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
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

A secret disbelief in the enemy’s play is very useful for match play.




British Working Press Swooning Over Captain Pavin

Bill Elliot coos:

Corey Pavin, America's skipper, has been in Gwent for several days, playing and meeting and greeting and generally spreading the word that the Yanks are beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of visiting Wales. The little man – Pavin has the build of a jumps jockey – has done a very good job too. Patient, friendly, approachable and articulate, he has impressed many, a natural American abroad in this new Obama world.

Mark Reason is in love:

At his rather silly inauguration Pavin looked like Charlie Chaplin surrounded by a sexy chorus-line dressed in Santa costumes. Head-on you see a man who doesn't break eye contact. Pavin may be little in terms of the modern golfer, but he clearly thinks he's the CEO.

John Huggan merely admires:

Pavin certainly deserves respect, if only for his own record wearing a Ryder Cup sweater. Indeed, just a look at the numbers – in three appearances he played 13 matches, winning eight and losing five – isn't really enough. Back in the early 1990s, Pavin was the guy no-one wanted to play. Standing on the 18th green as dusk fell on the second day of the 1995 matches at Oak Hill, Nick Faldo certainly feared the worst as the then US Open champion settled over the match-deciding chip he would subsequently hole from the edge of the putting surface. "I had a strong sense that, yeah, this is right up his street," says the six-time major champion. "In those days, Corey had that special thing."


Scioto Wants 2017 PGA

Dave Shedloski reports:

According to one Scioto CC official, Scioto is putting in a bid to host the 2017 edition, and although the course itself sits on approximately 120 acres, there is sufficient room around the rest of the property, including a mammoth driving range, for all of the hospitality tents and structures that come with hosting a major championship.


Oakmont Confirmed For 2016 U.S. Open**

Gerry Dulac breaks the news, with more promised in tomorrow's edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


"These [current] guys have never hit fliers in their lives."

Steve Elling looks at Jack Nicklaus's endorsement of the groove rule change after initially dismissing the grooves rollback as "throwing a deck chair off the Titanic."

Nicklaus said he had a lively conversation on that subject with a fairly decorated fellow traveler, Tom Watson, at a tournament function this week, in fact.

"Watson was saying last night that he had been fiddling around with some new clubs and played with them most this year, actually, with the new grooves," Nicklaus said. "He said, 'Man, did I hit some fliers last week.'

"These [current] guys have never hit fliers in their lives. They are going to say, 'I don’t want to do that anymore. I am going to hit the ball in the fairway.' Or they are going to have to learn how to play fliers."


"Harder to bear, however, will be the dent to his pride."

Lawrence Donegan fleshes out more details on the delays with Tiger Woods' Al Ruwaya project, which he says will "not open this autumn and has been pushed back to 2010 or even later," amid claims that the real estate element of the project will be delayed indefinitely.

He also offers this conclusion about Woods:

A long-time aficionado of golf course architecture, as well as a fierce guardian of his image, he will not be happy to have his name or his first foray into the field of course design associated with anything less than an unqualified success. Even if the global economy does eventually recover, it will be some time before Dubai restores its reputation as the coming destination for the newly wealthy.


"I happen to think that a course is up to Ryder Cup standard if the ninth green comes back somewhere close to the clubhouse."

John Huggan examines why Europe puts their Ryder Cup venue selection "up for sale to the highest bidder" and obtains this beautiful quote from European Tour head George O'Grady.

"I don't think the Ryder Cup has to be played on the greatest course in the world," says O'Grady, only a little defensively. "Look at the Belfry, where there have been some great Ryder Cup matches. I happen to think that a course is up to Ryder Cup standard if the ninth green comes back somewhere close to the clubhouse."


"We could be looking at a performance for the ages."

John Hawkins considers the possibilities when Phil Mickelson returns to Bethpage and concludes:

Now we're talking about a turbo-charged atmosphere unlike any we've seen, an amplified version of the competitive environment Lefty has always thrived in. If he's sharp enough to take advantage of the support and draw on the inspiration he finds in his wife, we could be looking at a performance for the ages.

There are only a dozen or so players capable of shooting par at Bethpage over the course of four grueling days, and Mickelson obviously is one of them. His return is a big deal for several reasons, his presence at the U.S. Open a storyline with depth and numerous potentially positive ramifications. For him to play well enough to contend would be a terrific bonus. It's the kind of thing you'd be silly to count on but really, really hope will happen.


"The players have already told the tour no way."

We have our first festering wound in the LPGA player-Carolyn Bivens relationship. The most amazing thing? That it took this long.

Michael Buteau reports that Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel have suggested they will not be Tweeting from the course.

“I will not be twittering in my round,” [Paula] Creamer, who’s ranked third in the world, wrote on her Twitter page this morning. “It should not happen in any sport. The players have already told the tour no way.”
Shortly before her anti-Twittering tweet, Creamer told her followers that she was “Eating some pancakes for breakfast with my dad before we go out to the course.”

Morgan Pressel shared Creamer’s sentiments moments before beginning her first round at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Illinois.

“Thanks for the luck and NO I will not be tweeting when I play,” she wrote.


"Tiger has played no role that I'm aware of"

Jerry Stewart on the AT&T's move from Poppy Hills to MPCC's Shore Course.

Other speculation as for the change revolves around Tiger Woods. Woods, who earlier this year announced a new deal with AT&T, hasn't played in the Pro-Am since 2002. Nutt dismissed any connection between the move and Woods, at least from the Foundation's standpoint.
"Tiger has played no role that I'm aware of," Nutt said.

Ron Kroichick notes this about Poppy Hills:

At any rate, the unfortunate element of Wednesday's announcement is the impact on the Northern California Golf Association, which owns Poppy Hills. The NCGA is a strident advocate of public golf, especially through its popular Youth on Course program designed to get kids involved in the game.

The NCGA had a two-year rolling contract for Poppy to remain in the AT&T rotation. Tournament officials renewed the deal in December, meaning they apparently were committed to Poppy through 2011. Don't be surprised, then, if the NCGA challenges the legality of this move.

"We're disappointed and we don't really understand it, because we have a contract," NCGA president Michael Hexner said. "If there are issues with Poppy Hills, why didn't they mention it in December? Why didn't they mention it two or three years ago?

"We're the only course (in the tournament) people can play for $55. We're the Harding Park or Bethpage Black of these venues. We're kind of stunned they would walk away from the course that provides all the volunteers for the tournament."

You may recall I reported a while ago that Tiger was pushing for a move away from Poppy Hills. I also noted in that post--which dealt with Nicklaus putting down Tiger's ability to speak "intelligently" about design--that the Bear should be careful because Tiger did not look favorably on Jack's new Dove Mountain course in Tucson, home to the match play.

Ah how times have progressed...they are currently rebuilding most of the greens at Dove Mountain.

I wonder if Jack and Tiger talked about that Wednesday? Intelligently, of course.


“I would definitely think twice about coming here if they charged for parking.”

Will Reisman on the latest move to generate revenue at San Francisco's Lincoln Park Golf Course:

The Recreation and Park Department, tasked with bridging an $11 million deficit, could start charging $1.50 an hour to park at Lincoln Park, with the possible changes coming as soon as January.

Golfers and clubhouse officials have balked at the idea, saying the parking fees would make the public course too expensive. Currently, it costs $21 for city residents to play during the week, and $26 during weekends.

“This is a public golf course, and the idea is that you play here because you pay less,” said Rafael Gordon, a San Francisco resident. “I would definitely think twice about coming here if they charged for parking.”

The Richmond district golf course ran a deficit of more than $220,000 last fiscal year. Rec and Park officials are projecting revenue gains ranging from $250,000 to $430,000 a year with the new parking fees, according to department spokeswoman Lisa Seitz Gruwell.


Free Admission For 3M Championship

I guess you could say this is what it has come to for the Champions Tour, or perhaps a great way to, eh, errrr...deliver value though capacity de-activated engineering?

Blaine, Minn. (June 4, 2009) – Tournament officials with the 3M Championship, held July 10-12 in Blaine, Minn., announced today that the 2009 Champions Tour event will be free for the public. The tournament is the first ever free Champions Tour event with free admission, parking and shuttles.

“Giving back is the right thing to do,” said Hollis Cavner, tournament director. “We’ve received such tremendous support from fans and corporate partners over the past 17 years. We are thrilled that we have an opportunity to say thank you and provide this free gift to golf fans.”

“3M and its employees are thrilled to be part of this first in golf,” said Bob MacDonald, senior vice president, marketing, 3M “The 3M Championship has a long history of bringing firsts to the game of golf and today’s announcement is another example of the tournament’s continuing innovation.”

The 3M Championship is a golf tournament on the Champions Tour – a series of annual PGA TOUR golf events for golfers 50 years of age and older. The 3M Championship is played at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) Twin Cities, a course designed by professional golfer and golf course designer, Arnold Palmer. Joining Palmer at the 2009 3M Championship will be some of golf’s greats including Fred Funk, Lee Trevino, Nick Price, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Hal Sutton and more.

The 3M Championship consistently ranks as one of the top Champions Tour events for crowds and charitable giving. Last year, the 3M Championship was voted the No.1 event on the Champions Tour by the players, earning the coveted Champions Tour Players Award.


Look Who's On Twitter Now...

Dan the man who will be "Tweeting" from Bethpage. So take that...anti-Twitterers!


"You just don't want to stretch out that ligament."

Thanks to Tuco for this Hank Gola blog item on Tiger suggesting he's hitting the ball shorter because he hasn't stretched out the ligament in his knee yet.

Woods, who joined his idol for a Skins Game prior to Jack's memorial Tournament in Ohio, said he's still not 100 percent back.

"Absolutely, no doubt. Had to be that way," he said of favoring the joint. "Worst thing you can do is stretch out the ligament right away. The surgery would have been all for naught. That's one of the reasons it takes most athletes a lot longer to come back. You just don't want to stretch out that ligament.

"That's one of the reasons why I haven't been able to hit balls as far as I normally do, but that's coming. Each week, I'm able to hit a little bit longer. It's great. Just a little longer before I'm able to get all of that back."


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.