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

I would love it if we played a tournament every year where we had to use half a set. Or play with persimmon and balata on a 6,400-yard course. It would be fun for us to do a couple times a year. Low score would still win. The best player would still win.  TIGER WOODS




"His views haven't stopped him from returning to the club with a group of people in a week's time."

Tom English and Marc Horne interview Gary Player, who drops this little jab at Muirfield, which does not have any female members.

"Golf would not be the game it is without women. Winston Churchill said that change is the price of survival. I agree with that. I just don't see the point of excluding any member of society."

The veteran added: "That policy is their business. It's a decision they've made and they've got to live with it.

"I have designed many golf courses all over the world and I wouldn't like to think any of them would exclude women."

And who says they don't fight back at these old stodgy places?

Club secretary Alastair Brown was taken aback by Player's comments. He said: "We are a private members' club and we conduct our own affairs. We don't have lady members, but ladies play here every day as guests.

"I'm interested in Gary's comments. His views haven't stopped him from returning to the club with a group of people in a week's time."


PING Wants Groove Rule Change Abandoned

So nice to see the manufacturers agreeing on something. Just a little late, no?

PING Chairman & CEO John Solheim calls for new groove rule to be abandoned, not delayed

June 29, 2009; Phoenix Arizona: PING Chairman & CEO John Solheim, who has adamantly opposed the USGA and R&A New Groove Rule since first proposed February 27, 2007, released the following statement today from the company’s Phoenix, Arizona headquarters:

"The new groove rule harms the game and golfers and should be dropped. The recent uproar about it from PGA Tour players demonstrates this fact,” said Solheim. “However, the PGA Tour's proposal to delay implementing the rule is not a solution. You can't turn a bad idea into a good one by waiting an extra year to adopt it. We hope everyone who cares about the future of this game keeps that simple concept in mind."

A summary of Solheim’s concerns that were shared with the USGA and R&A since the New Groove Rule was proposed is attached.

Here goes...bandwith is cheap!



Set forth below is a summary of some of the points PING made to the USGA and the R&A during the time they were evaluating whether to adopt the new groove rule:

1. It is simply wrong to place the potentially biased concerns of a small number of Tour professionals above the needs of tens of millions of amateurs. Why are amateurs being needlessly harmed and told to reach into their pockets to pay for an alleged problem that the USGA believes applies to just the PGA Tour? The PGA Tour has undergone tremendous economic growth and success over the past decades, in concert with golf club innovation. Innovation is one of the oldest and most important traditions of golf. Professionals who get their clubs for free should not be causing the rulemaking bodies to force amateurs to buy new clubs.

Well of course we know that's totally misleading, but continues...

2. Once the rulemaking bodies approve a golf club, it should remain approved.

Golf needs respected and responsible rule makers. Respect is earned -- and it can easily be lost. Tens of millions of golfers purchased hundreds of millions of irons and wedges based on the fact that the rulemaking bodies said these clubs conformed to the rules. It simply is not fair to say to the golfing public, "You know those clubs you bought, the ones we said conformed to the rules? Well, we changed our mind. Sorry about that, and you will need to get some new ones." This not only harms amateur golfers, but it damages the respect many have for the USGA and the R&A.

Golfers respect the USGA and R&A?

3. The skill of driving accuracy continues to be richly rewarded. In proposing this roll back of the Rules, the USGA stated: "The skill of driving accurately has become a much less important factor in achieving success while playing [on the PGA Tour] than it used to be...." That statement is not correct. The data from recent US Opens and from

PGA Tour events (including its improved ShotLink data - which was ignored by the USGA) establishes that there remains a significant penalty from landing in the rough. In fact, the USGA is able to define, and obtain, the level of penalty ("Cost of Rough") it desires through its course set-up. Any tournament is free to do the same. ShotLink data also establishes that accurate drives at PGA Tour events continue to result in the ball ending up much closer to the hole after the second shot (a true measure of an accurate shot). In short, there continues to be a significant penalty from hitting into the rough, even for the best players in the world.

I'm so glad Max Behr isn't alive to read this.

4. In targeting grooves, the rulemaking bodies ignored numerous changes that likely impacted the game over the past 30 years. It is nearly impossible to conclude that a single variable (grooves) caused any observed changes to the game at the PGA Tour level over the past twenty five years. To attempt to do so requires that you ignore all of the other changes to the game since 1984 (the year square grooves were allowed), including the following: course conditioning changes, driver improvements (such as large-headed drivers made with exotic materials), shaft improvements, improved golf balls and golf ball cover materials, improved agronomy, increased athleticism, improved player conditioning, improved player training aids, launch angle fitting and even improved coaching. As an example, tremendous course-conditioning changes have occurred on the PGA Tour since the 1970's. According to historical PGA Tour Course Conditioning Guidelines, since the 1970's the length of the primary rough has been reduced by as much as 60%. The height of the intermediate rough (also described as the first cut), is now as short as some fairways used to be. The grass on the fairways & greens is also shorter. If the USGA/R&A are concerned whether PGA Tour pros find it too easy to hit out of the rough, why didn't they focus on changes to the PGA Tour's course set-up guidelines? If the PGA Tour's set-up guidelines were reviewed, why weren't they mentioned in any of the reports? It is unfair to make amateurs buy new clubs, just so PGA Tour pros can continue to play courses without the deeper roughs yesterday's pros were forced to tackle.

Oh that's good stuff there. Roughs are down! The boys have it easy. Sadly, that might actually click with some.

5. The "money list/driving accuracy" rank correlation analysis cited by the USGA to justify its change in grooves is fundamentally flawed. The downward pattern in this correlation cannot be tied to the introduction or increased use of square grooved irons. We believe it is more closely linked to PGA Tour player behavior than the introduction of any particular equipment innovation. We undertook extensive statistical analysis of publicly available PGA Tour data. We quickly discovered the number of tournaments played annually by the top 10 money earners has been gradually decreasing since about the mid-1990’s. In fact, the number of PGA Tour events with 3 or more of the top 10 money earners in the field has dramatically decreased since the 1980's. The decreasing trend in participation by the top money earners at PGA Tour Events closely mirrors the decreasing trend in the money list/driving accuracy rank correlations, and could be the cause of it. All of this was demonstrated, graphically and otherwise, in my letters to the USGA.

Now that is interesting.

6. The USGA has not demonstrated that any change in any PGA Tour statistic is due to grooves. If the rule making bodies believe that grooves are wreaking havoc on the PGA Tour, why is it that among the hundreds of statistics kept by the PGA Tour, no one has ever deemed it worthwhile to identify the specific grooves each individual PGA Tour Pro is using in his irons and wedges. If grooves truly are a problem, it seems obvious that someone would gather and analyze this easily obtainable data before telling tens of millions of golfers the USGA is reversing its prior approval of hundreds of millions of golf clubs. The failure to do so suggests there may be something else going on here.

Yeah the ball flies too far!

7. What happens to hundreds of millions of "Used" golf clubs - which have always been an important asset in golf. I believe it is important to many golfers, particularly PING customers, that their used clubs maintain a great trade-in value, often for twenty or more years. I am concerned that declaring that hundreds of millions of previously approved clubs will later be non-conforming will impact the resale value of those clubs. It is wrong to diminish the value of these previously approved clubs purchased by hardworking men and women simply because a few Tour pros (who get their clubs for free) seem to complain that "golfers today have it too easy." I do not know of a single golfer who quit playing the game because "it became too easy." This new rule will also harm the tradition of passing clubs to children and grandchildren. Used clubs are also an affordable way for many beginners to give the game a try. These concerns may not resonate with some, but they mean a lot to many who love this game and want to pass the passion for golf on to the next generation. Again, are we throwing all of that away simply so the PGA Tour can keep its rough shorter than it used to be?

Hey, I still have a set of Ping Eye2's in the closet John. Care to buy them from me?


Finchem Teleconference Scheduled

Just reading between the lines here, but I'd say someone is pretty confident that he has the votes to uphold the new groove condition of competition. Otherwise, why schedule a highly unusual media teleconference to talk about just another policy board meeting?

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, Policy Board update

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL June 29, 2009

Members of the media are invited to take part in a teleconference with PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem on Tuesday, June 30, during which he will provide an update from that morning’s PGA TOUR Policy Board meeting.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

12 p.m. (Eastern Time)


"But we think we've taken a C-plus experience and elevated it to an A."

Barker Davis profiles the rebranded and reopened TPC Potomac.

"It was a PGA Tour golf course that was getting C ratings. We just couldn't have that - not in our nation's capital," said PGA Tour Co-CEO Charlie Zink, a Maryland graduate who helped direct the renovation. "This has been a long process with a lot of people, time and resources involved. But we think we've taken a C-plus experience and elevated it to an A."

New type of design classification here:

Though noticeable minor changes were evident on every hole (shifted, smaller greens, sharper bunkering, squared tee boxes, etc.), the following overhauls were noticeable improvements:

The sixth hole - formerly a wretch-reward par 5 begging a lottery-style, long, fading second shot over a creek to a shallow green - has been converted into a superb par 4.

Wretch reward. I guess that describes a hole that is simply unplayable? And here I was thinking that was one of the best holes on the old course!

The Punchbowl Golf guys also filed this review.


Groovy Goings On...

...assuming you like tales of big egos, big money and big power plays.

The PGA Tour Policy Board votes Tuesday whether to adopt the 2010 condition of competition requiring the use of new grooves. As Alex Miceli reported Friday, three of four player votes are likely going to say no to adopting the condition for January play.

That means in order to uphold the PGA Tour's original stance in support of the USGA/R&A groove spec change, the five non-player policy board reps would have to overrule the player directors. Most insiders believe this has never occurred in the history of the policy board.

Because it's Congressional week and I try not to contemplate the idea of watching golf played there, let's consider the possible votes and ensuing fallout should the policy board postpone the implementation until 2011:

  • Postponement would be a hit to Tim Finchem's perceived power or at least, the assumption that he has control of the policy board. Finchem has made several public statements in support of the groove change. Having to spin a reversal at this late date will test Ponte Vedra's For Immediate Release wordsmiths.
  • A blow to the USGA/R&A. For obvious reasons. They'll have to retreat from their 2010 implementation at the U.S. Open and can expect to face a full assault, and perhaps even legal action. Bomb and Gouge summed it up better than I in this post.
  • Postponement would be a major victory for Titleist and Wally Uihlein. Several players have told me that master wedge designer Bob Vokey has not yet come up with a replacement groove configuration to his and Titleist's liking. Couple that ongoing research with Acushnet not feeling it will have enough time to properly develop a ball they believe is to their standards and soft enough to satisfy players who would be shifting to less-helpful grooves come January, and you begin to understand why this has become an issue (and why there was Ian Poulter's recent Twitter whining).
  • Postponement could be a major blow to the image of PGA Tour pros depending on how it's spun. Shoot, some have already likened this to golf's version of steroids. If the players need more time to prepare for the changeover, I think they'll be shocked at the apathy and even hostility they face from serious golf fans. Media types have been asking since last fall what players were doing to prepare and most had not given the subject any thought. Curiously, the Nike guys seem very prepared and many of the more thoughtful players have done their homework. (Cink here, Woods here, Immelman/Mickelson/Furyk here, Ogilvy here.)
  • Tough questions would be raised about the policy board's motives. The three players leaning toward a no vote all play the Titleist ball. Ironically, all three stand to benefit from the rule change based on the USGA's theory of forcing a softer ball into the hands of players. David Toms, Brad Faxon and Zach Johnson aren't the longest hitters in the world but all are respected for shotmaking and short game prowess. They will be expected to make convincing arguments about the strength of the USGA's research and implementation if they hope to deflect inevitable criticism. Doable, but also a lot of headache and annoyance they don't need.
  • A huge setback for the new groove configuration. Many behind-the-scenes types roll their eyes at this latest chapter in the grooves saga because they insist that the policy board would only be postponing the inevitable. I don't agree. This is bifurcation and I've never understood how the manufacturers would allow this precedent to be set without a fight. We discussed this several times (including here, here). If the board postpones, I predict that over the next year we will see the USGA's research scrutinized, attacked and we'll witness an all-out PR assault on the decision. You'll hear questions--some very legitimate--about just how many players were interviewed, how many were involved in testing, how wet newspaper shreddings simulate rough, how bifurcation is good for the sport and how exactly the USGA concluded that driving accuracy declined because of grooves instead of say, 22 yard wide landing areas.

If the board adopts the condition of the competition, it's a clear victory for Finchem, the USGA, R&A and fans of the flyer lie. Consider how many golf courses and tournaments were already improved this year by having less rough in anticipation of the rule change (along with common sense kicking in). More of that starting in 2010 is good for the PGA Tour, even better if the less-rough mentality filters down to the everyday game.

If you are in favor of regulating distance for the safety, function and interest of golf architecture, you have to love the equipment rollback precedent set by the groove rule change. But big money is at stake here and I'd be shocked if certain manufacturers go quietly.

At least after Tuesday night we'll know who the most powerful man in golf is.


"I have a great team around me and it's great to be back where I feel I belong."

Nice to see Nick Dougherty doing so well and winning the BMW after such rough times in 2008.


Donald Turns Down Brand Lady For LPGA Championship

Brendan Prunty reports that the Donald was approached about hosting the LPGA Championship but turned the LPGA Tour when they wanted more than a one-year deal.

"They came here, they wanted to be here and I turned them down," the real estate mogul said at his Bedminster golf club. "They wanted it for more than one year and I didn't want to commit the course for more than one year."

I just wish he would stop being so humble!


"Who actually runs golf?"

John Huggan on the possibility that the PGA Tour won't adopt the groove rule change:

When it comes to the rules, the book says it is the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the United States Golf Association. But you have to wonder sometimes.

Take the recent news that the PGA Tour, urged on by equipment manufacturers, is unlikely to adopt the new regulations for grooves on wedges come 1 January. The likes of Titleist, TaylorMade and Callaway are claiming they can't make clubs and balls the leading players will be happy with in time to meet the deadline. Aye right.

Verdict: Meet golf's real supremo, Wally Uihlein, chairman and CEO of Titleist.


Bob Bubka No Longer Welcome In Some Parts Of Ireland

Mark Herrmann reports that the radio voice of golf is a marked man for daring to correctly pick Lucas Glover to win the U.S. Open. What'd disturbing is how many Irishmen listened!

Paddy Power, a legal betting firm, lost the equivalent of $1.6 million because Bubka's prediction had set off "a betting frenzy," according to the Irish Times and other media outlets in Ireland.

The odds on Glover, 29, who had won one PGA Tour event and never had made the cut in a U.S. Open, had been 175-1 before Bubka appeared on Newstalk radio Wednesday night, June 17. After he mentioned Glover as the favorite, the odds had dropped to 11-8 by Monday, June 22, the final day of the Open.

This is beautiful...

A spokesman for Paddy Power told Ireland's TalkSport radio, "We're hoping Bob gets a bad case of laryngitis the week before the British Open and keeps his mouth shut."

Bubka does not have a favorite yet for the British Open. But he did say he had picked Angel Cabrera to win the Masters this year, too.


"And there’s that little thing called earthquakes."

Larry Dorman helms a New York Times 30-second Q&A with David Fay following the U.S. Open at Bethpage.

Q. It rains a lot in the Northeast in June. West Coast Open venues looking better?

A. After a week like the last one? Sure, dry clothes and clean shoes are a plus. But while you may not deal with rain and thunderstorms on the West Coast, fog can gum things up. And there’s that little thing called earthquakes. I like the idea of the Open and all our championships being movable feasts.

I'm always fascinated by the earthquake excuse for hosting fewer majors in the west...wait, that's a new one!

Seriously, the Open has outgrown many courses for a variety of reasons. Is it so big now that maybe it's outgrown places where the weather is less predictable?

I did enjoy his answer on this. And because of our little economic downturn, it's starting to happen more and more.

Q. You have been designated the golf god, and whatever you say goes. Speak.

A. American golfers expect the doors of private clubs to fly open when they travel to the U.K. and, by and large and thankfully, that’s what happens. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of our great clubs had the same approach? The golf course doesn’t ask your income or your status. Treat the course with respect, play quickly, and replace all divots and tidy up the bunkers. Oh yeah, and pay your guest green fee. Simple, eh?


Golfweek: Policy Board Leaning Toward Groove Postponement

Alex Miceli reports that three members of the four-man PGA Tour Policy Board are leaning toward a vote to delay 2010's condition of competition change requiring the use of new grooves.

But with the start date looming ever closer, numerous PGA Tour players have expressed concern that they don’t have sufficient time to test clubs with the new grooves – nor to fully comprehend the impact they’ll have on their games.

It's June. That means they've had five more months, no?

Now, if the players are questioning the USGA's research or the tiered implementation or the backdoor bifurcation, I've long wondered why they and their affliliated manufacturers weren't more skeptical. What took them so long?

Some equipment manufacturers also have complained about the hardship they’ll incur, especially during a challenging economy, to meet the original deadline. They say there are significant costs associated with the new grooves, including more expensive manufacturing processes.

I understand that most of the people who will be required to play the new grooves get their clubs free. Therefore the companies won't recoup costs to make these new clubs. But who lobbied for the right to give out free stuff to anyone with a pulse?

And if there is a massive increase in the cost of manufacturing, then isn't a mere postponement only going to make this an issue again in 2011?

But other companies such as Ping say they already have made the necessary business changes and insist it would be unfair to delay the rule change.

Nice irony, eh?

Cink declined to discuss how he would vote, but Faxon and Johnson told Golfweek they were leaning toward delaying the groove change. Toms could not be reached for comment.

The positions taken by the player directors historically have had significant influence on policy board decisions. But it is possible the five other members, including PGA of America president Jim Remy, could overrule a player-voting bloc.

I don't believe that's ever happened? First time for everything!


2018 Ryder Cup Bidding Commences; Euro Tour Still Demanding A Ninth Hole Returning Somewhere Close To The Clubhouse

...And a whole lot of money.

Mark Garrod reports that the demanding, inten$ive and wide-reaching $earch to find an appropriate 2018 Ryder Cup venue has begun. And bidders, please make sure that 9th comes somewhere close to the clubhouse.

Six countries - France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden - have announced their intention to bid for the 2018 Ryder Cup.

The deadline for the submission of bids is the end of April next year, with the announcement expected in 2011.

Celtic Manor in Wales plays host next year, and the 2014 contest is at Gleneagles in Scotland. But when both were selected it was decided that after that the European home match would return to the continent if suitable venues could be found.

No Dubai? Perhaps the pushback on that little floated idea wasn't what they hoped for?


"Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood misery. He was a golfer."

Just to show you how current I am, here's Jeff Silverman and John Garrity's SI preview piece on the WPA and Bethpage. I just read it again and couldn't get over this FDR anecdote.

Whitten better add this to the next Architects of Golf!

"He loved playing golf more than just about anything else," says H.W. Brands, author of Roosevelt, Traitor to His Class. FDR even kept an old golf ball on his desk in the Oval Office. "I believe that his inability to play made the game even more important to him, and he liked the idea that the government could make it possible for ordinary people to play."

No ordinary man himself, Roosevelt gained deep insight into the sufferings of others through his own transformative struggle with polio — the humbling midlife counterpoint to the ease and privilege into which he was born. He was eight when his father had a six-hole course built on the family's Hyde Park, N.Y., estate, and by his early teens Franklin was shooting in the low 80s. In 1899, as secretary-treasurer of the nine-hole club on Campobello, the island playground for the wealthy off the coast of Maine, he designed and supervised the enlargement of tees and greens. Fresh out of Harvard in 1904, he won the club championship. No golfing president can top that.


2009 U.S. Open Clippings, Final, Final Edition

I haven't seen it written anywhere--not that I've read everything posted on the 2009 U.S. Open--but reader Ace noticed that Lucas Glover never managed to hit a greenside bunker last week. And of course he double bogeyed his first hole of the week. Bizzarre.

Bob Verdi writes:

It was a good Monday to rob a bank in New York, if indeed there are any banks left in New York. But it was an even better day for golf as thousands of deep throats converged on Bethpage Black, although not specifically to be heard supporting Lucas Glover.

Tim Rosaforte on Ricky Barnes' rebirth and the role Dean Reinmuth played.

Scott Michaux on Glover's caddie, Don Cooper.

What were Glover's first words to his 44-year-old caddie during that embrace after his par putt dropped and the U.S. Open was his?

"You owe me a Corvette."

It's an old joke between them, dating back to when Cooper told Glover after his first PGA Tour victory at Disney in 2005 that the next time they win a tournament he was going to buy Glover a Corvette. That was before General Motors went bankrupt, and the caddie is considering renegotiating.

"I'll leave that to him," Glover said. "I'm not going to hold him to it unless he just wants to. But it was the first thing that popped into my head after that putt went in. I saw Coop standing there and said. 'You owe me, pal.' "


Groove Measuring Methodology And Timing

One of the main PGA Tour/manufacturer gripes with the USGA/R&A groove rule change--now endangered for 2010 implementation--deals with the assertion that the USGA fell behind in getting manufacturers an appropriate measuring tool to determine if irons are conforming.

I know this isn't the sexiest topic, but it is important to understand how this process played out so that should the PGA Tour delay the groove condition of competition due to manufacturer concerns, we at least know how much time they had to prepare. So I asked Dick Rugge of the USGA for his response to the claim of not enough time:

1. The August 5, 2008 Notice to Manufacturers regarding the new groove rule implementation included a detailed explanation of how grooves would be measured.

2. The August 5, 2008 Notice to Manufactures also included the following information: “Measurement of grooves for cross sectional area and groove edge radius can be made with the same tracing equipment that the USGA has used for a number of years. The USGA may also make use of additional measuring equipment for this purpose in the future. A field test to enable groove measurements on-site has been developed. The protocol for this field test will be published in the near future.”

3. The ContourReader (that’s the “tracing equipment that the USGA has used for a number of years”) groove measurement procedure has been made available to those requesting it.

4. Both the USGA and the R&A have purchased a device from the Alicona company that utilizes a very sophisticated microscope to measure grooves. This has been considered our “gold standard” measurement device. That company has offered their equipment for sale to club manufacturers. The cost is high, so there will likely be a limited number of these in use.

5 We have developed a field test device which uses a flat-bed scanner to accurately record the groove cross-sectional shape. This device has been reviewed by PGA Tour rules official John Mutch, who is pleased with its function. This device will soon be made available to the Tours, and to other appropriate organizations, including manufacturers.


Irrefutable Evidence Of Tour Pros Making Too Much Money: Vijay Offers To Bail Out Allan Stanford

Darren Rovell reports:

The professional golfer was one of three people who offered to sign for a portion of the financier's bail, his attorney said in court in Houston on Thursday, according to CNBC's Scott Cohn.

Cohn said Singh would have been on the hook for $500,000 if Stanford fled, but he was not allowed to help with bail because he is not a citizen of the United States.


"Vijay's opinion is that Stanford has yet to be proven guility and until then has chosen to act supportively," said Dave Haggith, spokesman for IMG, the management company that counts Singh as a client.

Haggith continued, we wanted to help out as well, we're still waiting for our 10% and it wouldn't make sense at this time.


"Private organizations sometimes presume that they can exclude whomever they want, no questions asked."

In light of Sonia Sotomayer's recent club resignation, the WSJ's Nathan Koppel looks at the state of restricted clubs and how courts view their right to discriminate.

And in one sense, they are right. Ironically, the more selective a club is, the more it is considered to be truly private and thus protected against antidiscrimination laws. In other words, a small, all-male group of stamp collectors who meet in a private home aren't unlawfully discriminating by not accepting women.

But clubs that presume they are private frequently turn out not to be in the eyes of the law in some states.

"Over the last 20 years, societal pressures have led to a steady narrowing of what qualifies as a private organization, free from antidiscrimination laws," says Robert Duston, a Washington attorney who specializes in defending discrimination cases.


"Unfortunately, the only uncertainty in the game right now lies with who's in charge of it." blogging duo Bethpage and Garden City kick around the power struggle over a groove rule condition of competition and ultimately determine that the USGA has handed over power to the PGA Tour and that the uncertainty over 2010 implementation has the USGA acting as a follower instead of a leader.

I can tell you this, though: The rule as currently written will not be a hardship for the playing of the game by average golfers in any meaningful way, shape or form. Not now, not in 2014, not in 2024, not ever. The rule as currently written does present the possibility for uncertainty in the minds of the best players in the game, however. Uncertainty (or as most of us know it, outright fear), I think, makes for a better game at the elite level.

Unfortunately, the only uncertainty in the game right now lies with who's in charge of it.


UK Rejoices As Tour Lands TV Provider In Time For Travelers

Now I can sleep...

PGA TOUR, Eurosport announce UK television rights agreement for remainder of 2009 season
Telecasts to reach more than 10 million UK homes


The PGA TOUR and Eurosport today jointly announced an agreement in which Eurosport has secured the PGA TOUR television rights in UK for the remainder of the 2009 TOUR season, beginning tonight, Thursday, June 25, with live coverage from the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Action from the remaining 2009 TOUR events will now be accessible in more than 10 million UK homes on British Eurosport and British Eurosport 2, through Sky and Virgin Media platforms.

“We are pleased to announce this agreement with Eurosport, which ensures that PGA TOUR coverage will continue to be made available, live, every week to golf fans throughout the United Kingdom,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem.

“We are delighted to welcome the US PGA TOUR to the Eurosport platform in the UK,” said Eurosport Chairman Laurent Eric Le Lay. “British golf fans can now see the world’s best players competing live as the 2009 season unfolds. We can give the US PGA TOUR’s iconic tournaments excellent coverage across our two UK TV channels, and fans can follow regular news and results at Eurosport’s leading sports website.”

The PGA TOUR telecasts will also be available to UK fans in simulcast through Eurosport’s online subscription service, Eurosport Player.


"They made it look like Bethpage Pink."

Vindication! Yes, as predicted, those savvy, super wonderful New York fans had the nuanced course setup stuff fly over their thick skulls! Mark Herrmann reports. Love this about No. 18 Sunday:

"They made it choke-proof," he said. "I have 10-handicappers who I'd trust with a two-shot lead on that hole." Cowan said his students on the lesson tee Tuesday morning shared his opinion. Of the USGA's setup, he said, "It was a local disgrace."

The best fans in the world! Uninformed, unenlightened and yet so graceful delivering their insights!