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

It is a wonderful tribute to the game or to the dottiness of the people who play it that for some people somewhere there is no such thing as an insurmountable obstacle, an unplayable course, the wrong time of the day or year.
ALISTAIR COOKE

 

   

Wednesday
Apr292009

Daly Purportedly Unveils White Belt...

In this EuropeanTour.com story on Monty's pleasure at seeing John Daly on the European Tour this week, it's hard to pay attention to the text or even Long John's promised white belt unveiling with those pants.

Head to the story link for the chance to study the pattern up close...to determine which Elton John garage sale he picked 'em up at.

 

Wednesday
Apr292009

Britain Reeling From Jerry Kelly's Decision To Skip The Open

Well, European tour professional Alastair Forsyth is upset. And he's Scottish. Still...

I'm like reader Gene, wondering if the press will view this the same way Kenny Perry's choice was treated, or if Kelly gets a pass because he's a Wisconsin guy and not as highly ranked and playing as well as Perry was.

 

Tuesday
Apr282009

"For me, I don't talk golf course architecture. That's not my whole life. I do that for a living and a job."

Matty G sat down with Tom Fazio, one of the game's artists to talk about the state of his business, money, his deep passion for his work, money, buddy trips, money and his buddy Tiger.

How much did it cost to hire you to design a course 15-20 years ago, as opposed to today?

My fee in 1989 was $500,000. And with the golf boom that occurred, fees went to $2 million.

I thought you had to have won a major to clear the $2 million hurdle?

Is it negotiable?

In my case, the number isn't negotiable. What is negotiable are the terms.

Have you ever talked design with Tiger?

No.

Do you foresee that happening?

I would think it would. I don't know. Tiger's going to be moving at some point. He's building a house in Jupiter. I saw Jack Nicklaus last night at dinner. He sat at the table next to me. We live right here in North Palm Beach. I don't get to see Tiger because he lives in Orlando but I would look forward to talking to him. It would be interesting. Everybody has their opinions and everybody sees golf a different way. Seeing it through Tiger's eye would be very different.

Hasn't Tiger said he consulted Tom Fazio before going into the business?

What is your weakness as a designer? What are you working on given the state of the game and technology?

The whole world, where we are right now, the most important issue is the economics of any project and any golf course. Economics are a factor. What can you get built for a reasonable cost. The cost is a major factor on what can be done and how it can be done. The days of being able to do whatever you want to do are not logical and practical anymore.

But it was so great while it lasted! And what a legacy of excessive budgets and designs devoid of repeat playing interest for the sport to look to!

Have you lowered your fees?

I haven't had to do that, but I think that could be in the cards depending on the location and other things. That has happened in every aspect of the game, whether it be a resort or private golf. I think we'll see the price of memberships, in lodging rates, in dues and many other things. That's very realistic of what's going to happen in the future.

Always ahead of the curve.

You say you know Mike Keiser, do you ever ask him why you didn't get a crack at one of the courses at Bandon Dunes?

Because Mike didn't want to have a course he'd have to redo in five years? Sorry, continue...

No. I'd have to go back and ask Mike if he asked me to be involved. I can't even remember. I wasn't working out west when Bandon Dunes was started. I had a reputation that I wouldn't go west of the Mississippi. It wasn't true, but people pick up on that and someone wrote it. My sons are young and the Internet is their life, and they'll see something and they'll call me and say, "Dad, can you believe what someone just wrote about you? That's awful. You can't let them get away with that." And I say, well, it's America and everyone is entitled to say what they want to say.

Hey sons! Dad's always knows best.

That's just the way it is. I have a lot of people tell me, "Gosh, I wish I would've known you work west of the Mississippi." I didn't work west of the Mississippi on multiple projects but I did one at a time. I think that's interesting.

Not really.

OK, last question. Obviously you get along with Jack, but if it's you and Tom Doak, and Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye in a room, do you guys all get along and what would be the topic of conversation?

I don't know. I don't know Tom Doak. I've never spent any time with Tom Doak. I know Pete Dye really well. In fact, when I have my big charity event, I have 50 clubs together every two years and have a two-day golf tournament called the Fazio Cup, and raise money for children's charities. And one year I had it I wanted to have a speaker. And I thought, 'Who would be the perfect guy?' And so I called Pete Dye and he did, and people were blown away. And the first thing Pete Dye says, he stands up, and says, "You SOBs out there, if you would've hired me instead of Tom, I wouldn't have charged you as much as he did." He's a character. And Jack is a good friend. I think we would talk about our kids. That's what I think we would talk about. And I would talk to Pete about that because I know his son. For me, I don't talk golf course architecture. That's not my whole life. I do that for a living and a job. I was sitting in the locker room at Seminole with several great players, a couple of great tour players, and we were talking about the economy.

Here I would have guessed they were talking reverse-Redans.

Tuesday
Apr282009

Klauk In The Fifth Major...For Now

Doug Ferguson reports that Jeff Klauk, son of longtime TPC Sawgrass super Fred Klauk who recently retired and has plenty of time to track his son's progress, is in The Players next week barring a surprise winner at Quail Hollow.

Tuesday
Apr282009

"There's going to be a break-in period"

E. Michael Johnson offers a short primer on the groove rule change and notes that many players are opting to wait until later in they year to even practice with them, something that has surprised me in conversations about the U-groove change. And apparently Jim Furyk agrees.

"I think it's a good idea in kind of getting players involved and saying, hey, don't wait till the end of year," said Jim Furyk. "This is something you want to get a hold of early on."

To that end, Furyk received some wedges with the conforming groove to test just prior to the WGC-CA Championship at Doral. Those who opt to wait, he said, might be in for a bit of a surprise.

"There's going to be a break-in period," said Furyk. "Some people will start January 1 with no issues and other guys, they are going to need some time to get used to it. But eventually, give it six months or whatever, and everyone is going to be on the same page."

Tuesday
Apr282009

"Maybe the $2 million they were going to give to Tiger is now extra prize money."

Steve Elling considers the many ramifications of the HSBC/WGC announcement, including the negative impact on the Disney event, the apparent demise of a Sea Island event in 2009, and the likelihood that Tiger and Phil will not appear too often now that the appearance fee aspect that drew them in the past has been eliminated.

Here's another potential complication for the marquee types: As a U.S.-sanctioned event, players no longer will be allowed to accept appearance fees, as Woods has done twice in the past.

"I don't think the guys are going to travel," Retief Goosen said. "I think it will be pretty much the same sort of field we have seen there in the past -- mostly European, with the Chinese and a few American players. I can't see Tiger and them going all the way there to play that.

"Tiger and Phil [Mickelson] used to go play it because they got a $2 million appearance fee, and we won't see that anymore. I think that might change some guys' minds to go.

"It was a pretty big purse before, with $5 million, now going up to $7 million. Maybe the $2 million they were going to give to Tiger is now extra prize money."

Tuesday
Apr282009

HSBC Follow Up...

Sean Martin reports on the Golfweek blog that the new WGC-HSBC event is unofficial in every respect, except for the winner getting into the Mercedes Championship. Go figure.

Tuesday
Apr282009

Golf Version 2.0

Dave Zinkand pens a guest post at Tom Dunne's site about ways to rethink the golf experience and included are several photos, including a before/after set from Rustic Canyon supplied by yours truly.

Tuesday
Apr282009

Can You Spot What's Peculiar Here?

A reader noticed something really strange about the website for The Golf Courses at Andrews Air Force Base, where President Obama played golf last Sunday.

Hint: if this is a facility restricted to American military, active and retired Federal Employees and their guests, why would this be embedded into the site?

Tuesday
Apr282009

"The club recently purchased a home that it has coveted for more than a decade. That will allow them to stretch the dogleg right par-4 to more than 450 yards."

In reading Dave Shedloski's preview of Merion for the Walker Cup and beyond, I couldn't help thinking how fun it would be if Merion sent the USGA and R&A a bill for this:

For instance, a new sixth tee has just been installed that takes the 420-yard par-4 to more than 470 yards, and it might be used during the Walker Cup Sept. 12-13. Behind the 12th tee, which is currently 371 yards, the club recently purchased a home that it has coveted for more than a decade. That will allow them to stretch the dogleg right par-4 to more than 450 yards.

Then there is the famous 18th, where a plaque commemorating Hogan's famous 1-iron at the end of regulation, sits in the left half of the fairway. Even with a new tee in place, most of today's players easily could fly drives past the Hogan marker and down the hill, leaving a short iron into the elevated green. That's why the club is considering cutting a new tee into a hill some 30-40 yards farther back, which would make the par-4 more than 500 yards.

Tuesday
Apr282009

"It's just been fun getting out the phone and typing in a little piece of B.S. or whatever"

Jason Sobel talks to Stewart Cink about his newfound stardom as a Twitter user, and while he may be jokingly calling some of his posts "B.S." (okay, I didn't need to hear that some Georgia Tech guy was drafted in the sixth round), he's definitely posted more than his share of insights.

Q: Other than that, what have been some of the advantages of being able to interact with fans?

A: Well, I think the biggest advantage is that I can get my personality out there, because it's not always easy if you're not Tiger Woods or Anthony Kim or Phil Mickelson to get a personality to show through the camera lens and into living rooms. That's difficult, because in golf -- depending on the kind of person you are -- most of the time it's better to remain kind of even-keeled and not let your emotions come out. You just want to stay focused and you've got to bear down. It's so different from other sports.

So the best thing for me is that now I've got 100,000-plus people who are getting a glimpse of Stewart Cink the person and not just what they see on television. I think it's been great for me to build a little bit of a fan base out there among the group that may not be into golf too much.

Tuesday
Apr282009

"In fairness, over the last couple of years we have started to see that the USGA, R&A and Augusta are starting to see the picture."

Interviewed by Robin Barwick using questions questions from Mark Reason, there was an entertaining round table to promote the Ballantine’s Championship. The participants were Paul McGinley, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson and Fred Couples. Plenty of highlights, including talk of Bethpage, golf in the Olympics, Stanford Financial (awkward!) and this technology exchange:

In the arena of equipment technology, is the golf ball flying too far now?

McGinley: I think the horse has bolted. The problem should have been addressed 10 years ago, when the scientists that the USGA and R&A had were not as good as the ones the manufacturers had. The manufacturers basically broke through the gates and went too far with the ball.

Els: I am against stopping technology, but people also need to be careful how they set-up golf courses. Look at Oakland Hills last year [in the US PGA Championship]. Some of those fairways were un-hittable. Look at Shinnecock Hills. A great golf course, but they were scared of the technology and scared of a low score winning, and they screwed up the golf course.

Stenson: Longer is not always better.

Els: Exactly. They need to be careful not to take a great, classic golf course, and just for the sake of stopping someone going low, screwing up the golf course.

McGinley: In fairness, over the last couple of years we have started to see that the USGA, R&A and Augusta are starting to see the picture. Augusta was great this year, Torrey Pines was great last year and Birkdale was great last year, so they are starting to get it now. Mistakes have been made in the past though, no doubt about it.

Stenson does point out that not everyone thought Birkdale was so great last year. But more importantly, it is interesting that when this topic comes up, almost no one suggests that improved athleticism was the cause. Even better, you have folks like Els openly making the connection between over-the-top setups and poor regulatory practices. Just a few years ago only select players like McGinley understood the connection. 

Monday
Apr272009

"11. Four Chinese players"

They finally got around to satisfying IMG's deal points to announcing the WGC-HSBC event in China and the field qualifications offer what I think may be a couple of buried ledes:

3. Winners from 23 PGA TOUR cosponsored events in 2009, which shall be identified as those 23 PGA TOUR events from 2008 with the highest Official World Golf Ranking Strength of Field Rating, having a rating of 40 points or more.

Bear with me. First this:

11. Four Chinese players

And? Nothing else? Just "Four Chinese Players" as a category?

So stringent!

Alright here's what I found interesting:

13. If necessary to fill the field to 78 players, additional Tournament Winners from the 2008 HSBC Champions through the event preceding the 2009 WGC-HSBC Champions, which shall be identified as those winners of events from the 2007 HSBC Champions to the 2008 HSBC Champions with the highest Official World Golf Ranking Strength of Field Rating, having a rating of 40 points or more, not listed in an above category:

2008/2009 Events    Winner
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic     Perez, Pat
Buick Open
Justin Timberlake Classic
John Deere Classic
Wyndham Championship
RBC Canadian Open
Fry's.com Open
Valero Texas Open
Turning Stone Resort Champ.
Casio World Open           Oda, Koumei
Viking Classic
BMW Italian Open
Madrid Masters
Estoril Open de Portugal           Hoey, Michael
Mitsubishi Diamond
US Bank Championship
Munsingwwear Open
Japan Tour Championship

World Ranking gurus out there, I'm wondering if this is the first time that the line has been so publicly drawn with event winners needing to come from events "having a rating of 40 points or more?"

If so, seems it could set an interesting precedent for other world events or majors?

Monday
Apr272009

"If Mickelson ever gets wind of these numbers, we may see him retire the white belt for good."

I think Jason Sobel is right, the numbers-cruncher in Phil Mickelson will have a hard time looking past the white belt jinx, as researched by David Axelson in Atlanta:

In five of those rounds the cursed belt was worn, only once was he able to break par -- at Poppy Hills in Round 2 of the AT&T -- for a stroke average of +1.8 compared to a -1.2 season average and -2.3 in dark belt rounds.

In wins, the white belt was only worn for the second round at Riviera, a 1-over 72 after shooting 63 in the first round. No white belts at Doral, although three white shirts -- a decision that may have won him the championship.

At the Masters, he wore the white belt in the first round (1-over 73), but never again, posting scores of 68-71-67 in the final three rounds.

Monday
Apr272009

"I don't know if it's ever going to become a rule or not. It might."

Stewart Cink's Traveler's Championship media day press conference was crashed by Chris Berman, U.S. Open lead announcer on ESPN and legendary flip out artist.  With such extenuating circumstances, it was tough for the normally wise Cink to do anything but dumb down his comments. After all, isn't that a natural reaction when Berman is in the room?

Anyway, this was interesting:

STEWART CINK: There's a pretty popular proposal right now that's circulating around the players and staff to play one in four, sort of called the one in four thing, where everyone would be required to play every tournament on TOUR at least once out of four years. It's gotten some traction. I don't know if it's ever going to become a rule or not. It might.

There's positives and negatives to it. Obviously the positives are Tiger Woods is going to come to every tournament eventually. That's a great thing for all tournaments. The negatives are, when you start imposing rules on that like independent contractors, they can also choose to not play at all. There would be nothing stopping Tiger Woods from playing the European Tour for a few years or the rest of his career. He's got that kind of power. Unfortunately he could do that. That would be a serious mistake if we did that. Got to look at things from both sides.

Later on, sensing the media questions were making too much sense, Berman chimed in with this dazzler:

CHRIS BERMAN: Being a defending champ, once you tee it up, that and $4.95 will get you a latte at Starbucks. You did it before. You've won other events. Is it important to defend well? I don't know if that's the right question.

No, no Chris, that was wonderful. Keep going.

Then again, as defending champ, you have more obligations. Finally getting to the first tee, you exhale a little bit. Having done it here and a few other places, do you think you'll be better prepared?

Monday
Apr272009

Now That's The Image Of A Rivalry!

Donald Miralle of Getty Images shot from golf.com's gallery showing Suzann Pettersen and Lorena Ochoa in a stare down looked ominous. Borderline on-course cat fight stuff.

Then I saw Claudio Cruz's shot from the same point in the round (featured with SI's PGA Tour Confidential). Turns out, they were talking white skirts or cut quality or hemlines or whatever fashionista's talk about.

Monday
Apr272009

"Industry sources estimated the category could be worth up to $50 million a year in new sponsorship dollars."

Jon Show reports that the PGA Tour is considering--brace yourselves at the horror of it all--taking sponsorship money from purveyors of the last legal drug.

Industry sources estimated the category could be worth up to $50 million a year in new sponsorship dollars.

The PGA Tour has considered such a move before but didn’t take action because of the stigma attached to the category, said a tour source. The PGA Tour’s board of directors would have to approve any change in the rules, and there is no firm timetable for a decision.

Only in America could alcohol--consumed by millions on a daily basis and freely available on nearly every street corner--somehow have a stigma attached while companies can freely advertise expensive, prescription-required boner pills.

Monday
Apr272009

Daly Tweets First Jab At Ex-Wives 

So if you took that bet on an ex-wife reference before 1000 Twitter followers for Long John, collect! The "tweet":

such fun when ex's & her friends want to play games & talk their smak on twitter & I'm here for my fans & friends--lord help me

Sunday
Apr262009

President Obama Tees It Up; Changes Shoes In The Parking Lot!**

Well, it wasn't a public outcry, but nearly one when sixty commenters chimed in on the all-vital question of appropriate shorts construction.

I must say it's a bit shocking that President Obama passed up the chance to watch day two of the NFL Draft coverage and its orgy of over analysis providing exhibit 1A that America is doomed when it's spending a spring weekend hanging on Mel Kiper Jr.'s analysis of a 7th round pick.

Anyway, the Prez answered one of the most pressing questions of his first 100 days, as posed by Leonard Shapiro: where would the first Obama round be played? Andrews Air Force Base GC. Wait, the high-paid branding experts have even managed to get their hands on a government golf course. Excuse me, The Courses at Andrews Air Force Base.

Note that in the photo gallery accompanying the AP story, the President is changing his shoes in the parking lot. Isn't that forbidden at courses titled The ___ at _____?  I smell a new controversy!

Sunday
Apr262009

The Caddie Soccer Game?

Randell Mell served up this note about Lorena Ochoa looper Dave Brooker:

Brooker broke a foot in the caddie soccer game at the course on Saturday night, LPGA officials confirmed. Ochoa has a trustworthy sub, though. Rafael Alarcon, her coach, is toting her bag. Alarcon has been her coach since her junior days.

Don't they get enough exercise in by day to be playing a night soccer game? And at the host venue?

Then again, wouldn't you love a PGA Tour caddy soccer game on the 18th fairway at TPC Sawgrass Wednesday night after the caddie competition? How long would they go before Mark Russell issue Stevie a yellow card, only to see the master luggage toter flip out and pay homage to Jerry Pate by hurling a couple of rules staff members into the drink?