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

The fate of golf would seem to lie in the hands of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the United States Golf Association. Can we expect that they will protect and reverence the spirit of golf?



Monty On 2012 Ryder Cup Win For European Tour: "Nothing but good for the coffers"

For the first time Monty concedes he won't be asked to captain the 2014 Ryder Cup team and his comments about Tiger in this first person account of the Ryder Cup were picked up by a few sites.

But I thought this was a refreshingly frank take on the financial necessity of winning the Ryder Cup for the European Tour.

Our Tour needs the Ryder Cup more than ever in this economic climate. The win can do nothing but good for the coffers. I always felt it was important we won for that reason at Celtic Manor; but it was even more important at Medinah. Let’s hope that the Tour’s executive can build on this.

Yes there are a lot of our heavyweights playing in America but there’s an awful lot of fine youngsters coming through in Europe, desperate to play in the Ryder Cup. If we had been thrashed, as it was looking at one point, potential sponsors might have been put off. Now these potential sponsors will say I want a part of this.

And the Tour will carry on producing players good enough to tackle the best America has to offer. Certainly, they’ll do so at Gleneagles. I keep being asked by people if I’ll return as a captain for Scotland’s first Ryder Cup in 41 years. My answer is always the same – ‘I’d do it if I was asked’. But I won’t be asked.


Final & Vital 2012 Ryder Cup Question: How Do We Use This Epic Ryder Cup To Get The Dreadful Olympic Format Fixed?

Lorne Rubenstein said "the golf world itself came alive during the Ryder Cup. There’s nothing in golf like a Ryder Cup. Nothing."

Mark Lamport Stokes notes that the Ryder Cup "has never been more vibrant or in better health." And quotes Rory McIlory saying, "This is the most special and unique golf tournament we have, period."

In case anyone did not know it, last week reminded us that match play with a team and nationality component supersedes stroke play. Looking ahead to the 2016 Rio Olympics, longtime readers here know that golf returns with two 72-hole individual stroke play events. One for men, one for women.

And longtime readers know that from day one, I've viewed this as a highly unfortunate decision by the International Golf Federation that looked to players for input. Players who are good at playing golf, not so good in the vision department.

We also know there are also other issues that stuck us with a format that will not excite "the base" nor will it do much to bring in new fans of our great sport. In no particular order:

- There is the IOC's concern about beds in the Olympic Village, which resulted in just 60 players making the Olympic fields. I'm guessing Luke and Diane Donald, for instance, will not be bunking up in a glorified dorm room with the family come 2016.

- There is the dreadful scheduling mess that 2016 brings with the four championships, the ResetCup and the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National, making anything over four days of competition a concern to the IGF. (It would have been an ideal year for the PGA to be played in the spring, but the PGA of America locked into Baltusrol for PGA anniversary reasons well before Rio was even selected.)

- A field of 60 instead of 64 makes a match play bracket that much more difficult. A small field with limits on the number of players from each country also limits the number of two-player team possibilities.

- There is the time-honored and depressing excuse that match play could leave television with an undesirable final. And that may be true, but as we've seen with the WGC Match Play, television also gets far more compelling action each day of the event instead of only on the final day as you get in stroke play.

- And of course, the relentless, withering, exhausting but consistent resistance to outside-the-box thinking or imagination coming from within the golf establishment's leaders who make up the IGF.

Olympic golf will not move any needle with its current 72-hole stroke play format and the Ryder Cup only reminded us of this. Even before the Medinah Miracle, Nick Faldo reiterated the need to re-think things last week, proposing that a reboot be considered and even mentioned the possibility of a mixed doubles element like Olympic tennis.

This year's Ryder Cup proved that match play, and preferably one with a team element, is more exciting and emotional than any sudden death playoff for the bronze medal will ever be.

So how, intelligent readers, do we begin the process of asking the IGF and the IOC to revisit this dead-on-arrival format so that golf can put its best foot forward in 2016?


The Many Moods Of Bill Murray

The BBC's description of a three minute clip at the Old Course first tee where Bill Murray is playing the Dunhill Links Championship.

Hollywood star Bill Murray is grouchy with "moron" reporters but his mood improves after what must have been a good practice round at St Andrews for the Dunhill Links Championship.


"Bernhard's miss crossed my mind for half a second."

There was actually some inexplicable social media criticism of NBC for airing a replay of Bernhard Langer's 1991 Ryder Cup putt right before Martin Kaymer's putt to ensure the cup returned to Europe.

Seems the putt crossed Kaymer's mind, too. From an Graham Otway's Dunhill Links Championship report today:

"I was standing behind the ball and then when I bent down and saw a footprint, Bernhard's miss crossed my mind for half a second. But it didn't have any influence in a positive or negative way. I saw the footprint, thought Bernhard, okay, gone. But it's in the past – it was 21 years ago.

"And if you stick to the facts it was the easiest putt you can have, even though with all the circumstances. It was uphill and inside the right line. There is no easier putt. We have to make that putt millions of times and I had to try to forget about the Ryder Cup."

It's just a shame Kaymer only made the putt to secure a tie. Unlike Molinari, who won the Cup for Europe!


Country Clubber Suspended, Sues Club And It'd Be Funny If It Weren't Also A Little Scary!

Joe Romano of Courthouse News on fun times at Richmond Country Club where GM MacDonald Niven overheard Robert Yick refer to a fellow member as a "dickhead." Yick was referring to a fellow member of a club-within-the-club called the "Dick Brothers Traveling Golf Club."

No one ever said all club members were classy.

But here's the reminder of what bizarre places some clubs can be:

Niven was allegedly stalking the group in the pro shop on July 4 when he overheard Yick calling a fellow golfer a "dickhead" in jest.

Niven, who had been targeting Yick for complaining about his inappropriate management style, reported the incident and recommended that Yick be "reprimanded, fined, and/or suspended or expelled" from the country club, according to the lawsuit.

Yick says Niven claimed that the nickname was "unacceptable" and violated the country club's policy against "foul or abusive language."

He says the board voted to suspend his membership for 90 days for simply exercising his right to free speech.


Ernie And Adam's Buddies Trips: "We could write books on the stuff we did."

I'll be curious to read the entire Tom Callahan piece on Ernie Els in the November Golf Digest, but the snippet released today would seem to suggest that Els is inching ever so close to admitting an addiction that he has been able to shake.

"Excessive drinking is not good for my health, my family or my game. There has definitely been a change, and I feel better for it. The boys from the club will say, 'Come over Friday and we'll have a couple of beers.' 'No thanks; I feel too good. I want to go practice. I want to be with my kids.' If I don't have one more party for the rest of my life, I'm still ahead of the game."

"Adam Scott traveled with me around the world. We could write books on the stuff we did. But fun stuff. I'm not talking about seedy crap. Just fun, almost like boy stuff."

I think it's time to bring back the Buddies Issue and share the details of boyish but not seedy drunken escapades!


Davis Love's Ryder Cup Diary: "If you need to blame somebody for this loss, blame me."

I see a published "diary" and I brace myself for spin or few details, but not in the case of Davis Love's detail rich Ryder Cup recollections (presumably ghosted by SI's Michael Bamberger).

There are several fun insights like this:

I said to Scott Verplank, one of my assistants, "Which match do I watch?" You want to do everything, and you really can't do much of anything. You're a baseball manager, and every one of your pitchers is on the mound in the ninth inning of a Game 7. Jim Furyk walked by me after losing the 17th hole. The Ryder Cup on the line. I wanted to say something, but what could I say? He walked by me with that fierce game face of his on, and frustratingly I found myself saying nothing. I turned to Jeff Sluman, another of my assistants, and said, "Well, that was brilliant." But the fact is, in golf it's better to err on the side of saying too little than too much. And I'm sure there were times I said too much.

This is going to give his critics of Saturday afternoon's Keegan/Phil benching some ammunition. Personally, I just love the honesty:

After three sessions we had a considerable four-point lead, with the team of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson winning three times. Fred Couples, another of my four assistants, said to me, "Man, that Keegan Bradley is on fire. Ride him all the way to the house."

In other words, he wanted me to play the Bradley-Mickelson team again on Saturday afternoon in Session IV. I know a lot of fans and commentators were thinking the same thing. But Phil told me he was tired after three matches and wanted to rest for the Sunday singles. There was no reason to play Keegan with a partner with whom he had not practiced. There was no reason to mess with order. Things were going according to plan. In Session IV, Europe, and most especially Ian Poulter, caught fire late and won two matches. Still, everything was good. A four-point U.S. lead. Enter Seve.


"Secret golfing life of Barack Obama"

The story isn't as sexy as the headline, but because it's Don Van Natta Jr., this ESPN The Magazine story is still entertaining and the topic fascinating: why does President Obama hide his game more than the many other past golfing presidents?

And it seems that like so many average golfers, he's probably using a ball not suited to his game.

The president usually decides to hit the links a day or two in advance, weather permitting. Reporters hear about it only as the presidential motorcade, with Obama's Nike VR S clubs tossed in the trunk, leaves for the first tee. His pals won't even reveal his favored ball, though a source says Obama eschews specially made presidential golf balls for Titleist Pro V1s.

Wally, I think you need to stamp some Pro V1s with 44 and ship 'em off with your monthly campaign contribution!


Fifth Ryder Cup Question: When Does The Brookline Warranty Expire?

As someone who found the American behavior at Brookline in 1999 unfortunate and embarrassing, I've understood those who cite the 17th hole antics whenever someone dares to question any kind of suspect behavior on the European side.

But in questioning Captain Olazabal's decision to not go the classy route by conceding the final match when the Ryder Cup was returning to Europe and bedlem had overtaken the 18th hole, I've been surprised by how many people merely wheel out the word "Brookline" to counter the criticism or end the argument, as if it's their universal safety word.

So I'm just curious, how long do Europeans think they get to cite Brookline before the warranty is up?

Do we have two more years, when the 15th anniversary arrives and Gleneagles becomes yet another name synonymous with the European Tour selling its venue privileges to the highest bidder at the expense of quality golf or a temperate climate?

Or the 25th anniversary at Bethpage, when Phil Mickelson is captain? Oh wait, not with those fans.

Guess it's a lifetime warranty?


Second Guessing Love 

Doug Ferguson considers the most commonly cited questions about Davis Love's effort as Captain, but as with most really can't pinpoint anything that stands out as a glaring mistake in the 14.5 to 13.5 USA loss at Medinah. Ultimately, one "bomb" of a putt changed everything.

Was it wise for U.S. captain Davis Love III to bench every player, particularly Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, for at least one match to keep them fresh for Sunday? Why did he put Tiger Woods in the 12th slot for singles? Does he regret his captain picks? Did it cost the Americans?

And was it really necessary for Justin Timberlake to read a poem during the opening ceremony?
Here’s what will be — should be — remembered about one of the greatest Ryder Cup competitions in its 85-year history.

Justin Rose made a 35-foot putt from the back of the 17th green.

It’s really that simple.

Jason Sobel anticipated the outcry and fired off twelve myths of Love decisions worth refuting.

Ron Sirak wonders if it's time for the PGA of America to scrap its current program of naming former PGA Champions who don't rock the boat, who have conformed to some imaginary requirements and who can be controlled.

Fred Couples, who will captain this third consecutive Presidents Cup next year, is getting a lot of support despite the fact his attention will certainly be divided. Larry Nelson is 65 and has been wrongly passed over, having a U.S. Open and two PGA Championship among his 10 PGA Tour wins, which were followed by 19 triumphs on the Champions Tour.

And what about guys who are well liked, well respected and smart but haven't won a major? Someone like swing coach Butch Harmon might be a good captain. Brad Faxon is a smart guy. Paul Goydos would be entertaining. Joe Ogilvie has a degree in economics from Duke and the Ryder Cup certainly is a cash cow.

Garry Smits agrees.

The formula has been along these lines since 1987: major championship winner, in his mid-to-late 40s (so he's still playing on the PGA Tour enough to know first-hand the talent he might have), and no repeat captains.

The PGA is running out of candidates who fit those criteria, thanks in part to two occurrences, both within weeks of each other in 1999: Payne Stewart's death in a plane crash and Mark O'Meara leading a revolt against the PGA over payment for playing in the Ryder Cup.

Stewart would have been a natural for captain in 2004 or 2006, years when the U.S. lost by record scores Every captain since then would have had to wait their turn a little longer. Stewart matched an Ian Poulter or Colin Montgomerie in his passion for the event as a player and would have been a tremendous captain.

O'Meara ruined his chances with a little greed. They've got long memories in Palm Beach Gardens.

About all the PGA has, if it sticks to the script, is David Toms. Nice guy. Good player. Will he inspire anyone?


Shriners Cut Ties With Timberlake In Less Than Classy Fashion

Steve Carp on an unseamly ending to the relationship between Shriners Hospital and Justin Timberlake on the eve of this year's PGA Tour stop in Las Vegas.

The event chairman, tournament chairman Raoul Frevel, who probably a few chilly calls from Ponte Vedra over these remarks. And deservedly so.

"We're a world-class organization," Frevel said. "At the time we got involved with golf, we were told by the Tour we needed a big name, and that's how our relationship with Justin came about.

"Justin's a wonderful person. But we tried everything we could to get him more involved with our kids and the hospitals. But it seemed that when the TV cameras weren't on, he disappeared."

I'm not sure if Las Vegas is just spoiled by all of the celebrities or the parties involved just don't like Timberlake, but I noted last year after visiting the event how impressed I was with Timberlake's energy during the Wednesday pro-am, but that didn't stop some pretty tough criticism in the Las Vegas press. Apparently these events never saw how tour stops went with Andy Williams and Glen Campbell who couldn't put on the kind of fundraising concert that Timberlake did in Vegas.

They also have the tour's best tournament logo.


TPC Goes Belly Up, More To Come?

Kerry Singe reports on a judge appointing a receiver for TPC Piper Glen after lender GE told the court the club defaulted on payments and is insolvent. TPC Piper Glen is owned by Heritage Golf Group of San Diego, which according to its website also owns TPC Eagle Trace, TPC Prestancia, TPC Tampa Bay and TPC Michigan.

The PGA Tour created a "strategic alliance" with Heritage in March, 2007, declared at the time PGA Tour Golf Course Properties President David Pillsbury as "harnessing the natural synergies between our companies" to "deliver a better, more valuable golf experience for our collective members and guests."