of Endorsing Their Next Captain Without Offending The Next Captain

From a lengthy, unbylined account of the Turkey Final where Tiger and Rory lost their opening matches (zzzzzz....), came this far more interesting discussion of 2014 Ryder Cup captaincy.

In a nutshell, Justin Rose thinks Darren Clarke might be better suited to an American captaincy because of his popularity here, while Lee Westwood makes his case for buddy Darren Clarke.

“I think we have three or four good options,” Rose said. “I’m hearing Paul and Darren and maybe Paul Lawrie, but he is in the top 30 in the world and would probably want to play at Gleneagles.

“They (McGinley and Clarke) would both be great, I don’t know if Darren might be more suited to America in 2016 as he is very popular over there.

“Paul will be very strategic and won’t put a foot wrong tactically. He has holed the winning putt before and it means a lot to him. We have good options across the board.”

Well done young Mr. Rose. Your rebuttal, Mr. Westwood?

“There are a lot of good candidates but if I was asked to pick I would pick Darren,” Westwood said. “He’s been a Ryder Cup stalwart for many years.

“The one at the K Club (in 2006) will be remembered for him and his great performance under the stress of what he was going through at the time (his wife Heather had recently died); he’s a major champion, he’s a very good public speaker which I think has to be taken into account, tactically very astute. I think Darren has a lot of good things going for him.

“Paul is good in the team room and makes a great vice-captain. He’s done a good job with the Vivendi (Seve) Trophy (twice a winning captain).

“Paul has played three (Ryder Cups), Darren has played five and got a Major championship and won a lot more tournaments than Paul. You have to have a criteria somewhere and I think Darren just edges it for me.”

Tuesday
Oct092012

Tiger As A Future Ryder Cup Captain: There's A Debate?

Apparently Tiger Woods suggesting he might like to captain a Ryder Cup team has prompted even some debate about the possible strengths or merits of a Woods captaincy?

Hate to interject, but he'll be a captain because (A) he's earned the right many times over if he wants to do it (B) he'll raise the already ridiculously high bar for Ryder Cup interest and intrigue that will already have been raised by a Mickelson captaincy.

Or, in the PGA of America's world, Tiger'll make them gobs of money.

Ron Sirak, contemplating a Tiger captaincy some day:

My guess there is that the PGA of America would fall all over itself to say "yes" if Tiger indicated he really wanted the job. I mean talk about being handed a sure-fire marketing situation. The Ryder Cup would go from a cash cow to a cash herd.

It's easy to say the Ryder Cup captains get too much credit for victories and too much blame for losses. But from where I sit, Seve Ballesteros and Ben Crenshaw made a difference for winning sides while Sutton and Mark James, with his Sunday singles line-up for Europe in 1999, contributed to losses.

So, I guess what I am saying is that I think the captain can make a difference, and I'm not so sure Tiger would make a good captain. But I will say this, if he had the position, here is what he would bring to the job: Intelligence and a desire to win.

Monday
Oct082012

Ireland Raises! Official Says Rory Would Have "Pole position to carry the Irish tricolour into the Olympic stadium in Rio."

The Telegraph's Justin Doyle on the "which country will Rory McIlroy represent" debate turning to the level of farce four years before the 2016 Rio Olympic games.

McIlroy subsequently insisted he had not made up his mind and Pat Hickey, the president of the Olympic Council of Ireland, has now attempted to sway the world No 1 by offering him the chance to be country’s flag-bearer in Brazil, where golf makes its first appearance at the Games on the Summer Games’ roster of sports since 1904.

“I will say to Rory that if he declares for Ireland, then he will automatically put himself in pole position to carry the Irish tricolour into the Olympic stadium in Rio,” said Hickey, who is also a board member on the International Olympic Committee.

This Hickey dude really knows how to entice a lad:

“You know it was over two years ago when Rory made some rash comments about representing Team GB. I think that he was perhaps a little immature back then and although he reiterated them again recently, in his present state of mind right now, I feel that he might be thinking differently.”

Translation: you were an immature plonker two years ago and kind of were again, but now with all of the hate mail you've received, maybe you've seen the light!

And one more ridiculous quote:

“Can you just imagine what something like this would do for Rory McIlroy,” Hickey added. “It would suddenly catapult him into the realms of being one of the most instantly recognisable sporting faces on the planet. Because make no mistake about it, that’s what carrying the flag does for people.”

Pop quiz: name Ireland's 2012 flag bearer. Actually, throw in Great Britain and the United States too!

Monday
Oct082012

Scotland's First Minister Got The Donald's Golf Course Approved, Then Asked For A Pretty Sleazy Favor

We're getting a better picture about the complex relationship between Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond--distinguished guest speaker at the Ryder Cup closing ceremony--and his former friend Donald Trump.

Magnus Gardham explains in the Scotland Herald that Salmond asked Trump "to back the Scottish Government's controversial decision to release the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds."

Mr Trump, who is now in dispute with the Government over a proposed offshore wind farm within sight of his golf course, said he declined to put his name to the statement.

Labour said the approach suggested the First Minister believed he was owed a favour by the tycoon, although the Government insisted it was "perfectly entitled" to seek support.

The statement was drafted by Geoff Aberdein, then a special adviser and now the First Minister's chief of staff, in the days after Megrahi's release in August 2009.

The story goes on to quote the draft statement by Salmond's office that The Donald declined to put his name on. Salmond rivals are howling.

Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said: "Alex Salmond needs to tell the Scottish people why he thought it was appropriate to use his political and personal relationship with Donald Trump to gain support for such a controversial decision.

"It would appear the First Minister thought Mr Trump had a favour to return, even if the US tycoon didn't agree."

Monday
Oct082012

Tiger Issues First Documented Apology Since The Apology

Perhaps distracted by a model toy airplane, Tiger Woods admitted Tuesday that he apologized to the U.S. Ryder Cup rookies for stinking up the joint. Wonder if it sounded like The Apology?

He also said the loss at Medinah has been weighing on him.

James Corrigan with the story from Turkey.

“I had an opportunity to earn three points in team sessions and didn’t do that,” said Woods. “We were 10-6 up but Stricks and I didn’t win any points and, obviously if we had, our lead would have been even more commanding. My point [in the final match] didn’t matter when all was said and done. Stricks and I were sent out to win points and we didn’t do it. That was frustrating.”

And there was this...

“For me, it didn’t set in for a couple of days. As soon as I got home, I had two sick kids to take care of. They were not at school, they had fevers, so I had to focus on them. Then I started to talk to friends and it started to sink in. That’s when it got tough.”

Far more fascinating was this editor's note at the end of Ewan Murray's Guardian story on the same press conference:

Ewan Murray travelled to Antalya courtesy of Turkish Airlines, which is sponsoring the World Golf Final

The Guardian was the only paper to put such a tagline on its coverage from Turkey.

Monday
Oct082012

Ken Venturi In The World Golf Hall Of Fame

Garry Smits with the news of Ken Venturi getting in the World Golf Hall of Fame via the Lifetime Achievement category.

Venturi, 81, will enter the Hall through the Lifetime Achivement Category. He will join Fred Couples, who won a Masters in 1992 and a Players Championship in 1984 with Venturi providing the analysis on CBS.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be May 6 at the St. Johns County Convention Center, at the World Golf Village. The ceremony will kick off Players Championship week.

Venturi was one of the top amateurs in the U.S. during the 1950s, and won the California State Amateur twice. He finished second by one shot to Jack Burke Jr., in the 1956 Masters, which remains tied for the best finish by an amateur at Augusta.

Venturi turned professional a year later and won twice on the PGA Tour during his rookie year. He won multiple tournaments in five seasons, going on win 14 Tour titles.

GolfChannel.com posted a nice list of his career numbers.

Randall Mell posts a lengthy column on Venturi's career and what the Hall induction will mean for the former U.S. Open Champion.

Rich Lerner interviewed Ken Venturi in Pebble Beach Monday and talks about how Tim Finchem broke the news some time ago. I missed the memo naming Finchem head of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Anyone know when that one came out?

Monday
Oct082012

Must See Video: Magician DMC Takes On Euro Tour

Thanks to reader Rob for sending this and killing (at least) 15 minutes of my day I'll never get back after watching this video three times in search of how magician DMC, aka Drummond Money-Coutts (take that Wodehouse!), pulls off his magic tricks.

Just seeing him catch Paul Lawrie's 3-iron right off the club makes this worth watching, as is Richard Finch's back-of-the-blade play on a par-3. And for card players, the 2 of hearts around Captain Ollie's stymie is breathtaking. (Nice bit of viral video making by the European Tour, too.)

If you want to relive the best of DMC, the links:

Catching Lawrie's 3-iron.

Richard Finch's back of the blade shot.

2 of hearts around Captain Ollie's stymie.