Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • 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

I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.



"Part of the issue is perception"

Scott Duke Harris and Pete Carey offer more examples of corporations cutting back their involvement in golf for fear of giving the wrong impression.

And the Pebble Beach pro-am has indeed downsized this year, but probably not as much as your 401(k). Declines in corporate sponsorships and ticket sales are expected to bring the tournament's donations to charity down about 10 percent from a record $6.74 million in 2008.

"Given everything else going on, it's a little bit of a success story," said Ollie Nutt, president and chief executive of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. The group uses the tournament's proceeds to support about 200 charities in the region that provide youth activities, education, nutrition and legal services for the needy.

The Pebble Beach classic has had a winning formula that allows Hollywood celebrities and capitalist chieftains to play alongside top pros. It has raised $73 million for charity since 1947, including $50 million since 2000.

But this year, several regular corporate sponsors bowed out; there are 18 skyboxes, compared with 20 last year, and about 11 hospitality tents, down from 15.

"Part of the issue is perception," said Nutt, suggesting that companies don't want to be seen lavishing perks while laying off workers. But the budget decisions, he noted, are genuine.


"Where would we be without the Stimpmeter, a simple gadget that measures the speed of greens?"

Apparently desperate for 14 things to love about golf (get it, 14, Valentines Day), Vartan Kupelian has just earned the ire of every superintendent on the planet with this ridiculous note. And it appears on of all places.

5. A Stimpmeter.

Where would we be without the Stimpmeter, a simple gadget that measures the speed of greens?

Probably playing more greens with grass on them for less money.

What’s more fun than telling people you made a 30-foot downhill putt? Telling them you made a 30-foot downhill putt, which was rolling at 12.5 on the Stimpmeter, sounds more invigorating. Think about how much that simple qualifier adds to the tale of making putts. Besides, it’s fun saying Stimpmeter and golf is, after all, supposed to be fun.

Yes, three putting all days on greens "Stimping" 12.5 is a joy! And for the good of the game.


Change Comes To Washington: Donald To Create World's Greatest Country Club, Immediately Orders New Carts

From the Washington Post's "Reliable Sources" blog:

Donald Trump has purchased the Lowes Island Club, making the Washington region part of his luxury golf empire.

"This place, when it's finished, will be the finest club anywhere in the country," he told The Washington Post last night. "There will be nothing like it. I already own the best ones, so I know."

See, just when you start to feel bad about this economic downturn, you are then reminded that not every casualty of it will be a big loss for the game. Oh, continue Donald...

The flamboyant developer already owns seven award-winning courses -- in New York, Florida and California -- and has big plans for his new 800-acre property, which sits along the Potomac River in Sterling. First up: a name change to -- what else? -- "Trump National Golf Club, Washington D.C.," he said.

He's bringing in golf architect Tom Fazio to remake the two 18-hole championship courses, with plans to maximize the site's natural beauty. The clubhouse, pool and facilities will be renovated, he said. Trump said he expects it will take two years "to make it great," and he wasted no time getting started: He's already ordered 150 top-of-the-line golf carts.

There's a man with vision! And class.


PGA Tour Sponsor Under Federal Scrutiny

Thanks to reader Chris for pointing out the Stanford Financial investigation. Julie Creswell of the New York Times does not paint a pretty picture of the company, including the odd claims of a tie to the Stanford family.


Kelly T And Connecticut Weather **

Reader Tony was watching the AT&T second round coverage and noted this about the announcing:

Kelly Tilghman just said Chris Berman's not wearing a sweater because it's 2 degrees back in Connecticut so he's warm. It was 50 yesterday and it's 30 now and the sun has been down for an hour. Can we please make her go away?

In Kelly's defense, what else is there to say about a man who acts like this?


LPGA's L.A. Options

Reader Ha asked what my venue of choice would be for the LPGA in L.A. now that they will be returning. Amazingly, Carolyn Bivens has still not called, but just in case she's reading, I offer my recommendations.

I honestly believe each of these venues could work, assuming an improvements in maintenance and cooperation from their management (in the case of the public courses). Sure, that's a big if since I'm naming some notoriously difficult places to deal with. However, the LPGA has played at a number of private venues and upscale daily fees, with minimal fan interest while the Champions Tour drew well here when they played at Rancho. In other words, the daily fee golfers are your friends, CB. (That's assuming you want fans and volunteers).

13th hole bunker, captured yesterday (click to enlarge)Rustic Canyon - my obvious bias notwithstanding... Pros: parking at nearby Moorpark College, easy freeway access, interesting design with ground game emphasis, would look attractive on TV. Cons: attendance could be an issue in less populated area, though still within short distance of major population base, small clubhouse, management may not appreciate benefits of hosting LPGA.

Santa Anita - Pros: parking at Santa Anita race track next door and at large park nearby, great freeway access, fun/playable design that just needs a little sprucing up to become something truly special, solid population base nearby likely to be engaged (see Rose Parade), easy spectator walk; Cons: would not be visually dramatic on television, small clubhouse).Santa Anita's 14th hole. Wild fairway contours would create challenge for the world's best female golfers. (Click to enlarge)

Griffith Park (composite course of Harding/Wilson) Pros: plenty of parking at LA Zoo with great freeway access; Cons: designs rundown, maintenance needs major work, clubhouse run down, horrible range, dealing with city of LA...okay it's a total mess but I can dream can't I?

Rancho Park Pros: only existing course on the planet to have hosted LPGA, PGA and Champions, quirky design great for spectating, unique location in city center; Cons: conditioning, traffic, lack of tent space, horrible range, dealing with city of LA.

Wilshire CC Pros: excellent venue that has hosted LA Opens and Champions Tour and will be unveiling new Kyle Phillips restoration/renovation of bunkers in 2010, newly renovated clubhouse, great location in city center and near heart of primary Korean population base; Cons: does membership want the hassle? Parking and traffic a pain.





"It's unfortunate that golf is somehow made to be the whipping boy for this economic malaise."

Peter Kostis raises a point I've been wondering about: why does golf have to be so ashamed of itself in this down time while other athletic pursuits seemingly go on with their usual antics and inflated budgets.

It's unfortunate that golf is somehow made to be the whipping boy for this economic malaise. Why not all the excessive, guaranteed contracts in baseball and basketball?

Unfortunately, the darkness has settled over fans and regular golfers too. I can't help but feel that we're in a time when people are almost afraid to be seen having fun. That somehow, with so much bad news on TV and negative sentiment out there, laughing and enjoying yourself has become almost politically incorrect.

Is there any way golf corrects this, besides hoping for a healthy Tiger to return and continue his historic run?



Thursday Tee Time At Pebble Ensures A Good Time Is Had By All

Or so Jim McCabe reports on Tim Finchem's opening round at the AT&T playing Pebble Beach, which he was supposed to be playing Saturday until someone pulled some strings to get off of the celebrity rotation.


"WGC stands for Who Gosh-darn Cares?"

Steve Elling on the total lack of interest in the WGC Match Play event, at least based on the dreadful turnout this week by match play bubble boys.

Amazingly, only three of the 15 players between spot Nos. 61 and 75 in the current world rankings, the players with great chances to make a move with solid play on their respective home tours, are playing this week. 


LPGA Returning To LA In 2010

Beth Harris reports. CB, call me and we'll talk possible venues.



"%$#@ the naysayers" 

Lawrence Donegan talks to several players and officials about the delicate subject of Michelle Wie's rookie season and media coverage.

"Michelle Wie has the potential to help drive the sport in ways that many top-class athletes have done in the past. She also has the luxury of being surrounded by a rookie class that will help her market and promote women's golf," said David Higdon, the LPGA's director of communications, tempering this recognition of Wie's broad appeal with a gentle reminder that she has done nothing yet to earn special treatment. "She is on tour this year as a rookie and that will be ideal for her to grow and mature in a way that is much more reasonable, given where her golf game is."

While tour officials perform this delicate balancing act, others around the game are not inclined to the diplomatic route, most notably Christina Kim, who was one of the few players on the circuit to befriend the newcomer and make her feel welcome, spending time chatting to her on the practice putting green on Tuesday. "Fuck the naysayers," Kim said when asked for her views on those who have criticised Wie. "Michelle is a very close friend of mine and I've wanted her to come out on tour for a very long time. She chose not to do that and I respected that. She did what was best for herself. She is a great player and I know she will do very well."


"The culture of golf has changed to the point where the country club as a center for social life makes little sense."

Brad Klein seems to be saying, forget about the way things were done, move on and deal with reality. Can't say I disagree with any of his "six dimensions to golf’s new business paradigm," though I do think that it's a bit early to completely reinvent the country club concept.


LPGA Tour Becomes Only Stand-Alone U.S. Women's Professional Sports Organization To Receive A Rights Fee Agreement For Domestic Broadcast Coverage!

Only the Brand Lady and her people could come up with such distinction, as noted in this AP story on their 10-year deal with the Golf Channel. No mention of network coverage, but I assume they still have select events on the networks?


Tim Finchem Doing His Part For Tour Charity: Takes Comp'd Entry To AT&T Pro-Am

From Doug Ferguson's story on Wednesday's pro-am goings on.

After year of prodding, one of the CEOs at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am includes the PGA Tour commissioner himself.

The tour gets five spots in the pro-am each year that it usually gives to corporate partners, and Finchem is using one of those spots.

For a guy who just a month ago asked players to do more in these lean economic times, and for someone who makes nearly $5 million a year, you'd think he could swing the $15,000 entry fee that helps fund a significant charity. I'm sure his accountant could write it off, no?

Ferguson also reports this red flag special. PGA Tour rule officials never jack around with tee times once they are set:

He'll play with Love, who was on the policy board in Finchem's first year as commissioner in 1994. The other team will be Mahan and Randall Stephenson, chairman of AT&T.

The only mystery was the draw sheet.

Finchem and Stephenson were to play the same course rotation as the celebrities (opposite side of the course) - Spyglass Hill, Poppy Hills, Pebble Beach. But a revised draw sheet on Wednesday had them away from the celebrities (translation: attention) by teeing off Thursday at Pebble Beach.


PGA Tour Investigating Whether Poppy Hills Is Too Awful To Continue As Venue

That'll be a short investigation.

Still, Thomas Bonk reports that Ponte Vedra is analyzing the merits of shaking up the rotation and moving to recently renovated Fort Ord. And he shares this non-denial denial from a Fort Ord guy:

Ed Bennett, project manager for Bayonet and Black Horse said that discussions are underway that involve the course as a potential tournament site. "There have been rumors for years since Poppy Hills came on the scene that some tour players didn't like it. But we are in the middle of an exciting tournament at a different course and talking too much about a different product right now doesn't seem right."

A different product? That could be one of the nicest things anyone has ever called Poppy Hills.


Nice Get For USGA Museum

Kudos for the Western Golf Association for donating a huge photo collection believed to be the old Golf Illustrated images. Ellie Kaiser reports.


"My 10-year-old Griffin now plumb-bobs. I go, 'Dude, what are you doing?'"

Cameron Morfit conducts an entertaining Q&A with Steve Flesch, covering all sorts of good stuff.

Let's talk Tour policy. You've slammed course setups. What's your beef?

It's the same every week. Having every par-3 at 230 yards is boring, as is having the rough at five inches. The greens don't always have to be 12 on the Stimpmeter. They water the fairways and around the greens, forcing you to hit a high spinny shot in. We've gotten away from the fact that golf can be played more than one way.

But that's exactly how Tiger and Phil and most of the top players like to hit the ball. Maybe the rest of you guys should learn to live with it.

But let's not set up every course so it's like a major. The public wants to see us make birdies, so let's set up the courses so we can display our skills and show everybody how good we are.

Seems the boys really are in love with the Memorial these days.

Jack Nicklaus upset the pros when he toughened Muirfield Village for The Memorial and furrowed the bunkers. Who's going to call up Jack and say, "Enough!"?

It's hard. Jack should have his input, but is it really in the best interest to play the course like that? That was eight-inch rough that obviously hadn't been topped off the day before the tournament, as Jack indicated in the papers.

Are you calling Jack Nicklaus a liar?

No, I'm not, but it was eight inches on Monday and it wasn't touched the whole week. Whether it's the tournament director or whatever, don't tell us it's four-and-a-half-inch rough. I can put my foot in it and see it's over my shoes. It's the same at Arnold's event. That rye-grass rough is sticky and it's five inches long. Muirfield is one of my favorite courses, but from the first time I played it in '98 to 2008, it's gotten harder, not better. The greens are 14 on the Stimpmeter and they're not big; do you need ruts in the bunkers, too?

This may be the first time someone dared to note the issue for Phil Mickelson and his joint instructors Butch Harmon and Dave Pelz.

Your fellow lefty Mickelson had a quiet 2008. What's wrong with him?

Phil Mickelson is fantastic. I have learned so much from watching him play. He knows I respect his game, and I don't want to say anything that would upset him, but right now I think he's got two different kinds of coaches. I worked with Butch Harmon for five years, and his way of thinking about the game is a lot different than how Dave Pelz is. Dave's very analytical, very scientific, and everybody respects that. Phil is trying to find a balance between two methods that seem to pull him in different directions.

And of course, slow play...

What else is on the PAC's radar?

Pace of play. There are a dozen guys out here who are habitually slow. It's not that our fine structure isn't strong enough — it's that our officials should be more assertive. We all know who's slow and who's not, and while half of the slow guys say they want to get faster, the other half say, "I don't care if I'm slow or not." Well you know what? You've got 144 guys out there that week and most of them feel you're disrespecting them by taking that attitude. You have 40 seconds to hit the shot, and if you can't do it, you're not playing out here.

Is this why weekend golfers seem to think a glacial pace is okay?

My 10-year-old Griffin now plumb-bobs. I go, "Dude, what are you doing?" He goes, "I don't know, I see you guys doing it on TV." That's exactly why it's wrong for us to be playing that slowly. 


Second Child Gives Birth To Most Absurd Fatherhood-Impact Story Yet

I thought the drop-everything-you-are-doing stories from 2007's birth of Sam Alexis Woods were bad, but then I see Mark Reason has dug up research suggesting that the birth of a son inspires fathers to work harder. Because, you know, Tiger's such a lazy lug.

Do you think Tiger Woods needs more motivation? Well, he now has the biggest inspiration a professional sportsman can get. A son.

You may think that is all psychological mumbo jumbo, but consider for a moment some facts. The last three first-time winners of the Masters had all just become fathers of a son for the first time. Phil Mickelson won his first major in 2003 a year after the birth of Evan. Zach Johnson won in 2007, three months after the birth of Will. Trevor Immelman won in 2008, a year after the birth of Jacob.

There is a name for this phenomenon. It is called the 'nappy factor' and was first identified by the betting guru Keith Elliott more than 10 years ago. To begin with it was nothing more than a hunch.

Then in 2000 the European Association of Labour Economists published statistics showing that fathers' salaries rise nearly five per cent every time they have a child and that the premium was far greater for a son than a daughter. "I'm sure a son will have an amazing effect even on someone as driven as Tiger," Elliott said. 


"It might be the only chance we have for this tournament to be moved to October"

Nice line from David Toms in Doug Ferguson's notes column this week on the subject of Tim Finchem making his AT&T debut:

"It might be the only chance we have for this tournament to be moved to October,'' Toms said with a laugh, referring to weather issues that have occasionally plagued Pebble.


“We are committed to completing Tiger Woods’ vision here in Dubai"

In looking at Tiger's Dubai project, Alistair Tait slips in this ominous sounding quote:

Project director Abdulla Al Gurg, when asked for a status report, was hesitant. “We are committed to completing Tiger Woods’ vision here in Dubai,” Al Gurg said on two separate occasions, avoiding a target date.

And thanks to Golf Digest's Deed and Weed posting a blog entry pointing out Jose Luis Jiménez story looking at the environmental and security issues involved with Punta Brava, Tiger's project in Ensanada.