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
  • 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

I would love it if we played a tournament every year where we had to use half a set. Or play with persimmon and balata on a 6,400-yard course. It would be fun for us to do a couple times a year. Low score would still win. The best player would still win.  TIGER WOODS




"It became a bigger story than who was winning the golf tournament"

Brian Wacker files a nice follow-up to what continues to be one of the best stories in a long, long time: Lance Ten Broeck looping, playing, playing, looping and beating his man. And doing it with a piecemeal set of clubs on a tough walking course.

Ten Broeck, too, would miss the cut, shooting even par to fall two strokes short. He still made history, however, becoming what appears to be the first caddie to loop for a player and play in the same event. "It was really a big deal," added Parnevik. "A lot of players weren't even aware you could do something like that."

As for beating his boss, Ten Broeck knows better than to bite the hand that feeds him. "I'm sure he was embarrassed enough by it," Ten Broeck said. "I didn't want to rub it in."
Parnevik just laughed at that notion. "I don't know if I would have caddied for him [if he made the cut], but I thought about it," he said. "If he would have asked me to caddie, though, I would have for sure."


Just $365 Gets You In The Chalet!

Apparently trying to make a Yankee game look like a bargain, AmEx is getting a little more desperate reminding us of their U.S. Open tournament day passes for $365 a pass.


American Express is offering unique access exclusively for Cardmembers to one of golf’s most prestigious championships. Cardmembers have the opportunity to purchase daily passes to attend the 2009 U.S. Open Championship at Bethpage Black on June 18-21 and enjoy access to a private, fully-catered Cardmember-only Chalet.

This special ticket package grants entry to the scenic grounds of Bethpage State Park’s Black Course and the Chalet in the USGA Partner Village that American Express has reserved exclusively for Cardmembers. The Cardmember-only Chalet is located off the 15th fairway and will feature a climate-controlled atmosphere, televisions for viewing championship coverage and complimentary food and beverage.

Tickets* are available for purchase with the American Express Card at Cardmembers can also take advantage of a Father’s Day weekend offer, saving $100 when pairs or multiple tickets are purchased.


Intent And The Rules Of Golf

In writing about the Kenny Perry dust-up over his FBR Open playoff actions, Lawrence Donegan quotes the European Tour's top rules referee, John Paramor:

"The fact is the player is allowed to put his club behind the ball, otherwise he would never be allowed to address his ball in any circumstance. As soon as any player puts his club on the grass behind the ball, then the grass will be flattened," he says. "The issue is, is there excessive pressing down with the club?" In other words, was there intent? "Looking at this, I don't think Kenny Perry did use excessive pressure when he put his club behind the ball. It does look bad, it does look like the lie was improved but, as long as there was no intent to do so, and I don't think there was, then it is not a penalty."

To our rules gurus out there, I'm curious, is this intent concept used commonly in the rules of golf?

After all, Roberto de Vicenzo did not intend to sign an incorrect scorecard...


Feherty Corrects Clampett On Air; All Is Forgiven!

I was half asleep during the Valero Open playoff and only thought I heard Bobby Clampett say something funny, but I couldn't be sure. You'll be even more shocked to know that I did not set the DVR for such a historic possibility. Thankfully, reader Mark came to the rescue:

Someone commented on Zach Johnson hitting it in almost the same spot as he had just earlier (during regulation play). Then James Driscoll does the same thing. Clampett notes how "ironic" it is that they both hit it in nearly the same spots they had earlier), and Ferherty quickly chimes in with "Nope, that'd be coincidence." Brilliant! No one else said anything, but that was all I needed.


After Long And Distinguished Career, Rory Hands Torch To Next Irish Golfing Great

There is no truth to the rumors that Rory sustained injuries when burly agent Chubby Chandler sidearmed his young, in-need-of-a-haircut prodigy to slip a card in the pocket of Shane Lowry, amateur and shocking Irish Open winner.

Actually, not entirely shocking considering his topsy-turvy backstory as laid out by Brian Keogh.

Peter Dixon in the Times:

Among those on hand to congratulate Lowry was Rory McIlroy, who put his arm around him after he had missed the “winning” putt in regulation play and told him, “Hang in there. You are still going to win.” And at the end it was McIlroy who led the celebrations by spraying the victor with champagne and whispering in his ear that it was time to turn pro. “He's got nothing left to prove and will learn much more out here than in the amateur ranks,” he said.

Bill Elliott in the Guardian:

For Lowry, there is much to savour. His first European Tour victory came in his first European Tour event, as only the third amateur ever to win on tour and the first to win on his debut.

Unbylined in the Belfast Telegraph:

As Lowry stood on the 72nd hole over a five foot putt for birdie and victory, the title was at his mercy. Yet he couldn’t resist a look, pulling the putt left of the hole.

“Obviously the nerves got to me and I just pulled it. I was just shaking over that putt,” said the 22-year-old, who buried his head in his hands.

In the massive crowd surrounding the green, his mother Briget did the same.

But McIlroy made sure to put his arm around his former Irish amateur teammate’s shoulder as he left the green, saying: “You’ve still got this. You are still going to win this.”

These vital words and the calm assurance of his caddie, David Reynolds, helped Lowry (pictured right) regain his composure for the playoff and later he’d pay due regard to McIlroy.  “I’ve known Rory for a few years now and I’d wondered if he’d wait around for the finish. I actually thought about that for some reason, I don’t know why,” said Lowry. “It was great to see him there.”


“I do feel like a part-time golfer"

Karen Crouse looks at the LPGA's dwindling schedule in a story that is probably most noteworthy because the New York Times put it on the front page during Sybase Classic week. The Brand Lady only conducting interviews via email is also an interesting development. Can't say I think it's a bad idea.


"Kenny has got a lie – it's a down-grain lie but there is a big clump of down-grain grass behind it"

Lawrence Donegan follows up with a more extensive piece sharing a variety of opinions on the Kenny Perry-FBR-Open-controversy first noted earlier this week.

"When I first heard stories about the video I thought, 'I hope Kenny is not being maligned.' And then when I saw it, I was shocked," says Brandel Chamblee, a former PGA Tour player and now a well-respected analyst with the Golf Channel. "What you can say in his defence is that there is no way he was trying to get away with something on a grand scale. The camera was right there and he knew there were millions of people watching on TV. But I was also shocked that no one who was watching at home called in, or that no one who was doing the television coverage mentioned anything about it on air."

It should be noted that the Super Bowl had begun, so the audience at that point was tiny.

John Huggan says this about the incident.

Even the man beaten in the play-off, Charley Hoffman, wanted nothing to do with pointing out the obvious. "I have no problem with that," he gasped. "We all do it."

If what Hoffman claims is true, not only does golf at the highest level have a serious problem, but some education in the area of what does and does not constitute "improving one's lie" is badly needed.

This zoomed in version of the original is below and also on YouTube in a slightly wider version. Note David Feherty's description of the lie as Perry places his club behind the ball.


"Finchem's minions were apparently hard at work pressuring host broadcaster NBC into not mentioning just how many Fed-Ex Cup points the Swede picked up"

John Huggan with this nugget from last week's Players:

Not only did the diminutive leader of the world's richest circuit manage to mangle the champion's name, calling him "Heinrik" more than once, Finchem's minions were apparently hard at work pressuring host broadcaster NBC into not mentioning just how many Fed-Ex Cup points the Swede picked up along with the $1.7million first place cheque. Embarrassingly, that number is nil, due to the fact that Stenson (who will no doubt have welcomed the sizeable boost to his bank balance in the wake of losing a goodly chunk of his fortune amidst the recent Stanford fiasco) thinks he can muddle by without being a PGA Tour member.


"When she wasn't standing over a putt, Wie looked at ease."

Bill Fields had never seen Michelle Wie play in person, so he used this week's Sybase Classic to check out her game and file this story:

Wie has a very athletic posture when she's hitting full shots, and she seems to carry that over to her putting, where she takes a fairly wide stance (Dave Stockton, a master putter, probably would say nothing wrong with that). There is no one best method to putt well. In their respective primes, Jack Nicklaus sure looked much different from Tom Watson over a putt. But many of the great putters do seem to have something in common: they look relaxed, comfortable, little tension to be found. Think Greg Norman when he was holing everything, or Tiger Woods. Wie could borrow a bit of what those two have.

When she wasn't standing over a putt, Wie looked at ease. "Nice birdie," she said to Kim on the 16th tee after the diminutive South Korean's birdie on No. 15. Wie flipped a ball to a young girl near the eighth tee. Outside the ropes B.J. and Bo Wie, her parents, were in a gallery as large as any on the day, dad carrying a sizable pair of binoculars, mom with a laser rangefinder that she sometimes used to surmise what daughter had left to a green.


"So it was a little difficult actually."

Lance Ten Broeck's 141 Valero Open total would be astounding if he had been practicing and preparing to play while also looping for Jesper Parnevik. But to do it on half hour's notice, with two different sets of clubs--neither his own--is a testament to a level of talent that probably has him wondering if he should be caddying full time. After the round he was interviewed...

Q. So how are the mechanics going to work? You're sharing clubs. How is it all going to shake out in the wash if you do make the cut?

LANCE TEN BROECK: Well, I wish I had that problem, but I played with a different set today than I did yesterday because the set I used yesterday, they're Richard Johnson's and he has to use those this afternoon, so I couldn't use them, so I had to get another set. So it was a little difficult actually.

I'll say.


Cink On Grooves: "the new grooves are really an indirect way to attack driving distance"

A pair of recent Tweets from Stewart Cink on the upcoming groove rule change:

New grooves next year mean 10% less spin from fairway and 60-70% less from rough with short irons. Players will use softer balls I believe.

IMHO the new grooves are really an indirect way to attack driving distance since softer balls go shorter in general.


"It appears he wants to help himself this time."

Tim Rosaforte looks at John Daly's amazing resurgence and his upcoming schedule, which might include a return in Memphis, assuming this little hiccup doesn't preclude him from receiving a sponsor's invite:

Daly posted an announcement on his website that he would see everybody at the TPC Southwind, which was picked up by a writer at the Memphis Commercial Appeal, who wrote a story or the front page of the paper. There was a spike at the ticket office as tournament officials were quoted saying they would consider giving him an exemption, but tour headquarters got a little uncomfortable with how it was being handled and Daly took down the posting.

"I guess it's been said before, but this has got to be this guy's last chance," said a tournament official who has seen the good and the bad with Daly. "It appears he wants to help himself this time."


Rossie, R.I.P.

The great player and later on-course announcer has left us, Rex Hoggard reports. Here is his memorable Golf Digest My Shot. Sal Johnson, who worked with Rossie at ABC, files this remembrance. And here is his Wikipedia bio.


Suddenly The FedEx Cup Isn't Looking So Bad

In the most strongly worded piece yet, John Hopkins questions the state of the Race To Dubai and the health of the European Tour as Leisurecorp is overtaken by the government.

Hopkins also files this Spike Bar column on the shift in duties for David Spencer, the primary force behind Leisurecorp's forays into golf.


Ten Broeck Goes Twice

This is just an incredible feat...from Reuters reporting.


Rory Not Backing Down; Earning Raves For Faldoesque Honesty!

From the Telegraph:

Northern Irishman McIlroy, who had said that individual competition was more important to him, added to his remarks of Wednesday. "At the end of the day it's (the Ryder Cup) a great event, probably the best spectacle in golf. But sometimes it's been taken a little too seriously.

"If I get into the team it will be massive and I'll enjoy it."

Peter Hutcheon in the Belfast Telegraph defends the young lad, saying his attitude reminds of a young Nick Faldo.

But at its inception as a friendly match between two sets of golfers, it was never meant to be this colossus, which dominates the game like no other.

McIlroy is the first in a generation to dare break the party line and point out that the whole thing has grown out of all proportion.

I dare say he will enjoy the cut and thrust of the competition against the Americans when his turn comes.
But his sights are set on achieving much more in the game.

I'm sorry, but if Anthony Kim said the same thing, the British press would be ripping him to shreds!


"The number is expected to be only in the mid-40s this year."

Because of The Players I'm a bit behind on some items, including this Ryan Herrington post on U.S. Open media day. Besides some insights into the course setup changes since 2002's boondoggle, Herrington notes this about corporate tent sales:

The sagging economy has had a significant impact on corporate hospitality tent sales. A USGA source told Golf DIgest Digital that while 79 tents were sold in 2002, the number is expected to be only in the mid-40s this year.


"No apology will be made and as long as I have breath in my body I will not set foot on Meldrum House soil again."

If my memory serves, the David Feherty brouhaha brought out all sorts of Brits lecturing we Americans about how thin skinned we are. Thank you for that. Now explain this little row over a bloody text message!

Seems former Open Champion Lawrie is not going to back down over his text message to the super at his former home course. You know, the one that got him kicked out!

Thanks to reader Kevin for spotting Lawrie's website post:

My phone has been red hot with messages of support over the Meldrum situation, apparently they want me to apologize......apologize for what? The conversation I had in the pro shop lasted 20 seconds, was not heated and I merely asked why the greens were poor. My text to Kenny Harper was banter to which he replied with some banter of his own, which I thought was really funny. To be told not to return is incredible but it will not harm my career one bit. I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support which have come from all over Scotland...from Edinburgh right up to Dornoch. No apology will be made and as long as I have breath in my body I will not set foot on Meldrum House soil again.

Not a lot of grey area there!

Imagine if he'd told a joke about two bullets and Osama and...ah forget it.


Moral Of This Story: Don't Text Your Course Conditioning Complaints

Thanks to reader Brian for Brian Ferguson's story on former Open Champion Paul Lawrie jokingly texting the greenkeeper at his home course about poor conditions, only to have it turn into a scandal that has led to his removal from the club.

A club source said: "Apparently, it all started off as a bit of a joke, a bit of friendly banter.

"Paul has known Kenny for years but had not been in touch with him for a while. So when the greenkeeper got a text from him saying the greens were in a bit of a state, he was not a happy man.

"He sent an irate text straight back, saying he did not think much of Paul's golfing abilities.

"Then the club owners got involved and wrote to Paul to say he was no longer welcome to play on the course. Everyone at the club is still in shock.

"Hopefully, Paul will be man enough to apologise and the matter will soon be resolved."


"Because some of the comments that were made, they were isolated on a very narrow part of the value equation."

Looks like National Golf Day was a success since there seems to be a pretty consistent use in reporting (here and here) of the economic and charity numbers tied to golf, which are staggering. Even if you cut them in half.

Tim Finchem sat down with good buddy Greg Norman and Fred Couples for a President's Cup press conference. But there was this question about the lobbying effort.

The morning was a breakfast about the First Tee primarily, but it kicked off us going out and talking to members and the basic message is reminding members that golf is an industry of $75 billion, $76 billion. You put it in these terms: It's the equivalent of the motion picture and publishing industry combined, and that goes for revenue, jobs and overall economic impact. That's part one.

And part two is the professional side of the game, the significance, which includes sponsor tournaments has a $3.6 billion impact and raised $124 million for charity. We are integrated into communities to raise money for charity.

Warning, new v-word usage coming:

Most of the reaction I get from members of Congress is they recognize the value of corporate sponsorship in sports marketing generally, and particularly, with the PGA TOUR which is 100 percent organized for charitable purposes, and we have always got a good response from members on that subject and we certainly are getting a good response now.

But what happened a couple of months ago taught us a lesson that this is something that needs to be reaffirmed on a regular basis with members so they have that as a backdrop before public commentary is made. Because some of the comments that were made, they were isolated on a very narrow part of the value equation. Whether you're going have a dinner and have some musical entertainment, I think it's a very subjective thing. Whether you or I might go to a dinner that has Sheryl Crow playing, you might think it's lavish; I probably wouldn't, but then that's my opinion.

Poor Sheryl. But Commish, she opened for the Stones. Your band!