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

My concern is that when golf architecture tries to combat distance with distance, i.e. the creation of longer and longer golf courses, it falls prey to the very thing it seeks to control. Golf courses of extreme length reward only players of extreme length.  BILL COORE




"A victory would make Fujikawa, who turned 18 last week, the youngest winner in PGA Tour history."

Doug Ferguson notes that amazing possibility for Sunday's Sony Open after Monday qualifier Tadd Fujikawa's 62, vaulting him to T6 and two shots behind leader Zach Johnson and a sizeable number of big names who have a shot.

Helen Ross breaks down the round and Tadd's stats in this story. And his post round interview can be read here.

Rich Lerner tells the wonderful story of Fujikawa's main benefactor, Yoshie Yoshikawa, and also shares this anecdote about his decision to bring up the situation with Tadd's father, who was watching coverage inside the clubhouse.

I’m told he was in tears when in an interview I asked his father, Tadd’s grandfather, Daniel, about the drug rap. A member sought me out later and laid into me. I understand the anger. They may not understand the difficult position of a journalist. The information’s already been widely reported. It’s been front page news here in Honolulu. I’m obligated to ask about the impact on Tadd, though I certainly don’t enjoy it. 


"Inevitably looming over Monty's Ryder tenure is the spectre of 'Jakartagate' and the Indonesian Open of 2005."

John Huggan says Colin Montgomerie has the necessary qualities to make for a fine Ryder Cup captain but reminds us that most of his peers haven't forgiven him for Jakartagate.

Many of Monty's better qualities could hardly be more suited to his new job. For example, no one in European golf has ever been better at creating publicity, self-serving or otherwise. No doubt Terry Matthews, the Welsh/Canadian billionaire owner of Celtic Manor whose fortune has recently taken a significant hit, is already salivating at the prospect of a stream of banner headlines generated by our tartan hero.

All will not be sweetness and light, however. Inevitably looming over Monty's Ryder tenure is the spectre of 'Jakartagate' and the Indonesian Open of 2005. While the vast majority of the golfing public have made it quite clear they care not a jot whether or not the former world No.2 knowingly or merely carelessly replaced his ball in a disgracefully favourable spot on that fateful bank almost four years ago, the same cannot be said for too many of Monty's fellow tour players.

Even now, this will be an issue within the team room, albeit likely an unspoken one. Only the other evening in Abu Dhabi a veteran member of the European Tour talked privately of how he has "lost all respect" for Monty. And he is far from alone in feeling that way. The 2010 side will likely contain a number of those who cannot forget what happened and view Monty only through narrowed and suspicious eyes.

Mark Reason shares this anecdote about Monday's committee meeting.

A consensus emerged at last week's Ryder Cup selection meeting that Nick Faldo had been too old and too out of touch at the last Ryder Cup – so no more 50-year-old captains. That made Colin Montgomerie too old for Gleneagles in 2014. He was effectively told it was now or never.

Montgomerie accepted the candidacy at a tempestuous team meeting on Tuesday night. Halfway through the meeting he stormed out of the room. At the time we assumed his preferred candidate, Sandy Lyle, had been rejected. We now know that Monty had been pushed into a corner.

Spectators who have seen their young trampled underfoot as the great Montysaurus crashes about the golfing undergrowth, may be surprised to hear that the volcanic Scot has emerged as the favourite to captain the European Ryder Cup team in Wales next year. But away from the anguishes of the golf course, Colin Montgomerie can be funny, charming, self-deprecating and frequently very acute.

The image of Monty storming out is comical but hard to fathom since the committee did have to meet without him at some point (one would hope). However, I much prefer the vision of British writers camping outside the meeting room trying to interpret the mood of committee members exiting to take a whizz!


"Their sticks are on the bottom of the Hudson. Very good ones, I might add."

The Boston Globe's Eric Moskowitz and Maria Cramer tell us about the golfers headed to Myrtle Beach on the US Airways jet that landed in the Hudson.



The La Habra branch of this vast web operation was so inspired by the combination of Barack Obama's inauguration and Colin Montgomerie's assent to the 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy that he developed this homage to Shepard Fairey's Obama graphic, which will adorn future posts celebrating the naming of Europe's best man for the job.


Monty's Rare Great Mood Confirms He Has The Ryder Cup Captaincy Locked Up For 2010

John Hopkins declares that Monty has the 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy because, after all, it's just common sense really...

European Tour officials, having made a policy decision to select the best available captain for each future Ryder Cup, are doing everything they can to make sure that Europe regain the trophy that was lost at Valhalla last year and will shortly confirm that the Scot will lead the team in Wales.

It must be difficult to type with that brown stuff blocking one's view of the laptop screen? Wait, what? You say there's more?

Blessedly, Paul Casey lays out where Monty's street cred lies with the 18-49 year olds:

“He was very attentive.” Casey said. “He asked us what we wanted. We said, ‘A ping pong table in the team room.’ He showed good attention to detail. He spoke well at meetings. He got the guys nicely motivated. There was lots of consultation with us. We felt very much a team.”

It does take a younger captain to know which European Tour go-fer will be best at ordering the proper ping pong table. Over 50s only know about things like shuffle board and where to get a really great massage in Madrid.

This wire story reported that Monty has not been offered the role, and he can't imagine why anyone would be betting on him!

"It hasn't changed to that degree. I don't know why there's betting. I don't look at the bets -- I'm not a betting man. I don't know where this has come from. I have no idea," Montgomerie said.

Okay, one denial was enough! One more denial and someone might get the wrong idea. Monty is, however, sure of one thing: over 50-somethings have no business being captain!  Though as Lawrence Donegan reports, Monty feels for Sandy Lyle, even though a decision has not been made yet.

Montgomerie has been a vocal supporter of his fellow Scot but today he seemed to concede his efforts had come to naught. "It would be a great shame if Sandy missed out, but in the end this is not my decision," he said. "I am just one voice on a committee of 15."

Monty does have Europe's most accomplished player on his side, as Mark Reason reports Padraig Harrington's glowing praise for the decision that has not been made yet.

But really, do any of these stories matter compared to the ugly business Donegan first revealed yesterday and writes about in more detail today. The betting! Don't worry, new Dubai resident and Euro Tour head man George O'Grady is on the case.

O'Grady was more forthcoming on Thursday after it appeared the potential candidates learned all they needed to know from the online betting exchanges. In the aftermath of Tuesday's meeting Montgomerie, who was a 50–1 shot last weekend, suddenly appeared on the ­Betfair market as an odds-on chance. "No decision has been taken so far," the tour's chief executive said. "We are aware of the movements in the various odds. We invite any gaming company to contact the European Tour with any evidence of betting irregularity. This will be fully investigated."

For its part, Betfair said last night it would be happy to cooperate with any sporting body which had concerns over gambling. "Uniquely, we have a full record of every market on our exchange. We know the identity of every person who has made a bet and exactly how much money is involved," said a spokesman, Tony Calvin, adding that before Tuesday's meeting the market on the 2010 Ryder Cup captaincy suggested a contest between Olazábal, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam. "Clearly, someone has had a whisper that Mr Montgomerie was in the mix."

Let the investigation begin to determine who whispered that no decision has been made yet!


Woods Making Inaugural Festivities Appearance

From his website:

It was announced today that Tiger Woods has accepted an invitation to speak at the live presentation of We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial Opening Celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural, to be presented live by HBO on SUNDAY, JAN. 18 at 2:30 p.m.(ET)/11:30 a.m. (PT).

"I am honored that I was invited to this historic event, and look forward to participating in Sunday's festivities," Woods said. 


"After stroking a few putts along the bumpy practice chipping green, Monty strolled over to the white picket fence."

In reporting on Monty's sudden emergence as the likely 2010 European Ryder Cup captain, Derek Lawrenson asks:

Did his contemporaries persuade Monty that his time is now and that he will be too old at 51 in five years? Nobody is commenting publicly, but such a thought certainly chimes with the belief of several committee members, who emerged from the meeting to say that, after defeat at Valhalla last time, it is imperative to get the right man.

Funny, just the day before Monty mused about 50-somethings being too old to Captain. Now here I, a cynical blogger, merely thought it was another example of Monty speaking before thinking. But then I went back and read Mark Reason's original story where the Scot planted the over-50 seed.

After stroking a few putts along the bumpy practice chipping green, Monty strolled over to the white picket fence. Unlike many a pro sportsman he did not park his bum on the fence, but spoke at length, and with great sense, about the Ryder Cup.

Was our Monty using the media to lay the groundwork for his captaincy. My, he's clever!


Say It So: Even Money On Monty For 2010! **

Lawrence Donegan reports the stunning shift in online wagering that has overnight lifted Monty from 10-1 longshot to an even-money second favorite to captain the 2010 European Ryder Cup team.

My sources say that Monty, after ragging on the over-50 set and doing some math to realize he'll be 51 in 2014, started a Gordon Gekko-esque operation to drive up his online betting stock and at the same time, bring joy to bloggers on the westside of Los Angeles desperate for the great-Scot-in-his-own-mind to remain in the spotlight.

Donegan says it's something else. Sort of:

Like Olazábal, Montgomerie has been intent on playing his way on to the team but the fact is he is now 127th in the world rankings and showing no signs of recapturing the form that once made him an automatic choice for any Ryder Cup side. But if he is not the player he once was, he still the remains a significant figure on tour — popular with fans and, more important in these straighten financial times, popular with sponsors.

It has long been assumed the Scot would take on the Ryder Cup captaincy in 2014, when the event will be played in Scotland, but there is a mood within the players' committee after Nick Faldo's captaincy that the team needs a captain who competes regularly against, and is in touch with, potential team members.


Chad Campbell Lays Foundation For Next PGA Tour Spot Touting The Power Of A Quiet Mind


"It could be a blessing. They pulled him over 50 yards [outside the nightclub]."

John Hawkins talks to Hank Haney about the state of Charles Barkley's Golf Channel reality show after the NBA great's DUI.  Thankfully, it's still on despite the arrest report that has sponsors and other network execs fleeing.

Haney and Barkley had taped five of the eight episodes before the DUI. While production was on hiatus anyway, it's unclear when the final three episodes will be produced as Barkley deals with legal issues and an alcohol problem as big as the man struggling with it. Haney, who quit drinking in 1986, could see the situation getting more serious and had hinted to his friend that things weren't OK.

Still, grown men don't tell each other how to behave. Haney was with Barkley earlier on the night he got pulled over, which doesn't exactly lighten the load of regret, but, he says, "It could be a blessing. They pulled him over 50 yards [outside the nightclub]. They were waiting for him, and nobody got hurt."


"I'd like to know why Jack designed this"

Brian Lee in the Tucson Citizen takes a sneak peak at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain, new home to the WGC Match Play.

The signature Jack Nicklaus- built course, utilizing two of three finished 9-hole layouts, will be "typically" Nicklaus, said general manager Kenn DePew of The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain resort. That means intriguing and multiple bunkers, tempting space and undulating greens with eight to 10 possible pin placements each.

"I'd like to know why Jack designed this," DePew said. "Not that I question it. I just want to know what the reasons are. There is going to be some good golf played here."

Well I'm sure he'll be happy to take your call anytime to answer questions about his thought process.

But a Ritz-Carlton designed for tournament play is not just about the worldwide pros. The change from the much narrower straight-out-and-in Gallery course of the first two years of Tucson WGC play, is a fans' delight or relief, depending on how you look at it.

"The Gallery was beautiful but was a lot of walking," DePew says. "It was a load of work. This is fan friendly."

And at just a few yards under 8,000, it's oh so quaint.


Woods Considering Early Comeback To Halt Endless Stream Of Inane Stories Speculating On His Return

I won't link any of the guilty scribes because they are doing their job (the few left). But please, Tiger, return ASAP and make them stop! 


Monty: Over 50s Out Of Touch With Today's Youth

I'm not sure where that leaves Monty since he'll be 51 when his self-appointed captaincy comes up (2014),  but he tells Mark Reason that once they turn 50, Ryder Cup captains lose all sense of what's going on!

Montgomerie said: "We found last time with Faldo's situation that you do lose as a captain over 50 [is this bad news for the 50-year-old Sandy Lyle] a sense of what's happening with the youngsters, a feeling of what's going on."

Given Faldo's obvious lack of empathy with parts of his team, was it surprising that he appointed only one assistant captain? And would Montgomerie be prepared to help out in Wales if he didn't make the team in 2010?

He said: "I would be willing to do anything to help. I said so pre-Faldo when he didn't pick me. I was surprised that Darren, who has played in five of these things, and myself, who has played in eight, were left sitting at home last time. I am sure we could have helped the European cause in some way.

"I was fully expecting some sort of call when the voicemail came through from Nick. At the end of his spiel about, 'I'm sorry, I haven't picked you because' – which I fully accepted, I didn't play well enough to get selected – I did expect the follow on: 'But would you come out to help in some way'. Anything. But it didn't happen. I'm sure Darren would have felt a similar way."


"And while we're on a roll, how about losing the cryptic jargon."

Bad day for the Brand Lady Carolyn Bivens as Ron Sirak reveals the name she gave her project to shed the LPGA Tour of all those pesky longtime sponsors in favor of new ones who spoke her language: "Vision 2010."

And in this week's SI, Dottie Pepper all but explains how the Commish has messed up. Somehow the vision of Paula Creamer picking up the phone to try and repair the ADT relationship may just mark an all-time low for Bivens:

The LPGA players are a tremendous asset when it comes to drumming up new business and trying to save sponsor relationships. Paula Creamer, for example, called ADT when it was announced that the company would no longer sponsor the year-ending tour championship. She did it because she had a personal connection with company executives and wanted to do whatever she could do to save the business relationship. The tour needs to use players in this manner and be thankful for their commitment.

And while we're on a roll, how about losing the cryptic jargon. For example, the LPGA's announcement said that it hoped to create "economic empowerment opportunities" and "to establish executional excellence as standard." How about "provide our members with as many business opportunities as possible" and "do the very best job we can"? Putting a human touch on the sport starts with the way you talk about it.


"That’s akin to eliminating the need to water six courses, saving an estimated 1.5 billion gallons each year."

Because I was going for a big picture take on Obama, bailouts, the WPA and golf, my Golf World viewpoint did not get into too many specifics regarding environmental retrofitting of existing courses. However, I can't think of a simpler, more sensical model for saving water, improving energy efficiency, creating courses that better co-exist with the environment or doing more to improve golf's image than the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "Water Smart Landscape Program."

Cindy Elliott recently wrote about it and other water-saving programs for Golfweek:

...the program provides courses and other property owners with a rebate of $1.50 for every square foot of turf converted to xeriscape, a lush but water-efficient landscape alternative that requires virtually no maintenance once established.

Major conversions at facilities, including Spanish Trails Golf and Country Club, Red Rock Country Club and Wild Horse Golf Course, have contributed to the transformation of 629 existing acres. That’s akin to eliminating the need to water six courses, saving an estimated 1.5 billion gallons each year.

Imagine how much water and energy could be saved if we could establish a federal program mimicking the SNWA's concept. Seems like a serious win-win here for our courses and the country.


"It's a big year for our talent"

Jim Gorant files a short profile of new Golf Channel man Tom Stathakes, who has shaken up the production team and is looking to elevate the channel's PGA Tour coverage. He's bringing in Paul Azinger for a few telecasts and evaluating the entire announce team. With incidents like this, sounds like there'll be some sleepless nights in Orlando.


Euro Committee Decides That They Better Not Look Indecisive **

First reported to be putting their decision off until May, the committee charged with selecting the next Euro Ryder Cup Captain decided that they might look indecisive if they didn't decide on a captain by the end of this month. Or so Mike Aitken reports:

It was originally believed that if the committee could not reach an agreement this week then the issue would go into cold storage and not be settled until their next scheduled meeting at the Irish Open in May.

While the committee were not prepared to rush their deliberations, it now seems they've listened to concerns that waiting until the spring would make the Tour look indecisive and was not in Europe's best interests.

The players' willingness to choose Europe's next captain this month rather than in May also eliminates charges of favouritism and the possibility of anyone being branded a "second choice" captain.

That means you Sandy!


How Much The Tour Misses Tiger Files

Bob Smiley notes this oddity from's Mercedes Championship coverage.



"The last few years we've got stuck in this narrow fairway, long rough kind of setup that's really quite similar every week we play, I think."

A highlight from Geoff Ogilvy's teleconference call today, answering a question about sameness on the PGA Tour:

GEOFF OGILVY: It wasn't really a comment about the architecture of the course we play; it was more about the setup we play. The last few years we've got stuck in this narrow fairway, long rough kind of setup that's really quite similar every week we play, I think. Kapalua is the exact opposite of that: wide fairways, rough is really not in play, big greens. Everything is just different about Kapalua than we play a lot of the year.

I just think a bit more variation in the setup. The TOUR, there was a big player meeting at Charlotte last year where the players and the TOUR got back on the same page about how we think we should set our golf courses up. Maybe we've got a bit off track trying to set them up as extremely narrow, as extremely hard as we can recently, kind of chasing the U.S. Open model, can we add a bit more interest back into our courses? Over the next few years, the TOUR is already taking about a bit more interest in the setup, maybe a little bit less rough. They've already done it at Sawgrass by cutting the rough down and changing the course. I think we're on the right track. I think for a while we got stuck in the narrow fairway, long rough kind of golf course. I think, to be honest with you, there's definitely a time and place for it, but every week it kind of gets boring. That was my point. It's more of a setup thing than an architecture thing.


Part Of The Solution?

My Golf World "Viewpoint" on Barack Obama, bailouts, the WPA and golf's place in the big picture has been posted at Editor Geoff Russell also sets up the piece in his editor's letter.

Let me know what you think.