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
  • Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    by Matthew Futterman

There are so-called water holes which are little more than frog ponds, covered with slime and stagnant, where the larvae of the mosquito thrive. These represent faulty construction, and usually reveal outlets badly clogged with vegetation…They are discussed now wholly as outstanding features which go so far to make the course beautiful. They offer a distinct change from the holes over meadowlands, which so frequently are monotonous and featureless, and entirely without reason - for there is absolutely no excuse for a featureless hole anywhere on any course.
A.W. TILLINGHAST


    

Tuesday
Nov182008

"He's common folk just like we are"

PGA.com's Kathy Orton talks to the Ryder Cup players who visited the White House Monday.

Boo, on the outgoing President who attended Yale and Harvard Business School.

"He's common folk just like we are," added Boo Weekley. "He's just like his daddy, I think. I met his daddy before, a couple times. Like his daddy told me at the Ryder Cup, he said, 'Son, you act just like my son.' I said, 'Yes, sir, I probably do. I don't know that for a fact, but I probably do.'"

There you go. 41 says 43 acts like Boo Weekley.

This is lovely...

Hunter Mahan was worried that he upset the President because he told him he was from California, even though he now lives in Texas.

"He asked if I was from Texas, and I'm not originally, but I do live there," Mahan said. "I consider myself a Texan more than a Californian, which is where I'm from. I hope I didn't offend him."

I can see where he might be offended. I've never understood why the President should have to deal with a state that does not give him the electoral votes he desires. So offensive. 

Maybe Hunter should just not play in California?

Tuesday
Nov182008

Ben and Bill To Get...A Senior Major?

Last week Greg Henry reported at Examiner.com that Colorado Golf Club was going to get a PGA Championship. That report has since been taken down (come on guys, that's now how the web works!) and replaced with a new post that Thursday's announcement will reveal a 2010 Senior PGA for the Coore-Crenshaw design. That was based on a Rocky Mountain news report suggesting that the announcement could still include a PGA.

Tuesday
Nov182008

"I'm Tiger Woods right now. You're not getting anything out of me but plain vanilla."

From Mike Bresnahan's LA Times Laker notes, covering the latest in the Kobe-Shaq saga after O'Neal's comments to the Sacramento Bee's Scott Howard-Cooper:

Predictably, Bryant didn't want anything to do with the topic on Monday, even though he and O'Neal appeared to have sewn up their differences, at least publicly.

"Why are you asking me that?" he said. "No, really. You've got to be kidding me. I've been talking about it for so long, I don't want to talk about it anymore. It's silly to me. I'm Tiger Woods right now. You're not getting anything out of me but plain vanilla. I'm not saying anything. My mouth is locked."

So much for Tiger's street cred with the NBA crowd.

 

Monday
Nov172008

IM'ing With The Commissioners, Vol. X

Now that my friends at the NSA are downsizing in the wake of the election results, they found time to send along an instant message exchange between Commissioners Tim Finchem and Carolyn Bivens.

Click on the image to enlarge:


Monday
Nov172008

J.B. Holmes Spotted At White House Wearing Shoes

Only seven Republicans players make it to the White House for an Oval Office visit? Wow...

"I was really proud of what the players were able to accomplish on a stage of this size, one of the biggest stages in the world when you consider there were some 600 million viewers."

Azinger was accompanied by his assistant captain Raymond Floyd and players Chad Campbell, Stewart Cink, Ben Curtis, Jim Furyk, J.B. Holmes, Hunter Mahan and Boo Weekley. 

Monday
Nov172008

“It was a tough sell at $2 million a year and now you’re coming back two years later with a $4 million price tag?”

Jon Show talks to the LPGA Tour's Chris Higgs, who says the tour will have nearly the same number of 2009 events as this year...if you don't know how to count. More alarmingly, a sidebar with the piece says only five events are locked in for 2010, with this ominous note perhaps explaining why the future is bleak:

While most tournaments cited the economy as the main obstacle to finding new title sponsors, the LPGA’s rising sponsorship and sanctioning fees under Commissioner Carolyn Bivens, who took the post in September 2005, have created some obstacles in small to medium-size markets. Tulsa, which lost SemGroup as a title sponsor when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year, has not found a new sponsor, in part because of the higher price tag.

“It was a tough sell at $2 million a year and now you’re coming back two years later with a $4 million price tag?” said a source close to the tournament. “That’s not an easy proposition.” 

Monday
Nov172008

Hertz Club Gold, Here They Come!

Doug Ferguson reports the tragic news that the PGA Tour's finest may have to rent cars next year after Buick's various regional offices are believed to be cutting courtesy car programs at all but a handful of tournaments.

Kevin Sutherland finished a career-high 18th on the PGA Tour money list this year with just over $2.5 million. He has been on tour a dozen years and can remember times when he rented his own car at an airport.

“I expected some of the perks we’ve gotten in the past are going to be cut back, and it only makes sense,” Sutherland said. “It’s easy to take this for granted. You show up, you get your car. You bring in your dry cleaning, they do it for you. Some of this stuff is over the top, and you get spoiled over time. But so many companies are struggling.” 

Sunday
Nov162008

"Now, who knows?”

Katie Thomas lays out scenarios for the sports business world in a post-GM bailout era. Two things jumped out as it pertains to golf. The first item revolves around bankruptcy vs. a bailout.

On the surface, organizations with existing agreements with G.M. may consider a bailout a preferable outcome, because under a bankruptcy, the company could ask a court to void contracts. But because a federal bailout would also very likely lead to significant restructuring, some said G.M. could be compelled to try to renegotiate active contracts anyway.

“With the bailout probably comes strings attached, and what those strings are, who knows?” said Greg Brown, the president of Learfield Sports, which handles marketing for 50 university athletic programs. Rather than seek to cancel existing contracts, several sports executives said G.M. and other companies were more likely to scale back promotions and focus on initiatives that led directly to a sale.

“If you’re on the verge of bankruptcy, then you want to find out how to get the money now, rather than how do I get the 15-year-old to start thinking about the car they want to buy in the future?” Shropshire said.

As for pro golf...

But for now, marketers at a variety of sports organizations say they are in for some tough times.

“In this environment, autos are going to be off across the board,” said Tim Finchem, the commissioner of the PGA Tour. Two of its tournaments are sponsored by Buick through 2010, and others are sponsored by Chrysler, BMW, Honda and Mercedes. “They’re doing, in varying degrees, terrible,” he said. “The U.S. automakers are really struggling. Now, who knows?”

Finchem, however, said he was confident the companies would remain in business, which meant “they’re still going to be selling cars and, again, we have a good platform from which they can promote.”

Wow. "Terrible." "Now who knows?" "Good platform." Is this the new, more humble Commissioner? Certainly an improvement over earlier last week.

Sunday
Nov162008

Uihlein Assures Customers An Uninterrupted Supply Of Expensive Golf Balls

Wally, it was such a delight to see your name in my inbox this smokey Sunday morning, only to find a bullet point press release. Here I thought we were friends?

That's why I preferred this Op-Ed version from SouthCoastToday.com, which, if nothing else, proves that life is just fine in South Massachusetts if they can devote Op-Ed space to a patent spat.

Regardless, we want to assure our associates, customers, golfers and the community, that the injunction ruling will not have any impact on our ability to continue to manufacture, sell, ship and play Pro V1 golf balls now and in the future. This is due to the steps we took in September, well in advance of the court's decision, when we converted the production of existing Pro V1 model golf balls so they are outside the patents in question.

And who needs Lunesta when you can read news like this...

There will be no disruption in the supply of Pro V1 golf balls to golf shops around the world, or to the millions of golfers who play them. All versions of Pro V1 are legal and conform to USGA Rules and can be played with confidence. Further, Pro V1 golf balls will also be available to tour professionals and other competitive players through the remainder of the year or when their schedules resume in January 2009. 

Sunday
Nov162008

"Bivens' remaking of this season-ending event and the break with ADT will tell us so much about the wisdom of her overall plan."

Randell Mell on this week's final ADT Championship and the Commissioner's state of the LPGA Tour address:

ADT, the Fields Open, the Ginn Tribute and Safeway International are losing their title sponsors. Kapalua has been looking for a sponsor for more than a year. These issues affect Bivens' larger strategic TV plan for 2010. She needs good partners to realize this plan, and that means being a good partner in turn.

Really, the break with ADT offers a telling microcosm for us to judge Bivens' larger approach.

Tour pros ought to scrutinize what's happening to this event very closely to see if the changes are really for the better or if something special's being damaged.

Bivens' remaking of this season-ending event and the break with ADT will tell us so much about the wisdom of her overall plan.

If she unveils a future to this championship that sounds convincingly better than the eight-year run ADT gave us, players should be encouraged. If she doesn't, they ought to be worried, and they ought to be asking hard questions of their commissioner. This has been a terrific event with a wonderful run. Players are sure to measure future events against it.

Stay tuned, as they say, the commissioner steps up to the tee Wednesday.

Sunday
Nov162008

The Donald: "I've got £1bn in the bank ready to fund golf resort"

Jane Bradley reports that The Donald has all £1 billion needed to fund the Scottish golf project. Cash just waiting to be wired!

George Sorial, the Trump Organisation executive in charge of the golf resort development near Balmedie, told The Scotsman that Mr Trump had recently "increased his cash position" and has the money on hand to fund the development.

The Scottish Government gave the go-ahead to the project earlier this month, after strong opposition from locals drove the development to a public inquiry.

Mr Trump's plan for the site includes two golf courses and a 450-bedroom hotel and housing, as well as holiday apartments and golf villas.

Mr Sorial said: "The money is there, ready to be wired at any time. I am not discussing where it is, whether it is in a Scottish bank or what, but it is earmarked for this project. If we needed to put the development up tomorrow, we have the cash to do that. It is sitting there in the bank and is ready to go."

He added: "I don't think anyone in Scotland has anything to worry about."

He better, since he's suing one of his primary lenders!

Mr Trump, who is due to visit Scotland in two weeks to meet his Scottish development team, has recently filed a suit against a group of lenders – led by Deutsche Bank – on the 92-storey project, in an attempt to extend his $640 million (£430 million) construction loan.

Saturday
Nov152008

"The often insular US press, as you'd expect, has been generally scornful, sniffily reminding their readers that Europe's circuit is rife with appearance fees..."

John Huggan offers a mix of items, including agreement that Jack Nicklaus's Neiman Marcus catalog appearance is "tacky, tacky, tacky." And there was this on the European Tour.

Over the last few weeks much has been written about the European Tour's new-fangled and big-bucked 'Race to Dubai.' The often insular US press, as you'd expect, has been generally scornful, sniffily reminding their readers that Europe's circuit is rife with appearance fees and, Anthony Kim apart, bereft of Americans willing to leave the comfort zone that is the PGA Tour.

And...

Geoff Ogilvy, tied for third in last week's season-opening HSBC Championship, is another Aussie who has taken the plunge.

"I would like to add a little variety to my schedule that has not been there for a while," says the former US Open champion. "That and the fact that, for professional golfers, Dubai is going to be the place to be next November."

Saturday
Nov152008

Compton Misses By One...

While Golfweek.com has the breakdown of each second stage Q-school site, Erik Compton was the main story. Steve Elling and Bob Harig were both there to cover his final round. Elling writes:

He began the day tied for 13th, but three-putted two holes on his back nine and finished 6 under, good for a tie for 22nd. The top 20 and ties advanced to the finals, where they are assured at least partial status on the Nationwide Tour next year.

"When you live and die by the way I play and live life, it will catch up to you," Compton said.
Gut-wrenching words, indeed, but there figure to be some tough days over the short term for Compton, who gave away too many shots down the stretch, including a three-putt par from 20 feet on the par-5 16th hole after hitting a seemingly finals-clinching approach from 245 yards.

"If I get to the finals, it opens a lot of doors for somebody like me," he said, staring at his feet.
Compton was visibly tired as he completed the four-day march and didn't hit any practice balls after any of the tournament rounds. He finished 72 holes at the PGA Tour's Disney World event last Sunday, the most golf he had played in well over a year.

"Obviously, the pressure definitely got to me," he said. "I'm disappointed with that."

Harig writes:

It was obvious that Compton, 28, was exhausted, despite the fact that he had been granted the use of a cart due to his medical condition. Three weeks ago, he made it out of the first-stage qualifier by shooting a final-round 68 and advancing on the number. Last week he played in the PGA Tour's Children's Miracle Network Classic, where he made the cut and tied for 60th.

"He would have had zero chance to play if he had to walk. Zero,'' said Jim McLean, the noted instructor from the Doral Golf Resort in Miami who has worked with Compton for years. "There's no way he should be playing. No way he should be competing at this level. I'm very proud of him.''

Friday
Nov142008

"The first impression will be big -- big fairways, big greens, just big"

John Paul Newport samples 10 holes at Old Macdonald and gives us a preview.

Given the bulk of low-lying land that Mr. Doak and team will be responding to "as if they were C.B. Macdonald," Mr. Keiser said that golfers may see as much St. Andrews in the course as they do the National. That will be especially true from the inland clubhouse, with its view of the conjoined first and 18th fairways, as at St. Andrews. "The first impression will be big -- big fairways, big greens, just big," he said. 

Don't forget to check out Team Doak's work on the Kiwi Challenge this weekend at 4 p.m. EST each day (I think Cape Kidnappers appears Sunday on NBC).

 

Friday
Nov142008

Compton T13th With One Round To Go

Golfweek.com has the best second stage Q-school roundup, including the amazing Erik Compton at T13th and needing to finish in the top 20 Saturday to make it to PGA West.

Friday
Nov142008

GolfCourseClassics.com Interview

Chip Gaskins at GolfCourseClassics.com interviews me about a variety of topics. 

Friday
Nov142008

Attn Stat Geeks: 2008 PGA Tour By The Numbers

PGATour.com has posted Kin Lo's excellent breakdown of the year in stats. Check out the last three numbers in this chart.

Those numbers would seem to dispel the notion that driving accuracy is not as important as it used to be, right?

 

Thursday
Nov132008

Set Your DVR's For Cape Kidnappers And Stevie's Announcing Debut

Word is the world's richest luggage looper was so good, NBC's rethinking their 11:30 Tonight Show transfer from Leno to Conan.

Just how good was Stevie Williams on the Kiwi Challenge, airing Saturday and Sunday at 4 pm. EST? So good, you won't care that you are getting to see the spectacular Renaissance Golf Design effort at Cape Kidnappers.

Just look at this endorsement from executive producer Jim Walton Jr., courtesy of the saints at Brener-Zwikel:

 Steve Williams was fantastic. One of the great things to look forward to are his pieces traveling around on a helicopter the Robertsons provided. He started in Auckland, then went to the 90 Mile Beach in the north and shot a piece in the rainforest with the oldest and largest living tree in the world. He also released a rare kiwi bird on a preserve the Robertsons set up at Cape Kidnappers.

Okay, I swear I didn't touch Stevie's press release remarks:

On what stood out for him during his debut: “The knowledge and statistics that the commentary team had on every player.”

On how it went for him: “I really enjoyed the experience and have learned a lot about another part of the game.”

Interesting story: “On the thirteenth hole at Kauri Cliffs the moment Hunter Mahan's second shot left the club I knew it was well over the green and my first thought was that it was a bad yardage. But these days, caddies who work for this calibre of player don't make mistakes with yardages. I made the call on air which was a poor call on my behalf, however it was the first thought in my head.”

Ever?

Thursday
Nov132008

Ben and Bill Design To Get A Major?

So says Greg Henry of the Denver branch of Examiner.com. 

Speculation is that the PGA of America will announce it will hold a PGA Championship, the last of golf's four major tournaments, at the new Colorado Golf Club course in Parker, Examiner.com has learned.

PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka and Mike McGetrick, founder and managing partner of Colorado Golf Club, will make a "big announcement" at an 11 a.m. news conference at the club on Nov. 20, according to a press release for PGA of America. The announcement also may include a date for the tournament, which is usually played in August.

Two sources confirmed the announcement would be a "big deal," but refused to elaborate.

One source, who wanted to remain anonymous said, "I'm not at liberty to say anything because I don't want to steal the thunder of the PGA of America. But Joe Steranka doesn't just fly into town for nothing."

And in case you aren't aware, it's a Coore and Crenshaw design and...

The Colorado Golf Club only opened in 2006 and its clubhouse will not be complete until next spring. But the facility already has won a number of accolades from Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Travel & Leisure Golf and Golfweek publications. If the news is true, hosting a PGA championship will only add to the Colorado Golf Club's appeal. Several of Colorado's biggest names, including John Elway, Dave Logan and Jay Cutler, are rumored to be among the members. The club also attracts numerous national and regional business and sports leaders as members in the private club about 27 miles south of downtown Denver.

Imagine Rees, a major played on a course with collapsing bunkers! What's the world coming to?

For more on Colorado Golf Club, check out the club's website. You can also view a gallery of course images.  

The PGA has yet to select a venue for 2014. 

Thursday
Nov132008

ESPN Secures Rights To Open, R&A "Envisaging The Platforms"

I love that they are doing the Walker Cup when it's in the British Isles

Okay ladies and gentleman, roll up your sleeves and tell us about those platforms and other delivery mechanisms. 

For Immediate Publication

THE R&A AND ESPN REACH WIDE-RANGING EIGHT-YEAR AGREEMENT FOR THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP

All Four Rounds on ESPN Beginning in 2010 - Expansive Content for Digital Platforms and Expanded International Rights

13 November 2008, St Andrews, Scotland:  The R&A, the organiser of The Open Championship, and ESPN have reached an eight-year agreement that will place all four rounds of The Open Championship live on ESPN beginning in 2010, it was announced by George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc., and ABC Sports and Peter Dawson, Chief Executive of The R&A. 

The new pact will also provide broad and comprehensive rights for digital platforms; expanded television and digital media rights for ESPN International; and extensive same-day weekend highlights coverage on ABC. 

ESPN will televise 34 live hours of Championship play over the four days and produce six hours of encore highlights coverage over the weekend, to be broadcast on ABC.  The coverage on ABC will extend The R&A’s relationship with ABC beyond half a century.

Bodenheimer said: “One of the most venerable of all sporting events has embraced the 21st century worldwide media landscape, and we’re thrilled to showcase The Open Championship like never before.  The scope of this deal and the enhancements we obtained offer us tremendous opportunities to serve The R&A and golf fans around the world through any device.”

Dawson said: "It is all important to The R&A that we preserve the traditions of The Open Championship while at the same time ensuring that golf fans are able to enjoy modern state-of-the-art coverage of the event.  We know just how much ESPN respects The Open's heritage and we are very excited by their many innovative plans to cover the Championship across the whole media spectrum, both in the United States and internationally.  We look forward to a long and productive relationship."

Alastair Johnston, IMG Vice Chairman, who led the negotiating team representing The R&A said, "We had to consider not only the financial terms but The R&A's overall mission to promote and develop the game of golf to an evolving global audience.  Envisaging the platforms where a younger generation could be positively influenced to experience The Open Championship over the next decade was a significant factor in assembling this arrangement with ESPN."

Envisaging the platforms...take that Finchem!

The deal also includes exclusive US coverage of all rounds of The Senior Open Championship, which is governed jointly by The R&A and the PGA European Tour, and coverage of the next two Walker Cup matches when contested in the United Kingdom (2011 and 2015).  In all, there will be 90-plus television hours and 40-plus hours of live coverage on ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV.  ESPN will provide unprecedented live coverage of the Championships, including the first and second rounds of The Open Championship, which will begin at 5 a.m. ET.  

Wow...now the EST folks will understand what us PST types were going through. Kind of.