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

Running through the Rules are underlying principles that, like the steel rods which lie below the surface of reinforced concrete, serve to bind together the brittle material and to give it strength. RICHARD TUFTS




1-2-3 Pairing Out At U.S. Open

Even though it was a big hit last year, Doug Ferguson reports that Mike Davis will not be pairing Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and current world No. 3 Paul Casey in a repeat of last year's world ranking inspired pairings.

Speaking of Davis, Ryan Ballengee interviewed him. You can get a preview here, or listen to the full interview here:


"Fitness centers and French chefs are just not the way to go."

Larry Dorman catches up with Memorial honoree Jackie Burke who offers his typically candid views on the state of the game. As usual, he makes way too much sense for anyone to take him seriously.

Burke learned to play the game at 7, using only a 4-iron for every shot, including putts. Starting golf young, he said, is imperative, adding that clubs needed to start “having the patter of little feet around the greens.”

“I’d like to see the clubs start getting in young players and not putting the price up so high that the young people cannot afford to play,” Burke said. “If you don’t see kids at a country club, they’re running a bad club.”


“I like to see kids out there and I like to see the pros out there teaching them,” he said. “But these clubs have the prices up there so high it has to change. Fitness centers and French chefs are just not the way to go.”


Pavin Wants Team To See Celtic Manor Early, No Matter How Much It Pains Them

Determined to make his team like the dreaded Celtic Manor, or at least learn how to open the clubhouse doors slowly, Captain Pavin is going to plead with his likely 2010 Ryder Cuppers to drag themselves to Wales early.

"It is obviously a little different for us, but what I'm going to do is ask my players who come over for The Open Championship, either before or after, to try to get a couple practice rounds here," Pavin said. "I certainly would like my potential players to see the course once or twice before Ryder Cup week."


"I didn't even yell fore"

Bob Harig explains the genesis of Wednesday's one-off, dare I say historic skins game featuring Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods:

Morgan Stanley is meeting its financial obligations to the tournament, but company representatives decided to downplay their role. Included was canceling the Wednesday pro-am that was to be filled with only Morgan Stanley people.

Their loss was golf's gain.

Stewart Cink will likely post more about the round with Jack, Tiger and Kenny, but he appeared to get in at least one on-course Tweet, melting hearts at LPGA headquarters.

To the fella who confused me with Camilo, "Mucho gracias amigo!"

Steve Elling shares this from the rainy round:

While the players were warming up, Nicklaus was hitting chip shots around the practice putting green as Woods was rolling putts nearby. A little too closely nearby, as it turned out.

The Bear shanked a wedge shot and the ball rolled over and nearly hit Woods in the foot, causing huge laughs from everybody.

"I didn't even yell fore," Nicklaus said.

There was plenty of kibitzing between the pair about their kids, golf course design and other topics as they walked along during the nine-hole match. When Nicklaus rolled in a birdie putt to win the first two skins, he laughed and slapped high-fives along the gallery ropes, shrugging as he said, "even a blind squirrel."

West And Tiger

I penned a Tour Talk item for this week's Golf World on the Jerry West-Northern Trust Open pairing and Jill Painter includes a note about the West announcement in her golf column (after featuring Tina Mickelson and her efforts to grow women's golf).

Though most will understandably assume this is some sort of ceremonial position for West, I was impressed with his energy and passion for the gig. And as I explained in the Golf World item, West is an L.A. icon in a star-studded city that doesn't easily fall for celebrity.

Painter quotes him on the issue of landing Tiger, who it would seem West stands a chance of luring back to Riviera thanks to their past association and Tiger's soft spot for sports icons. And all with an assist from Eddie Merrins.

"I met him when he was a teenager," West said. "His father (the late Earl Woods) wanted me to talk to him about dealing with fame. He was one of those prodigies. He was playing with Eddie Merrins at Bel Air. It's been amazing to watch his career. He's always had a good relationship with the press. He didn't really need much of a conversation with me. He was always so poised. He was brought up with such a good work ethic. His father instilled that in him."


Tiger's Al Ruwaya "Delayed"

Hardly a surprise since three years after being announced there's no golf to be played. Oh and the economy too. Justin Armsden of CNN reports:

It is understood that just six holes will be opened in September, three of which were fully grassed in May before the heat of summer, where temperatures often reach 45 degrees Celsius.

The $1 billion project being built by construction company Tatweer includes 197 "palaces, mansions and villas" over an area of 55 million square feet and was launched in 2006 to much fanfare.


Jack Says It Was All The Tour's Fault!

I love starting the day off with a big chuckle and how can you not giggle reading Doug Ferguson's story about last year's over-the-top setup at Muirfield Village. I only laugh because I know from talking to various folks at the tour that there are two courses where they have much less course setup say: Bay Hill and Muirfield Village.

And of course, there is that evidence of Jack's bunker furrowing concept to reinforce his role. And his hatred of flogging. And there's that minor detail that Phil Mickelson would have skipped the week regardless of his wife's health, all because of the excessive setup ploys.

Ah...Slugger's taking one for the team...

"We were over the top last year," said Slugger White, the PGA TOUR official in charge of setting up the course.

The fault fell to Jack Nicklaus -- at least that's the perception of most players.

After all, this is the course Jack built for a tournament he has hosted since 1976. Nicklaus built his career around the majors, and he wants the Memorial to be the next best thing.

But even Nicklaus was troubled by the high grass, not to mention the complaints.

"The one thing I never liked as a golfer was hack-out rough," Nicklaus said Tuesday. "I've always felt that if you put the ball in the rough, there should be some chance of playing a shot to reach the green, but not be able to control the ball like you would normally. I think recovery is a beautiful part of the game."

Just not on my course!

"I don't think Mr. Nicklaus or the TOUR liked what came out of last year," said Steve Rintoul, the TOUR official who oversaw the course setup this year. "The rules committee, in conjunction with Jack, thought it better to have shorter rough."

Ultimately, the TOUR has the final word in how the course plays.

But if Nicklaus is the one taking the heat whenever someone complains, then why not just take full authority of his golf tournament?

Nicklaus chuckled at the suggestion.

"We are part of the TOUR," he said. "What I want to do is cooperate the best I can, have middle round on what I want to do and what the players like. My feeling is, do I want them to not like it? Of course not. I want everybody to be happy, everybody to enjoy it. But not everyone thinks the way I think. I'm 69. Guys are 40 years younger than I am, or more. They haven't been brought up the way I was.

"It's more my job to adjust to them than their job to adjust to me."

Uh huh.


"Tweet during rounds?"

Jeff Rude raises another fine point about the absurdity of on-course tweeting.

LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens wants her players to be able to “tweet” their thoughts during rounds on I’m not sure I’ve heard anything that nuts since I watched the Cuckoo’s Nest movie.

Tweet during rounds?

The competition must be held sacred. And concentration and focus are at the heart of the competition.

And isn’t the pace of play already slow enough?


MPCC Shore To Be Announced

Jerry Stewart says the members have voted and Monterey Peninsula's Mike Strantz-designed Shore Course is in the AT&T Pro-Am rotation...for now.


"People like to bring up dirty laundry, I guess."

Bob Verdi writes about Kenny Perry's first remarks about the FBR Open incident.

Kenny Perry looks as though he has lost no sleep whatsoever over a "controversy" concerning an "incident" surrounding his victory at the FBR Open last February. In fact, he's somewhat puzzled that people are talking about it without talking to him.

Now I was out all day so I had only seen Verdi's take thanks to the readers who emailed the link to Bob's story. Only later did I read the transcript and the combination of Verdi's observation with the transcript probably won't make this go away.

Now, I know it's a bit unfair to Perry since there wasn't much he could say at this point that would help make the video more palatable. And it's perhaps unfair to parse his words from a transcript since the tone may have been tough to grasp, but sheesh, this is rough...

Q. Kenny, I know you talked about this earlier this morning. What do you suppose this playoff wedge thing from Phoenix has taken on such a life of its own on the Internet? I don't know that I've heard you talk about it. I was wondering what your take on all that is and why it won't go away.

KENNY PERRY: Well, I mean, I said the truth will set you free. I looked at it, and I thought it was crazy, my first impression.

I went to Charlie Hoffman, and I asked Charlie. Charlie, do you have a problem with it? That would be the only guy, if he had a problem with it, it would have really upset me, if he thought something was done wrong there.

You know, doesn't that mentality speak directly to something I wondered about recently: self policing gone awry to the point that the opinion of one's fellow competitors supersedes the Rules of Golf?

He said that's crazy. You didn't do nothing wrong. Patted me on the back. And saw the Tour came out -- I wasn't in the closed door. The Tour went in. I wasn't with the Tour staff when they made their -- they shot back with their remark saying, we saw nothing wrong. I mean, I just let it go.

That's life, isn't it? People like to bring up dirty laundry, I guess.

How is it dirty laundry if it is clearly not a violation?

Q. You were just trying to figure out how high the grass was and where the crowd was?

KENNY PERRY: You're allowed to.

To figure out how high the grass is? No kidding?

You're able to sole your club. Did you watch it? Did you actually watch that last hole?

Q. Everybody has seen it.

KENNY PERRY: I soled my club on the ball. Did you watch me sole it left of the golf ball? Then I went and hit the shot.

I don't think that quite describes how things transpired.

When you're in the rough, you just need to find the bottom so you can figure out how high the ball is sitting up in rough.

Find the bottom with about many stabs of the fire stoker? Sorry, here's the close up.

Q. You kind of hit a chunky running shot out of there anyway.

Oh, so the shot was lousy, therefore whatever precipitated didn't matter?

It wasn't like you hit some spinner that stuck it a foot from the hole, right?

KENNY PERRY: I hit it 25 feet from the hole. It's not like I hit a great shot. I mean, I don't know. What do you all think? Someone brings something up four months down the road. I didn't understand. We're going to go looking in the archives of all the players who have been on TV and see what they've done? I didn't understand that part of it.

That is a fair point that no one has been able to answer. Then again, the Super Bowl had started, so we now know just how many people were watching golf.

I've got a camera guy five feet behind me. He's right there looking. I turned around and looked at him.

If I thought I was doing something wrong, I definitely wouldn't have done it there.

Scribblers in attendance, did Kenny leave behind a large hole and a mound of dirt next to the podium?

Once that was -- I didn't hear nothing about it after that. There was nothing else said. So I just assumed it was dead. not after this press conference!

Q. When was this brought to your attention?

KENNY PERRY: When I finished the Sunday round at the Players. They came and told me about it. I was just stunned.

Q. Did they just walk up to you and say, by the way, you didn't cheat?

KENNY PERRY: No. They said you're going to have to answer some questions about this video. I didn't quite understand.

Rick George came and talked to me. And then I met with Alex Miceli. He was out there. And talked about have you heard anything about this video? Which I didn't know.

And then the Tour came out with their saying there was nothing been done wrong here.

After this press conference? Maybe not.


Monty Lloyd Wright Already Running Up Celtic Manor Decorating Tab

Mark Garrod says Europe's visionary captain has made sure to avoid any major hand or wrist injuries after a cranky Sergio blows open the team room double doors after a match demolishing.

"We are lucky that everything there is purpose-built for the Ryder Cup, including the team rooms which can be entered and exited by two big wooden doors.

"Although they were beautiful, as I was standing there looking at them something didn't feel right and it suddenly dawned on me – you couldn't see who was on the other side.

Well, and that Formica's so trailer park. Oh, sorry continue Monty Stickley:

"Now while that might not seem a big problem, imagine you are coming back off the golf course and are just about to put your hand on the handle to pull the door open when one of your team-mates comes barging out of the room from the other side.

"Bang! The door smashes into your hand and that is your Ryder Cup finished right there and then. Twelve months of sweat and toil to get into the team taken away in an instant.

"I immediately alerted the officials to the issue and that will be changed immediately either by making each door only open one way or by putting glass panels in both the doors so you can see who is on the other side."


USGA Architecture Archive

The USGA's new Architecture Archive website is live and you can see the exciting potential once more materials are submitted.

You'll need to register but once you do, I recommend checking out the Oakmont and Bethpage collections, including the old Bethpage scorecards showing a 288-yard tee on the 9th.


The Intervention Worked: Padraig To Stop Tinkering With "Rant"...For Now

Brian Keough delivers the news:

“I have been trying to fix something in my swing that has been annoying me and while I still have more work to do on it, the important thing is that I’ve finally got the answer I wanted.

“I have been on this particular rant for the last two or three years and it has only been in the last four or six weeks that I have finally figured out what it is, what I need to do to change it.

“That doesn’t mean that is going to be there for the next period of time. But a huge part of this is finding the answer and because I have that, I can maybe put this on the back burner for a while.”

The news will be music to the ears of Harrington’s wife Caroline, caddie Ronan Flood and mental coach Dr Bob Rotella, who have been begging him to cut back on his marathon sessions on the driving range this season.


Barkley Regrets Taking Eight Tedious Episodes To Not Get Better

Actually, according to Gerard Gallagher in a lengthy piece featuring quotes from Charles Barkley and Hank Haney, about every element of the recently shuttered reality show is addressed (well, except if cameras were on hand this night.)

Charles Barkley gets golf tips wherever he goes, even the dry cleaners. He walks through the supermarket and they wish him luck.

"Little old ladies walking the street want to give me advice, and it makes me laugh," Barkley said. "Everybody gives me golf advice."


"I felt bad, to be honest with you, that I didn't improve more for him," said Barkley.

"People were surprised that somebody at my level of success through my life would basically put himself in a situation where you can be humiliated on a weekly basis," he said.

So they try to help him, at the cleaners and the supermarket and on the street...


"This would be just another tale of housing woes were it not for the fact Leisurecorp’s money is funding the European Tour’s Race to Dubai"

In this Richard Gillis look at the recession and high-end developments, he focuses on the places that have chased a "championship" course and "signature" architect. The Leisurecorp part is interesting:

Leisurecorp’s business model is focused on selling expensive houses around its golf courses and so is very exposed to the downturn. For example, it is currently building 1,000 houses around its Earth course, a Greg Norman-designed lay-out, which forms the first of four such projects planned in the city.

According to new chief executive Colin Smith, a former Uefa executive, 90 per cent of the homes have been sold, with final payments due when the houses are completed, “sometime after the first quarter of next year”.

However, many of these people are likely to be “flippers”, speculators who bought off plan and intended to re-sell the house as it comes to market. With property prices down, there is a real risk that they will write off their down payments and join those whose cars are at the airport.

“The housing market in Dubai has taken a major hit,” says Sartori. “There has been an oversupply of residential property and too many speculators as a proportion of the houses that are being sold, rather than people buying their houses to live in them. Now there is a huge stock of property which they all want to put on the market at the very discounted price. It will take some time before demand and supply balance off.”

This would be just another tale of housing woes were it not for the fact Leisurecorp’s money is funding the European Tour’s Race to Dubai and Dubai World Championship.


The Joe Burbeck Association Launches

Seems someone is hoping to fuel the dispute between Ron Whitten and the Tillinghast Association over the proper design credit for Bethpage-Black.

I give to you, via a reader, the Joe Burbeck Association and their lovely (limited of course) print that so encapsulates the soulful Bethpage architecture.

In time for the upcoming 2009 United States Open, the newly formed Joesph Burbeck Association is having a one-time offering of a fine "artistic" print in honor of Mr. Burbeck's finest original work-The New York State's, Bethpage Park's Black Course.

This seragraphic print will be a collectors item that anyone would be proud to display above their library's fireplace mantle or living room wall. It depicts the tough-as-nails 2nd shot from the fairway of the 'Black's" most respected 15th hole which will no doubt highlight Mr. Burbeck's intentions of making the 'Black' the toughest test in Golf for the common man, if not the finest Golfers ever to touch the verdant green of this Long Island gem!

Purchasing the print also helps the Association, because a small but generous portion of your donation for this print goes to the JBA for the betterment of all of the Bethpage Courses, as well as helping further JBA efforts to save other Burbeck-designed courses which have been wrongly attributed to other more well-known designer-architects. Be part of the team today!

Prices for the prints are as follows:

Print only, on fine acid-free parchment: $29.00
Print, on fine acid-free parchment, framed in dark red Bethpage Fir (purchased at 99¢ Only Stores®): $65.00
Print, on fine acid-free parchment, framed in dark red Bethpage Fir (purchased at 99¢ Only Stores®) Numbered and artificially-signed by Bethpage Park Consultant, A.W. Tillinghast (limit: only 200 special editions available): $95.00

With all regards,
The Joe Burbeck Association
Bethpage Park, Long Island, New York

 And what a lovely print it is...


Monty Says No To Wales Open Pavin Pairing!

Derek Lawrenson hid this little nugget at the end of his European Open story:

You can imagine the temptation to pair them together for the first two rounds, 18 months before their teams duel over the same course in the Ryder Cup itself.

Except that Monty, who endured another miserable day here with a final round 75, has requested it does not happen.

Clearly, he would be under more pressure to perform and can visualise the bold type in the papers the next morning if he has one of his grumpy days and Pavin shoots 69.

As one colleague wryly put it: ‘A disappointingly shrewd move on his part.’


Perry To Test New Pre-Shot Routine In Front Of Tiger, Jack

And Stewart Cink will Tweet all about it! Michael Buteau reports on the special event taking place at Muirfield Village Wednesday as a result of the Northern Trust fallout.


Phil's Returning For Memphis, U.S. Open


Obama Accepts President's Cup Honorary Chairmanship

This is going to really make some of golf's hecklers squirm, as Ron Sirak notes. The question is, will he make an appearance?

Don't take this news lightly. The decision by the Obama Administration to have the President serve as honorary chair was not a cavalier conclusion. The consequences were considered, and the consensus clearly was that it is fine for Obama to be associated with golf.

"I wouldn't say there were lengthy discussions, but it took a little while because he has never done anything like this since he's been elected," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem told "It had to go through a lot of reviews." What it means is that the myth of the elitist boondoggle label has been exposed as exactly that -- a myth.

"This is very positive for the game of golf, not just for the Presidents Cup," Finchem said. "What this says for him to give the Presidents Cup this kind of recognition is that he has a positive attitude about the game, is a supporter of golf and understands the charitable and other contributions it makes. We could have seven-and-a-half more years of a fan of golf in the White House."

The full release:

President Barack Obama to be Honorary Chairman of The Presidents Cup 2009
President Obama is eighth world leader to serve as honorary chairman in event’s history


President Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America, has accepted an invitation to be Honorary Chairman of The Presidents Cup when the competition is played for the first time on the West Coast, at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco, Calif., Oct. 6-11, 2009.

“We are honored that President Obama has accepted our invitation to be Honorary Chairman of The Presidents Cup in October,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “As the eighth head of state to serve in this role, President Obama continues a long-tradition of support and leadership dating back to the first Presidents Cup in 1994. His involvement will not only further enhance the stature of The Presidents Cup, but also that of golf on a global basis.”

President Obama joins a distinguished group of seven world leaders who have held the position of Honorary Chairman at The Presidents Cup. He is preceded by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was Honorary Chairman of the 2007 event in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

President Gerald Ford was the Honorary Chairman at the inaugural Presidents Cup in 1994 and was followed by President George H.W. Bush in 1996. Australian Prime Minister John Howard was Honorary Chairman in 1998 when the event was held in Melbourne, Australia, and was followed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, was Honorary Chairman in 2003 when The Presidents Cup was staged in Western Cape Province, South Africa. President George W. Bush was the most recent U.S. President to serve as Honorary Chairman, holding that position the last time the event was staged on U.S. soil, in 2005.

The Presidents Cup, a team match play competition featuring 24 of the world’s top golfers – 12 from the United States and 12 from around the world, excluding Europe – is held every two years, and since 1996 has alternated between United States and international venues. The Presidents Cup was developed to give the world’s best non-European players an opportunity to compete in international team match-play competition. The U.S. Team has won five of the seven previous Presidents Cups, and the only outright win by the International Team came at the 1998 event in Melbourne. The 2003 Presidents Cup ended in a tie.

More than $4.2 million was distributed to charitable causes from the 2007 Presidents Cup, a record for this prestigious competition and part of the nearly $18 million raised since the inception of the event. Players are not personally paid for their participation in the event; there is no purse or prize money. Each competitor, instead, designates charities or golf-related projects of his choice to receive a portion of the funds raised through the staging of each Presidents Cup.

Meanwhile, back down the 17th, the tortoise backed off a chip so often you felt your life flashing before you, before eventually knocking it close.