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.
ARNOLD PALMER


    

Friday
Jan162009

Monty's Rare Great Mood Confirms He Has The Ryder Cup Captaincy Locked Up For 2010

John Hopkins declares that Monty has the 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy because, after all, it's just common sense really...

European Tour officials, having made a policy decision to select the best available captain for each future Ryder Cup, are doing everything they can to make sure that Europe regain the trophy that was lost at Valhalla last year and will shortly confirm that the Scot will lead the team in Wales.

It must be difficult to type with that brown stuff blocking one's view of the laptop screen? Wait, what? You say there's more?

Blessedly, Paul Casey lays out where Monty's street cred lies with the 18-49 year olds:

“He was very attentive.” Casey said. “He asked us what we wanted. We said, ‘A ping pong table in the team room.’ He showed good attention to detail. He spoke well at meetings. He got the guys nicely motivated. There was lots of consultation with us. We felt very much a team.”

It does take a younger captain to know which European Tour go-fer will be best at ordering the proper ping pong table. Over 50s only know about things like shuffle board and where to get a really great massage in Madrid.

This wire story reported that Monty has not been offered the role, and he can't imagine why anyone would be betting on him!

"It hasn't changed to that degree. I don't know why there's betting. I don't look at the bets -- I'm not a betting man. I don't know where this has come from. I have no idea," Montgomerie said.

Okay, one denial was enough! One more denial and someone might get the wrong idea. Monty is, however, sure of one thing: over 50-somethings have no business being captain!  Though as Lawrence Donegan reports, Monty feels for Sandy Lyle, even though a decision has not been made yet.

Montgomerie has been a vocal supporter of his fellow Scot but today he seemed to concede his efforts had come to naught. "It would be a great shame if Sandy missed out, but in the end this is not my decision," he said. "I am just one voice on a committee of 15."

Monty does have Europe's most accomplished player on his side, as Mark Reason reports Padraig Harrington's glowing praise for the decision that has not been made yet.

But really, do any of these stories matter compared to the ugly business Donegan first revealed yesterday and writes about in more detail today. The betting! Don't worry, new Dubai resident and Euro Tour head man George O'Grady is on the case.

O'Grady was more forthcoming on Thursday after it appeared the potential candidates learned all they needed to know from the online betting exchanges. In the aftermath of Tuesday's meeting Montgomerie, who was a 50–1 shot last weekend, suddenly appeared on the ­Betfair market as an odds-on chance. "No decision has been taken so far," the tour's chief executive said. "We are aware of the movements in the various odds. We invite any gaming company to contact the European Tour with any evidence of betting irregularity. This will be fully investigated."

For its part, Betfair said last night it would be happy to cooperate with any sporting body which had concerns over gambling. "Uniquely, we have a full record of every market on our exchange. We know the identity of every person who has made a bet and exactly how much money is involved," said a spokesman, Tony Calvin, adding that before Tuesday's meeting the market on the 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy suggested a contest between Olazábal, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam. "Clearly, someone has had a whisper that Mr Montgomerie was in the mix."

Let the investigation begin to determine who whispered that no decision has been made yet!

Friday
Jan162009

Woods Making Inaugural Festivities Appearance

From his website:

It was announced today that Tiger Woods has accepted an invitation to speak at the live presentation of We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial Opening Celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural, to be presented live by HBO on SUNDAY, JAN. 18 at 2:30 p.m.(ET)/11:30 a.m. (PT).

"I am honored that I was invited to this historic event, and look forward to participating in Sunday's festivities," Woods said. 

Friday
Jan162009

"After stroking a few putts along the bumpy practice chipping green, Monty strolled over to the white picket fence."

In reporting on Monty's sudden emergence as the likely 2010 European Ryder Cup captain, Derek Lawrenson asks:

Did his contemporaries persuade Monty that his time is now and that he will be too old at 51 in five years? Nobody is commenting publicly, but such a thought certainly chimes with the belief of several committee members, who emerged from the meeting to say that, after defeat at Valhalla last time, it is imperative to get the right man.

Funny, just the day before Monty mused about 50-somethings being too old to Captain. Now here I, a cynical blogger, merely thought it was another example of Monty speaking before thinking. But then I went back and read Mark Reason's original story where the Scot planted the over-50 seed.

After stroking a few putts along the bumpy practice chipping green, Monty strolled over to the white picket fence. Unlike many a pro sportsman he did not park his bum on the fence, but spoke at length, and with great sense, about the Ryder Cup.

Was our Monty using the media to lay the groundwork for his captaincy. My, he's clever!

Thursday
Jan152009

Say It So: Even Money On Monty For 2010! **

Lawrence Donegan reports the stunning shift in online wagering that has overnight lifted Monty from 10-1 longshot to an even-money second favorite to captain the 2010 European Ryder Cup team.

My sources say that Monty, after ragging on the over-50 set and doing some math to realize he'll be 51 in 2014, started a Gordon Gekko-esque operation to drive up his online betting stock and at the same time, bring joy to bloggers on the westside of Los Angeles desperate for the great-Scot-in-his-own-mind to remain in the spotlight.

Donegan says it's something else. Sort of:

Like Olazábal, Montgomerie has been intent on playing his way on to the team but the fact is he is now 127th in the world rankings and showing no signs of recapturing the form that once made him an automatic choice for any Ryder Cup side. But if he is not the player he once was, he still the remains a significant figure on tour — popular with fans and, more important in these straighten financial times, popular with sponsors.

It has long been assumed the Scot would take on the Ryder Cup captaincy in 2014, when the event will be played in Scotland, but there is a mood within the players' committee after Nick Faldo's captaincy that the team needs a captain who competes regularly against, and is in touch with, potential team members.

Thursday
Jan152009

Chad Campbell Lays Foundation For Next PGA Tour Spot Touting The Power Of A Quiet Mind

Thursday
Jan152009

"It could be a blessing. They pulled him over 50 yards [outside the nightclub]."

John Hawkins talks to Hank Haney about the state of Charles Barkley's Golf Channel reality show after the NBA great's DUI.  Thankfully, it's still on despite the arrest report that has sponsors and other network execs fleeing.

Haney and Barkley had taped five of the eight episodes before the DUI. While production was on hiatus anyway, it's unclear when the final three episodes will be produced as Barkley deals with legal issues and an alcohol problem as big as the man struggling with it. Haney, who quit drinking in 1986, could see the situation getting more serious and had hinted to his friend that things weren't OK.

Still, grown men don't tell each other how to behave. Haney was with Barkley earlier on the night he got pulled over, which doesn't exactly lighten the load of regret, but, he says, "It could be a blessing. They pulled him over 50 yards [outside the nightclub]. They were waiting for him, and nobody got hurt."

Wednesday
Jan142009

"I'd like to know why Jack designed this"

Brian Lee in the Tucson Citizen takes a sneak peak at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, new home to the WGC Match Play.

The signature Jack Nicklaus- built course, utilizing two of three finished 9-hole layouts, will be "typically" Nicklaus, said general manager Kenn DePew of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain resort. That means intriguing and multiple bunkers, tempting space and undulating greens with eight to 10 possible pin placements each.

"I'd like to know why Jack designed this," DePew said. "Not that I question it. I just want to know what the reasons are. There is going to be some good golf played here."

Well I'm sure he'll be happy to take your call anytime to answer questions about his thought process.

But a Ritz-Carlton designed for tournament play is not just about the worldwide pros. The change from the much narrower straight-out-and-in Gallery course of the first two years of Tucson WGC play, is a fans' delight or relief, depending on how you look at it.

"The Gallery was beautiful but was a lot of walking," DePew says. "It was a load of work. This is fan friendly."

And at just a few yards under 8,000, it's oh so quaint.

Wednesday
Jan142009

Woods Considering Early Comeback To Halt Endless Stream Of Inane Stories Speculating On His Return

I won't link any of the guilty scribes because they are doing their job (the few left). But please, Tiger, return ASAP and make them stop! 

Wednesday
Jan142009

Monty: Over 50s Out Of Touch With Today's Youth

I'm not sure where that leaves Monty since he'll be 51 when his self-appointed captaincy comes up (2014),  but he tells Mark Reason that once they turn 50, Ryder Cup captains lose all sense of what's going on!

Montgomerie said: "We found last time with Faldo's situation that you do lose as a captain over 50 [is this bad news for the 50-year-old Sandy Lyle] a sense of what's happening with the youngsters, a feeling of what's going on."

Given Faldo's obvious lack of empathy with parts of his team, was it surprising that he appointed only one assistant captain? And would Montgomerie be prepared to help out in Wales if he didn't make the team in 2010?

He said: "I would be willing to do anything to help. I said so pre-Faldo when he didn't pick me. I was surprised that Darren, who has played in five of these things, and myself, who has played in eight, were left sitting at home last time. I am sure we could have helped the European cause in some way.

"I was fully expecting some sort of call when the voicemail came through from Nick. At the end of his spiel about, 'I'm sorry, I haven't picked you because' – which I fully accepted, I didn't play well enough to get selected – I did expect the follow on: 'But would you come out to help in some way'. Anything. But it didn't happen. I'm sure Darren would have felt a similar way."

Wednesday
Jan142009

"And while we're on a roll, how about losing the cryptic jargon."

Bad day for the Brand Lady Carolyn Bivens as Ron Sirak reveals the name she gave her project to shed the LPGA Tour of all those pesky longtime sponsors in favor of new ones who spoke her language: "Vision 2010."

And in this week's SI, Dottie Pepper all but explains how the Commish has messed up. Somehow the vision of Paula Creamer picking up the phone to try and repair the ADT relationship may just mark an all-time low for Bivens:

The LPGA players are a tremendous asset when it comes to drumming up new business and trying to save sponsor relationships. Paula Creamer, for example, called ADT when it was announced that the company would no longer sponsor the year-ending tour championship. She did it because she had a personal connection with company executives and wanted to do whatever she could do to save the business relationship. The tour needs to use players in this manner and be thankful for their commitment.

And while we're on a roll, how about losing the cryptic jargon. For example, the LPGA's announcement said that it hoped to create "economic empowerment opportunities" and "to establish executional excellence as standard." How about "provide our members with as many business opportunities as possible" and "do the very best job we can"? Putting a human touch on the sport starts with the way you talk about it.

Wednesday
Jan142009

"That’s akin to eliminating the need to water six courses, saving an estimated 1.5 billion gallons each year."

Because I was going for a big picture take on Obama, bailouts, the WPA and golf, my Golf World viewpoint did not get into too many specifics regarding environmental retrofitting of existing courses. However, I can't think of a simpler, more sensical model for saving water, improving energy efficiency, creating courses that better co-exist with the environment or doing more to improve golf's image than the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "Water Smart Landscape Program."

Cindy Elliott recently wrote about it and other water-saving programs for Golfweek:

...the program provides courses and other property owners with a rebate of $1.50 for every square foot of turf converted to xeriscape, a lush but water-efficient landscape alternative that requires virtually no maintenance once established.

Major conversions at facilities, including Spanish Trails Golf and Country Club, Red Rock Country Club and Wild Horse Golf Course, have contributed to the transformation of 629 existing acres. That’s akin to eliminating the need to water six courses, saving an estimated 1.5 billion gallons each year.

Imagine how much water and energy could be saved if we could establish a federal program mimicking the SNWA's concept. Seems like a serious win-win here for our courses and the country.

Wednesday
Jan142009

"It's a big year for our talent"

Jim Gorant files a short profile of new Golf Channel man Tom Stathakes, who has shaken up the production team and is looking to elevate the channel's PGA Tour coverage. He's bringing in Paul Azinger for a few telecasts and evaluating the entire announce team. With incidents like this, sounds like there'll be some sleepless nights in Orlando.

Tuesday
Jan132009

Euro Committee Decides That They Better Not Look Indecisive **

First reported to be putting their decision off until May, the committee charged with selecting the next Euro Ryder Cup Captain decided that they might look indecisive if they didn't decide on a captain by the end of this month. Or so Mike Aitken reports:

It was originally believed that if the committee could not reach an agreement this week then the issue would go into cold storage and not be settled until their next scheduled meeting at the Irish Open in May.

While the committee were not prepared to rush their deliberations, it now seems they've listened to concerns that waiting until the spring would make the Tour look indecisive and was not in Europe's best interests.

The players' willingness to choose Europe's next captain this month rather than in May also eliminates charges of favouritism and the possibility of anyone being branded a "second choice" captain.

That means you Sandy!

Tuesday
Jan132009

How Much The Tour Misses Tiger Files

Bob Smiley notes this oddity from PGATour.com's Mercedes Championship coverage.

 

Tuesday
Jan132009

"The last few years we've got stuck in this narrow fairway, long rough kind of setup that's really quite similar every week we play, I think."

A highlight from Geoff Ogilvy's teleconference call today, answering a question about sameness on the PGA Tour:

GEOFF OGILVY: It wasn't really a comment about the architecture of the course we play; it was more about the setup we play. The last few years we've got stuck in this narrow fairway, long rough kind of setup that's really quite similar every week we play, I think. Kapalua is the exact opposite of that: wide fairways, rough is really not in play, big greens. Everything is just different about Kapalua than we play a lot of the year.

I just think a bit more variation in the setup. The TOUR, there was a big player meeting at Charlotte last year where the players and the TOUR got back on the same page about how we think we should set our golf courses up. Maybe we've got a bit off track trying to set them up as extremely narrow, as extremely hard as we can recently, kind of chasing the U.S. Open model, can we add a bit more interest back into our courses? Over the next few years, the TOUR is already taking about a bit more interest in the setup, maybe a little bit less rough. They've already done it at Sawgrass by cutting the rough down and changing the course. I think we're on the right track. I think for a while we got stuck in the narrow fairway, long rough kind of golf course. I think, to be honest with you, there's definitely a time and place for it, but every week it kind of gets boring. That was my point. It's more of a setup thing than an architecture thing.

Tuesday
Jan132009

Part Of The Solution?

My Golf World "Viewpoint" on Barack Obama, bailouts, the WPA and golf's place in the big picture has been posted at GolfDigest.com. Editor Geoff Russell also sets up the piece in his editor's letter.

Let me know what you think.

 

Tuesday
Jan132009

Tadd's Back!

Fujikawa Monday qualifies to spice things up at the Sony Open. I just wonder where he'll be staying. Oh wait, he lives there. 

Tuesday
Jan132009

“A union of uncompromised originals”

...uncompromised? The R&A? Aren't they the ones who change courses instead of the equipment rules? Anyway, score one for the USGA...

The R&A and SABMiller plc today announced that they have enteredinto a long term agreement under which Pilsner Urquell, the iconic beer brand from SABMiller, will become the Official Beer of The Open Championship.

The arrangement is effective from the upcoming 2009 Championshipat Turnberry and will last for five years, taking in confirmed future Championships at St Andrews, Royal St George’s and Royal Lytham and St Annes.

Vinod Giri, International Brand Director of SABMiller plc said, “The heritage, authenticity and premium nature of The Open Championship offer fantastic synergies for Pilsner Urquell. Both brands are the original, uncompromised leaders in their fields and set the gold standard. We are excited by this partnership, and look forward to building a long and successful association with The R&A.”

David Hill, R&A Director of Championships, said, “The R&A is delighted to welcome Pilsner Urquell as the Official Beer of The Open Championship. I’m sure spectators at this year’s Open at Turnberry will be delighted that such an iconic beer is available throughout the Open Championship site.”

Yes, especially since getting to the property will induce migraines.

Monday
Jan122009

"I like watching golf as much as the next sentient being, but four hours of it from the third round of a 32-man event? It's too much, and it leads to bad TV." **

Every member of the SI Golf Plus team--except for Steve the night janitor (who forgot his login name)-- piled onto golf.com's new weekly email roundtable to kick around Geoff Ogilvy's win at Kapalua. Weighing in at a hefty three pages - a novel by online standards - Gary Van Sickle opened up the conversation with concerns about, ironically, the length of Golf Channel's telecast.

While I love the chance to watch live golf in the evening, that doesn't mean I want to watch it the entire evening. What is this, the U.S. Open? I like watching golf as much as the next sentient being, but four hours of it from the third round of a 32-man event? It's too much, and it leads to bad TV.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Is a four-hour telecast too much? Obviously, yes ... every other week of the year. But I love watching the Mercedes because the course makes for thrilling golf, the surfers and spouting whales are a fun diversion, and I'm usually ready to plug back in after months without a meaningful golf tournament. But the mood quickly passes, and then I prefer a shorter telecast to assist my DVR'ing.

I agree that the oversaturation was too much even with those stunning views and much improved production values thanks to Brandt Packer and Jack Graham.

But a greater concern for the PGA Tour should be the burden these excessive telecasts have on the announce teams and the potential created for idiotic commentary. I contended last year that the Kelly Tilghman's back alley lynch remark was largely a product of the announce conditions (too many hours to fill, too many executives wanting ESPN-cutesy humor that is not Tilghman's strongsuit).

This year Rich Lerner was charged with killing time via lengthy interviews and as was pointed out here, Boo Weekley came dangerously close to saying something embarrassing. Readers also noted that Lerner, innocently killing time, may have crossed a line in questioning Davis Love about his return to Hawaii.

As readers pointed out, Golf Channel's sycophantic coverage of Anthony Kim signing autographs and driving off in his courtesy car bordered on the ridiculous. Throw in way too much time for Mark Rolfing to fulfill his obligations to whoever in Hawaii is paying for raves, and the Mercedes Championship was a reminder that more telecast hours do not necessarily translate to a better "product." At four hours with announcers who can only say so much, the pacing is setting the stage for a product liability disaster.

Monday
Jan122009

Euro Ryder Cup Committee Hopes A Few More Months Of Missed Cuts Will Convince Ollie to Reconsider

John Hopkins reports that the committee selecting Europe's 2010 Ryder Cup captain has postponed their decision, giving the British press until May to dig up every conceivable anonymous quote against Sandy Lyle.

Chief of these is that some of the 15-man committee want José María Olazábal, Nick Faldo’s vice-captain at Valhalla in Louisville last September, to be captain. However, Olazábal, 42, is reluctant to accept the challenge, preferring first to recover from the rheumatism and fatigue that disrupted his season in 2008 and then to assess whether he has a chance of making what would be his eighth appearance in the biennial event.

Meanwhile Lawrence Donegan considers the political situation influencing who might be selected, with this on Olazábal and Lyle.

However, if he plays well enough to be in contention for a place on the team, then the focus will shift back to Lyle, who remains the only member of European golf's "big five" from the 1990s (Seve Ballesteros, Faldo, Woosnam and Bernhard Langer being the others) who has not had the honour and the commercial windfall of the Ryder Cup captaincy. "I think it would be a terrible shame if he wasn't given the job," one well-placed member of the European Tour hierarchy said today. "With the right people around to support him he would be fine as a captain."

Boy, there's a ringing endorsement.