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




"Mention of Woods and Mickelson will no doubt prompt the PGA Tour's marketing gurus to point that the involvement of the game's two most compelling figures rendered all objections inconsequential."

I'm surprised at the short-sightedness of so many otherwise intelligent writers who see Phil and Tiger in a photo together and declare the FedEx Cup format a resounding success. Sure, it's grown tiresome to debate points permutations, but how about a little big picture and consideration for the long-term potential of the FedEx Cup. You know, to actually make early fall golf compelling are good reasons to keep exposing its flaws. Or, say, when Tiger and Phil aren't batting it around any longer.

Thankfully, Lawrence Donegan isn't close to sold on the latest version:

Mention of Woods and Mickelson will no doubt prompt the PGA Tour's marketing gurus to point that the involvement of the game's two most compelling figures rendered all objections inconsequential. In the bad old days, before the FedEx Cup, the Californian twosome were seldom seen after the PGA Championship in August. Now they were playing golf in September, and for four successive events.

This is a fair point. But it shouldn't be allowed to pass without someone asking why did Woods and Mickelson play all four "play-off" events this year? Not for the $10m (according to this report Tiger's PGA Tour pension will one day be valued at $1bn) and not for the prestige (Tiger and Phil like to win on any Sunday but they like to win most of all on major championship Sundays). No, the reason they played all four "play-off" events is that Finchem asked them earlier in the year to give extra support to the PGA Tour's efforts to keep its sponsors happy.


"In addition to their equipment, players may also need to spend considerable time changing their course strategy and technique."

I was poking around Stan Utley's new website and he posts a few thoughts on how he sees the groove rule change impacting the sport.

He also links to Titleist's groove report, which I had never read. Naturally I enjoyed a warm chuckle reading this alarming revelation:

The magnitude of these changes is far greater than most players anticipate. All players will be required to make time and resource consuming changes to their game to address the impact of these performance differences. Beyond wedge and iron changes, players will likely consider other equipment changes such as their golf ball, driver and set composition. In addition to their equipment, players may also need to spend considerable time changing their course strategy and technique.

Brain cells might move around, forehead wrinkles could develop and players are likely to use their arms to support their chin to ease the burden of extra brain activity. Now you see why we need universal health care in this country. It's all the USGA's fault. Always is!


Hyler Nomination Reaction

There's not a whole lot to say about Jim Hyler's nomination to be the next USGA President, and that's about the highest compliment you can pay the USGA these days!

Hyler figures to maintain the even-keeled style of Jim Vernon. And as perhaps the most influential proponent of Mike Davis's efforts to get more out of course setups in hopes of producing exciting championships and worthy champions, he will likely maintain and even expand on the best thing of today's USGA.



Golf As It Should Be Files: Marion

I visited George Thomas's first design many years ago now and it's fun to read a new review of Marion, as posted by Tom Dunne on his Out and Back blog.

The door was locked, a sign informing visitors to pay their green fee to the employee working somewhere out on the course. Marion is the closest thing I’ve seen in this country to the much-loved “honesty-box” courses one encounters in rural Scotland.


"It's a golf tournament, not a swap meet."

In an especially lively Up and Down column, Steve Elling shares this anecdote from last week's telecast which I did not see. Several have mentioned it though:

Every week, the CEO of whatever company sponsors that week's tour event gets a few moments of blather time during the broadcast to toot their corporate horn and spout clichés about what a great week it was. In Atlanta, the top dog at Coca-Cola used his TV opportunity to hoist a bottle of Coke during his live interview with NBC's Dan Hicks. Then the guy showed up for the awards ceremony with Mickelson and Woods on the 18th green drinking from yet another bottle of the company's product. Times may be tough, but this is way beyond gauche and bordering on crass. It's a golf tournament, not a swap meet.

I do wonder if this rather desperate move speaks to Coca-Cola feeling like it's been lost in the shuffle at East Lake? Most of the event is focused on the FedEx Cup and if it weren't for the Coke bottle sets as tee markers, I would not have any sense of Coca-Cola's presence as Tour Championship sponsor.


"Confused NASCAR Driver Runs Over 30 Golfers During Attempt To Win FedEx Cup"

Thanks to reader thusgone for catching this Onion story on the FedEx Cup. Just the kind of brand recognition the golf playoffs were looking for.


Road Hole Still Unsafe For Passage

Trevor Immelman posted a photo on Twitter from his Old Course Hotel room. Besides showing us the awesome view, it's quite apparent that even with new groove rules that are going to make players throttle back and use softer balls, this delivering a backdoor ball rollback, the R&A still refuses to open up the Road hole fairway. Instead they've retained the dreadful path-width corridor we saw at the last Open and apparently will see again. It's just so tacky.



McIlroy Demonstrates Team-Player Cred By Showing Up To 7:30 A.M Meetings...Early!

Seems young Rory has shed the label as an anti-Ryder Cup villain and is now aligned to not only star at Celtic Manor next year, but just moved ahead of Monty in the 2036 Ryder Cup captaincy race. Iain Carter blogs:

The 20-year-old did so while praising his captain Paul McGinley - the real star of the four sun-blessed days at Saint-Nom-La-Breteche. "Every team meeting was at half-seven this week and I actually looked forward to being in those team meetings," McIlroy said.

"I was usually turning up at quarter-past seven because there was such a buzz about them. You had all the lads in there with their ideas and Paul has a load of great ideas, especially with the team format, the foursomes and the four-balls."

It was interesting to see Mark Reason display a slight fissure in the all-things-Rory coverage:

Fourteen under par for 34 holes of better ball would be pretty fancy golf, but McDowell and McIlroy were playing greensomes and foursomes – phenomenal. The Northern Irish boys relish playing in the top match and they headed what is turning into an annihilation. GB&I take a seven-point lead over Europe into the final day of the Vivendi Trophy.

The pom-poms will be out for McIlroy again, but give some respect to McDowell. The older of the Northern Irishmen is proving himself a formidable match player. He doesn't make many mistakes and he holes a bucketful of momentum-building putts.


2009 Tour Championship Photo Caption Fun

What's on Phil's mind? What's the Commissioner saying to Tiger? From Rob Matre's final round photo gallery:


McGinley "Shoo-in" For 2014 Ryder Cup Captaincy Until Monty Gets Word

The scribes covering the Event Formerly Known As The Seve Trophy were so pleased with Paul McGinley's "man management" that they're penciling him in for the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. That is, until Monty finds out and removes McGinley from his Assistant Captain consideration and nominates himself ala Ian Woosnam to helm the teams in 2012 and 2014.


And When There Were Eight...

Here's how the finale would have been had they just played an 8-man shootout over 18 holes of the Tour Championship (I'd prefer 36 the last day):

Phil Mickelson 65

Sean O'Hair 69

Steve Stricker 69

Padraig Harrington


Tiger Woods 70

Steve Marino 71

Ernie Els 71

Kenny Perry 74


"I think you should call Dave Stockton."

This can't bode well for Dave Pelz's future as part of Team Mickelson...from Doug Ferguson's notes:

Maybe Phil Mickelson should give a bigger chunk of his Tour Championship winnings to longtime caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay.

Turns out, it was Mackay who urged Lefty to get a few putting tips last week from Dave Stockton, the former PGA champion renowned for his advice on the greens.

"I said, 'Bones, I've been kind of floundering here, not having the right direction. I want you to think about it,"' Mickelson said. "He came back the next day and he said, 'I think you should call Dave Stockton. You guys putt the same. You've talked to him in the past and he had some great ideas."'

Stockton was at Torrey Pines last week for an LPGA Tour event, and Mickelson set up a meeting. The result: Lefty was persuaded to go back to a style he and Stockton both find more comfortable, in which the hands are pressed slightly forward ahead of the club and the stance is slightly wider than conventional wisdom.

"He was the first one to articulate (about) my hands getting ahead," Mickelson said. "Other guys can putt other ways, but this is the best way to putt. Once he said that, I said, 'Yeah, that's right, I've always believed that.' So I went back to it, and it's been like a night and day difference for me."

Bob Smiley thinks he has the lowdown on Phil's teaching family tree.


Phil Wins; Woods Solidifies FedEx Cup With Unforgettable Second Place Finish

...after being subjected to my relentless ranting, you know where I stand.

So what did you all think of Sunday's points permutation madness, the state of Tiger's game, Phil's resurgent putting, NBC's coverage, etc...?


FedEx Cup Trophy Reflection Help

I couldn't help but notice the reflection of Dan and Johnny's notes in today's FedEx Cup trophy. Our La Habra-based art director Tom Naccarato was able to pick up one of Johnny's note pads, but we couldn't make out his fifth mantra. (See third image.) If anyone can translate what they see in the trophy reflection, please post below.



Woods Eyes Two-Way Tie For Third To Clinch Cup

Because the dreaded three-way tie will cost him the $10 million first prize.

It's the stuff kids will be mimicking on putting greens across the land: two putts and I get out of the logjam for third to win the FedEx Cup!

The possibilities are so exciting I might even watch. Just look how seriously media takes this, as Jim McCabe explains what it will take for certain players to win Sunday and includes this longshot:

• Wins the Tour Championship, while . . .
Only kidding. Charles Coody has no chance at the FedEx Cup Championship. At least we don’t think so.

Now, if this were my call we would have played 54 holes, then cut the field to eight who would play 36 holes tomorrow for all of the FedEx Cup loot. One day, $10 million for first place.

Here would be the eight if they cut after 54 holes (no playoff would have been necessary):

Kenny Perry
Tiger Woods
Phil Mickelson
Sean O'Hair
Steve Marino
Padraig Harrington
Steve Stricker
Ernie Els

Had the Tour followed the ADT format and cut after 36 holes and then again 54, Stricker would have been out and either John Senden or Stewart Cink would be in the final eight.

Even better, you have a mix of stars and some guys who would give their left testicle for $10 million. Presumably television would want this over the mess they have now that essentially ensures Tiger Woods will play golf for four days, and not much else.


If The FedEx Cup Used The Old ADT Format... would be the 2009 Tour Championship's Saturday 16 using the 2006 version where the field of 32 was cut to 16 on Saturday and 54-hole scores decided the final 8 for Sunday's $1 million shootout (no playoff would have been necessary):

Tiger Woods
Padraig Harrington
Sean O'Hair
Ernie Els
Kenny Perry
Jerry Kelly
Angel Cabrera
Jason Dufner
Nick Watney
Lucas Glover
Stewart Cink
David Toms
Phil Mickelson
Jim Furyk
John Senden
Steve Marino

And the non-qualifiers:

Heath Slocum
Scott Verplank
Luke Donald
Retief Goosen
Steve Stricker
Zach Johnson
Kevin Na
Dustin Johnson
Brian Gay
Mike Weir
Hunter Mahan
Marc Leishman
Y.E. Yang
Geoff Ogilvy


"If Monty had talked to Poulter, then he’d have realized that Poulter had a cast-iron reason for not turning up in Paris."

That's right, Poulter had to play in an Orlando Magic fundraiser, so take that Alistair Tait, who takes Monty to task:

To single out Poulter for missing this week’s Vivendi Trophy points to a deeper rift with the Englishman. How else do you explain why he named only Poulter when he could have criticized other potential 2010 Ryder Cup team members who failed to play in what was formerly the Seve Trophy?

Now that is a fair point since Justin Rose was playing in the same event and also passed on this week's Event Formerly Known As The Seve Trophy.


So Much For The Return Of The Push Cart?

Just when we thought he push cart was generating excitement and getting people to walk more, Vladislav Savov of Engadget introduces us to the "Mantys Golf Caddy." It's sort of a pull cart meets Segway in the vein of a golf cart. Thanks to reader Kevin for this.


Next Brand Lady To Be Named Soon apparently reported that PGA Tour VP Jon "ironclad" Podany has been interviewed for the LPGA gig (but I can't find it on their site using the search engine so here's Doug Ferguson's note). SBJ later confirmed the report.

Meanwhile Ron Sirak says it's coming down to WNBA Commish Donna Orender and USGA CBO Pete Bevacqua.

So who fits the bill as golf insiders with business experience? The two names getting the most juice are Donna Orender (shown on the left alongside Amy Mickelson last week at the Samsung World Championship), president of the WNBA and a former VP with the PGA Tour who was involved in TV negotiations there, and Pete Bevacqua, the Chief Business Officer of the USGA who has helped direct a streamlining of the operation at golf's governing body. According to sources, both have been interviewed by Spencer Stuart and both have some important supporters backing their candidacies. Both also have roots in golf and strong business experience.

The bigger story with the latter two candidates is not that they are up for the job, but that they are fleeing sinking ships. The WNBA is toast and Orender will gladly take the LPGA pay cut. Meanwhile the business side of USGA affairs figures to be down for several years to come, with a huge money loser looming at Merion in 2013.

As a blogger it's a no brainer. I just can't work with Bevacqua (sorry Pete!). Donna now, that's another story. This is Brand Lady The Sequel.

Oh please God think of me when you guide the LPGA search committee. Monty's only captain for 12 more months and the major venues are actually great next year. Please! Pretty please?


"When Sandy Lyle was railing against Montgomerie in July, there were those who wished Lyle would put a sock in it. The same could be said about Montgomerie now."

Monty gets scolded by Hoppy!

Montgomerie, who is renowned among golf journalists seeking his opinions as being "wonderful on Wednesdays", when he can range over any topic and likes little better than doing so. These days he is rarely so fulsome and articulate on a Friday when he has often missed the halfway cut. Journalists who coined the "wonderful on Wednesdays" phrase have a similarly alliterative phrase for his performance on a Friday but it is best not repeated.

What day was it when Montgomerie criticised Poulter? Ah yes, a Wednesday. Somehow, Montgomerie has to learn to temper his natural intelligent articulacy with some diplomacy. Montgomerie and diplomacy go together about as well as wedges and shanks. It promises to make the next year a very interesting time indeed.

Monty's "natural intelligent articulacy" must never be tempered!