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

A golf course exists primarily for match play, which is a sport, as distinguished from stroke play, which more resembles rifle shooting than spot in that it lacks the joy of personal contact with the opponent.  FREDDIE TAIT




Sales At The Cliffs

Nice catch by Deeds and Weeds' Peter Finch who spotted this John Boyle and Mark Barrett story on real estate. As Finch notes, all things considered (and all rumors aside), these numbers for the Tiger Woods project at The Cliffs are pretty good in light of the economy.

To mark the official start of sales, the community held an event Nov. 9 with famed golfer Tiger Woods, who is designing its golf course. Jim Anthony, president and CEO of developer Cliffs Communities, said then that about 50 lots in the first phase of the development were spoken for at a total sale price of more than $40 million.

A little more than five months later, Buncombe County property records indicate only 25 lot sales have actually gone through. Sales prices total about $25 million.

Several of those pending sales will still happen, Anthony said last week. Some buyers need to complete property exchanges or make other things happen in their personal finances to finish purchases, he said, while a handful of other buyers have had to back out.

Winter is typically a slow time for real estate sales, and that has been particularly true this year, he said.

“In January and February this year, we were really hit hard. In March we've seen a little bit of a turn,” Anthony said.


"And this is going to be Buddy's Walker Cup. It's one of the really neat fits of all time."

Thanks to Chema for this Mike Kern story on the Walker Cup at Merion.

"The Walker Cup is a treasure," CBS' Jim Nantz, another Merion member, said yesterday at the club. "I think unfortunately it's not marquee or sexy enough, or whatever the media's looking for, but it really represents a lot of the things that cut to the core [of the sport].

"And this is going to be Buddy's Walker Cup. It's one of the really neat fits of all time."

Neat fit eh? Oh I don't know, it's be neater if Bobby Jones could captain the team. Shoot, even neater would be Chris Patton. But I guess that's why I'm not on the Walker Cup captaincy selection committee.


Monty's Tweeting!

Okay, well not officially, but we can dream can't we?

Derek Lawrenson previews what Monty on Twitter would look like and offers a few other notes from the world of golf as well.


"'Patron' ruined Campbell's Masters run"

I guess my mind is in the gutter these days, because when I saw that headline for a Curt Sampson item on a fan behavior incident that occurred Thursday of Masters week, I kept asking myself, tequila, at the Masters? Chad Campbell just doesn't seem like a Patron kind of guy.


Special Request

I see holes were punched in my baseball stadium metaphor on the post detailing the boasting of R&A changes to Turnberry in response to improved athleticism and technology.

Okay, so they didn't use the smaller font size.

But help me, please?

Can you describe a sport or game--other than golf--where significant resources were devoted to retrofitting venues/arenas/tracks/courts/pits/fields, etc. to accommodate sudden changes in the way that sport is played?

And preferably, I would love an example where there was a power-driven surge, pushed along at the benefit of economic forces, which would help me strengthen my metaphorical repertoire. But I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Yours In Metaphors,


"There are a lot more hospitality visits going on"

Billy Turner looks at the state of the PGA Tour and talks to the Commish, as well as David Toms about what players are doing.

"Before, you might not have to pull somebody's teeth to get them out there, you had to lead them over there. Now, they're more willing to do it. The thing is they should have been doing it before. But now, with the global economy, it opens everyone's eyes.

"If sponsors start to pull out, it's not good for any of us -- the players, the sponsors, the charities. We've talked about it. There's more buzz about it in the locker rooms. Guys that have been out here for a while see that we used to play for a million and now we're playing for $6 million. Those guys have got to get with the younger guys and pull them aside and tell them to help support it."


"The issue is that few older courses are capable of staging the Canadian Open."

Thanks to reader John for Lorne Rubenstein look at all of the reasons why the Royal Canadian Golf Association can't consider some classic venues for the Canadian Open. Actually, there's only one reason in Lorne's view.

Last week's announcement that the RBC Canadian Open will return to Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver in 2011 should be cause for celebration. After all, it's a classic old course, the kind tour players say they love. And it will mean the tournament will have been played at a grand spot two years in a row. (St. George's in Toronto will be the venue in 2010.) So why did I feel some sadness upon hearing the news? It had nothing to do with the choice of course or the Royal Canadian Golf Association's commitment to taking the tournament, as often as possible, to traditional layouts. It had everything to do with what's happened in the world of pro golf tours.

The issue is that few older courses are capable of staging the Canadian Open. This is because the United States Golf Association and the R&A dropped the ball in allowing the golf ball to go so far that it's made superb courses that have held the Canadian Open obsolete for the tournament.

Here's something even the governing bodies understand, without telling it to some of the modern masters to their faces.

At least the RCGA realizes this. Its executive director, Scott Simmons, made it clear last week during the Shaughnessy announcement that the commitment isn't to a fixed rotation, but simply to quality courses. He said that could include new courses, but the message remains clear that tour players prefer traditional layouts.

"We have been on a journey of renewal," then-RCGA president Andrew Cook said last June, when it was announced St. George's would play host to the 2010 Canadian Open. "We want the tournament to get back to the stature it once held on the world stage."

The RCGA is trying. But it would have a better chance of reaching the goal if the courses of the past weren't so ill-suited to the tournament game and demands of the present.

Such are the unintended consequences of "progress."

Well they could look to the R&A solution: proudly alter the courses.


"Because Luis was unknown to the green jackets and mostly speaking Spanish he was able to blend in."

Alan Shipnuck's outstanding reporting of Angel Cabrera's heartburn-inducing post-Masters celebration prompted a reader to wonder if it was actually original reporting upon reading a column last week where the same anecdotal evidence was regurgitated nearly verbatim (without any mention or credit given to Shipnuck's SI story).

So I emailed Shipnuck to see if his piece was the original source. It turns out there's a great story behind the reporting process that speaks to the value of big-budget media operations:

When I went to Cordoba two years ago I was accompanied by SI writer-reporter Luis Fernando Llosa. Luis bonded with Cabrera-as much as anyone can with a prickly, standoffish character who has no use for the media--and he has maintained the relationship, doing a Q/A with Cabrera last year for Golf Magazine and hanging out with him a bit more while reporting a subsequent Andres Romero feature.

Following the third round of this year's Masters I had a strong feeling that Cabrera was going to win so I called Luis in New York to see if he would jet into Augusta to help me out. (Luis was let go by SI last year as part of the grim staff downsizing and has been freelancing ever since.) Luis eagerly agreed, catching a flight the next morning. He had never been to the Masters - he arrived around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, and I walked him through the post-round choreography should Cabrera win, showing Luis the back door to Butler Cabin, where the champion's dinner is held, etc.

Luis walked all 18 holes with Cabrera, hanging out with his Spanish-speaking entourage, many of whom we had met in Argentina. After Cabrera's victory Luis just floated along with Angel's crew, partying in the Butler Cabin after the jacket ceremonies, sitting at Cabrera's table for the champion's dinner with the Augusta National membership and then retiring to Angel's where he partied til 3 a.m.. (With Luis on the Cabrera beat I was freed up to trail Tiger and Phil and their people and then spend some time with K. Perry and his family after the crushing finale.) Throughout all of the post-round festivities Luis was texting me updates of what was happening, and I was responding with requests for specific details and offering potential questions for the champ. Without a doubt Luis was the only reporter in the Butler Cabin and at Angel's after-party. I am 99.8% sure no other scribe managed to crash the champion's dinner. As a rule, reporters are not allowed in there - two years ago I walked in with Zach Johnson and lasted through the toast until I was recognized by a Masters official and tossed out. Because Luis was unknown to the green jackets and mostly speaking Spanish he was able to blend in.


"Times have changed."

Jeff Murray talks to Jack Benjamin, board president of the LPGA's Corning, about the long running event's demise:

"No. 1 is cost. Thirty-one years ago, it cost $200,000, which was shared by Corning Glass Works (now Corning Inc.) and the community. This year, it's more than $3 million, and 75 percent of that is paid by the company," Benjamin said.

"No. 2 is revenue. We have not been able to secure new sponsors.

"Three is community interest," he said. "Times have changed. Volunteer participation has decreased over the last few years, and attendance has been down."

Other than those factors, it was a close call.


"Augusta National and PGA Tour officials said their efforts were a success based on the numbers generated."

Jon Show reviews the use of Twitter during the Masters. Don't miss his Tweets and Twits list of the best and worst. He also shares these numbers:

Augusta National and PGA Tour officials said their efforts were a success based on the numbers generated. The Masters compiled 43,000 Twitter followers and 40,000 Facebook friends in just over a month despite neither being promoted anywhere besides Followers on the PGA Tour’s Twitter page and Facebook pages increased about 25 percent during the week, to 4,000 and 15,000, respectively.

Golf Channel, on the other hand, proved Twitter and Facebook don’t automatically drive Web traffic. It did little besides tweet links to Web stories and tease its studio coverage, and ended Masters week with 250 followers that generated an additional 950 page views for


“I don’t think there is any money missing"

Good news for the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour!

A feisty Allan Stanford, looking eerily like John Cleese, tells the New York Times Clifford Krauss that this is just an SEC witchhunt and all of this Stanford Financial business stuff will be cleared up.

“I don’t think there is any money missing,” Mr. Stanford said. “There never was a Ponzi scheme, and there never was an attempt to defraud anybody.”


“Today’s professionals are bigger, stronger, fitter, have more technology at their command, and it’s very important that we keep our great links courses relevant to the modern-day professional"

Some day they'll look back and say, wow, the R&A changed courses to mask their regulatory incompetence. But surely they were discreet about it, right?

For Immediate Publication


21 APRIL 2009, Turnberry, Scotland: In advance of the 2009 Open Championship, Turnberry’s Ailsa Course has undergone a number of adjustments designed to ensure that, as one of Britain’s finest links, it continues to challenge modern professionals. The most extensive changes are on the 10th, 16th and 17th holes, though most have been enhanced in some way.

“Today’s professionals are bigger, stronger, fitter, have more technology at their command, and it’s very important that we keep our great links courses relevant to the modern-day professional,” explained The R&A’s Chief Executive, Peter Dawson. “We’ve been doing that at every Open venue, with Turnberry having had a considerable number of changes since the 1994 Open Championship.”

Thankfully, circa 2002 Major League Baseball owners never declared that the players were bigger, stronger, fitter with more technology at their command, therefore, proudly announcing that they extended the Green Monster skyward 40 feet and spent millions to alter their ballparks so that the lads can keep injecting their rear ends!

The 10th has been redesigned to bring the coastline into play and now requires at least a 200-yard carry over the rocks from a tee perched on an outcrop by the lighthouse. The fairway has been moved closer to the beach to tempt longer players to cut off more of the corner, and three new fairway bunkers force a decision to be made between safer tee-shot with a longer approach or a riskier, braver and more aggressive drive.

Significant changes have also taken place at the 16th and 17th. The shape of the 16th has been radically altered and it now dog-legs right from a re-positioned tee around newly-created dunes and hollows. 45 yards have been added along with a new bunker on the left of the fairway. The bunker, which used to guard the left side of the old fairway, now protects the right edge of the new one.

The realignment of the 16th has allowed a new back tee to be constructed on the 17th, extending the hole by 61 yards. A newly-constructed approach bunker, along with another to the front and left of the putting surface, adds difficulty to the second shot.

Including those on the 10th and 16th, a total of 23 bunkers have been added on holes 1, 3, 5, 8, 14 and 18, with two removed at the 3rd and 14th, making players think more about their course management strategy.

Uh no. They are intended to make players leave driver in their bag so you don't have to regulate equipment.

Though many Open Championship courses have upwards of 120 bunkers, Turnberry still only has 65, testament to the natural test that the landscape provides.

New tees have also been introduced at holes 3, 5, 7, 8, 14, and 18, extending the course to 7204 yards, 247 yards or 3.5% longer than when The Open was last played at Turnberry in 1994.


"It's like looking at a painting. Do you prefer impressionism or do you like abstract painting better?"

John Paul Newport files an excellent history of rankings, meaning Joshua Crane and the National Golf Review get mentions, as well as today's lists.

In my view, unless you own a hugely expensive new resort course or belong to an elite club that just spent $15 million redoing its masterpiece, there's no reason to treat these lists as anything other than good fun. "It's totally subjective, isn't it?" said Ben Crenshaw last week at the Masters, even though several of the courses he designed with partner Bill Coore, including Sand Hills, have been treated "very, very kindly" by the raters.

"There are certain places and certain types of courses that elicit some people's emotions but don't necessarily affect other people the same way," Mr. Crenshaw said. "It's like looking at a painting. Do you prefer impressionism or do you like abstract painting better?"

Robert Lohrer scores an informative Q&A with Golf Digest's Jerry Tarde about the process and panel, and gets Tarde to explain how the balloting works (Augusta's score includes 8 years worth of evaluations, but thankfully, little has changed there architecturally in that time!). Tarde also concedes that perhaps in the future we'll get to see how many votes are being counted for top 100 courses.


"This is definitely the closing of a chapter in the story of the LPGA"

Ron Sirak reports on the demise of the 31-year old Corning Classic...

"This is a sad, sad day," says Gail Graham, a former player who is president of the Tournament Owners Association. "Corning has been such a staunch supporter of the LPGA. This loss is disappointing but understandable. Perhaps the tour has outgrown Corning, which is sad. As a player, I know how much fun it was to go there. When you have an event whose attendance for the week surpasses the population of the town, that is a cool thing."


"This is definitely the closing of a chapter in the story of the LPGA," says Graham. "The tour has become such big business, but I hope it keeps a feel for what is happening in the economy. I don't expect there to be any more Cornings this year, but nothing surprises me right now. We have tournaments whose revenues are way, way down. And there are many tournaments whose contracts are up."

On a lighter note--though I doubt the Brand Lady will see it that way--Jon Show says the LPGA will stage a mandatory player summit before the start of the Michelob Ultra Open, its first such meeting since 2002.

The two-day meetings, at which players will learn about the business and strategy of the LPGA, will start May 2 at the Kingsmill Resort & Spa in Williamsburg, Va.

The first night of the summit, LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens and special guest Billie Jean King will address the 100 or so players expected to attend. LPGA board Chairwoman Dawn Hudson and board President Michelle Ellis are also scheduled to speak.

The following day, a group of sports industry executives and retired athletes will help lead sessions designed to build awareness about the tour’s history and plans.

Can't wait for the Tweets from there!


Golf At Mount Everest!

Reader Phil Young saw today's Pete Dye quote atop the site ("The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody would put a flagstick on top) and says that that an ardent golfer did play Mt. Everest, almost two years ago.

His name is Robie Vaughan. He is a member of the Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas, Texas. He climbed Mt. Everest and actually reached the summit, at which point he took out a three-piece golf club he had designed for carrying in his pack, put it together and hit three balls off the summit!

His golf club was donated to the USGA & is now part of the exhibit with Sheppard's club from the moon.


Mr. Woods Goes To Washington

He testified today...on a conference call/press conference that only lucky scribblers were invited to (my invites keep getting lost in cyberspace!). After the appearance, Tiger stopped by the White House where he's apparently welcome anytime (Thanks to reader Tim for this):

As for his presser, he was grilled mostly about the Masters. Steve Elling reports and Tiger offers this on his rusty performance:

While his assertion isn't supported much by statistics -- he had the fifth-worst putting numbers and the eighth-worst driving percentage among players who made the cut -- Woods said he and his caddie spoke at several points about how small misses can prove embarrassing at Augusta National, with its humps and swales on mega-fast greens.

"Being off by that one yard is 30 or 40 feet at Augusta," he said. "It seemed to happen all week. Hopefully, the next tournament will be a little sharper than that."

Far more disturing than that, Barry Svrluga reports that Tiger wants his event to stay at Congressional beyond 2014.  Now that's depressing.


"You wonder how long Tiger's patience will last."

Mark Reason reasons that Tiger Woods is about to get tired of being humiliated by lousy driving and will switch teachers. I'm not sure I buy the humiliation angle just yet, since he's 0 for 1 post knee surgery in the majors.

This is an intriguing stat, though I'm curious how it was tabulated:

Woods has been with Haney now for five years and his driving remains something of a joke. In the six or so years that Woods spent with Butch Harmon he hit the fairway on average 68.66 per cent of the time. In the Haney era that average has dropped to 57.82 per cent.

In golfing terms a 1 per cent margin is colossal. It's the difference between 28th and 140th place on this year's driving accuracy table. There isn't even a relative increase in distance to compensate. If anything, Tiger is a shorter hitter relative to his rivals than he used to be.

Naturally, it should be noted that in the years since the Harmon era, fairways narrowed quite a bit in an effort to slow down drives (and boy that worked!).


“It took a way bigger hit than we needed to"

Larry Bohannan looks at Davis Love's take on Congress and golf sponsorship and nominates Davis as an ideal lobbyist for the tour. I guess that's better than my dream golf lobbyist, Nick Naylor.

“It took a way bigger hit than we needed to,” Love said of the attacks on Northern Trust in the following weeks. “There were two members of Congress that said negative things about the tour. One of them didn't realize how much money we give to charity, and didn't realize what an impact a tour event has on the economy of that city that week and that state and that economy.”


"It was a great win for Oakmont."

Gerry Dulac reports that the folks at Oakmont are quite happy with Angel Cabrera's Masters win. For a while there, they were thinking maybe they'd have to rethink all that over-the-top rough and the narrow fairways for giving them a one-off major champ. But not now...

Club officials have been wanting to bring Cabrera back to Oakmont so they can officially -- and ceremoniously -- present him with their own version of the green jacket, symbolizing lifetime membership in the club. Oakmont does that for all players who have won a major championship at its club.

They also want to show him the room in the club's newest guest cottage, overlooking the swimming pool, that bears his name. Located on the second floor, the Angel Cabrera room is right down the hall from rooms that bear the names of Steve Melnyk (1969 U.S. Amateur champion) and Gene Sarazen (1922 PGA), other past winners at Oakmont.

Angel has to know he's made it when he shares something in common with Melnyk.


"Damn, I found Anthony Kim obnoxious."

Jack McCallum, bought-out SI NBA beat legend, novelist and occasional golf scribe fresh off covering the Barkley-Haney show, joins this week's SI/AOL/ page-turner to kick around the state of golf. There's an interesting discussion about Rory McIlroy's decision to pass on a PGA Tour hall pass and comments about slow USGA sales in New York at the end, but McCallum's take on Anthony Kim didn't come as a total shock.

Jack McCallum: I hate to swing at the first pitch in such an august group of golf scribes, but since you asked ... Damn, I found Anthony Kim obnoxious. He came out to one of the Barkley-Hank Haney sessions I was covering for the SI story a few weeks back and acted like a 13-year-old. Then again, Charles acts like a 17-year-old, so it was kind of a draw.