Twitter: GeoffShac
  • 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

As each year goes by I fear the true sporting spirit of match play is less and less in evidence. We find a growing disposition for play to concentrate on the figures that are registered at a hole rather than on the question of whether the hole is lost or won in a purely friendly match. TOM SIMPSON

 

  

Thursday
Oct222009

Pete, Sure You Want The Job? "I don't know of any other year when so many LPGA members were seeking dual membership on the JLPGA."

The Constructivist at the MostlyHarmless blog notes some oddball issues with the LPGA of Japan's qualifying procedures and concludes that a tour war is breaking out, and the LPGA of America might be on the losing end.

But a few patterns emerge: the JLPGA is heavily recruiting American and European players (or at least players from the LPGA and LET), while forcing Korean golfers to go through 3 or 4 stages of qualifying. It appears that winning on the JLPGA as a non-member doesn't give you immediate membership any more, as it did for Ji-Yai Shin last season. And the Full Metal Archivist confirmed that you need a certain level of fluency in either Japanese or English to become a JLPGA member in 2010. She also found a 9 October article from Golf Digest Online that publicized a JLPGA press release identifying LPGA players exempt into the 3rd stage (Meena Lee, Young Kim, Teresa Lu, and Shanshan Feng) and into the final qualifying tournament (Na Yeon Choi, Candie Kung, Eun-Hee Ji, Seon Hwa Lee, Inbee Park, and Amy Yang). Barring absolute meltdowns, then, these players, along with Na Ri Kim and Onnarin Sattayabanphot (who should sail through the next 3 stages of Q-School) and any other LPGAers who have signed up for the 2nd stage the 1st week of November, will be JLPGA members in 2010. I don't know of any other year when so many LPGA members were seeking dual membership on the JLPGA.

Maybe pay isn't the only reason the LPGA Commish search candidates keep dropping out?

Thursday
Oct222009

Flash: Rory Finally Decides He Won't Play An Extra Three Events In America Next Year

Jon Show reports on the announcement that Rory McIlroy will in fact not add the three events to his 2010 schedule which would have allowed him to become a PGA Tour member. This contradicted a Daily Mail report from just a day before.

The most surprising thing about the announcement: agent Chubby Chandler breaking the news to Sports Business Journal and not one of the many Irish reporters tracing young Rory's every move.

Bogey!

Wednesday
Oct212009

"In an odd sort of way, golfers, the fans who follow them and the writers who try to understand them have found a common place to hang out -- Twitter."

Ron Sirak looks at Twitter's impact in the world of golf and concludes:

Its functions are diverse -- promotional, informational and humorous -- but its impact is unified: To make the world a smaller place, reducing it all the way down to 140 characters. And that's clearly a comfort zone millions are finding to be quite cozy. Clearly, it is a world of characters that is having a population explosion.

Also, Alex Myers posts this list of golfers and media Twitter accounts, with links.

Just curious here since it's a slow news day, but might we use this story and comment section for those using Twitter to voice your thoughts? How do you read Tweets? What do you think of getting blog or website feeds as Tweets?

I know a lot of you have Twitter fatigue, we get it. But I'd like this to be a more constructive thread about where you see Twitter going as a news and information source. There will also be a chance to discuss this in November when I post a Golfdom feature on how Twitter is impacting the golf course maintenance world.

Wednesday
Oct212009

"This golf-cart fiasco perfectly illustrates tax policy in the age of Obama, when politicians dole out credits and loopholes for everything from plug-in cars to fuel efficient appliances, home insulation and vitamins."

The Wall Street Journal offered a tough and unbylined critique of a federal tax credit on high-mileage cars "that was part of President Obama's stimulus plan," and which is now being used "to buy that great necessity of modern life, the golf cart."

The federal credit provides from $4,200 to $5,500 for the purchase of an electric vehicle, and when it is combined with similar incentive plans in many states the tax credits can pay for nearly the entire cost of a golf cart. Even in states that don't have their own tax rebate plans, the federal credit is generous enough to pay for half or even two-thirds of the average sticker price of a cart, which is typically in the range of $8,000 to $10,000.

Yet in a story forwarded by reader Mac, Alice Gomstyn of ABC News suggests that the credit started with the "bailout bill that last year helped keep the U.S. banking system afloat also contained lesser-known provisions to benefit other industries, including the electric car business."

Under the Bush administration's Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, buying a plug-in electric motor vehicle can make a consumer eligible for a tax credit of at least $2,500 plus additional cash depending on a car's battery capacity.

In April, the Internal Revenue Service confirmed that "neighborhood electric vehicles" or NEVs -- a common term for electric-powered golf cars and other low-speed vehicles allowed on public roadways -- bought in 2009 qualified for the tax credit.

The Journal piece also has little use for the actual carts in question, which are not for golf but for tootling around The Villages and other small communities where people go to die.

Alright, so which one got their facts wrong?

Tuesday
Oct202009

Charles Barkley Offering Anthony Kim Alcohol Consumption Advice

Nice catch by Bob Carney to spot this Charles Barkley interview with ESPN Radio Dallas where the Golf Channel reality show icon talks about Tiger's no-alcohol-or-caffeine diet during tournaments and how he suggested to Anthony Kim that he could learn from such an example to avoid incidents like this one.

It is funny you talk about Tiger. I have become friends with Anthony Kim and I was talking to him the other day trying to tell him: Let this B.S. with Robert Allenby go. Nothing good is going to happen if you all are going back-and-forth. The one thing that I will say about Tiger is that when we go out, he can drink. He drinks but he never drinks when he has got a tournament. So I think you distinguish those two. If we are just going to Vegas to screw around or we are just going around, he might have a couple of beers or something. If he has got a tournament, he does not drink. I am just relaying the Anthony Kim story. Maybe Tony can learn that ok that there is certain things that I got to do when I play and everything else has got to be 2nd. You can have fun when you are off: Ok, I got a tournament this week. Tiger won’t even do caffeine the week of a tournament. He thought that it screwed up his putting stroke. You know how sometimes caffeine has got you jittery? I mean just simple stuff like that.

Tuesday
Oct202009

LPGA Search For Next Commish: Down To Two

Jon Show reports that Arlen Kantarian, a former USTA CEO, has turned down the LPGA because they couldn't meet his pay demands and that Jeffrey Pollack,  commissioner of the World Series of Poker, has also pulled out.

Adam Schupak says that Kantarian pulled out because the LPGA couldn't meet his asking price.

Kantarian, who is a senior adviser to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, pulled out because the LPGA couldn’t meet his salary demands, Golfweek has learned from a source with intimate knowledge of the selection process. The same source said that Pollack was considered a darkhorse among the finalists.

It must be nice to turn down somewhere in the neighborhood of $500k a year to live in Florida and take a property that has no where to go but up.

For those of you keeping score at home, that leaves...

Among those left standing is Pete Bevacqua, the USGA’s chief business officer, who along with Orender, was identified as a top finalist. His main rival now appears to be Jonathan Ward, whose candidacy surfaced late in the process, but has gained momentum, according to GolfChannel.com.

Tuesday
Oct202009

"Grass-Roots Advice"

The November Golf Digest features a photo and quote from several leading superintendents about the state of golf maintenance and golf's place in the environment. It's a nice example of the print version featuring a digestable teaser, with more online since Golf Digest posted the entire audio of each super's answer to a couple of questions from Ron Whitten.

A few that I've listened to so far and enjoyed: Garrett Bodington, Russ Myers, Peter Wendt and Paul Latshaw Jr.

Tuesday
Oct202009

Nationwide Tour Coming To TPC Sawgrass...Valley Course

Garry Smits reports that Nationwide Tour players will get to hang out at Taj Tim and enjoy Bobby Weed...err...Pete Dye's Valley Course next year.

The PGA Tour will announce at a Wednesday news conference that a Nationwide Tour event will be played at the TPC Sawgrass in the fall of 2010, the Times-Union has learned.

The full-field event will likely be played at the Dye’s Valley Course. It is believed that the Tour does not want to use the Stadium Course for the event because it already is the venue for The Players Championship in May, which costs the facility and the Marriott Sawgrass more than a month of resort income.

The Nationwide Tour is the PGA Tour’s development circuit, launched in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour. Most of the players are professionals in the early stages of their careers, and many have used the Nationwide Tour as a launching pad to their PGA Tour careers.

Tuesday
Oct202009

“They’re all wanting to grow golf, but the government is saying, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute!’”

Thanks to all who sent Seth Mydans' New York Times story on the failed dreams of the "Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail" as the government starts to question building a string of golf courses in a country with so few players. I guess they didn't hear about the Olympic announcement? Or Monty's contribution to the region?

I do see from the photos accompanying the story--and this appeared in the print edition, ensuring even more people laugh at the sport--that the Vietnamese have embraced America obsessive bunker raking.

Tuesday
Oct202009

Nothing A Good Ole Depression Wouldn't Fix Files: Ian Poulter Edition

With apologies to Dan Jenkins or whoever coined that one, I give you, master Tweeter Ian Poulter taking us on a tour of his closet.

And we wonder why people hate golf...

 

Tuesday
Oct202009

"The decision to defile arguably the most renowned hole in golf reveals how little confidence the R&A has in the efficacy of next year's change from box to v-grooves"

The most blistering commentary yet on the R&A lengthening the Road hole comes from the Irish Independent's Karl MacGinty:

Golf ball and club technology has made St Andrews vulnerable and if the wind doesn't blow, the winner's score at next year's British Open could plumb much lower than Tiger's record 19-under in 2000, a thought which would make the right-minded promoter of any Major cringe.

The Royal and Ancient and their American counterparts, the USGA, must accept the blame for falling asleep on their watch as technology ran riot in the 1990s, rendering many classic golf courses obsolete.
The decision to defile arguably the most renowned hole in golf reveals how little confidence the R&A has in the efficacy of next year's change from box to v-grooves as a curb on the longer-hitters. Supposedly this will increase the premium in staying on the straight, short and narrow.

Monday
Oct192009

"Golfing with family"

This little infomercial-article on PGATour.com is a nice reminder how golf coverage will look when PGATour.com is the only source for editorial content. In this case, as supplied by an official partner.

Note the seamless transition from the last instruction tip about taking the kids to see a pro event, followed by the partner message. You just don't get segues like this anymore.

Take them to an event -- Nothing is more inspiring to a golfer than seeing the very best players play at an elite level. The next time a pro tour comes to your town, take them to see a round so that you can experience it together. This will give you an opportunity to help explain the rules to them as well as how to develop strategies to play a hole. Even watching a round on television will allow you the opportunity to coach them in addition to developing a wonderful hobby together.

Golfing with your family can greatly enhance your love for the game. Do not let knee pain sour you on a great sport. If knee pain is preventing you from performing at your best, you might be suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Various treatments for OA do exist, such as ORTHOVISC®, which provides up to six months of knee pain relief. Made from ultra-pure natural hyaluronan, which is found in healthy joints, ORTHOVISC® is injected into the knee joint where it acts to replace your natural joint fluid, to help cushion, protect, and lubricate your knee.

While finding "Golfing with family" to be an informative piece of instruction literature, I managed to obtain an early draft that was a little more to the point:

You use golf as a way to spend time with friends, whittle away your income on new equipment and in general avoid spending time with your children. You might even have used it as a way to spend time with important clients if you hadn't gotten fired for downloading pirated music files that introduced a virus to the company server. It stands to reason that you can also play golf as a way to spend quality time with the most important people in your life, your drinking buddies. Or maybe your family. Here are a few suggestions to ensure that the familial golfing experience allows everyone to come out a whiner.

Start on the range -- While the temptation is to take the family right out on the course, the driving range offers a low-pressure environment for the kids to be left behind while you get in a quick nine. Your wife won't be nagging to press-the-press and the kids won't be playing with loose pocket change during your five-point pre-shot routine. For a change, try not to focus on your own swing at the range like the narcissist you are. Devote your attention to family the same way you would if it were a Little League game or if the kids were standing around near your helium-filled weather balloon. You would not grab a phone to call a 911 operator and insist your child had flown off setting off national media coverage, so don't do that here on the range.

Enlist an instructor -- It might be easier for your family (and for you) if they initially take instruction from a professional, and not a fool like you. If you are constantly telling your family what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, they can grow weary of the sport, of you, and of life in general. Hiring an instructor also provides you the opportunity to work with an expert when you may not have hired one because your ego wouldn't allow it.

Pick the right course -- Once everyone feels they are ready to take the game to a real course, it is crucial to pick a place that will you the best chance to beat the little kids. The ideal place for novices to start is a pitch and putt course, if they haven't all gone out of business by the time you read this. These courses usually consist of nine holes, many of which, unfortunately for the equipment industry, only require a 9-iron, a wedge, a putter to play and a surly guy behind the counter. By shortening the time and distance of this first round, it will lessen the frustration for your children of having to spend time with you as they are beginning to learn the game.

Take them to an event -- Nothing is more inspiring to a golfer than seeing the very best players play at an elite level. The next time a pro tour comes to your town, talk to your bank officer about a low fixed rate mortgage and take them to see a round so that you can experience it together. A loan will give you an opportunity to visit a large, alcohol-fueled tent called the Trophy or Champions Club, where television screens will show the family situations that let you explain the rules to them as well as how to develop strategies to play a hole, all while you are able to enjoy $10 mango martinis.

Golfing with your family can greatly enhance your love for the game and cause assorted injuries to flair up, both imagined-to-get-you-out-of-an-encore, and painfully real. Do not let knee injuries sour you on a great sport. If knee pain is preventing you from performing at your best, you might be suffering from osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Various treatments for OA do exist, such as ORTHOVISC®, which provides up to six months of knee pain relief. Made from ultra-pure natural hyaluronan, which is found in healthy joints and particularly large and endangered hammerhead sharks. ORTHOVISC® is injected into the knee joint where it acts to replace your natural joint fluid and helps cushion, protect, and lubricate your knee after you tweak it looking for little Joey's ball in the environmentally sensitive hazard.

Monday
Oct192009

"It wouldn't be widely known but I've carried two sets of irons to every tournament for five years. I choose depending on the rough that week what grooves I'm going to use."

Mark Reason talks to Padraig Harrington about the impact of the groove rule change:

Harrington says: "I've talked to pros and they don't think it will make a big difference. I see it as a massive issue.

"It wouldn't be widely known but I've carried two sets of irons to every tournament for five years. I choose depending on the rough that week what grooves I'm going to use."

In the heavy rough of the majors Harrington uses the v-grooves that will still be legal next season. They hit the ball 30 yards further out of the thick stuff than the box grooves. But at the regular events Harrington has tended to use his box grooves, because they don't produce those 'fliers' that send a ball 10 yards over the green.

Monday
Oct192009

"Did you ask him why Condé Nast was shuttering Gourmet while keeping afloat some 18 other magazines, including Bon Appétit and such giants of intellectual life as Golf World and Golf Digest?"

That's a New York Times Magazine interview question from documented windbag and documented finagler Deborah Solomon, who was asking Ruth Reichl about the closing of her cooking magazine. 

Did you ask him why Condé Nast was shuttering Gourmet while keeping afloat some 18 other magazines, including Bon Appétit and such giants of intellectual life as Golf World and Golf Digest?

I was so stunned, I basically just listened.

Barack Obama walks into the doctor's office and Gourmet, Golf Digest and The New York Times Magazine are sitting on the table. I think I know which one he's picking up.

Monday
Oct192009

A Club For People Who Really Like Arthur Hills Courses

From a Naples News real estate brief:

The Arthur Hills Ambassador Partner Club Program is established by eight clubs who are linked through their golf course architect, Arthur Hills. “The idea was to bring together a select group of private clubs that represented the same values and quality in design and service,” said Ed Lockard, director of golf at Sanctuary Golf Club on Sanibel Island. The Arthur Hills Ambassador Partner Club Program is the first of its kind where separately managed private clubs around the country agreed to join together based on a common interest to form an intra-club connection. All eight clubs have agreed to a shared usage model which will be managed by the respective club management teams where members from the selected eight clubs when traveling around the country will have the ability to play golf and use the facilities as if they were a member at all eight clubs. The clubs have agreed to a nominal usage fee that will be billed back to the member’s primary club.

A nominal usage fee. I think we have new jargon for green fee.

The eight clubs are: Belle Haven Country Club, Alexandria, Va.; The Hawthorns Golf and Country Club, Indianapolis; The Ivanhoe Club, Mundelein, Ill.; Kinsale Golf Club, Nashport, Ohio; Oakhurst Golf and Country Club, Clarkston, Mich.; Oitavos Dunes, Cascais, Portugal; Palencia Golf Club, St. Augustine and The Sanctuary Golf Club, Sanibel Island. The program will be connected through a password controlled Web site allowing members of all eight clubs to correspond and post comments on their experiences.

Monday
Oct192009

Cristie Kerr: "The guys are just used to shooting nothing at a golf course and that’s not how the Firemans and Liberty wanted it to play."

Stephanie Wei caught up with Kerr, who is a Liberty National member and not a fan of the criticism issued by players. I can't wait until she plays an LPGA event at Industry Hills here in So Cal (rumored to be hosting the new tournament in 2010).  It makes Liberty National look like the Old Course.

Q: You are a member at Liberty National. What did you think of the bashing it took from the PGA Tour players during The Barclays? It sounded like a lot of them hated it.

A: Liberty is a first-rate facility. You can’t beat the views. The layout of the course is fantastic…The Firemans are very good friends of mine.

I think [the course] was [criticized] because it was set apart and [the PGA players] are used to being able to shoot 8-under every day. I happen to love the layout of the course. I think there are some changes that Dan and Paul Fireman know they have to make, like the 7th green not running away so much and some bunkers here and there. I think the spirit of the course and the way it plays are tough. And I think the guys weren’t used to having to pitch out of the rough; they weren’t used to a 7-iron releasing 8 to 10 yards. In that sense, it’s easy for a lot of players to bash the course.

The guys are just used to shooting nothing at a golf course and that’s not how the Firemans and Liberty wanted it to play. They wanted it to play like a major championship course, so that’s how they set it up — the rough was up, the greens were fast.

Sunday
Oct182009

Someone Really, Really Wants The LPGA Commissionership

Don't you have to wonder about someone begging to get an interview for the job? Naturally, he has almost no experience in the golf world so he'll probably get the gig (because that worked so well last time).

Randell Mell reports on surprise candidate Jonathan Ward and his pleas for an interview that apparently went well.

Sunday
Oct182009

Get JT In The FedEx Cup Now!

It was disappointing that the usually uber-hip SI/Golf.com Confidential failed to note that Justin Timberlake put on another stellar event, albeit one that will go largely unnoticed on the moribund fall schedule. This is not exactly a newsflash, but considering how the PGA Tour schedule is taking hits and the game's demographics are skewing gray, it's becoming obvious the tour needs to get the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open onto the West Coast Swing ASAP.

Timberlake hasn't been shy about his hopes for the event, and it seems the tour is noticing.

According to the PGA Tour's Rick George, as quoted in a story by Steve Carp, there is hope for moving out of the fall:

"I think the Shriners have done a great job of building and growing the tournament, and I know their desire to be part of the FedEx Cup," George said. "It can't happen in 2010, but there will be opportunities in 2011, and should a date become available and the time works, we would consider a change for Las Vegas."

The tour does seem to be bracing everyone for major changes in 2011 when several expired deals impact the schedule, but believe it or not, I continue to hear that there are folks in the world of golf who are uncomfortable with Timberlake, all because they can't get that earthshattering flash of nipple that they never actually saw during the 2004 Super Bowl.

Example 237,891 of golf taking itself way too seriously.

Timberlake is in the second year of a five-year deal he inked to host the golf tournament in Vegas, but the tour needs to figure out a way to keep him as enthusiastic as he once again was in presenting the event. What better way to do that than to make a 2011 spring date a top priority?

This year's event again included his charity concert with some of the hippest acts in music and coverage at places like MTV.com and People.com (which also featured a story on JT's mom doing hospitality duties for tour wives this week, obviously a campaign for sainthood). 

No, I know that it's not Huey Lewis and Clay Walker breaking out in a duet to serenade Kevin James, but when a concert tied to a PGA Tour event is drawing Taylor Swift, Timbaland and Alicia Keyes, it can only do wonders for golf's cool factor. So would fully embracing Timberlake's energetic attempts to make the Las Vegas event a marquee event on the PGA Tour.

Saturday
Oct172009

"Nothing is going to change overnight."

Nice to see Ty Votaw defusing some of the Olympics-will-grow-game-overnight hysteria in talking to John Huggan:

"Golf started as a game for the wealthy in the United States at the end of the 19th century and has evolved into a game for every level of society," claims the former LPGA commissioner, albeit more than slightly unconvincingly. "Today, 72 per cent of courses in the US are public access. We would see something similar being replicated worldwide. But this is a very long-term undertaking. Nothing is going to change overnight. We are probably talking about 60 years or so before significant change can be effected in most countries."

Friday
Oct162009

"Nobody is quite sure, however, how any of the holes were really intended to be played."

Most of the reports detailing the R&A's Road hole announcement worked right off of the press release, except two skeptical accounts from Lawrence Donegan and Bob Harig.

Donegan noted the Friday afternoon timing of the release:

Not that we are cynical here, but Josh and Toby and CJ Cregg, stalwarts of Aaron Sorkin's fictional White House, would immediately identify this as a "Friday dump" - whereby the Bartlet administration "dumped" any news it found awkward or embarrassing at the time when the media was either on its way out the door for the weekend or thinking of heading out the door for the weekend. The hope is that no-one will notice and those who do won't linger too long on the subject.

He also explored the Henry Cotton remarks that I noted were made in reference to a par-5.

It may have needed "lengthening" 45 years ago, but only if it remained as a par five. As it turned out, Cotton's suggestion was ignored. Instead, the hole was played as a par four at the 1964 Open, as it has been the case ever since. To dredge up Cotton's words now and use them in such a disingenuous way is not half as clever as it might have seemed when the press release was being worded.

And Harig questioned Peter Dawson's suggestion that the lengthening the Road hole returned to the course to the architect's original intentions:

Nobody is quite sure, however, how any of the holes were really intended to be played. The Old Course dates to the 1500s and for a time it had 12 holes, 10 of which were played both out and in, making for a total of 22 holes.