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
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer

I know well two great champions of earlier years who cannot now always carry a hazard one hundred yards from the tee, but who still play the game and have shots in their bag which Hagen and Jones would view with envy. On my ideal course these shall not be denied nor yet humiliated.  ROBERT HUNTER




"Since 1974, Ms Wade has benefited from financial advice from her management company, International Management Group"

A reader took exception to IMG's Mark Steinberg and insistence that IMG does not provide financial advice to its clients and therefore, could not have been intertwined with Stanford Financial, as the New York Post is claiming. I'm really not sure how the reader drew this conclusion because...wait, what was it that tennis great Virginia Wade said in a 2005 Telegraph story?

Since 1974, Ms Wade has benefited from financial advice from her management company, International Management Group "We are in touch regularly, maybe once a month. If you are interfering all the time it gets hard for them."

Hilariously, the article details how she owned a building with the late Mark McCormack, invested in a Cleveland based insurance company where IMG hapens to be located, and well, there's that quote. 


Greetings From LA, It's-75-And-There-Are-More-People-At-Most-Nationwide-Events-Edition

Let's get the important stuff out of the way on what was an otherwise slow news day: media dining has taken a considerable leap this year. I know you were worried.

After years of mystery meats on beds of kikuyu cream sauces, the vaunted Riviera chef's best creations have made their way to our little hanger between the first and second fairways. Today's superb Butternut Squash soup topped yesterday's Chicken Gumbo, something I never could have imagined.

In less important news, the golf was splendid. Unfortunately few were there to see it.Ernie Els on Thursday (click to enlarge)

The players took advantage of breathtaking 75 degree weather and no wind to light up Riviera. The course setup saw only 3 hole locations four paces from the edge and just five-five pacers. The rest were all sixes and sevens, a far cry from recent years when threes and fours dominated and round 1 never came close to finishing. Pace of play was still wretched Thursday, but most afternoon groups got around in under five hours, allowing the near completion of first round play.

More disturbing for the future of the event was the Nationwide-like feel to the day. Even with amazing weather fans are staying away. And while the economy is in part to blame for the dearth of spectators, I would also chalk the low attendance to increased ticket prices ($30) and the disappearance of the various ticket giveaways that brought such great crowds out in year's past (test drive a Nissan, spent $25 on Vons groceries, etc...). Hopefully PGA Tour Championship Management will consider bringing back some of these fan friendly issues next year when they take over, but from what I've seen with things like the 18th hole scoreboard and the overall obsession with trying to make the event more upscale via sterile signage, I'm not optimistic.

Perfect day, great pairing, no fans (click to enlarge)I trailed the Ogilvy-Els-Imada threesome and by the time they reached the 17th hole, there were about 100 people around. It was 4:30 and delightful out. Just a shame.

In pressing fashion news, Ryan Moore won the day's prize for strangest shoes (I'm sparing you the rest of the outfit details). So are these actually sold or did he have Softspikes specially installed? If the latter, that's impressive.Ryan Moore's shoes (click to enlarge)

In Ryo news, I followed the young lad for a few holes and he certainly has a nice game. Even more impressive, he handles all of the hoopla gracefully. Keep in mind that he's dealing with photographers who were seen clicking away at his image on the press-room televisions. These people are disturbed!

Ryo's entourage snapping away as he tees off No. 12 (click to enlarge)In 10th hole news (where they desperately need a grandstand), there was the usual mix of birdies and bizarro bogies, with all sort of strange plays and a few more lay ups left!). After his 63, I asked Phil Mickelson about his approach to the 10th. He's pretty high on his strategic approach...

Q. Back on No. 10, where are you trying to hit it off the tee? What is your actual strategy there from the tee?

PHIL MICKELSON: You know, I've played that hole very effectively the last couple of years, and have played it under par and bettered the field average and I would rather not say what I'm trying to do there. (Laughter).




"IMG does not give investment advice to our clients...period."

Thanks to reader Andrew for this Darren Rovell story quoting Mark Steinberg on IMG's relationship with the troubled Stanford Financial.

"The suggestion conveniently made by "unnamed sources" about IMG's business affairs involving our clients in today's New York Post is complete fiction, designed to benefit the people making the claims, and is completely irresponsible.

"IMG's 50-year history of success is built upon staunchly protecting the professional interests of our clients. IMG does not give investment advice to our clients...period. Our agreement with Stanford is only to provide consulting services in the area of sponsorships and activation in golf. We do not now, nor have we ever had, a 'quid pro quo' agreement with Stanford or anyone else where IMG would be compensated in exchange for directing our clients to invest with them. We could not have maintained our near half century lead in the industry if we had done anything else. For 'unnamed sources" to imply otherwise is simply reprehensible."


Rare 1949 U.S. Open Footage

Check out the incredible (in color!) U.S. Open footage found by USGA staffer David Normoyle, whose grandfather Joseph captured the clips at Medinah.

David writes about the find and you can view the video here by going to Championships and U.S. Open.

Here's a direct link.


Finchem Merely Delighted At News Of Tiger's Return

My intelligence sources say the gang on Ponte Vedra labored over the Commissioner's press release, contemplating various versions of the proper adjective. After all, you don't want to offend the rest of the troops who have done such a stellar job holding the tour together in Tiger's absence.

Thanks to Microsoft Word, which allows us to view the in-house editorial tinkering, here's the version that was passed around the Vice Presidential tier, meaning 93 people had a shot at this all vital release, 99 if you count EVP's, SVP's and other assorted VP's with initials before their VP mantles:

Statement of PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem

We received confirmation today that Tiger Woods has committed to play in next week's World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Arizona. We are captivated, charmed, ecstatic, elated, enchanted, entranced, excited, fulfilled, gladdened, gratified, joyous, jubilant, overjoyed, pleasantly surprised beyond words, thrilled, appreciative, charmed, contented to the extent we are exuberant, delighted that Tiger is returning to competition and look forward to watching him compete next week so that maybe people won't pay attention to this Stanford Financial boondoggle/debacle/nightmare   so that we might actually draw discernable television ratings again  in order to add another fine competitor to the FedEx Cup race.


Kostis Says Mickelson Clearly Didn't Put Enough Off Season Time In; Phil Posts 63

The analyst offered this CBS press release perspective on Mickelson's game before Phil torched Riviera with a first round 63.

The only thing consistent about Mickelson’s game right now is his inconsistency. Clearly he didn’t put enough time in preparing in the off-season. It seems like he would have found some answers. He is changing equipment almost weekly and it’s hard to really develop your golf swing when you always have different sets of iron and clubs in the bag. You need to pick something and stick with it…


Did IMG Steer Clients To Stanford Financial?

Thanks to reader Tuco for Peter Lauria and Kaja Whitehouse's New York Post story claiming that IMG directed its clients to Stanford Financial. IMG is vehemently denying...

According to three sources with knowledge of the situation, IMG and Stanford have a quid-pro-quo agreement under which Stanford Financial pays IMG a low- to mid-seven-figure consulting fee in exchange for IMG advising its clients - which include golfers Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, David Toms, Sergio Garcia and others - to have their money managed by Stanford.

The backroom bargaining has exposed IMG to charges of double-dealing, and is raising questions about where the firm's allegiances lay: with Stanford Financial or its athlete clients.

"It's certainly a conflict of interest," said one source. "IMG is trading on its athletes' names to make money for themselves and then turning around and telling them to invest money with Stanford."


Greetings From L.A., Pro-Am Edition

Skies cleared to make for a beautiful pro-am day. Normally I try to take cover on pro-am days since the media center is right in the firing lines. Today I spent some time on the range to watch a few players I don't normally get the chance to observe.

Early on, I witnessed a true first: fifty or so Japanese media members watching Ryo Ishikawa hit balls. And not just watching, but they were glued to every shot. Some were even making notes. Yes, notes of a driving range session. And when he moved to the side tee to work out of the practice bunker, the herd followed. Truly a different world!

Chopra (click to enlarge)Daniel Chopra spent a good 15 minutes trying to hit lob wedges over the range fence before finally giving up. Judging by the state of his, uh, highlights, I think his time would have been better spent at one of L.A.'s finer salons.

Trevor Immelman came to the range and no one seemed to know, care or even recognized the Masters champion. Pretty strange. That said, watching his beautiful swing next to that of Jeev Milkha Singh provided quite the contrast.

Jeev Singh at the top of his unique backswing (clck to enlarge)Singh must have the strangest swing for a great player. I had hoped to interview him but he seemed determined to hit about 300 balls and you can only stand and watch someone that laid off at the top so long.

I watched Vijay Singh and he didn't seem the least bit bothered by the Stanford Financial situation, so hopefully his money was invested elsewhere.

And finally, my major quest of the day ended with good news: Stuart Appleby is not, contrary to what I've heard, a complete jerk to his pro-am partners. In fact, I can report that he not only spoke to them, but signed autographs for young boys and even posed for a photo, patiently waiting while a young Wang took way too many shots and way too much time trying to frame the image. Appleby displayed great patience and dispelled most of the myths about his pro-am demeaner with the staff.


"I always say if it was built before 1960, there's a good chance I'm going to like it."

Jim Furyk, killing any chance he had for the ASGCA's Donald Ross Award, talking Wednesday at the Loss-of-Trust Open about Riviera and classic architecture in general.

I always say if it was built before 1960, there's a good chance I'm going to like it. If it was built after 1990, there's probably a pretty good chance I won't. It doesn't always hold true, but it's a good rule of thumb.


"A wood not an iron"

Thanks to reader Quan for this Aaron Gouveia story that sounds like something out of a Larry David episode. Guy holds door open for another guy who doesn't say thank you, so guy opening door utters sarcastic "thank you" (something I will never do again after reading this!).

Police officers were called to the Hess gas station at the corner of Sandwich Road and Route 151 at 6:45 a.m. Monday following an altercation between two customers. The incident began with one man not saying "thank you" to another man as he held the door open for him, police said.

When he was exiting the gas station, police said, a 50-year-old East Falmouth man held the door open for Carlos Navarro, 38, of Falmouth. When Navarro allegedly failed to thank the man for opening the door, the 50-year-old man allegedly uttered a sarcastic "thank you" to Navarro, police said.

Navarro told police he believed he had been disparaged, which led to a heated argument. Navarro then went to his car and retrieved a golf club — a wood not an iron — and struck the alleged victim several times in the stomach and legs, police said.

Police said the alleged victim suffered minor injuries in the incident.

So glad we got that clarified on wood or iron. As if it really makes a difference when you are getting beaten with one!


PGA Tour Sponsors: "Three Camps"

I thought reader "Hitting Three" made some interesting observations (as did several others) on the original Stanford Financial post.  Hitting Three broke down PGA Tour sponsors into categories of financial well-being. In case you missed it:

PGA Tour sponsors, 3 camps:

Camp Solid: (24 events)
Mercedes...seem to be fine.
Sony...seem to be fine.
AT&T...seem to be fine.
Northern Trust...seem to be fine, for a bank anyway.
Accenture...seem to be fine.
Honda...seem to be fine.
Mastercard....debatable but AP can always rope in a new one.
Computer Associates...seem fine.
Shell...should be fine.
Master's...self-funding, what a concept!! (obviously not a PGA Tour event)
Verizon...seem to be fine.
Valero...stock went from $75 to $15, but otherwise fine?
AT&T (2)...seem to be fine.
John Deere...stock from $90 to $30, but seem fiscally sound.
Royal Bank of Canada...prob be ok, but keep an eye on 'em.
Bridgestone...should be fine.
Coca Cola...ditto. (it's "Co'cola" for the uninitiated) will always grill out.
Disney...guess there will always be a Disney tournament.

Camp Coin Flip: (8 events)
========================== travel, who knows, unless it's a wash site then they are fine?
Crowne Plaza...hotel biz? has to be a questionmark.
Morgan Stanley...appears to have survived brush with death, but TARP limits them.
Wyndham...hotel biz? stock has gone from $37 to $4, I'd be worried.
Deutsche Bank...another bank, stock is down 75%, flip a coin.
Turning Stone...prob be ok, I guess.
Shriners...who is the sponsor?
Fry's...with the recent fraud who knows?

Band Camp: (10 events)
====================== support, probably not a viable sponsor going forward.
FBR...stock traded at .22c today. Most .22c'rs don't make it.
Buick...ditto Chrysler.
Banco, stock down 75% in last 3 years, seems v shaky.
Wachovia...vaporized, acquiror has no interest in Tour.
Stanford...raided today by SEC for "massive on-going fraud".
US Bank...bailed on the sponsorship after '09.
Buick (2) support, brand may not even survive.
Legends..."a project that is currently on hold" -- doubt they are back for '10.
Barclays...stock down 87%, and it's a bank, Ty bulk up in legal!

- 56% of events appear to be on solid footing.
- 20% in coin flip territory.
- 24% looking like burnt toast.

Not a pretty picture... 02.17.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHitting Three



"Tom Morris of St Andrews" Wins 2008 USGA Award

Here's the story on



Minorities Pave Way For Anthony Kim To Skip L.A. Open

Daniel Wexler looks at the progressive nature of the event formerly known as the L.A. Open, while Doug Ferguson notes the power of IMG the interesting early season scheduling by the next great PGA Tour hope, Anthony Kim.

Anthony Kim grew up in Los Angeles and spent his last few years of high school in the Palm Springs area. But the West Coast swing will end without Kim at either of the PGA Tour stops in his hometowns.

He missed the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic with a shoulder injury, leaving Mark Calcavecchia to quip, "Has he heard of Advil?"

More peculiar is how Kim could miss the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. Instead, he is playing on the European tour for the second straight week, this time at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, Australia.

Kim has played only twice on the PGA Tour this year, tying for second in Kapalua and missing the cut in Phoenix.


Stevie: "He never tees it up unless he believes he can win and he's ready to go."

Stevie Williams is still in New Zealand and not sounding entirely like someone about to jump on a plane for Tucson. Which makes sense, since a Tiger return to the match play seems like an odd choice when you consider the 36-hole days involved on the weekend. Or Stevie's bluffing:

"It's going to be anytime, shortly," Williams said.

"He's probably 95 percent of the way there. He was waiting for the birth of his second child which just came last week so he's ready to go. He just needs a little bit more walking. He hasn't been able to walk too well," he added.

"Anytime in the next few weeks he's going to tee it up. He definitely wants to play a couple of tournaments before Augusta so any day now he's going to make a decision when he's going to play."


Greetings From LA: Quiet Tuesday Edition

Riviera took another rain beating overnight and seemed pretty saturated this morning, but by midday was drying out. I even spotted some of Matt Morton's dedicated crew out mowing fairways, an encouraging sign that things are too water logged.

I walked with a few players and listened in on some driving range chatter, all the while noticing that Vijay Singh was constantly on his cell phone. I'm going to guess those weren't fun calls. 

My best attempt at a Borat thumbs up needs work (click to enlarge)Fun for me was getting my photo taken next to the Titleist truck, something I did just for my vast Fairhaven readership, which looks a little thin these days based on Google Analytics.

I also forgot how boring it can be listening to golf pros talk about shafts, lofts, lies and other minutae. At least they're passionate about something! We certainly know it's not golf architecture.

Anyone not have a camera in Ryo's gallery? (click to enlarge)Fans were in such short supply that teen sensation Ryo Ishikawa's gallery was dominated by photographers and television crews (see lousy iphone image, left). After briefly catching a glimpse of the young lad who sported banana yellow slacks he picked up at a Tom Weiskopf garage sale, I was thrilled to hear he joined up for back nine play with two giants of the game. He covered this in his afternoon press conference:

Q. I believe you played a practice round today with Chris DiMarco and J.J. Henry. How did that come about, and did they give you any advice or words of wisdom?

RYO ISHIKAWA: Both players are so kind to give advice like, you know, the pin positions last year or something like that. So every single hole, those two players gave me some advice.

I wanted to play the PGA TOUR since I was young, and it's kind of like a dream playing with those superstar players. So, it's like a dream.

I think that's the first time superstar has been used to describe J.J. Henry, but you have to love the respect he's paying his elders.

Speaking of respecting elders, John Strege filed this enjoyable summary of Ryo's news conference


Stanford Financial Clippings

Steve Elling labels the Stanford Financial charges a disaster and Bob Harig manages to wrangle a quote out of the LPGA spokesman who says they are monitoring the situation.

Geoff Caulkins talks to a FedEx briefcase and it sure sounds like the air freight giant is already in talks to rescue the Memphis stop they once sponsored.

Martha Graybow of Reuters says the case raises new questions about the SEC. But I found some of the timing mentioned interesting considering the LPGA just recently signed up (Nov. 19) Stanford for its Tour Championship despite this:

A complaint filed last year against Stanford's firm by two former employees contended they were aware of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into the firm's sales practices while they worked there.

The employees, Mark Tidwell and Charles Rawl, said in their Texas state court lawsuit that they left rather than participate in unlawful business practices. They departed in late 2007.

A Guardian blog post by Andy Bull examines the likelihood of poor due diligence performed by the England and Wales Cricket Board before taking Stanford's sponsorship money. So will questions will be raised about the due dilligence carried out by the PGA and LPGA Tours who are so visibly leaning on Stanford?

More immediately, the Stanford Financial "Eagles for St. Jude" spots should prove to be uncomfortable for the Golf Channel anchor who has to note the program. As should future airings of these ads:


Latest Trump Bankruptcy Not Exactly Assuring The Scots

If they only knew how many times The Donald has been through this, they'd understand it's all part of doing business the Apprentice way.

He said the company "represents substantially less than 1% of my net worth, and has for some time".

"If I can't manage something, it's not for me," said Trump who holds 28% of the company's stock, according to a recent filing. "Now I will study and watch as the horrible and outrageous fees being paid to lawyers and consultants will suck the blood from the company."

Last night, Aberdeenshire councillor Paul Johnston, an opponent of the Menie golf development in its present form, said he believed events in America did have a bearing on the Menie development.

"He is a property developer at the riskiest time ever for property development and the questions is, will it ever get finished if he starts it? People are worried it will never happen and Mr Trump, by his resignation, is breeding uncertainty. I am not in high finance but this doesn't look good.

"Clearly he always has the option of making life easier for himself by scaling back the development here and still build the world's greatest golf course but without destroying the sand dunes. This whole development may be built on sand."


Bandon, Here They Come?

Matty G looks at the efforts to make Bandon Dunes more accessible via commercial aircraft and also quotes my cousin Tobin who has creating an innovative air service for those wanting to get around some of Oregon's better courses.



What Kind Of Club Is Natalie Holding?

Alright, behave yourselves please, my mother reads this site!.

Here is an email query going around wondering what kind of club shaft that Natalie Gulbis, current Celebrity Apprentice star, is holding? Here's the email:




Stanford Financial Raided By U.S. Marshalls**

Oops. Now this should test those ironclad PGA Tour contracts. And on the LPGA side, ADT must be looking better and better down at headquarters.