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

To place a president of the United States in proper historical perspective might take several generations, but to evaluate the impact of Arnold Palmer on golf we need not wait. He has meant more to the game than anyone, ever, in every conceivable way.



Masters Field at 88

...after the World's Top 50 for 2008 is finalized. Doug Ferguson reports. Some of the names in and not yet in might surprise you:

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tied for third at the South African Open and will move up to No. 39, while Lin Wen-Tang of Taiwan tied for sixth in the Volvo Masters on the Asian Tour and will be No. 49.

Augusta National since 2000 has invited the top 50 in the rankings at the end of the calendar year. With no more official tournaments remaining, the final 2008 rankings were determined Sunday.

The 15 players not otherwise eligible except for their top-50 ranking were Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher, Luke Donald, Shingo Kayatama, Graeme McDowell, Rory Sabbatini, Jeev Milkha Singh, Aaron Baddeley, McIlroy, Oliver Wilson, Sterne, Soren Hansen, Tang and Soren Kjeldsen.

Along with other criteria, that puts the Masters field at 88 players who are expected to compete April 10-13. Among those still not eligible are Woody Austin, Scott Verplank, Davis Love III and J.B. Holmes, the only Ryder Cup player who could miss the first major of the year.

Augusta National has the smallest field of the four majors, and it most likely will get larger.

Players still can qualify by winning one of 13 PGA Tour events leading to the Masters, or by getting into the top 50 in the rankings published a week before the Masters. The Masters has not had more than 100 competitors since 1966. 


Donald On Lawsuit: "I’ve been looking forward for a long time to do this."

Victoria Kim reports that The Donald is suing Rancho Palos Verdes, home to Trump Trails National L.A., for $100 million.

“I’ve been looking forward for a long time to do this. The town does everything possible to stymie everything I do.”

So said Donald Trump in an interview Friday regarding the latest dispute with Rancho Palos Verdes, where his golf course is located.

In the latest chapter of Donald Trump vs. City of Rancho Palos Verdes, the real estate mogul has upped the ante -- by $100 million. In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Trump accused the city of requiring unnecessarily tough standards for developments on his 580-acre oceanside golf course on the scenic coastline.

Ready for the reason?

The city is holding improvements that are “in keeping with the Trump image” hostage to extract large fees from him, Trump alleges in the suit, which accuses city officials of fraud and violation of federal equal protection rights, among other things. When the developer first purchased the property in 2002, residents and city leaders welcomed the injection of funds into a city pulling out of a recession.

But since then, Trump has been engaged in battle after battle with the city, over a street name, a row of ficus trees, then a 70-foot flagpole.

That seems like it's worth $100 million, no?

I can't wait for The Donald to land a Trump Bedminster-U.S. Open so he can sue the USGA for not "keeping with the Trump image"!


Finchem Issues Video Plea To Players

Looking like he'd been kidnapped, Tim Finchem issued a plea to PGA Tour players for upbeat messaging and overall call to not act like entitled brats in '09. Lit by an Ikea fluorescant bulb lamp tilted sideways by an unnamed PGA Tour VP who made the cost-cutting suggestion, it was reported by SBJ's Jon Show that Finchem suggested the slugs add an event here or there, you know, for the effort.

"We’re asking every player to add a tournament or two to their historical schedule to assist the tournaments that historically have weak fields,” Finchem said. "We have a lot of title sponsors this year that are up for renewal. We have to put our best foot forward in terms of presenting our competitions." On the subject of showing appreciation to sponsors, whose payments range from thousands of dollars to millions, Finchem asked players to spend more time visiting corporate hospitality areas and “make your feelings known about the role of the sponsors, both publicly and in private communication to leadership of our sponsor companies."

I guess Tiger didn't pass along the video link to Stevie Williams:

He also requested that players avoid making negative public comments about the Tour. "We want players to be, No. 1, upbeat and positive about what the PGA Tour is doing and where we’re going,” Finchem said. "We want you to be excited about the competitive opportunities that you have. And third, we want you to talk about PGA Tour properties when you describe what this year, 2009, is all about. Particularly the FedEx Cup." He also asks players to be more involved in charity functions during tournament weeks. Before closing by wishing the players happy holidays, Finchem said, “I want to thank you in advance for the additional commitment that I know you’ll be making in 2009.”

Is that thanking them in advance part like a Corleone saying "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse"?

Oh and Freddie Couples must feel good that the Commish has a painting of him on the office wall.


Stevie and Phil, Photoshopped

Don't miss HookedOnGolf's Stevie-Phil make up photos.


“Thankfully not"

Some good news for the USGA from a post by Alan Bastable at on the Madoff financial scandal's ties to golf:

There’s also the matter of golf-oriented non-profits that might have had money tied up with Madoff. David Fay, the USGA’s executive director, told me the first thing he did when the scandal broke was to check if the USGA had entrusted any of its sizable portfolio to Madoff. “Thankfully not,” he says.


"Probably the most difficult name I ever had to tackle was Mark Calcavecchia at Troon. I made sure I checked that out a few times!"

Marvin Collins on Alex Harvey, long-time Claret Jug engraver Alex Harvey, who passed away at 83.

After bowing out at St Andrews in 2005, Alex recalled: "Probably the most difficult name I ever had to tackle was Mark Calcavecchia at Troon. I made sure I checked that out a few times!"

Harvey relished the day he engraved Paul Lawrie's name on the trophy at Carnoustie. "It was nice to see his name going on the trophy and not just because he's a Scot. I'd known him for years," he said. "My son Garry knew him and they'd played together on Tour."

Harvey recalled his swansong, with Tiger Woods triumphant at the home of golf. "It was a wonderful tournament, with Jack Nicklaus and I both retiring! In a way I was glad he bowed out on the Friday, otherwise he might have stolen my thunder."


"And whether it is stroke play or whether it is match play or some combination of both is what we are discussing with the top players."

During Thursday's teleconference to announce that Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam are supporting the Olympic golf push, someone asked about the format possibilites:

TY VOTAW: Jack and Annika, for your benefit and for the benefit of those on the line, we are in the process of talking to the top players in both the men's and women's game to get their feedback as to what format they feel would be the best test for an Olympic golf competition. That will actually be memorialized in the detailed questionnaire that we will be providing to the IOC by the end of March. We are in the process of getting that feedback.

Memorialized? Ty? I think someone's been taking too many meetings with a certain Commissioner?

The one thing that we have said in terms of some parameters that we presented in November, Peter and I, in our presentation to the Program Commission was: We do see this as an individual competition, not a team competition; country-by-country, but individual, and approximately 60 players for the men's and 60 players for the women. And whether it is stroke play or whether it is match play or some combination of both is what we are discussing with the top players.

Given the fact that the IOC has said that the top players have to support and want to play in the Olympics if golf were part of it, we think it's critical that we get that feedback from the top players so that we maximize the potential for that sport, and the format is certainly something that we are going to be going to the top players and talking about before we submit the bid.

I'm not sure if I think it's a good idea that they are talking to the players. Of course, since many of the folks involved are infatuated with 72-hole stroke play events, perhaps the players are the best hope the cause has of creating an innovative, must-see format.


"It's like worrying about the weather to some extent, but you've certainly got to have your raincoat on."

Chris Millard summarizes the economic crisis' impact on golf and shares this from Commissioner Finchem:

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem strikes a veteran tone when asked about challenges facing the tour in 2009.

"You just have to react to it," he says. "It's like worrying about the weather to some extent, but you've certainly got to have your raincoat on. You've got to work harder to deal with it. You've got to make sure that you're doing what has made you successful before, because we've been through these before, and we've come through them quite well."

Nothing like a good raincoat metaphor to start your day, eh? At least he wasn't using it in the other raincoat vein.

This next item could be why there has been no 2009 schedule release. The Commish is coming into the Sherwood cart barn to answer press questions Saturday, so perhaps this has been resolved:

The biggest question mark on the 2009 PGA Tour is the Wachovia Championship. With the impending purchase of Wachovia by Wells Fargo, the sponsorship and the championship remain in limbo. According to Ty Votaw, the tour's executive vice president of communications and international affairs, Wells Fargo can still be expected to stage the event. "They assume the contract of Wachovia," he says. "They're the successor organization."

Wells Fargo isn't so sure. Company spokeswoman Heather Schow told Golf Digest on Oct. 30, "We are still separate companies, and no decisions have been made as to how Wells Fargo and Wachovia will combine their sponsorship activities."

And about those ironclad contracts...

Broader concerns lie in the tour's overall sponsor mix. In 2008, the PGA Tour calendar had six tournaments title-sponsored by automobile manufacturers and 14 tournaments titled by financial-services/insurance companies.

"Fact of the matter is that if somebody comes up and says, 'Look, we can't pay—sue us,' that's not in the best interest of the tour," says Alexander, who foresees some negative pressure on the tour in 2009 but expresses confidence in the tour's ability to withstand it. It's the organization's lesser tours—the Champions and Nationwide tours—where he believes the greatest impact could be felt.


Daly Camera Fetches $1075

What economic crisis? of all places reports.


"Average golfers are going to say 'to hell with the rules.' That would be bad for golf."

Steve Pike talks to Tom Wishon and Terry Koehler about news of the USGA's high-lofted wedge study and they aren't too wild about many of the same things that bugged me and many of you.

"The USGA is grasping at straws here," Koehler said. "The existence of high lofted wedges is mandatory for golfers to have a chance to deal with modern golf course architecture, with deep faced bunkers, thicker greenside rough and faster and firmer greens.

"What are we doing to help grow the game if we take away the golfers' tools they need to contend with these hazards and conditions? If the USGA isn't careful, it's going to lose respect as the authority. Average golfers are going to say 'to hell with the rules.' That would be bad for golf."

And this from Wishon:

"This club requires more skill to hit consistently than any other wedge in the bag because when you have that much loft, there is a less friction between the ball and the face, and less compression of the ball against the face than any other wedge," Wishon said. "Thus, most golfers have a real problem finding that fine line between how hard to swing at the ball and how steep to hit down on the ball to be able to hit a 60-degree wedge solid enough to get the ball on the green and not leave it short in the hazard they were trying to finesse the ball over in the first place."


"But it'll be very interesting to see what happens, how guys make that adjustment."

I spent much of Wednesday asking players at Sherwood about grooves. Why, when the rule doesn't take effect until 2010?

I felt it would be interesting to hear what kind of adjustments players are making going into this year, if any. And you would think it's a topic that players have started to pay attention to now that the rule change is looming.

Naturally, my naivety is once again exposed. Most of these supposed hi-tech savvy dudes have no idea what kind of grooves are in their irons or wedges, and if they do, have given little thought to how the rule change might impact their game.

Stephen Ames was one exeception. He has already switched out his irons and wedges at the same time he went to a softer ball and sees some difference. He has had a few flyers and noticed the biggest difference in reduced ball spin on a windy day. He said he's lost maybe 5 yards off the tee because he now plays with "the softest ball possible," which I presume to be the Nike ball that Tiger uses. Asked why he already made the change in his bag instead waiting until the end of the year, he just shrugged his shoulders and said why not?

I asked Tiger Woods in his press conference and found his answer (and enthusiam on the topic) both exciting and disheartening.


Q. In 2010 the USGA is changing the rule for grooves. Is that going to affect what's in your bag now or how you play golf courses in the coming years?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it'll affect what's in my bag. I can't have my two sand wedges the way I have them now.

But as far as -- I play the spinniest ball on TOUR, so for me, my transition will be a little bit easier than the rest of the guys, guys who play a harder golf ball. They're going to have to maybe a little bit more of an adjustment, whether they do it with loft. Some guys are experimenting with 64-degree wedges to try to help them out that way so they can hit fuller shots with more spin, or guys just might be making -- actually more mental adjustments in their course management skills, going for greens, because you know you actually can't get the ball to spin like you used to so it puts more of a premium on putting the ball in the fairway. With the wedges you can't blast it out there on the par-5s and expect an easy up-and-down. You've got to miss it on the proper side more than ever. But it'll be very interesting to see what happens, how guys make that adjustment.

So the USGA and R&A should be pleased to see that Tiger thinks hitting fairways will take on importance.

The disheartening part? I think he has a lot more to say on the matter, and a natural follow up on the news of a high-lofted wedge study would probably elicit a fascinating answer as well. But with his appearances limited and minimal accessibility, we'll have to wait a while.


"It's over and done with and we put it to bed." **

I'm going to spare you the answers (except to the Stevie question) and just list the questions to Tiger's dull press gathering Wednesday. Granted, it was 42 and raining outside and inside the cart barn were way too many TV types who have to introduce themselves and their affiliations before launching into a bland question. But as you will see, it was definitely not the media's finest moment (and I include myself, though I did have burn my question on something for a story I'm working on...excuses, excuses).

Q. You talked about being right on schedule. Do you have any preliminary idea of what that schedule might be?

Q. Considering the seriousness of the injury, how difficult has this rehabilitation process been for you?

Q. You hadn't expected to be able to hit shots until January, so the fact that you're hitting some shots now, are you a little bit further ahead --

Q. I've got to ask you about Stevie. Can you talk about any further reaction to it?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, what ended up happening is I communicated with Phil, and we have discussed it. I talked to Stevie about it, and he feels bad, what happened. At this point it happened at all, and it's something that none of us really wanted to have happen, but it's over and done with and we put it to bed.

Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times asked, and no one followed up about the conversation with Phil. In fact, I'm going to go so far as to predict Tiger wanted to be asked more because today's session has not put the matter to rest. It will come up ad nauseum next time that a Tiger-Phil pairing lurks. Yes, the matter will come up anyway, but without some key questions asked and answered, the story will not die.

Besides, why ask those when you can ask this as a follow up...

Q. Welcome home. Did you not talk to the weather man before you came here?

Q. I was going to ask you about that. How strange is it to host the event but actually not play in it this year?

Q. You talked about having time with your daughter, and at the same time how difficult the rehab and the injury has been. In your time away from PGA events, did you gain a different perspective or view of the game that you could only get watching it?

Q. In the time you've had off, how much time have you spent thinking about or working on course design? Obviously you've had more time to do that than you would have were you playing. And in terms of the projects you've got going, do you have more on the table right now, and do you also envision coming up with any public access courses, as well?

Q. You said you haven't hit full shots with your entire bag yet. Could you talk about when did you hit your first full shot and how many have you hit?

Q. Do you have any pain or stiffness or scar tissue?

Q. I know retirement talk would be a long way off, but did this layoff make you feel like you enjoyed it so much that you could retire earlier?

Q. Is it your intention to try to play a couple events before the Masters, and if so, what kind of criteria are you going to need to get to to make that decision?

Q. If it came to that, would you make the Masters (indiscernible)?

Q. What have they told you about how you may or may not have to change your swing or how you attack the ball to prevent this from happening again, and how much is there a concern that the repetition that you have to do time and time and time again to practice and play and the stress you put on it that this is just going to be a recurring issue?

Q. I heard you're doing a lot of swimming. I was wondering if you could talk about that as a form of rehab maybe being different for you. Also you look leaner than at the Open. What are you down to and what are you trying to accomplish there?

Q. Is swimming a new thing for you?

Q. Having effectively defied doctors' orders to compete at Torrey Pines, would you describe yourself as an obedient but frustrated patient over the last six months?

Q. During your absence there was a search to see who would step forward, and there was a lot of focus at the end of the year on Anthony and Camilo and a little bit of Sergio. I wonder if you could just talk about that and if you're expecting that to be a challenge, given their age and whatnot?

Q. Did you vote for Paddy?

Q. Why?

Q. Is that all it comes down to?

Q. Do you think at the high frequency that you've been winning over the last several years, do you think your absence may have emboldened these guys by allowing them maybe more chances to win?

Q. Other athletes coming back from what you've had talk about fear, whether it's fear of not being the same, whether it's fear that the leg, they're going to feel it with the swing or a hit or a run. Can you talk about fear?

Q. You mentioned in the early weeks after the surgery that you were laid up in bed and couldn't move the leg. Can you talk about what that time was like, how you filled the days?

Q. Because of the pain, the excruciating pain that you had down at Torrey Pines, the length of the tournament, the difficult shots that you had to make, where do you rank that victory among all the rest that you have?

Q. Have you watched tape of The Open much maybe during your rehab or when you were laid up? And also, at any point did you marvel at what you were able to accomplish? Have you thought back and wondered how you actually did that?

Q. Are you aware of when you first injured your knee? And then looking back at the Open, you said you've seen some of the highlights. Are you more amazed now that you actually pulled it off?

Q. Long-term?

Q. The actual competition, how much have you missed that, and has that tempted you at all to want to come back sooner than maybe you should?

Q. If you can give us a little behind-the-curtain view, post-round each day how difficult was it going back to the hotel and trying to prepare for the next day? And were there doubts in your mind going forward each day about whether you would be able to do it?

Q. Having said that, you looked more comfortable on Monday than on Saturday and Sunday. Why was that?

Q. Two questions: As a member of the PGA TOUR you were eligible for drug testing even though you weren't playing. Did the TOUR ever come to your house?

Q. Were you expecting them at all?

Q. Secondly, there's been so much speculation since June about so many surgeries that you'll never be the same. Is there any doubt or any question that you'll be better than you were before?

Q. Are you preparing yourself emotionally if things don't go well the first couple of tournaments, if it's slower than you think?

Q. I was wondering about your thoughts on the economy and how that's going to impact the TOUR in the next few years and even your events, as well. Have you felt it at all?

Q. In 2010 the USGA is changing the rule for grooves. Is that going to affect what's in your bag now or how you play golf courses in the coming years?


Monty: I've Got Myself Penciled In Right After Lyle, Olazabal

Douglas Lowe hangs on Monty's every word, especially when the Scot nominates himself and the next two Ryder Cup captains. But Monty's not presumptuous. No sirree!

The Scot is a member of the 15-player tournament committee of the European Tour that will recommend the next Ryder Cup captain and the matter is on the agenda for the next meeting in Abu Dhabi.

"I think it is becoming more cut and dried that we will have two Scottish captains in the next three," he said, meaning Lyle for Wales in 2010, Jose Maria Olazabal for Medinah, Illinois, in 2012 and himself for Gleneagles in 2014.

Olazabal, who has back problems, is still dithering over whether to offer himself for captaincy at Wales or his preferred option of trying to play his way on to the team, but Montgomerie, who views Ryder Cup captaincy as a one-hit job, considers the decision should be made sooner rather than later.

"We have to move on," he said, "and in my view Olazabal, being two-and-a-half years younger than I am, would be a great asset to any team if fit and playing the way he does. There's great passion involved. That leaves Sandy Lyle and I'm 100% behind the idea of taking as vice-captains two of the past winning captains in Ian Woosnam and Sam Torrance with Sandy at the helm. It would be a fabulous team."

I wonder if he checked with Woosie and Torrance about that vice-captaincy nomination?


"Game Of Golf Loses A Gem"

I had not read the Max Elbin obits until Leonard Shapiro's piece in the Washington Post. What a life.


Will Scribblers Be Required To Take Off Their Shoes Before Entering Today's Sitdown With Tiger?

Because I can see it now, Art Spander, fed up with Tiger's one word answers, stands up and heaves his Rockports at the world's No. 1!

So if we have to take our shoes off today, then we'll know Tiger's media liaison Glenn Greenspan has consulted the White House on media security.

Seriously, a few emails have rolled in complaining about the excessive coverage of the Steve Williams remarks. Now, the "pushback" is appreciated but I'm also getting a big chuckle out of the stance that this is a non-story.

You have the caddie for the most famous athlete in the world hurling  slurs at his bosses' rival. In any other sport this would be a fun story for a few days.

LeBron calls Kobe a not so flattering name, check!

But Stevie/Tiger v. Phil lept to another level when Stevie was given a chance by reporter Greg Ford to clarify his remarks. He repeated his assertions about Phil, minus the big bad word, then continued to perpetuate a lie by claiming that the Phil/tits story took place at Bethpage.

John Hawkins asks the key question this week in Golf World:

In this case, the size of the deal and width of the proportions aren't as serious as the depth of the motivation for Williams' venom. Why would you say such a thing, Stevie? Can you give us a good reason?

The venom is beyond just about anything you'll see in these little dramas. But ignore the drama and consider the Ryder/President's Cup dilemma. We just witnessed a Ryder Cup where team chemistry and Captain Azinger's clever structuring made the difference. And how on earth can Captain Pavin or Couples possibly deal with this mess in the future unless Tiger gives his man the week off, or perhaps the rest of his career off?

Should Tiger have to eventually fire Steve Williams or have him work a limited schedule, that makes this a huge story because it potentially impacts this remarkable and historic run, one that Tiger has worked so hard to develop, and which Williams has been very much a part of (on the bag for 13 of 14 majors).

This site is devoted to following the state of the game, with a (hopefully) strong historical bent that aims to put some of the events we see in perspective. As a fan of the history of the game, I believe this drama does have the potential to impact the game's history.

So you've been warned, full Sherwood press conference coverage is yet to come...


"You can already get 8-1 on the splitting of golf's most famous two-man team..." **

Douglas Lowe reports that you can wager on Stevie's fate:

You can already get 8-1 on the splitting of golf's most famous two-man team prior to the first PGA Tour event that Woods will play in, while Mickelson has spoken out saying how lucky he feels he is in comparison to have a class act in Jim Bones' Mackay as his caddie and representative.

James Corrigan makes several points in his Independent story analyzing Wednesday's Tiger Woods press conference possibilities, including this about Mickelson and a long rumored joke Corrigan's attributing to the "Woods camp":

This part of the attack plainly touched a nerve and that may just be because it reminded of another cruel joke supposedly circulated by members in or around Tiger's entourage. I certainly first heard it off a person with close connections to the Woods camp. "What's the difference between Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy?" went the wisecrack. "One has fake tits and a real smile..."

Of course, all of this playground silliness was blessedly rooted in the past, but now it promises to blight the present and in particular Woods's comeback from his knee reconstruction (which will reportedly occur some time around March). If Woods stands by his man as his own statement signifies he will – while calling Williams's remarks "inappropriate" and saying he "respected" Mickelson, he also said that the matter had been "discussed and dealt with" – then the atmosphere is bound to be tense and go way, way beyond that if and when the pair are required to play with each other.

What does already seem a given is that Woods will have to employ another caddie for this year's Presidents Cup in Los Angeles and possible even for 2010's Ryder Cup in Newport. No captain worthy of his team's camaraderie would want Mickelson and Williams in the same room and only a very weak captain would countenance it. The bristling enmity between Woods and Mickelson was long credited as being one of the factors for the American's desultory performances in the Ryder Cup, but since the Kentucky glory in September much has been made of the new-found Starred and Striped bonhomie. Has this been threatened already?

And Freddie thought being Captain (in San Francisco, not Los Angeles) would be a breeze!

Woods has long been depicted as the ultimate individual sportsman who does not care for the feelings of his rivals. But now golf is demanding that he must. Williams's biggest crime could well be in forcing Tiger to be reverential to Leftie. If Woods doesn't – starting today – then the feud, mythical or not, truly will be blown out of all proportion.

Lawrence Donegan writes on the Guardian blog:

For those inclined to disagree consider this: what if Pat Rice, Arsène Wenger's admirable assistant at Arsenal, was a guest speaker at a charity event and called Sir Alex Ferguson a prick? What if he then made Ferguson the butt of an anecdote which subsequently turned out to be fiction? Would that be newsworthy? Of course it would.

Uh, right, Pat Rice. Oh and Arsenio Wanker and Sir, wait, who? Sorry...I'm sure it's a fine point if you think it's nice to swim in the North Sea and believe black pudding is a delicacy.

This point I understand:

If that sounds too apocalyptic, then ask yourself this: what would have happened if Mickelson's caddie, or any caddie working for a leading professional, had publicly insulted Woods in the same manner? The answer, of course, is the caddie would have been fired on the spot.

I enjoy Mark Reason's work but I just don't get where he sees Stevie as a victim here. If you follow the course of the events and read Greg Ford's article, Williams did not back down from his comments or in any way express remorse for possibly telling a lie. Instead, he repeated the lie with a new spin.

Williams had assumed his remarks were made to a small, private audience.

Woods may be more sympathetic than most because in 1997 he told a magazine reporter some dodgy jokes off mike, only to see them appear in print.

Woods will understand that to some extent Williams is a victim, even if not too many other players and caddies will be crying about his plight.

The biggest fall-out from this story is that the world will once more become a duller place. Padraig Harrington says that he has nothing in common with Sergio Garcia and that is turned into an admission of sulphuric hatred.

A baggage handler makes a few choice comments on the other side of the world and suddenly we have an international incident. This is celebrity bonkers.

Sportsmen already say very little worth hearing. Soon they will say nothing. Who can blame them when private remarks become a matter of public gossip.

Wow, poor Stevie.

Meanwhile, Garry Smits notes that Stevie made another comment that has gone unnoticed, but which may upset Tiger more than the Phil comment.

In the first story in the New Zealand media in which Steve Williams, Tiger Woods' caddie, took several shots at Phil Mickelson, Williams had this to say about the final hole of regulation in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines:

On the 18th hole in the final round, [Woods] needed a birdie four to tie Rocco Mediate and force a playoff.
"He hit a crap tee shot, [Williams said], then a bad second into the rough with the pin located front right. He hit the shot I wanted him to hit ... he took some convincing ... hit it right and made the putt. What a feat that was."

Just a word of caution to Mr. Williams: Mike "Fluff" Cowan, Woods' first caddie on the PGA Tour, was supposedly fired for taking too much credit for Woods' play and being too chatty with the media.

In a statement, Woods said the matter had been "dealt with." We'll see. 

We shall see. 1 p.m. PST.


The Camera That Launched John Daly's Pitching Career Can Be Yours

...on ebay. Make sure you read the Q&A. It's for a worthy cause! Sort of.

And in case you are a scout still hoping to see Daly's action, you can head here.


Boo Writing His First Book, Needs Publisher!

Just think of the Walmart sales alone, publishers.

And no, he's not writing it himself, someone is writing it with him, but at least Boo is upfront about it. From today's media session at Sherwood (that's really my nice way of not mentioning the sponsor's name), after talking about which story Jay Leno asked him about on the Tonight Show:

Q. Did you know that the portable bathroom story was going to get asked about?

BOO WEEKLEY: There was a couple different stories that he wanted to know, and I didn't know which one that he was going to bring out. So that was the one he picked.

Q. And you had no problem telling the whole thing?

BOO WEEKLEY: It was a true story, why should I have a problem?

Q. (No microphone).

BOO WEEKLEY: Yeah, that will be coming out soon, though. It will be out later, a couple months.

Q. (Regarding writing a book).

BOO WEEKLEY: I think his name's Paul Brown out of Jackson, Mississippi. We are working on one right now. We are trying to find a publisher that might be interested in it. You know, going to be a lot of different things going on.

Q. What's the working title?

BOO WEEKLEY: Don't know yet. He's coming up with all that. We just trying to start out -- we are trying to start it out and just trying to -- of how I got into golf, you know, and what my past has been like and the things that I've come about and the thing that I've overcome, just different things like that. It's just mostly about golf, right now until we find a publisher and then I started throwing some other stuff in there.

Q. Such as?
BOO WEEKLEY: (Smiling, devilish laugh.)


DVR Alert: Tiger and Rocco On Costas Now

Michael Bamberger, who filed a captivating profile of Rocco Mediate and the health struggles of his beloved therapist Cindi Hilfman, reports that Tiger Woods and Rocco will be interviewed as part of a year-end edition of HBO's Costas Now.


Butch Would Like To Sit Down With Stevie To Hear Why Phil Is A Prick

I'm seeing one of those jail visitor area setups: glass window, Butch Harmon and Stevie Williams talking on a phone for Butch's safety, only instead of an orange jumpsuit, Stevie's in an Augusta white jumper...with the collar wide open and his little green hat on backwards in one last act of defiance.

From the Independent, Michael Church reporting:

"I can't believe he said what he said," Harmon told PA Sport. "I think it's deplorable that he would say something like that.

"Golf is a game of honour and integrity and that was a very uncalled-for remark and I don't think it's a reflection of how Tiger thinks of Phil Mickelson.

"Until I see Steve and have a conversation with him and find out why he said what he said I don't really understand it. Phil Mickelson is one of the most popular players in the world, every bit as popular as Tiger Woods around the world.

"He's a nice guy, all the guys like Phil so I don't know where Steve was coming from with that comment.
"But personally I would assume he wishes he had never made it and I would love to have heard a recording of the conversation between him and Tiger after it came out in print.

"Having worked with Tiger for 10 years, I can tell you he wouldn't have been very happy with that."