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

 

   

Saturday
Apr252009

"Poor Phil doesn't really wear clothes well; he's just built a certain way"

I'm not sure what I enjoyed more, John Paul Newport's look at the return of white belts and shoes, and the resulting attention drawn to the matter by Phil Mickelson's fashion choices, or the fact that John Daly responded to Newport's piece on Twitter:

@jpnewport you will see me sportin white belts & white shoes on tourabout
24 hours ago from web in reply to jpnewport

Friday
Apr242009

Tiger-Visits-Oval-Office-Photo Caption Fun

Wonkette has White House photographer Pete Souza's images from Tiger Woods' visit to the Oval Office. Alright, what are they talking about?

Friday
Apr242009

"Any time you see where a Lowe's or Wal-Mart or Home Depot and Sam's Club [is being built], that means they know where the growth corridor is."

Nice spot by Geoff Russell who suffered through Greg Norman's Legends of Golf press conference transcript to glean this valuable piece of business wisdom.

I always love the Savannah growth corridor. Any time you see where a Lowe's or Wal-Mart or Home Depot and Sam's Club [is being built], that means they know where the growth corridor is. And when you get in the development business, you kind of follow where it's going to be five, seven years down the line. Sure, you're going to have hiccups in the real estate market, but if you stay the course, you know you're going to come out pretty good at the other end."

Glad Greg sees this as a hiccup.

Friday
Apr242009

I'm Not Really Sure What This Has To Do With Shaving...

..but it's an improvement over their last campaign. Are those Footjoy Classics Tiger is wearing?

Thursday
Apr232009

"The fact is, we are coming off the most activist 10-year period in the history of golf ball and golf club regulation, and a bold and rigid line in the sand has been effectively drawn by the game's regulatory bodies."

Thanks to Chuck Stogel at CBSSports.com for highlighting Wally Uihlein's latest essay on the sheer hopelessness of modern technology progress. Since the Titleist "News and Technology" propaganda page had been quiet for so long, I deleted it from my RSS feed reader.  And look at the giggles I missed!

As the march to the Masters gets closer, the drumbeat of anti-technology activists will inevitably get louder over the next week.

Activists! Bet Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus never thought they'd be considered activists.

The fact is, we are coming off the most activist 10-year period in the history of golf ball and golf club regulation, and a bold and rigid line in the sand has been effectively drawn by the game's regulatory bodies. The statistics speak for themselves. Driving distance has flatlined, and actually has decreased in each of the past two years. The USGA and R&A have effectively fenced in the driver and golf ball, so that there is little or no more distance to be had from equipment under the current rules and regulations.

Shut down those R&D departments, send the Tour vans to the junk yard and throw in the towel! Hope as we know it is gone and it's all the big, bad USGA/R&A's fault!

In fact, I bet Dick Rugge and the boys are probably brushing up their resumes as we speak, now that the door to progress is locked and shut!

The size, weight, initial velocity and overall distance of the golf ball are controlled. Optimization of the aerodynamics package of a golf ball is near complete. Higher compression golf balls might provide more ball speed, but will also have more spin, which will reduce distance. Spin and launch angle are coupled, so if you change one, the other will change as well. The bottom line is that when you attempt to tweak a golf ball parameter for more distance, other parameters are affected that limit the distance opportunity.

Based on our internal testing against the golf ball ODS limit under the current specified launch conditions, we are already 98 percent downfield towards reaching that absolute ODS limit (including the tolerance), and that is with our longest tour-played product. That translates into a maximum additional distance availability of approximately 5-7 yards.

You know I hate to sound like a broken record here, but...oh wait, one more jab...

The facts are the facts, and any suggestion of dramatic yardage spikes going forward is either disingenuous or propagandist. Take your pick.

I can't think of a single example in the last year when someone has suggested distance spikes have occurred again. Anyone, anyone? Bueller?

Was there any pre-Masters talk about the golf ball? Seems to me the focus was on the lousy course changes, which were a byproduct of the ball but more obviously now to a sizeable audience, the clumsy work of some fellows who shouldn't be tinkering with great courses.

So I'll say again: this transcendent moment of agreement is the perfect time to agree that distance peaks have been reached. So to do everyone justice and pay our respects to all of the great athleticism no longer cited for its role in spiking distance, let's roll back the ball just a smidgen to help courses with safety issues, make architecture more meaningful and motivate the kids to put in even more time at the gym.

What I don't understand is, why this strategy for Titleist? They've clearly mapped out this change of course and I think it's super. But it's starkly different from their previous stance of trying to present various reasons for distance spikes that were in no way bad for the game.

What do they hope to gain from waving the white flag?

Naturally, my hope is that they realize a majority of their customers who admire the high quality of their products (I used to be one!) support the USGA and R&A's efforts to protect the integrity of the sport. What do you think?

Thursday
Apr232009

"The greatly anticipated 2009 Masters was like going to a Broadway hit and finding out that the star, Sir Tiger Woods, was off that night, and his replacement was the cab driver who dropped you off at the theater."

Who else but Dan Jenkins in his Golf Digest Masters report. I liked this:

The biggest excitement on Friday was provided by Anthony Kim, the brash young talent and Ryder Cup hero who made 11 birdies in a round of 65. It was a good thing Kim also made two bogeys and a double bogey, or his score might have encouraged the Augusta National to buy up more residential property surrounding the course and add another 1,000 yards, giving Sergio Garcia something else to whine about.

Thursday
Apr232009

Pink, Rested And Slimmer Thanks To The Lap Band: Daly Preps For Spanish Open With Caddyshack Appearance

Garry Smits reports that the two time major champ is making an appearance in St. Augustine for the Murray Brothers' charity before heading to Spain.

Thursday
Apr232009

"At the risk of sounding like a dinosaur -- I always believed (and continue to believe) that the bedrock of the LPGA tour was the communities where women's golf was the biggest show of the year."

Geoff Russell, writing about the demise of the LPGA's Corning Classic and his days as an LPGA beat writer:

But the most successful events I attended, the happiest ones, the ones that consistently drew the biggest and most loyal galleries, and where the tournament officials and the players had the strongest attachment to each other, weren't the stops in the big cities. They were the ones in places like Springfield, Ill., and Youngstown, Ohio. Tallahassee, Fla., and Rochester, N.Y. Hershey, Pa. and Nashville, Tenn. Wilmington, Del., and Toledo, Ohio.

And, most especially, Corning, N.Y.

A lot of those tournaments are now gone. Meanwhile, the LPGA goes to a lot of places around the world now that it didn't when I was part of the traveling circus - countries such as France, China, Singapore, Thailand. I realize that in today's business world it's all about "going global" and "growing the brand," and it's probably exciting for the players to go to places like Evians-les-Bains and Shanghai. But -- at the risk of sounding like a dinosaur -- I always believed (and continue to believe) that the bedrock of the LPGA tour was the communities where women's golf was the biggest show of the year.

Corning was one of those places.

Thursday
Apr232009

"Doesn't exactly sound like a player who's ready to hang up the soft spikes while waxing poetic about the good ol' days, does it?"

I like Jason Sobel's proposed fixes to the World Golf Hall of Fame's bizarre embrace of players who are still active, which happened again with Jose Maria Olazabal's deserved but untimely induction.

Thursday
Apr232009

Environmentall Friendly Golf Guide

Earth Day led to a few interesting posts yesterday and sorry to say I'm only now getting to them

The gang at Links Magazine offers the first ever list of best environmentally friendly courses.

Finally a ranking that actually serves a purpose!

And at the USGA's official site, Mike Kenna pens a brief history of the Green Section's environmental efforts. Also included are links to a nice variety of green-related stories.

Thursday
Apr232009

"Whether it plays a yard longer than it did in 2002, I doubt it"

Rex Hoggard's sneak preview of the changes to Bethpage tells us that Rees Jones extended the course and it sounds like Mike Davis has little intention of ever coming close to maxing the Black out (just like last year). You have to love the message that sends to the one-foot-in-the-rough types, especially right after a Masters where they also started going forward a bit.

Players may worry when they see a Black course that can be stretched past 7,400 yards, spooky stuff considering that Woods was the only player to finish under par the last time the Open was played at the game’s most public major venue. But Davis and Jones look at the nip/tucks and see options.

“It’s a lot of little stuff that means a lot,” Jones said. “I reacted to what Mike wanted which was more tee options and more opportunities for accessible pin positions. It makes the pros think more.”

Jones said the course will probably not play longer than 7,300 yards, noting that Davis had some 7,600 yards of prime SoCal real-estate at Torrey Pines last year but didn’t approach that distance during the championship. For its part the USGA normally doesn’t tip its hand so far in advance of a championship, but even Davis concedes that just because he has 200 more yards to work with doesn’t mean he will use it.

“We’re trying to mix teeing grounds up. Whether it plays a yard longer than it did in 2002, I doubt it,” Davis said.

The new scorecard may scream more – with new or extended tees at nine holes including an additional 51 yards at the 13th hole, 42 yards at the ninth and 36 yards at the seventh (the fourth-toughest hole in ’02) – but players will likely be pleasantly surprised to learn there also will be more fairway, more options and more scoring opportunities awaiting them at the year’s second major.

Thursday
Apr232009

Appearing On Peter Kessler's Show...

I'm a guest today at 10:50 a.m. EST. That's Sirius Channel 209 / XM Channel 146 for subscribers.

There is a link to listen at PGATour.com's home page.

Wednesday
Apr222009

Sales At The Cliffs

Nice catch by Deeds and Weeds' Peter Finch who spotted this John Boyle and Mark Barrett story on real estate. As Finch notes, all things considered (and all rumors aside), these numbers for the Tiger Woods project at The Cliffs are pretty good in light of the economy.

To mark the official start of sales, the community held an event Nov. 9 with famed golfer Tiger Woods, who is designing its golf course. Jim Anthony, president and CEO of developer Cliffs Communities, said then that about 50 lots in the first phase of the development were spoken for at a total sale price of more than $40 million.

A little more than five months later, Buncombe County property records indicate only 25 lot sales have actually gone through. Sales prices total about $25 million.

Several of those pending sales will still happen, Anthony said last week. Some buyers need to complete property exchanges or make other things happen in their personal finances to finish purchases, he said, while a handful of other buyers have had to back out.

Winter is typically a slow time for real estate sales, and that has been particularly true this year, he said.

“In January and February this year, we were really hit hard. In March we've seen a little bit of a turn,” Anthony said.

Wednesday
Apr222009

"And this is going to be Buddy's Walker Cup. It's one of the really neat fits of all time."

Thanks to Chema for this Mike Kern story on the Walker Cup at Merion.

"The Walker Cup is a treasure," CBS' Jim Nantz, another Merion member, said yesterday at the club. "I think unfortunately it's not marquee or sexy enough, or whatever the media's looking for, but it really represents a lot of the things that cut to the core [of the sport].

"And this is going to be Buddy's Walker Cup. It's one of the really neat fits of all time."

Neat fit eh? Oh I don't know, it's be neater if Bobby Jones could captain the team. Shoot, even neater would be Chris Patton. But I guess that's why I'm not on the Walker Cup captaincy selection committee.

Wednesday
Apr222009

Monty's Tweeting!

Okay, well not officially, but we can dream can't we?

Derek Lawrenson previews what Monty on Twitter would look like and offers a few other notes from the world of golf as well.

Wednesday
Apr222009

"'Patron' ruined Campbell's Masters run"

I guess my mind is in the gutter these days, because when I saw that golf.com headline for a Curt Sampson item on a fan behavior incident that occurred Thursday of Masters week, I kept asking myself, tequila, at the Masters? Chad Campbell just doesn't seem like a Patron kind of guy.

Wednesday
Apr222009

Special Request

I see holes were punched in my baseball stadium metaphor on the post detailing the boasting of R&A changes to Turnberry in response to improved athleticism and technology.

Okay, so they didn't use the smaller font size.

But help me, please?

Can you describe a sport or game--other than golf--where significant resources were devoted to retrofitting venues/arenas/tracks/courts/pits/fields, etc. to accommodate sudden changes in the way that sport is played?

And preferably, I would love an example where there was a power-driven surge, pushed along at the benefit of economic forces, which would help me strengthen my metaphorical repertoire. But I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Yours In Metaphors,
Geoff

Wednesday
Apr222009

"There are a lot more hospitality visits going on"

Billy Turner looks at the state of the PGA Tour and talks to the Commish, as well as David Toms about what players are doing.

"Before, you might not have to pull somebody's teeth to get them out there, you had to lead them over there. Now, they're more willing to do it. The thing is they should have been doing it before. But now, with the global economy, it opens everyone's eyes.

"If sponsors start to pull out, it's not good for any of us -- the players, the sponsors, the charities. We've talked about it. There's more buzz about it in the locker rooms. Guys that have been out here for a while see that we used to play for a million and now we're playing for $6 million. Those guys have got to get with the younger guys and pull them aside and tell them to help support it."

Wednesday
Apr222009

"The issue is that few older courses are capable of staging the Canadian Open."

Thanks to reader John for Lorne Rubenstein look at all of the reasons why the Royal Canadian Golf Association can't consider some classic venues for the Canadian Open. Actually, there's only one reason in Lorne's view.

Last week's announcement that the RBC Canadian Open will return to Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver in 2011 should be cause for celebration. After all, it's a classic old course, the kind tour players say they love. And it will mean the tournament will have been played at a grand spot two years in a row. (St. George's in Toronto will be the venue in 2010.) So why did I feel some sadness upon hearing the news? It had nothing to do with the choice of course or the Royal Canadian Golf Association's commitment to taking the tournament, as often as possible, to traditional layouts. It had everything to do with what's happened in the world of pro golf tours.

The issue is that few older courses are capable of staging the Canadian Open. This is because the United States Golf Association and the R&A dropped the ball in allowing the golf ball to go so far that it's made superb courses that have held the Canadian Open obsolete for the tournament.

Here's something even the governing bodies understand, without telling it to some of the modern masters to their faces.

At least the RCGA realizes this. Its executive director, Scott Simmons, made it clear last week during the Shaughnessy announcement that the commitment isn't to a fixed rotation, but simply to quality courses. He said that could include new courses, but the message remains clear that tour players prefer traditional layouts.

"We have been on a journey of renewal," then-RCGA president Andrew Cook said last June, when it was announced St. George's would play host to the 2010 Canadian Open. "We want the tournament to get back to the stature it once held on the world stage."

The RCGA is trying. But it would have a better chance of reaching the goal if the courses of the past weren't so ill-suited to the tournament game and demands of the present.

Such are the unintended consequences of "progress."

Well they could look to the R&A solution: proudly alter the courses.

Tuesday
Apr212009

"Because Luis was unknown to the green jackets and mostly speaking Spanish he was able to blend in."

Alan Shipnuck's outstanding reporting of Angel Cabrera's heartburn-inducing post-Masters celebration prompted a reader to wonder if it was actually original reporting upon reading a column last week where the same anecdotal evidence was regurgitated nearly verbatim (without any mention or credit given to Shipnuck's SI story).

So I emailed Shipnuck to see if his piece was the original source. It turns out there's a great story behind the reporting process that speaks to the value of big-budget media operations:

When I went to Cordoba two years ago I was accompanied by SI writer-reporter Luis Fernando Llosa. Luis bonded with Cabrera-as much as anyone can with a prickly, standoffish character who has no use for the media--and he has maintained the relationship, doing a Q/A with Cabrera last year for Golf Magazine and hanging out with him a bit more while reporting a subsequent Andres Romero feature.

Following the third round of this year's Masters I had a strong feeling that Cabrera was going to win so I called Luis in New York to see if he would jet into Augusta to help me out. (Luis was let go by SI last year as part of the grim staff downsizing and has been freelancing ever since.) Luis eagerly agreed, catching a flight the next morning. He had never been to the Masters - he arrived around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, and I walked him through the post-round choreography should Cabrera win, showing Luis the back door to Butler Cabin, where the champion's dinner is held, etc.

Luis walked all 18 holes with Cabrera, hanging out with his Spanish-speaking entourage, many of whom we had met in Argentina. After Cabrera's victory Luis just floated along with Angel's crew, partying in the Butler Cabin after the jacket ceremonies, sitting at Cabrera's table for the champion's dinner with the Augusta National membership and then retiring to Angel's where he partied til 3 a.m.. (With Luis on the Cabrera beat I was freed up to trail Tiger and Phil and their people and then spend some time with K. Perry and his family after the crushing finale.) Throughout all of the post-round festivities Luis was texting me updates of what was happening, and I was responding with requests for specific details and offering potential questions for the champ. Without a doubt Luis was the only reporter in the Butler Cabin and at Angel's after-party. I am 99.8% sure no other scribe managed to crash the champion's dinner. As a rule, reporters are not allowed in there - two years ago I walked in with Zach Johnson and lasted through the toast until I was recognized by a Masters official and tossed out. Because Luis was unknown to the green jackets and mostly speaking Spanish he was able to blend in.