Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • 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
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

The object of golf architecture is to give an intelligent purpose to the striking of a golf ball. To be worthwhile, this purpose must excite and hold interest. If it fails in this, the character of the architecture is at fault.
MAX BEHR

 

  

Monday
Oct122009

"Divorce is like a golf swing – it always makes someone happy."

Thanks to reader Fo Shiz for Linda Marx's People story on Greg and Chrissy's announcement that they'll be spending less time with their families, and not for the details of how Greg continued to show what a great friend he is to Andy Mill, but instead for this quote from Mill:

"Now that Greg is out of the picture, we are all fine, and I am ecstatic. Debra and I are always there for the children, and Chrissy and I are friends." Mill spent three years anguishing over the betrayal by his wife and best friend. He added, "Divorce is like a golf swing – it always make someone happy." 

Sunday
Oct112009

Jordan Crashes Presidents Cup Team Picture!

Or at least it looks that way...

But seriously, about that drama, that strategy and all of the second guessing taking place today? I mean it's one thing to walk an All-Star to get a Hall of Famer but Terry Francona...oh, sorry, wrong Sunday drama.

I didn't watch much and I know a lot of you enjoyed watching the world's best tackle that insipid bunkering and drama-free design, so I'll just leave it to the SI guys to actually agree with the PGA Tour brass who were trying to keep Michael Jordan away from official Presidents Cup events:

Gorant: Michael Jordan as an assistant captain also made an impression. It was both cool and ridiculous, and you'd never see that at the Ryder Cup. That says everything about why the Presidents Cup is both better and worse.

Shipnuck: Barf. Jordan was a circus sideshow, nothing more.

Van Sickle: Couldn't agree more, Alan. Honestly, what's this guy really doing hanging around with pros? Get a day job.

Lipsey: He has a day job: counting money, smoking cigars, chillin' in Vegas and playing golf with Tiger and his pals.

Sunday
Oct112009

"He's been drinking it every morning since then"

Maybe this NY Daily News item explains why our 99 cent stores here in SoCal are loaded with aisles and aisles of Gatorade featuring Tiger's eyes, the word Focus, and all the high fructose corn syrup an athlete does not need:

Tiger Woods gets paid a rumored $100 million to drink Gatorade. But we hear he's been sneaking sips of Neuro1, the "focus drink" John McCain is said to have used during his debates with President Obama. Apparently, Tiger is getting better results. Former NFL star Bill Romanowski, who developed the stuff, tells us he sent the golf god a package during his slump after his father's death four years ago. "He's been drinking it every morning since then," says Romanowski. Romanowski says other customers include Alex Rodriguez, Owen Wilson, Charlize Theron and Adam Sandler. Woods' rep didn't respond to calls for comment.

Sunday
Oct112009

"We had to deal with that from a defensive standpoint from an image perspective."

I finally made my way through Tim Finchem's post-Olympics announcement presser at Harding Park with the assembled scribblers and was struck by this answer:

Q. And how could you characterize your investment, or perhaps the Federation's investment, even in terms of starting up drug testing and travel and all that; what kind of investment did you make in this?

TIM FINCHEM: You mean dollar-wise? I wouldn't call it huge. I think candidly, and frankly, getting into a unified anti-doping policy, the first priority really wasn't the Olympics; it certainly was helpful. We had to deal with that from a defensive standpoint from an image perspective.

Alright, so here's my question. How do we convey to the Commissioner that slow play, from an image perspective, requires a defensive position?

Saturday
Oct102009

Presidents Cup Day 3, How Was It?

I can say I didn't see a single shot, but I did happen to walk by a golf course starter who had it on and well, it was dark and we're in the same time zone so I can only conclude that pace of play was just sterling!

And is it true the NBC team referred to the Europeans on more than one occasion?

John Huggan compares the Presidents Cup with the Ryder Cup and finds the PGA Tour's event lacking.

OK, maybe a more low-key attitude towards the RC would be no bad thing in tabloid world, but, conversely, almost everyone has a hard time getting even a little worked up about the PC. Immediately after he and Adam Scott had closed out Hunter Mahan and Sean O'Hair by 2&1 on day one, Els seemingly couldn't be bothered to walk back and support his guys in the next match. Instead, the big South African teed off at the 18th and played quietly in by himself. Ho-hum.

Friday
Oct092009

Olympic Golf Clippings - "So, what are we really exporting?"

While the Golf Channel provided virtual house organ coverage, the scribblers who weighed in offer us some more thoughtful, nuanced and constructively skeptical thoughts on the Olympic golf confirmation vote.

Lawrence Donegan reports on the overwhelmingly positive response of players who pushed for the uninspired 72-hole stroke play format and got it, starting with Tiger Woods.

Marvin Collins writes that Padraig Harrington is predicting  the Olympic gold medal will become bigger than winning a major. Of course, Padraig thought Liberty National could host a major, too.

PGATour.com shows us who the Olympic field would be comprised of if it were held today and the list suggests that they need to revisit the qualification process. And as Bob Harig writes, the format still fails to energize most, leaving out a much needed team element and ultimately "would not be much different from a World Golf Championship event."

Harig is also not sure about how quickly this will transform the "growth" that was raved about today and explains why in interesting detail. And he touches on the issue of the date, which few have noted and which the Commissioner has at least acknowledged will be messy.

With the 2016 dates set at August 5-21, the PGA Championship will have to move (most likely to late August, right before U.S. Open tennis). The PGA is locked into Baltusrol that year to celebrate the PGA of America's centennial, which is a shame because it might have made for a fun, one-off spring return to a southeastern or southwestern venue that wouldn't normally be able to host a major. But we'll never know unless the PGA does something drastic.

Alistair Tait files this excellent wishful-thinking projection for the possible venues, one that will probably be laughed at in Ponte Vedra and St. Andrews:

Let’s hope the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro produces golf courses accessible to all.

I have two suggestions for Rio’s organizing committee and the IGF:
    •    If possible, give the work to a South American architect
    •    Make sure the course(s) leave a lasting legacy that many Brazilians can share in.

Imagine how U.S. architects would have felt if the Games had been staged in Chicago and the job of designing an Olympic golf venue had been handed to Johnny foreigner.

And finally, Steve Elling nails how many of us feel about the announcement in light of the state of golf in America and elsewhere. He wonders why we're entrusting some of the same folks and their ignorant concept for what draws people to golf, and allowing them to export the tired ideals that have undermined the sport's health here in America.

It won't mean diddly unless the multifaceted folks in golf, the economic Lords of the Wrings as it relates to squeezing every dollar out of as many pockets as possible no matter the long-term ramifications, take a long hard look at why they needed to look abroad for growth in the first place. This isn't intended to be a rant about greed and the greens. Consider it a reminder, a cautionary note, a how-not-to look at what needs to happen next.

There's nothing at all wrong with the idea of growing the game, or even the notion of making a profit, if it's handled properly. Unfortunately, those have often been mutually exclusive ideas in the States, where the game's fighting to keep its foothold as a recreational activity and, to a lesser degree, a big-league sports entity.

The game's American business model has been held together with airplane glue. You know, the stuff that makes you high if you huff it out of a paper bag, but eventually kills half your brain cells.

The sentiment among the game's power structure is that various governments around the world will channel developmental money into golf as they have other medal sports, establishing academies, building courses and buying golf balls by the boatload. All the things that haven't been happening much in the States these days.

For the past three years, more golf courses have closed in the U.S. than have opened. Participation and television viewership have flattened or fallen. Private clubs, caught short by a bad economy and increasing demands on the time of their members, are increasingly battling to retain them. The game takes too long to play, is hard to learn and costs a small fortune to play.

So let's take this show on the global road, shall we?

And the key question:

So, what are we really exporting? Bulldozing another 150 acres of Brazilian rainforest to build another golf course, erected primarily as a means of selling expensive view lots, doesn't sound like such a great idea, to be honest. This needs to be a reasonable, rational expansion of the game, for reasons well beyond the heightened TV rights fees the PGA and European tours hope to soon command in India, China or, hell, Antarctica.

Economically, pricy daily-fee courses and $500 drivers have contributed to the slaughter of the game's fatted calf here in the States. We're moving backward on the growth meter, and while securing a spot in the Games didn't need to be for altruistic reasons, the need for greed should best be tempered.

A lot of the same folks who overbuilt, overexposed and overpriced the game in the first place are exporting their wares abroad, where it would be a nice surprise if they operated going forward with some sort of principles.

Hey, allow a guy to dream, will you?

Friday
Oct092009

Golf Channel's Olympic Announcement Coverage

Golf Channel featured a pretty extensive roundup on the golf-in-the-Olympics announcement, and as you might imagine some interesting things were said. There were a few highlights, starting with Tim Finchem's appearance alongside Brandel Chamblee and Kraig Kann.

Finchem said this "will go down as a turning point for the game from a growth standpoint" and that "we're on a nice trajectory globally with golf" and "countries are going to spend a lot of energy to grow the game."

Finchem also believes this will "legitimatize, if we even needed it, golf as an athletic sport. It's truly an athletic sport."

And finally, golf in the Olympics "puts us on a stage that demonstrates the global diversity of the game. No longer will it be viewed as an elite sport," and this will "catapult the sport upward." He said the "next forty years are going to be golden age of golf globally."

As for the courses in Rio, Finchem said they have "some decent courses, not at the level to challenge these guys" and that the Tour "may build a course in partnership with the other federations."

Kann chimed in that he was envisioning a "Nicklaus design, Palmer Design, Player Design, Woods Design…" Finchem was gone so he didn't have to touch that one.

A few moments later they threw it to Inga Hammond and Adam Barr, who talked about the potential worldwide sales of "clubs, shoes, balls," and the "potentially enormous market for an industry that needs good news right now."

He also cited Brad Klein's article which suggested a private developer might bear the risk of building what Barr called "one of these mega complexes" and a "big course to handle the big players," and floated Donald Trump's name.

And Rich Lerner wrapped up with an essay where he noted that this was a "sudden financial sunrise for what had been a cloudy golf industry."

Friday
Oct092009

Pavin Consulting Azinger?

A reader says he thought (but wasn't totally sure) that he heard Paul Azinger say during Thursday's Presidents Cup broadcast that U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin has not talked to him about the Ryder Cup. Did anyone else hear this?

Friday
Oct092009

"Hooray for the International team single handedly trying to bring back pleats a year before they will be back in style."

Talk about your buried lede, Mr. Style Marty Hackel criticizes the admittedly bland Presidents Cup uniforms and slips this in:

Hooray for the International team single handedly trying to bring back pleats a year before they will be back in style. It looks to me like the essential issue with the International team is the fit of their trousers. Oh, by the way, what's up with the grooming? Aren't there any mirrors in the locker rooms?

If these two teams' outfits today are any indication of what we are going to see for the rest of the week, I need to hit the snooze button.

Does this mean all those pleated pants I gave to the Goodwill are coming back? Already? Somehow I doubt this was a cutting edge fashion move and more likely the decision by someone who didn't know that flat front slacks were hip.

But at least Marty could have dropped some props for the classy sling/uniform color coordination by Captain Norman, courtesy of GolfDigest.com's photo gallery:

Friday
Oct092009

Golf Is In The Olympics; TPC Rio Next?

From Gene Yasuda's story about golf getting the official nod from the IOC:

Limited options explain why there’s already much discussion about building a new facility, and that could lead to PGA Tour Golf Course Properties unveiling a TPC-branded layout in Rio, Golfweek has learned.

“It’s a possibility,” confirmed David Pillsbury, president and chief operating officer of PGA Tour Golf Course Properties. “We will be evaluating all the courses in Rio de Janeiro and talking to prospective partners in Rio about building something similar to TPC San Antonio, with a resort, a couple golf courses and a location that would be ideal to the Olympic city.”

Thursday
Oct082009

Jordan Banished To Olympic Club For Prez Cup Opening Ceremony

Granted, there are worse places to be banished to, still, Sam Weinman reports the hilariously embarrassing move by the PGA Tour to "suggest" that the famous assistant captain not join the team on the stage. This inspired caddies to pencil "23" onto their caps in a paper-trail free way of suggesting to the golf media that they pop out of their little tent and as, "why have you penciled 23 onto your cap?"

"He had the right to attend, but it was suggested he not be on the stage as part of the team," the official said.

David Dusek reports that Commissioner Finchem apologized to the team for the...oversight?

Reader Cardinal attended the ceremony and says Barry Bonds was there while Jordan was downing Olympic Club cheeseburgers and enjoying the freedom of using cigars to induce halitosis:

I thought you'd like to know about my favorite "only in San Francisco" moment of the opening ceremonies yesterday.  Barry Bonds attended (but was not announced).  When he entered the ceremony area, however, the crowd started buzzing and when people recognized him, he received a standing ovation and many loving shouts of "Bar-ry! Bar-ry! Bar-ry!"  He was so happy, smiling and waving from his seat. 

The day one reports focused on the star power watching round one. Steve Elling writes:

At one point, Stricker looked over and saw Barry Bonds, baseball's career home run king, watching their alternate-shot match. Right about then, Michael Jordan -- who is serving as a volunteer assistant on the U.S. team -- tooled past in an electric cart.

Talk about a confluence of firepower. Woods, Jordan and Bonds at that instant were within 30 yards of each other, representing the most impactful, jaw-dropping talents in their respective sports in the modern era. Stricker could hardly argue that point.

"Wow, that's true, and I hadn't thought of that," he laughed.

Thomas Bonk says the atmosphere was postively weird, with the aforementioned star power joined by Jim Plunkett, Jerry West and way too many people crowding the first tee to be in Tim Finchem's presence. Oh, and there was a marshal who has a very persistent caller.

It wasn't a camera, but a cellular phone that was obviously the wrong number for Ogilvy on the next hole. Needing to make an eight-foot putt to save the hole, Ogilvy had to back off when a phone rang. He stood over the ball again, just as the phone rang again. Ogilvy marked his ball, started his routine again, and the phone rang once more.

As it turns out, the phone belonged to a marshal, who had been too chagrined to acknowledge he was the one messing up.

"That was a little awkward," Stricker said.

But if that wasn't embarrassing enough, someone in the gallery yelled something at Ogilvy just before he missed the putt.

"He said 'Noonan,'" said Stricker, referring to the famed line in the movie, "Caddyshack".

Woods wound up apologizing to Ogilvy for the remark.

Good move. Gallery Caddyshack references are so 1998.

Meanwhile, reader Charlie caught this Randell Mell blog post that makes it sound like we're missing the real drama. It's taking place in the team room ping pong arena and Phil came prepared.

And finally, Rex Hoggard reports on the strange and perhaps controversial ending to the Furyk-Leonard/Goosen-Yang match.

Thursday
Oct082009

Ty, You Are No Blogger!

I went looking for some gossip on the eve of the golf-Olympic announcement and see that IGF head/blogger Ty Votaw has been too busy massaging IOC types to post anything in five days.

I know blogs, and Ty Votaw, you are no blogger.

John Hopkins does suggest that things are heating up in Copenhagen:

Ty Votaw, normally the most mild-mannered man, was feeling the pressure as he worked with his colleagues on golf's presentation to the International Olympic Committee on Friday 9th October. At 20.15 on Wednesday he took a telephone call from a journalist and when the word formality as in "it is a formality that golf will be chosen as one of the two sports at the 2016 Olympic Games," he responded vigorously: "it is NOT a formality. It WON'T be a formality. It never HAS BEEN a formality." We will see.

Now see Ty, that would have made for a good blog post. Tell us who the writer is, why you can't stand him and why you use all caps when you speak. I'm just saying!

The announcement figures to come at 7 a.m. EST, 4 a.m, PST, according to Golf Channel's Tom Abbott. And no, I'm not getting up to analyze it when the news breaks. We have seven years to chew on this one.

Thursday
Oct082009

"That is hardly elitist."

Martin Ziegler files an optimistic Scotsman story on golf's chances for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games. How about this part of the International Golf Federation's case, made by Peter Dawson:

"Golf has become a very affordable sport. In the USA, 72 per cent of courses are public facilities, 56 per cent of players have a household income of 25,000 to 100,000 dollars. That is hardly elitist."

I wonder if he displays any kind of nervous tick as he says that, presumably not wearing his R&A jacket?

And since the women's majors aren't quite as well defined, I actually believe this could become the case on the women's side:

Michelle Wie, women's golf most famous player, said taking part in the Olympics would be "the highest achievement for every golfer".

She said: "Winning an Olympic medal will be the highest point you could reach. Competing for your country would make the stakes that much higher."

Thursday
Oct082009

CBS Needs To Hire Paul Azinger

I haven't watched a lot of the Presidents Cup today, but what parts I have seen were made infinitely more interesting thanks to Paul Azinger's commentary as well as the positive effect he has on Nick Faldo. Since CBS's ratings are noticeably lower than NBC's, maybe it's time to liven things up? Thoughts?

Thursday
Oct082009

The Ubiquitous Hank Haney?

For a man who doesn't think much of the media, it's just heartwarming to see Hank Haney making the rounds now to talk about Tiger. First there was the call in to Alan Shipnuck, then now he's on FanHouse, then yapping it up with Golf.com's Connell Barrett and finally, doing Ryan Ballengee's podcast.

But it wasn't until Monte Burke nabbed Haney for Forbes.com that the truth came out.

You recently became the spokesperson for Charles Schwab's ( SCHW - news - people ) retirement services. Are there parallels between golf instruction and retirement advice?

There are lots of parallels. The most important thing you can have is a plan, whether that's for your investments or your golf game. You have to be patient. Both require longterm approaches. There are ups and downs, and you can't get too high with the ups or too low with the down.

After that, don't ever tell me this blog fails to provide you with useful information. Ever!

Thursday
Oct082009

"The Tour Championship has got to be the last event of the year — it's got to."

Gary Van Sickle follows up with SI's infamous anonymous PGA Tour pro for a take on the FedEx Cup and Fall Series, and perhaps is echoing what many players are thinking.

SI: It doesn't seem like the Fall Series tournaments get much support from the Tour, especially with all the talk that the season ends with the FedEx Cup. The fall events don't count for FedEx Cup points and don't include an automatic Masters invite for the winners.

Anonymous Pro: It's perplexing to players. Nobody understands why the Tour treats the Fall Series so badly. I think finishing the season in November is still the way to go. Either move these fall events up earlier or make them count for something. The Tour Championship has got to be the last event of the year — it's got to. We've missed the boat. The fall events mean nothing except to the guys from 120 to 150 on the money list, and the public doesn't care about those guys.

Wednesday
Oct072009

The Presidents Cup Is Here!

As excited as I am? I didn't think so.

Well I scoured the reports on tomorrow's pairings and a few writers managed to get me interested enough to watch day one. Check out Jeff Rude's hodgepodge of notes, jokes and anecdotes, including a few Michael Jordan items and some Dave Stockton thoughts on putting.

Steve Elling focuses on the intriguing format differences in the Presidents Cup versus the Ryder Cup. Rex Hoggard reminds us of one huge difference this week, which you realize is a bit of a rally killer when it comes to producing tension.

And Thomas Bonk focuses on quirky Captain Couples, whose liable to say just about anything. Larry Dorman looks at Greg Norman and notes:

Suddenly, there is no more giggling teenage love story going on in his life, and he is out there alone in the lurid glare of the spotlight that accompanies a high-profile international event. The timing, on the announcement and on his surgery, could hardly have been worse.

Wednesday
Oct072009

"Clothes don’t make you look thinner — diets do."

Stephanie Wei grills Marty Hackel about tour players and fashion, drawing some lively answers out of the Golf Digest fashion guru. I think I smell a Phil-Marty discussion on the range:

Phil gets a lot of grief about his wardrobe. And recently he wore white pants the week he won the Tour Championship. What’s your general feel on him these days?

His shirts have gotten a little snug. It’s way better than a few years ago when his shirts were oversized. Clothes don’t make you look thinner — diets do. Americans think oversized shirts make you look thinner, but they don’t. Next few people you hear criticize Phil, ask them to look in the mirror. Because it’s mostly oversized guys. He’s not batting a thousand, but who is on the PGA?

Wednesday
Oct072009

“We are losing members of the LPGA who have provided significant service to the association"

I'm not buying the economy as the sole reason for cutting eight positions at LPGA headquarters, especially since one of the positions was created by the Brand Lady. Clearing the deck for the next Commissioner...?

“Due to the changes in our tournament business and other effects of the world-wide recession, the LPGA has eliminated the position of deputy commissioner effective December 31, 2009,” Evans said in a statement. “Libba Galloway, a key contributor to the LPGA for nearly a decade, will transition out of the association at the end of the year. We thank Libba for her leadership, commitment and the countless contributions that she has provided us.”

With the tour’s schedule shrinking, revenues are shrinking. The LPGA staged 34 events last year, will stage 27 this year, with tour officials projecting they’ll stage between 23 and 25 next year.

“We are losing members of the LPGA who have provided significant service to the association,” Evans said in a statement. “We thank them and wish them well in their future endeavors.”

Wednesday
Oct072009

Michael Jordan's Attempts To Contract An Oral Cancer Will Have To Wait

Reason No. 1 why I love California...