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

A.W. Tillinghast was an individualist, to say the least. American golf was fortunate to have him around in the early stages. His writings about golf give us a glimpse of his vivid imagination, which certainly leaned towards the artistic. He loved golf and the social appeal of the game. And he had a completely unique sense of balance and proportion with respect to fine golf architecture. His exceptional courses bear the stamp of his forceful personality, which was quite strong; a flait for the dramatic, and delicious little devious quirks here and there. BEN CRENSHAW



"You have to be patient here and realise that the same kind of thing is happening to everybody else."

In all of this worldly turmoil, it's comforting to know some things never change. Like players hating Valderrama, as Lawrence Donegan reports after day one of the final Volvo Masters:

The players are never less than respectful about the course but they are occasionally given to grumbling about its difficulty and unfairness.

"I hit a great tee shot on the 8th tee and still ended up behind trees," Westwood said pointedly. "You have to be patient here and realise that the same kind of thing is happening to everybody else."


"I don't do men with breasts."

Thanks to reader John for this unbylined BBC story on artist Jack Vettriano turning down a National Gallery of Scotland gig to paint Monty.

Golfer Colin Montgomerie has laughed off artist Jack Vettriano's claims he refused a commission to paint him because of the sportsman's looks.

The Fife painter reportedly said he was asked to produce the work for the National Galleries of Scotland, but said: "I don't do men with breasts."

He has often complained his work is not appreciated by the art establishment.

Gallery officials said a suggestion was made for a portrait but denied they had formally approached Vettriano.

The painter told art lovers at An Audience With Jack Vettriano in Kirkcaldy, Fife, earlier this week that his art dealer approached him about the offer.

According to a report in the Scotsman, the 56-year-old, said: "I was in France when I got a call from my art dealer who said there might have been a breakthrough. 'The National Galleries would like you to do a portrait'.

When told it was Colin Montgomerie, he said: "I'm afraid that the answer is no. I don't do men with breasts. And I don't mean that as unkind to Colin Montgomerie."

During an appearance at the Adam Smith College on Monday night, Vettriano said he did not give it a second thought, despite pleas from his dealer to reconsider.


John Daly Goes Logoless!

Well, there's probably some text stamped on the back. And it is nice that they use Hooters orange. I wonder what Marty Hackel would say about the collar up and that open?  Sorry, this isn't funny.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:


“Everything was going along pretty well, even this summer, and then it was like someone turned the switch off Sept. 1.”

Bill Huffman does an excellent job making anyone in the golf business want to slash their wrists  leap off a bridge consider alternative business models. Actually, he very thoroughly considers the plight of Arizona golf and the sudden downturn in play, talking to SunCor Golf VP Tom Patrick. Thanks to reader Steven T. for catching the story.

This was interesting:

Still, and despite ridiculously low green fees already popping up lately in the West Valley, Patrick doesn’t expect a price war to break out. That’s because costs for rye seed are way up, water has never been more expensive, and maintenance costs are running through the roof after a mass exodus of undocumented workers back to Mexico.

“If people don’t come out to play, the courses will just go broke,” Patrick predicted. “In fact, that’s why so many are up for sale right now, even being foreclosed on — and you’re going to see more of that.”

Case in point: Starfire Golf Club in central Scottsdale went on the auction block this week for $8.5 million.

In another statement on the economy of Arizona golf, Royal Dunes, the former all-men’s club in Maricopa originally named Southern Dunes, completed its foreclosure on Wednesday when it was returned to lender Duane Young of Palm Springs, Calif.

Rumor on the street is the course is going to shift from private to public. (And, yes, women will be able to get a tee time there for the first time.)

“The golf industry is like everybody else,” Patrick said. “Things are not good, and until the banks loosen up some money, it’s going to get worse.”

Meanwhile, Patrick said, the golf industry is bracing for that perfect storm.

“You’re already seeing it,” he said.

“In places like Las Vegas, which really is getting hammered, they’re cutting back on everything, even the size of the courses by taking out turf.”

Well that's not such a bad thing.


Dean Barnett, R.I.P.

John Kirk's lovely tribute on GolfClubAtlas tipped me off on the passing of someone I only knew through email and his writings, though we tentatively planned on meeting and playing Rustic Canyon sometime this winter. That's one round I'll sorely miss playing (and you know how much I love slashing it around for five hours). But Dean's passion was so strong and his eye so unique, I couldn't wait to take him on a tour.

Dean wrote one of my favorite golf architecture stories, which you can read here. This spring he also filed this entertaining blog item on The Players v. The Masters.  He was working on a follow up to his architecture piece titled "Saving Golf" and had quizzed me about a variety of topics via email. For a Red Sox fan, he sure got it.

He was a respected figure in the conservative blogosphere and his passing prompted a nice tribute from Mitt Romney, as well as this from the Weekly Standard. The Boston Globe also ran this obituary.


"I'm going to come out here and hope for a miracle.''

Jeff Overton is teeing it up at the Ginn Classic nine days after an appendectomy...that should tell you how miserable Q-school is.


"It also is likely that there will be less of a need for long, punitive rough."

There is a Q&A with president Jim Vernon about the state of the USGA and his first year in office. I liked his answer on the groove rule change, which could be the first time I've seen someone from the USGA suggest that it could lead to less rough.

How do you expect the rules changes concerning grooves to impact how courses are set up for tour-level and championship competitions?

Vernon: For those setting up courses for players of this level, I think you’ll see a whole array of opportunities. If you look at the PGA Tour, the major championships, or the European Tour for that matter, you’ve seen a trend over the past 15 years showing hole locations have gotten closer and closer to the edge of the green each year, and that won’t need to be as much the case anymore. The rules changes may well reopen greens to some different hole locations that will still reward accuracy, but you won’t have to put it three or four paces from the edge of most of your greens. It also is likely that there will be less of a need for long, punitive rough. 


"Don’t discount the efforts of those who write golf club histories. They are the game’s true local heroes."

As a former club historian, naturally I'd nominate Alistair Tait for calling them heroes.


Daly Spends Night In Jail After Passing Out Drunk In Front Of A Hooters

A company man right to the end...what a shame he can't or won't get help for this.


JT Joins Callaway Staff; Agents Worldwide Groan

Set against the backdrop of the economic crisis and word that players will be seeing far less lucrative endorsement deals, I would love to listen to how agents spin this one with their clients.

By the way, that's Justin Timberlake, not James Taylor (I know my demo!).


"As a professional golfer we have to adapt to that by playing more internationally because that is where the opportunities are and that's where they will continue to grow."

Martin Parry reports that Phil Mickelson really likes the idea of playing overseas. Why do I think Tim Finchem reads this and says, "why weren't you so eager to play overseas when we played WGC's on foreign soil?"


"Certainly, the dollar weakening over the past few years has made foreign currencies much stronger, which makes the purses much larger, so there's been a lot of international wealth being created," he said.

"The US golf industry has been stagnant for quite some time so all of our growth has been occurring on a global basis.

"As a professional golfer we have to adapt to that by playing more internationally because that is where the opportunities are and that's where they will continue to grow.

"So I look forward to having opportunities to continue to play more internationally and I understand that that is going to be an important part of being an international golfer."

The 38-year-old, who has won twice on the US Tour this year, added that he hoped other golfers recognised the importance of not just playing more overseas but helping popularise the game in under-exploited markets.

"The States' market is stagnant so the more opportunities we can have where top players play throughout the world and expose those places to golf I think will help grow the game," he said.

"That's an important part of what we do. The (season-ending) FedEx Cup ending in September has given us much more opportunity to do that now."


"Is it Harry Vardon we have on our new Tour thing [logo]? Why isn't it Seve?"

James Corrigan talks to Padraig Harrington about Seve's contribution to European Tour golf and offers this intriguing idea.

Said Harrington: "Is it Harry Vardon we have on our new Tour thing [logo]? Why isn't it Seve? He is the man when you think about it. He is the European Tour, and it is at times like this that you kind of say, well, we wish we had more of Seve."

Imagine if he proposed that in branding obsessed America? Let's hope this idea, uh, gains traction.


George Thomas Into the SCGA Hall Of Fame

He goes in Wednesday with Jim Murray and Eddie Merrins. Here's a little video of him I posted on YouTube and which is always viewable on the page devoted to "The Captain."


Good News For The PGA Tour!

It's been mostly bleak lately, but I did see where Kodak has dropped it's 22-year(!) sponsorship with NASCAR in favor of a greater investment in the PGA Tour, citing its global ties.

And as if that's not enough, NASCAR owners are griping about it's Chase points system, the model for the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup.



"I'm really looking forward to going out there and being an example for them"

Bob Harig reports on Erik Compton accepting an invitation to the PGA Tour's season ending Children's Miracle Network event at Disney World. Let's hope no one questions his use of a cart.


FedEx Cup Fix Update!

Doug Ferguson looks at the 54-hole cut policy that only has one serious detractor in Charles Warren, and which has been successful in helping lighten the load for Sunday play. He also shares this on the FedEx Cup fix in the works. Naturally, it's drifting close to the ADT (RIP) model some of us love.

One solution that appears to be getting a lot of attention is not to reset the points until the Tour Championship, which could mean any of the 30 players at East Lake would have a chance to win. Plus, it would be decided over 72 holes and protect the integrity of the competition.

A decision is not expected for another month at the earliest. 


Walters Wins Suit Against TravelGolf

Jeff German reports for the Las Vegas Sun. This can't bode well for the future of

District Judge Jennifer Togliatti has awarded Las Vegas golf course developer Billy Walters a $9 million judgment against the owner of a large Arizona-based Internet company he alleged had defamed him.

Walters charged in a 2006 lawsuit that Robert Lewis, a Flagstaff businessman who runs Travel Golf Media Inc., had falsely disparaged him and two of his golf courses, Stallion Mountain and Desert Pines, on the Internet after he refused to sign a new agreement to promote the courses on the company’s many Web sites.

The new contract, the suit alleged, required Walters to pay three times the promotional fees he had been paying Travel Golf Media.

Lewis published a series of posts with critical reviews and unflattering photos of the golf courses over two months in the spring of 2005, the suit alleged.

Walters’ lead lawyer, James Pisanelli, argued that the defamatory statements had caused Walters emotional distress and injured his personal reputation.


Stevie's Rebranding Complete! Your Captions Please...

Wow, releasing a bird into the wild without attacking the person taking the photos! What restraint shown by Tiger's luggage looper Stevie Williams. His image rehab is complete, I say! And nice branding for NBC Sports too. (Images courtesy of our friends at BZA PR, who are handling the Kiwi Challenge.)



The Demise Of The L.A. Times

In a couple of years when the largest paper west of the Mississippi is relegated to nothing more than a news website, they'll be asking how a once proud and highly profitable operation was destroyed. While I can't comment on the overall operation (LAObserved has covered it well), one department near and dear to this blog has been recklessly destroyed.

Thomas Bonk, a 27-year staffer was part of this week's staff buyouts, leaving us with just a handful of newspapermen and women covering golf. Bonk had been covering golf full-time for at least 12 years by my faulty memory count.

Here's what's most astounding about this: the most famous athlete in the world and one of the planet's most visible human-beings is Tiger Woods. He is a southern California native and part-time resident who hosts a tournament here, where, incidentally, the Los Angeles Times is published.

Along with the AP's Doug Ferguson, no writer was more consistently breaking news or demonstrating some form of access to Team Woods than Bonk. And recently, Bonk was regularly breaking news and offering important information related to the game with a weekly online column. For a paper that has touted its need to be breaking news online and in general beefing up its website coverage, Bonk delivered. It makes little sense that you would release someone fulfilling the stated mission, particularly someone with access to and a relationship with one of the world's most newsworthy and inaccessible figures.

And remember, this is a paper with six sports columnists. Not one has a clue about golf.

Peter Yoon, a talented and developing golf writer, was a victim of an earlier staff purge. The only other Times staffer capable of covering golf is Chris Dufresne, one of the top college football writers in the land who better serves the paper taking advantage of his arsenal of sources covering college football or his old beat, college basketball.

Of course, this is a paper that just fired one of its two primary film critics and numerous talented entertainment writers in the same town where there's a multi-billion dollar industry called Hollywood, so I suppose the beat writers for UCLA basketball and USC football might just be doomed too.


Kim, Villegas Pay Their Dues...

...they become associate members of the European Tour, joining a few other names we already knew about.