Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer

The biggest liar in the world is the golfer who claims that he plays the game merely for exercise. TOMMY BOLT




Nice Column On Rocco...

...By Bill Dwyre in the L.A. Times, writing about Rocco's determination to play Riviera this week and about his incredible start.

Thursday, Mediate teed off quietly, walked slowly around the Riviera course while managing a one-under-oar 70. Friday, he walked it again and turned in a three-under 68.

The good news, for Mediate, is that he made the cut at four under and will play two more rounds today and Sunday.

The bad news, for his physical therapist and surgeon, is that Mediate made the cut and will play two more rounds today and Sunday.

Only 18 days ago, after he dragged the knee around the Sunday round of the FBR Open in Scottsdale on Feb. 1, Mediate had surgery done by Dr. Tom Knapp of the Santa Monica Orthopedic Group. Immediately thereafter, his physical therapist, Cindy Hilfman, took over.

The goal was to get him ready to play at Riviera, his "favorite track," according to Hilfman.

Asked Friday what it would have taken to keep him out of this tournament, Mediate said, "Death."


Greetings From L.A., Cut Day This And That

Just another warm, sunny day with Junior Chamber of Commerce weather at Riviera.

Question: will we still get these glorious days when PGA Tour Championship Management takes over operations from the Junior Chamber?

Crowds were larger Friday, though still not nearly the size or exuding the energy level of past Friday afternoons. Players continued to respond with excellent play despite firming greens and a little afternoon wind. Phil Mickelson suffered from the usual post-incredible-round blues, posting a 72 and struggling most of the way. Still, he's only three back heading into the weekend with a nicely stocked leaderboard.Mickelson blasts out of the bunker on 11 and knocks it three feet even though a shutter went off way early and turned Bones into Stevie for just a second (click to enlarge)

The sponsor exemptions played admirably but not well enough for the weekend. Sifford exemptee Vincent Johnson impressed many, Pepperdine's Jason Gore is positioned for a nice check, and most observers feel Ryo Ishikawa has a ways to go in the course management department. In other words, he's no Rory McIlroy. ;)

Friday's "Where's Marty Hackel When You Need Him?" Award Winner (click to enlarge)I bounced around the course and took in a variety of groups, mostly hovering near the 10th hole when possible. Naturally it did not disappoint even with more guys laying-up today, but they still don't seem to want to lay-up left, meaning there were still plenty of things just won't see anywhere else in golf. Look for a juicy hole location Saturday to spice things up even more.

It was great seeing Peter Kostis, CBS analyst, former Titleist something-or-other and overall fan of all things this website, reunited with a Titleist bag while shooting some segment that most will TiVo right on by.Love the Titleist bag Peter! (click image to enlarge)

A strange, you-had-to-be-there highlight of the day came while watching Johnson Wagner in the trees off No. 13, asking marshals to fuss with ropes, lemonade stands, pretzel cards and anything but the trees themselves. After a host of requests for the team of marshals on No. 13 and changing his mind on where to pitch out, Wagner finally decided on a simple chip out (therefore rendering all previous requests pointless).

After the shot he smiled sheepishly, blushed and said "So sorry" to the devoted volunteers. They of course said they were happy to oblige, but it was just one of those nice little gestures you don't see enough of from today's pro: an acknowledgement of the men and women in green who make the tournament a reality. 


Phil To Marty Hackel: How About That Contrast!

Defiant to the end, Phil Mickelson appeared Friday in his all black, white belt/hat ensemble that just weeks ago drew an all caps "DO NOT HAVE CONTRAST" observation from intrepid Golf Digest fashion guru Marty Hackel. I say the white belt does a wonderful job bringing out his upper arm-tan lines. Frankly, more offensive than the white belt may be the mariachi polo.


U B What? Yet Another Significant PGA Tour Sponsor Up To No Good

AP's Curt Anderson explains how the IRS is claiming that UBS, sponsor of several events including The Players, Arnold Palmer Invitational and several other events around the globe, "created hundreds of sham offshore entities and lied to U.S. officials in an elaborate scheme to conceal the overseas accounts of wealthy Americans, the Internal Revenue Service claimed in federal court documents."


"How could anyone really take this outfit seriously?"

Tom Kirkendall offers a couple of interesting blog posts sharing the Houston perspective on Stanford Financial and on IMG's bad week.



"IMG is so deeply involved with Stanford that it has a one-man office in Memphis to assist with the local Tour stop."

Alex Miceli shares all sorts of fun tidbits about the Stanford situation, the PGA Tour and IMG. First, regarding the state of the Memphis stop:

The Tour could attempt to find another sponsor or draw upon its sizable financial reserves – about $200 million, sources said – to underwrite the event on its own.

There is a precedent for such intervention: In 2000, the first year of the Tampa Bay Classic, the Tour contributed a part of the $2.4 million purse.

It was unclear whether the Tour or the event has received any monies from Stanford for the 2009 sponsorship. Finchem would not discuss payment details, but sources familiar with sponsorship deals say such agreements typically are handled in one of two ways: a large, usually 50 percent payment up front, and the balance paid before the event week – or nearly a complete payment just weeks before the event.

“Payment schedules are a function of a lot of different things with companies,” Finchem said. “A lot of companies account differently; they want to pay differently. There is no rhyme or reason to it.”

And on IMG:

The firm manages the Stanford St. Jude Championship; and sponsorship contracts to IMG clients Villegas, Pressel and Singh. Stanford also is affiliated with IMG’s prized client, Tiger Woods, with a three-year founding sponsorship of AT&T National, a Tiger Woods Foundation event.

IMG is so deeply involved with Stanford that it has a one-man office in Memphis to assist with the local Tour stop.


"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."