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

The audience in the theatre, looking over the footlights, view the play as do most of the gallery following the experts of golf. However, back-stage, there are a few eyes critically regarding the play from an entirely different angle. For many years I have preferred to observe golf shots from backstage, as it were. Seeing a man whack a golf ball is of little interest to me, and frequently it is a performance that had better be missed. That which concerns me most is where the ball lands and what it does after. A.W. TILLINGHAST




"I like things organized. But everything doesn't need to be at a right angle."

There's a very enjoyable profile of Lucas Glover by Tim Rosaforte in Golf World's preview issue. There's nothing actually newsworthy, just several fresh anecdotes about someone who is more complicated than he lets on.


"The rhythm is crucial, and the timing of this had to have an effect on Padraig."

Brad Faxon joined the SI/ Magazine weekly roundtable and was involved in this exchange about the Padraig-on-the-clock incident at Firestone.

Bamberger: Is that very uncommon, Brad, for a final group to be put on the clock?

Faxon: Yes, very unusual. Especially since their finish was a perfect 6 p.m. ending just like the network likes. I doubt either would ever get fined or given an extra shot in that situation.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Brad, how important is it to stay in a rhythm that you've naturally established on the course?

Faxon: It's ABSOLUTELY important. Think of a baseball pitcher when he is pitching well, or a hot basketball shooter when he gets the ball. The rhythm is crucial, and the timing of this had to have an effect on Padraig.

Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Paddy's rhythm wasn't the problem. He just didn't have that shot out the rough under pressure. Rhythm is important, very important, but he's a slow-playing Tour pro who is accustomed to being put on the clock and playing in front of large crowds.


"I'm sorry that John got in the way of such a great battle."

Where to start with the Woods-Harrington-John Paramor "on-the-clock" incident Sunday? CBS downplayed it but the post round comments indicate it was the story of the day.

Here's Steve Elling with the lowdown:

Harrington, always a deliberate player, held a one-stroke lead over Woods as they stood on the 16th, nicknamed The Monster decades ago by Arnold Palmer after he made an awful eight on the hole (the symmetry is duly noted). Then Paramor, who had issued a warning to the pair on the sixth hole to speed up, informed them they were being timed with a stopwatch.

The result was a monstrosity, all right.

Harrington blew his tee shot into the right trees and rushed his way through a series of uncharacteristically sloppy shots -- the three-time major championship winner had made a steady 14 pars and a birdie to that point in the round -- and the match was effectively over when he stumbled to a horrific, hurried triple-bogey.

Harrington was fairly diplomatic about the issue but repeatedly described his shots on the 16th as "rushed."

"It wasn't, 'pick up the pace,' it was, 'on the clock,'" Harrington explained of the 16th tee conversation. "It's an awkward situation. There are rules and the players make the rules and we've got to apply them.

"Obviously, it was a difficult situation, and you don't want to get out of position."

Doug Ferguson noted that Tiger suggested the incident helped him win.

Woods took particular umbrage at how fast Harrington was effectively forced to play the flop shot that sailed into the water. Bluntly asked whether he won the tournament because he'd hit the perfect 8-iron into the 16th or because a rules official put their group on the clock, Woods never hesitated.

"Both," he said. "I think I hit a good shot that put a little heat on him, but then again, I think the worst he would have made would have been bogey."

When they reached the 16th green, Paramor said Woods and Harrington were 17 minutes behind schedule.

"The 16th hole had opened up before they cleared the 15th green," he said. "And therefore, we had no choice but to put them on the clock at that stage."

It's interesting to see that Tiger, who craves controversy about as much as he embraced Turnberry, was the one to bring the warning up in the first post round interview question. And not in a subtle way:

Q. Congrats on No. 70, amazing number. What was it like standing there on the 16th green? He hit five shots while you were standing there, six if you count the penalty stroke. Have you ever seen the tournament in the throes of the last few minutes go down like that for you?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know if you guys know it or not, but we got put on the clock. I don't think that Paddy would have hit the pitch shot that way if he was able to take his time, look at it, analyze it, but he was on the clock, had to get up there quickly and hit it --

Slugger White was brought in to the press center to defend the move.

They were told early in the round, I don't know what hole on the front nine, that they were in danger of losing the group ahead of them. When they got to 15 tee, they were 18 minutes over their allotted time, and the par-5 16th was open. That's basically just regulation is what that is. We're doing our job.'s Bob Harig reviewed the incident in this piece and equated it to this:

But to put it in American sports terms, it was akin to calling a ticky-tack foul in the late stages of a basketball game.

Elling wrote:

Bottom line was he was on his heels and hurrying, he said, which is an unenviable position when facing the top player in the game down the stretch at one of the tour's richest events

Facing deadlines, some of the Euro beat writers did not mention the incident in their stories (here, here, here). And you may recall Paramor's name. It's been a busy year. He was quoted in Lawrence Donegan's story that broke the Kenny Perry-FBR incident open and very nearly called Richie Ramsay a cheater this summer.

Alright, so this is a tricky one.

It's wonderful to see officials doing their job and dishing out on-the-clock warnings. Harrington is very slow and he needs to be nudged more often.

But on the 70th hole of an exciting duel, when CBS surely isn't complaining about having Tiger in a battle with Harrington to provide a nice lead-in for local news? Was this really the time to make a statement when you haven't dished out slow play a penalty shot since 1992?

In his defense, that is not Paramor's job to worry about. He's battling an awkward dilemma because the tours and governing bodies having decided not to take slow play seriously. In the PGA Tour's case, there has been a failure to give the rules officials adequate support to more diligently police slow-pokes with penalty shots, so when moments like this occur, naturally it is a shock to the player's system.

Your thoughts?


Woods Win Overshadowed By Unfortunate Extension of Bridgestone Contract; We're Stuck With Firestone Until 2014

Lucky us, five more WGC events at Firestone. Goose bumps here.


"I would like to win a World Golf event, yes"

That's Padraig Harrington as he carries a three shot lead over Tiger WoodsWGC into Sunday's finale at Firestone.

I don't know about you, but I'm watching this one. Well, setting the DVR at least.

You may be shocked to learn that viewing was in doubt. Turns out, I had to receive a doctor's clearance. (Thankfully Dr. Conrad Murray works weekends.)

You see, I'm prone to breaking out in mysterious rashes at first glimpse of the inevitable blimp shots from Firestone. Something about those super-slender dark green fairways running monotonously back and forth, finished off by forgettable green complexes and even blander bunkering placed with not a whiff of strategic care. The situation is usually made worse by someone at CBS lavishing praise on the very architecture some of us weirdos think represents everything that's wrong with American golf.

But I digress.

Doug Ferguson writes that this showdown is fascinating on any number of levels. The most obvious being that Padraig has a chance to finally shake loose the swing demons that helped him win three majors in two years. Perhaps he can finally prove that the new and improved Irishman is better than the one who won those silly Open Championships and a PGA.

And there's Tiger, aiming to win for a seventh time at Firestone and who has managed to carve out 69 wins despite struggling to catch guys when not leading after 54-holes. Throw in the fact that they are playing his favorite "it's all right in front of you" tournament venue with the fourth of golf's four majors lurking, and even sleepy CBS will struggle to make this one hard to watch.


Butch Harmon Takes Over Helm At Golf Digest!


PGA Of America ID's Major New Revenue Stream: First To Charge For iphone App!

Michael Buteau reports that the folks at Turner say "“It’s something that’s not exorbitant. It’s a cup of coffee.”

Think about how much revenue this will bring in. Tens, maybe hundreds of dollars. Enough to buy a coffeemaker.


"However, once again Mr Trump has made himself look as ridiculous as the thatch he wears on his head."

Severin Carrell reports that an anonymous package featuring a 14-year-old Donald Trump documentary and interview with Selina Scott has made its way to "all 68 councillors on Aberdeenshire council." The package was labeled, "Know who you are dealing with."

Incensed by the implied attack on his integrity, Trump again attacked Scott – who had no known link to the DVD's distribution.

"Selina Scott was a third-class journalist who is now ancient history and she treated me unfairly," he stated. "It was a boring story then and she has since faded into obscurity where she belongs."

Scott replied in kind, telling the Scotsman: "Whether beautiful, protected, wild country should be ploughed up for hotel accommodation in order to enhance Trump's corporation in America is a matter for the good citizens of Aberdeenshire.

"However, once again Mr Trump has made himself look as ridiculous as the thatch he wears on his head."

The package seemed to be timed for an important family visit.

Today, Trump's son Donald Trump Jnr flew into Aberdeen for a two-day long series of business meetings and press events to promote the golf resort. He said his father was anxious to proceed with the development.

"We have put in over $50m to where we are today, pure cash, and unlike everyone else we are in the fortuitous position to not have to go to talk to banks – we can do this project without them," he said.


"The First Duffer"

Thanks to Michael Walker for catching Michael Sherer's update on Barack Obama's apparent golf addiction. Naturally, it's fun to read some more anecdotes about his rounds and who he's playing with.

Whereas Clinton was known to shout, curse and rehit balls until he liked his shot, Obama never cuts a corner in golf, say his companions. No mulligans. No five-foot gimme putts on the green. "I've never seen him get to the point where he just picks up," says Marvin Nicholson, the White House trip director and a regular partner. "I've seen him write a 10 down. I've seen him write an 11 down."

Looks like Tiger has some work to do:

Most of the President's longtime golfing buddies say the First Game is improving. After a brief flirtation with a new Nike driver, Obama has returned to his Titleist and is still struggling to master his new hybrid woods. He putts solidly and is working on his bunker shots, once an Achilles' heel.


"It is almost postseason time, but it is also open to debate as to just what sort of motivation that provides players."

Everyone has their own barometer for the arrival of fall. Maybe it's the sun at a little lower angle or a simple glimpse of the sun if you happen to be vacationing in the Hamptons. For others, it's receiving the first of five SI covers devoted to the spellbinding world of NFL training camp coverage.

For me, it's the first FedEx Cup bashing column.

Jim McCabe kicks off this favorite fall tradition by pointing out that players are not really playing more to get themselves in the hunt for East Lake and the finale.

It is almost postseason time, but it is also open to debate as to just what sort of motivation that provides players. Consider, for instance, the playoff push these marquee names have unleashed:

• Garcia has played in 11 PGA Tour tournaments this year, including just five of the past 13 weeks.

• Scott has played 14 times, but just three of the past nine.

• Els has 13 tournaments to his PGA Tour credit, but only four of the past 13.

That’s not exactly a sense of urgency resonating, is it?

Well, right. Except this fascination with the “limited-field” concept has led officials to trim back the Barclays to 125 from 144, the Deutsche Bank from 120 to 100, while BMW stays at 70 and Tour Championship at 30. If that were supposed to inject playoff mentality into the drama, what it has seemingly done is ensure that a lot of crowd-pleasing names won’t be there. Granted, the Tour never could have imagined that so many great names would play like journeymen for months at a time, but any tournament director will tell you that having 144 players is more consumer-friendly when you’re dressing up a 200-acre stage and trying to bring in tens of thousands for day-long golf.


"Once the contract is extinguished, you can call and ask, it would be a good conversation, but nothing would come of it."

Tim Finchem and others held a limited audience (translation: yours truly wasn't invited) conference call to announce the new Greenbrier event and to close the door on Buick...for now. It was nice to see Finchem give some props to C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor. And impressive they locked an event in for six years, though as I noted yesterday, not too many people outside of PGA Tour headquarters are so sure this is going to be a success for a number of reasons, most of them logistical.

Only part of the Finchem transcript made it up online at and ASAP, but I was able to get the long version which, like a lot of ASAP transcripts lately, was a complete mess.

Still this was interesting:

Q. I was just curious, the two Buicks each had a year left. Did the bankruptcy void the contracts, or do you guys wait for your pennies on the dollar on the settlement? How does that work?

TIM FINCHEM: They set aside the contracts were extinguished during the bankruptcy proceeding. Of course they come out of bankruptcy, they can do whatever they want. But they are also very much in a movement of downsizing and reducing of budgets, and they had to make some decisions. And in fairness to the time to get a new tournament ready, they went ahead and made a call on the Buick Open. Although we were talking to them right up until very recently about that because it's interrelated with some other arrangements we have with Buick.

But we determined to move ahead today, and it then allows us with Buick to focus our attention on these remaining issues we have and see if we can bring those to a head the next two or three months.

Q. So is there a buyout, per se, to get out of those?

TIM FINCHEM: No, the bankruptcy, once the contract is extinguished, you can call and ask, it would be a good conversation, but nothing would come of it.

I'm not sure if this was just a semantics issue or a contractual misunderstanding at PGA Tour HQ, but this talk of "extinguishing" seems odd considering this was the tour stance on contracts last October when Ginn and Jeld Wen were withering up.

“There’s no technical ability to get out,” said Jon Podany, head of sales for the PGA Tour. “The contract is ironclad.”

Odd that the PGA Tour folded so quietly with Buick yet put up a fight with Ginn. Hopefully this speaks to their desire to get Buick involved again sooner rather than later. Or maybe the contracts technically are not ironclad?

Meanwhile, Bob Harig offers an updated assessment on the state of various events and sponsorship money.


Even Monty Doesn't Want To See Sandy Lyle Fined For Telling The Truth

Well, maybe that wasn't his motivation, but it in a "bizarre" twist, Mark Reason reports that Monty apparently intervened to see to it that Lyle was not fined for his suggestion that Monty cheated.


"Mindful that global warming could provoke more and longer dry spells, state governments are increasingly consulting golf courses on water strategies."

Nice to see Leslie Kaufman's positive story about golf's contributions to helping better understand water management in a New York Times "Environment" section.

It took a while, but from the South to the arid West, their wish is coming true. Mindful that global warming could provoke more and longer dry spells, state governments are increasingly consulting golf courses on water strategies.

In Georgia, golf course managers have emerged as go-to gurus on water conservation for both industries and nonprofit groups.


Water is just one area where golf courses and environmentalists may find a rapprochement, said Anthony L. Williams, director of grounds at Marriott’s Stone Mountain public courses just outside Atlanta.

As metropolitan areas sprawl outward, golf courses may be the only large-scale green space for miles around, offering crucial potential habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife.

Unfortunately I doubt that will help offset the lousy ink golf's been getting thanks to the embarrassing press coming out of Rochester, Indiana, where they're taking a little too much pride in killing off Canada geese inhabiting a golf course in the way suggested by Kaufman.

From an NPR commentary:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. A golf course in Rochester, Indiana will be giving a whole new meaning to the sentence, I got a birdie. Up to 1,000 Canada geese spend their winters on the golf course making a mess. Golf course management blasted air horns to scare the geese away. The geese ignored that. They fired starter pistols and the geese were unimpressed. So this winter five fully armed off-duty cops will organize a golf course goose hunt.

And we wonder why some people despise golf.


Slow Play Leads To Another Assault Arrest

Thanks to reader NRH for the latest slow play blow up and assault story. This time Donald Sauvageau, 57, was charged with felony aggravated assault after smacking a slow golfer with his sand wedge, knocking 55-year-old Albert “Sonny” Skar out. Sauvageau did this in front of his wife, who was playing with him.

Skar’s golfing partner, Ethan Olson, told police that Sauvageau and his wife had been golfing behind them and had argued with them about how fast Skar and Olson were playing and said that they were slowing them down on the course intentionally.

Skar went to return the golf cart and told police that Sauvageau then asked if he had something to say to him.

Skar said he told him, “I don’t like your attitude. You pester everyone and you push everyone.” Skar said he also told Sauvageau, “One of these days I’m gonna knock you out.”

Sauvageau and his wife told police that Skar threatened to kill Sauvageau.

Sauvageau’s wife told them to grow up and knock it off and Skar told her to shut up.

Skar said Sauvageau then struck him in the head with a golf club, saying he saw stars and thought Sauvageau was going to hit him again.

Sauvageau told police he was upset that Skar yelled at his wife and reached in to his golf bag and took out a sand wedge. He said was holding it up half way the length of the club and made what he called a tomahawk chop motion trying to hit Skar on the right shoulder because he felt threatened by Skar.

Sauvageau said he accidently hit Skar in the head, causing him to fall to the ground. He said he immediately went up and apologized and told police it “was a stupid thing to do. I had no right to smack him.”


“Golf needs to reinvent itself"

Lorne Rubenstein considers the collapse of the golf architecture and course development business and raises some wonderful points. First this from architect Tom Mackenzie:

“Golf needs to reinvent itself,” Mackenzie suggested. “It has become too expensive and too slow and perhaps this uncomfortable period will prove there is a market for shorter and more enjoyable courses that can be designed, built and managed more affordably. This may mean dropping course lengths beginning in 7 [7,000 yards], and perhaps even pars below 70 – shock, horror.”

I wonder how it got too expensive, too slow and too long? The grooves?

With the course architecture business all but frozen, developers and architects will have to respond with imaginative ideas. We’ll soon learn whether they’re equal to the task, and whether golfers themselves will be open to the game reinventing itself.

Are golfers really open to shorter, browner, funkier courses that cost less to build and maintain?

I'll believe it when I see more than 30 courses on the Golf Digest Top 100 list that you'd actually want to play more than once.


Fartgate Latest: "I wonder what the running count is."

Stephanie Wei has a "highly placed source" implicating Magruder as the fifth name to control the fund that financed the Watergate burglars David Feherty made the fart noise on national television that caused Tiger Woods and Valvoline Williams to start laughing.

Wei also suggests that Feherty and Woods have an ongoing flatulence contest and that this was just their latest exchange. Nice of them to take it to a national stage! I'm sure the CBS brass were thrilled.


"You can be as mad as you want at them, [but] they always win"

There's so much to consider in E. Michael Johnson and Mike Stachura's latest Golf World story on grooves. The tone clearly is negative toward the USGA, which speaks volumes considering that the duo has been sympathetic to the groove rule change in their blog posts. But in the new piece they explain how grooves could technically appear to be conforming and still turn out to be non-conforming based on the USGA's unintentional intent.

"We are trying to make it crystal clear that the rule was intended to return the grooves' effectiveness on shots from the rough to that of traditional V-grooves," says Dick Rugge, senior technical director of the USGA. "That's an important factor. It was our clear intent. We developed a number of helpful provisions in the rule for manufacturers. These provisions are not meant to be ways to get around the intent of the rule. If we chose to look the other way in these areas, we wouldn't be upholding our responsibility."

As you can imagine, the manufacturers are not pleased and there are some pretty juicy quotes:

"It is not a rule, it is a process to control the future," says Benoit Vincent, chief technical officer for TaylorMade. "It's like the adjustability rule. The USGA said submit your adjustability and we will tell you if it's OK. I said 'That's not a rule. That's submit your stuff and if we see something we don't like we will rule even further.' If it's outside what they have studied and what they know, then they will rule against it. So what they are doing here with grooves is typical of what they do."

And there was this story ending quote from Taylor Made's Benoit Vincent:

But despite manufacturers concerns, Vincent sounded perhaps the most important sound of all -- one bordering on resignation of the reality.

"You can be as mad as you want at them, [but] they always win," he says.

So if they always win, wouldn't it have been easier to do something with the ball first before tinkering with more complicated issues?

Also, does anyone else think it's odd that there is no mention of the R&A in all of this latest groove talk?


"It sounds different, but good. The ball takes off."

Steve DiMeglio on Spain's Alvaro Quiros' latest driving range show stopping moment:

Quiros, who averages 315.6 yards with his driver to lead the European Tour, was hitting 280-yard rockets into a net at the end of the range on Monday — with a 1954 MacGregor Tourney M85 persimmon driver. Contact sounded like a baseball bat hitting a golf ball. The size of the wood driver head was smaller than his metal 3-wood. Quiros said he was hitting the ball as far as he hits his metal 5-wood.

"I like it," Quiros smiled. "It sounds different, but good. The ball takes off."


"So there it is: 51 years and not even so much as a decent goodbye."

Jim McGovern takes Buick/GM to task for not having the courage to announce that the final Buick Open was indeed, the final Buick Open.

So there it is: 51 years and not even so much as a decent goodbye. The largest company in the free world goes bankrupt, abrogates their contracts and can't even find the dignity to stand up, look you in the eye and say, "Thanks, we know you worked hard for us and we appreciate it. You're the best and we wish it could have turned out better. Good luck."

Though he's probably correct, Doug Ferguson does note this in his story on the official announcement that Buick was relinquishing both the Open in Michigan and the Invitational at Torrey Pines.

The tour said it remains "very interested" in keeping a tournament in Michigan and was exploring opportunities. One of the officials said General Motors was trying to put together a consortium of sponsors to keep a tour event in Michigan, but the tour signed off on The Greenbrier before that could be pulled together.

Since Adam Schupak revealed that The Greenbrier had landed a tour stop, I've heard from several well connected people who can't fathom how the Ponte Vedra brass signed off on a non-Fall season spot for the place. Of course, we don't know yet that it's going to be put in the regular season schedule.

Back to Buick. Here's the release from the tour. Note how the courts were artfully blamed, and note the line about phenomenal PGA Tour growth. No mention of Buick's sold thanks to the partnership.

Joint Statement re: Buick and PGA TOUR Relationship

The PGA TOUR and Buick jointly announced today that as a result of the recent court-supervised restructuring of General Motors, all agreements between Buick and the PGA TOUR have been withdrawn.

This brings to an end the Buick Open at Warwick Hills, (Grand Blanc, Mich.) and Buick’s sponsorship of the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, (LaJolla, Calif.). While this is disappointing news, both the PGA TOUR and Buick remain in discussions regarding future sponsorship possibilities.

An announcement from the PGA TOUR will be made tomorrow regarding a replacement for the Buick Open's tournament date on the 2010 PGA TOUR schedule. The TOUR, meanwhile, remains very interested in maintaining a tournament presence in Michigan and is currently exploring opportunities.

The PGA TOUR and the Century Club of San Diego will continue discussions regarding sponsorship of the Invitational.

Buick and the PGA TOUR have shared a strong five-decade long mutually beneficial relationship that has seen phenomenal growth in professional golf through the years. Buick would like to express its appreciation to the TOUR, which has been a fantastic partner and good friend.

The PGA TOUR expresses its sincere appreciation to Buick for its longstanding support and being such a valuable partner of the TOUR, dating back 51 years with the Buick Open, and looks forward to continuing discussions about the future.


"I'm embarrassed for players coming out here today"

You never like to hear about an incident like Harding Park's fertilizer burn as the Presidents Cup approaches, but you have to love superintendent Wayne Kappelman's immediate concern: the daily fee players. Ron Kroichick reports:

"I'm embarrassed for players coming out here today - I wish we didn't have temporary greens," Kappelman said. "I'm not happy about this, but I'm pretty confident we'll get through it."