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




Race To Dubai Purse Drops 25%; Anthony Kim Will Learn The News In Late 2011

Lawrence Donegan reports that the once vaunted $100 million Race To Dubai which lured Camilo Villegas and Anthony Kim to join the European Tour has taken a major hit.

The European Tour's flagship tournament is expected to lose its claim to being the richest in professional golf this week when officials will announce that the prize fund for the much-vaunted Race to Dubai is to be cut because of the economic troubles that have beset its sponsor.

Details of a new deal struck between the tour and Leisurecorp, a Dubai-based developer, will be announced this week but it is understood that the world's leading players will be playing for at least 25% less than had been promised.

In a separate blog post, Donegan analyzes what this means and concludes that the European Tour and PGA Tour are locked in a battle over several regions. He concludes that the PGA Tour's interest in the Olympic movement is driven in part by the desire to expand beyond the U.S. borders.

And don't forget golf's Olympic bid, which is being run by the PGA Tour's very own Ty Votow. It wasn't so long ago the PGA Tour was agnostic (at best) about the idea of golf in the Olympics. Now it couldn't be more enthusiastic. Why would that be? Because the PGA Tour wants to grow the game, would be the "corporate" response. The cynic's response would be that it wants to grow the game in a way that most benefits the corporate interests of the PGA Tour.

Assuming golf is accepted into the 2016 Olympics (and it seems that it will) then most of the credit will go to Votaw, and by extension the PGA Tour. Given the goodwill that will follow a successful bid, one would have to assume that Votaw and friends would then be perfectly placed to advance the interests of the PGA Tour in places where hitherto it has had no presence whatsoever.

In last week's Golfweek, Alistair Tait looked at the Olympic push as the August 13 decision date looms. Sadly missing from the piece was the lovely Annika family photo featuring the gang that took Lausanne by storm.

Anyway, Tait writes of Votaw and the growing the game point that Donegan is questioning.

He simply points to the impact the Olympics has had on other sports in the world’s most populous nation.

“There are 300 million people now playing basketball in China,” Votaw said. “There wasn’t anywhere near that number before the (U.S.) Dream Team played in Barcelona (in 1992). I’ll take 10 percent of that. The estimated number of golfers in the world is around 60 million, so if we get another 30 million then we’ve grown the game by 50 percent. Even if it’s 1 percent, 3 million, then we’ve still grown the game.”


"A case of one (copyright) rule for some, another (copyright) rule for the rest?"

Since the Kenny Perry unintended-lie-improvement video remains on YouTube, Lawrence Donegan wonders why the PGA Tour and CBS keep taking down the final round Buick clip featuring a robust passing of gas, prompting an "Are you serious?" from Tiger Woods. Either way, has the clip for posterity.

Will Brinson thinks it's an iphone ifart sound, but I checked with an unnamed reader who has downloaded the app and he confirms that while it sounds similar to Dirty Raoul, Wind Bag, Jack The Ripper and The Sick Dog, it does not match any of the pre-loaded sounds that come with the app.

And of course if it were an ifart sound, why then we'd have a mobile device inside the ropes issue as well.


"FartGate -- CBS Denies Tiger Supplied It" **

You forget that in our little golf world, when Tiger might be involved it becomes national news. Case in point: TMZ actually went to CBS for a statement about who was responsible for Buick telecast's final round flatulence (not Tiger!), which the PGA Tour took down from YouTube.


Yet Another Tiger Ratings Bump

You get the sense that they could just show Tiger walking and more people would tune in than a regular tour event.


CBS Sports’ final-round coverage of the PGA TOUR’s BUICK OPEN, which saw Tiger Woods win his 69th golf tournament on Sunday, August 2 (3:00-6:00 PM, ET) scored an overnight household rating/share of 4.0/9, up +167% from last year’s 1.5/3 in the metered markets.

Sunday’s 4.0/9 was the highest final-round rating for the BUICK OPEN since a 4.3/10 in 2006 when Woods won the tournament.

Sunday’s final-round rating peaked at a 5.3/12 from 5:30-6:00 PM, ET.

CBS Sports' third-round coverage of the BUICK OPEN on Saturday, August 1 (3:00-6:00 PM, ET) earned an overnight household rating/share of 2.4/7, up +140% from last year's 1.0/3 in the metered markets. Saturday’s 2.4/7 also was the highest-rated third round for this event since 2006 (2.9/8)


Golf In America Takes On Ginn

Looks like there's a provocative story about Bobby Ginn on Tuesday's Golf in America.


Funk Shoots 20-Under To Win Senior Open; Laura Norman Probably To Blame

Clearly Greg Norman's ex, who cost her man majors compared to the trophies Chris Evert has helped him bring home, haunts the Shark and forbids him from making a final day run at majors. It happened again at Crooked Stick, thus allowing Fred Funk to bludgeon Pete Dye's Indiana masterpiece.

But at least Norman handled it well, reports Keith Robinson:

Still, he said his round “just wasn’t good.”

During an interview session, he was asked to briefly review his round.

“I don’t really want to review my round, no,” he said.

That exchange is part of the official Norman interview transcript.


Matthew Win Provides Much Needed Lift For Downtrodden Heterosexual White People

As Mark Reason noted in his round three game Women's Open Championship story, these are tough times for long-discrimated-against, fair-skinned folks of the world who've been pushed aside by ambitious, predatory young Asian women of great golfing skill.

Yet eleven weeks removed from giving birth, Scotland's Catriona Matthew held off the same Kurosawa-film extras killing LPGA Tour golf that Reason warned about, capturing the Ricoh Women's Open Championship. No mention in today's story about non-King's-English speaking menaces who have "taken over" the LPGA.

On a serious note, Susan Smith and Elpseth Burnside tell her amazing story, including a reminder that her husband/caddie was injured just last week in the Evian Masters hotel fire.

The Scot had her husband, who is also her caddie, at her side as she picked up her the tournament trophy and a first prize of £197,000 last night.

"I really can't believe it," she said. "I had a tear in my eye there coming up the last and I'm overcome by it all.

"It was always an aim to win a major and the British Open was the one for me. You wonder if your chances are running out but I'm just absolutely delighted."


Tiger Woods Finally Captures Elusive Nationwide Tour Win

Geeze, did the big boys think Buick couldn't pay out the purse? I know some people pointed out the quality of field for the final Buick Open, but this stat from CBS was scary.

Tiger broke from his tradition of guarding his top secret Nike balls by tossing a few to the 17th and 18th hole crowds.

Larry Gage reports:

“I’ve played all around the world, and I’ve never seen a day like this,” said Woods, also the 2002 and 2006 winner at Warwick Hills. “This event has always been special, but today was something else.”

He acknowledged thinking about his walk up 18 at Warwick Hills being his last, leading to him throwing his ball with a lot of velocity back down the fairway to fans. He also tossed a ball into the gallery at 17.

“I never do that, but today was different,” Woods said. “We aren’t coming back here, and I wanted to thank all these people.”

It also seems there was a moment of gastrointestinal humor for those watching the CBS feed. Bob Weeks would bet his house that it was course reporter and well known flatulence conoisseur David Feherty. You be the judge:


"Matthew is almost the lone westerner left on the walls as the women from the Orient line up for the final attack like warriors in some film by Kurosawa."

Mark Reason's third round Women's Open Championship game story takes a shot at the emergence of Asian players in women's golf and features some quotes from Marsha Evans about how to deal with this uh, matter.

Heaven knows the women’s game in these parts needs a boost because it is in danger of being inundated by an Asian Tsunami. Matthew is almost the lone westerner left on the walls as the women from the Orient line up for the final attack like warriors in some film by Kurosawa. Ten of the top 13 players after the third round are from Asia or have Korean dads.

In recent years they have taken over the LPGA Tour. Asians have won five of the last seven tournaments on the LPGA and four of the previous seven majors. How many of you out there can name the current holders of the women’s majors. Indeed how many can even name the four majors.

None of this would matter a jot, of course, if the game was amateur. But it is not and the thing that distinguishes professional golf from the amateur game is the need to entertain people. If no one in the west is identifying with a lot of these players, then the women’s game is heading for a massive commercial crash in America and Europe.

Why is it that in these racially divisive rants--this one the edgiest I can recall--never question why non-Asians are doing such a lousy job developing great female players?

I guess that would require a look inward and well, we know that's not a favorite pastime of the race in question.


Colorado GC Lands 2013 Solheim Cup

This, after getting the 2010 Senior PGA. You have to admire how they are doing what it takes to build up to what seems like an inevitable major. Perhaps a PGA/Ryder Cup package down the road?


"They hit a huge drive, they hit a short iron -- it's a different game."

While Bob Kravitz's column on technology does not contain any breaking news, in the context of the technology debate it's interesting to see a newspaper columnist do such a nice job considering the topic and ramifications. He also considers how rollbacks have played out in other sports, and I was particularly intrigued by the insinuation that the Indy 500 attendance has been hurt by slowing the cars down.

Either way, he comes down on the side of rolling things back. No doubt after spending some time with Pete Dye talking about the death of the long iron.

"For years, one of the great things about golf was, on a par 4, you'd have to hit a good drive, then hit a good 3- or 4-iron into the green," Dye said. "Years ago, Byron Nelson and the other great players, they were great long-iron players. But that doesn't happen with these top players. I'm sure the kids now could be excellent long-iron players, but they're not required to do it. So they're practicing with a 9-iron or wedge.

"They hit a huge drive, they hit a short iron -- it's a different game."

And also nice he touched on the impact on maintenance costs:

In an effort to offset increased length of the tees, courses have resorted to making fairways and greens more slippery. That means more cutting, more sophisticated growing techniques, more agronomic issues that concern only Dye and certain Purdue graduates.

"You go to Scotland and Ireland, their courses are more like ours used to be," Dye said. "And they can maintain them for half the cost."

When John Daly brought Crooked Stick to its knees in the 1991 PGA Championship, his season driving average was 288.9 yards. On today's PGA Tour, that 288.9 mark would rank 76th in driving distance.

The current PGA Tour average is 286.2 yards per drive. In 1991, that number would have ranked second behind Daly.

An even bigger victory: not even a hint of suggestion that improved athleticism has driven the increase!


Now Daly Is Starving Himself?

Doug Ferguson talks to Rick Smith after JD's second round 88 at the Buick. It seems the lack of trying is part of the latest attempt to kill himself: starvation and sleep deprivation. Worked well for Michael Jackson.

Smith said he followed him along Warwick Hills and almost didn’t recognize him.

“I saw a guy I didn’t know existed,” Smith said. “What I saw today was scary. It was a literal disconnect. He hasn’t eaten or slept in a week. His body needs food, and it’s going to the muscle, and the muscle is breaking down to the point he’s in a toxic state.”

Daly says he has lost more than 80 pounds in the last four months after having Lap-Band surgery, in which a tube place around the top of the stomach helps control the appetite. He was eating only 1,200 calories a day, but now says his intake is about 600 calories daily.

Daly said he weighed himself this week at 205 pounds.

“He’s gone through it so quickly, faster than most,” Smith said. “He hasn’t felt well, he hasn’t slept. He’s starving himself. His doctors say if he doesn’t have 80 to 90 grams a day of protein, he’ll be in trouble. He needs to eat the right food and get himself back so he can even play golf. Looking at his swing today, it was irrelevant.”

On Twitter Daly did note that he's going to visit the doctor next week. The eye doctor.


"No greens keepers here — just do-it-yourselfers."

Eric Olson files an enjoyable look at sand greens in the U.S. and in particular, Nebraska. Pictures would have been fun. I'm not so sure about this...

Irwin said he would like to see sand greens make a comeback.

"There are a number of places that sand greens might make a resurgence because of our water issues and challenges facing many of today's golf courses in trying to keep them up," he said. "Sand greens are unique, but they aren't impossible to play."

Sand greens of yesteryear were an environmentalist's nightmare. To create a faster putting surface and keep the sand from blowing away, motor oil was dumped on the greens once or twice a year. has more including a listing of courses.


"That's Pete's magic I guess you might say."

I'm guessing that after some links and heathlands golf, Crooked Stick and it's old style USGA setup is just not evoking the same rush of excitement for Tom Watson. You be the judge based on his post round 1 comments:

I had to relearn the golf course. I didn't remember much about it. A very complicated golf course for me. Just you can't hit it here, you can't hit it here, you can't hit it here, you got to hit it here, you can't hit it here, you can't hit it here. A lot of can't's out there rather than cans the way I look at the golf course. That's Pete's magic I guess you might say.



"I wasted a lot of years not taking things serious."

The team probably flipped coins and Rex Hoggard lost, so he had to interview John Daly about his new Golf Channel reality show. What prompted you to do another reality series?

John Daly: I’m a different person now. I’m more serious about what I’m doing now. I’ve learned that talent can’t do it all. I wasted a lot of years not taking things serious.

Funny, but I only watched about 15 minutes of the telecast and was struck by Rich Lerner and Peter Oosterhuis talking about how Daly did not appear to be trying.


"It's the equipment"

That was Andy North on today's U.S. Senior Open telecast to explain why Crooked Stick's maximum yardage for the Senior Open is longer than it was for the 1991 PGA. The context of a USGA event telecast made the graphic (below) and comments quite the eye opener and I'm sure it was greatly appreciated in USGA Hospitality.

As the graphic was posted North pointed out that the Champions Tour driving distance average in 1991 was 261 yards; 274 yards in 2009. But no love for all the time the guys have spent in the fitness trailer getting massages lifting weights.


"The author expects to be mocked, belittled, and made the object of unrelenting scorn, and really that’s part of the appeal in doing this."

Alan Shipnuck retires his Hot List column in favor of a "mailbag" format.

Refresh my memory: didn't he do this once before in the early days of the Internet? It got a bit ugly at times, no?


Kohler In On Milwaukee Rescue?

We've heard mumblings about a "chill" inducing pitch to save the Milwaukee stop and Tim Rosaforte sheds a little more light on what that may mean:

There's also a chance in this shuffling that the RBC Canadian Open would get a better date than just after the British Open. And Herb Kohler's name has been thrown into the group joining Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker in an attempt to save the Milwaukee event.


Is That GUR?

Did anyone else think that was a white ground under repair line around the telephone poles at Crooked Stick's 9th hole for the U.S. Senior Open?


Rear Admiral Speaks: "Fight the battle you’re in, not the battle you wish you were in."

Beth Ann Baldry and Alistair Tait sit down with Rear Admiral Marsha Evans about her efforts as interim LPGA Commissioner. I never thought I'd find comfort in militaryspeak, but after five years of MBAspeak...

GW: How do you think your military background will help your role with the LPGA?

ME: In the military, you learn as a very junior officer to focus on the mission. 2010 and beyond, that’s the mission. . . . In the military, we used to say there’s no prize for second place in war. There really is no prize for second place in meeting the needs of the players.I think a second aspect is what we call situational awareness. You’ve got to be aware of what’s happening in your environment. . . . People say, ‘Oh, the economy,’ and wring (their) hands about how bad it is. Well, OK; what are you going to do to overcome the challenges? It is what it is. All the time worrying about it and wringing your hands over it, you’re not moving the ball forward. I think that’s another piece of it. I think there are opportunities for us in this lousy economy. Opportunities to build relationships with prospective sponsors.Today they may not be our sponsor, but now is the time to start talking with that key list of partners we would like to have so that when the economy changes, we will be well-positioned coming out of it. Fight the battle you’re in, not the battle you wish you were in. The battle we’re in is pretty straightforward.

And this is refreshing...

GW: Is that an avenue for you to pursue, now that we’re in this economic climate?

ME: We have the opportunity to have tournaments that aren’t on the big-world scale – like this tournament, for example. . . . (Smaller markets) are an opportunity for us. This is what grows a fabulous fan base. . . .I want it to stay accessible. Not everybody lives in a megalopolis. Some live in the medium and smaller communities. For me, I think it’s critical that we have the opportunity for wide-ranging geographies.