Twitter: GeoffShac
  • 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

As each year goes by I fear the true sporting spirit of match play is less and less in evidence. We find a growing disposition for play to concentrate on the figures that are registered at a hole rather than on the question of whether the hole is lost or won in a purely friendly match. TOM SIMPSON




"Says he won’t take it off until we win another major."

The Armchair Golfer lands one of the more coveted exclusives again...Tiger's Left Knee on the PGA and how Stevie is dealing with the loss.


Where's Marty Hackel When You Need Him? Obama White Sox Edition **

Okay, the White Sox jacket at the All-Star game was one thing, and we saluted his barrier-breaking cargos, but white socks with dark slacks?

Golfweek posts a gallery of images from today's Presidential round of golf and let's just say that I think 44 needs Mr. Style in his life.



PGA Tour Releases iphone App

Just in time for us to follow the playoffs  Playoffs  PLAYOFFS!

Sponsored by Nike, it appears to be quite good if you want to follow scoring, access recent tournaments, create your own leaderboard of players and if you're on WiFi, to watch some nice video highlights.

If you were hoping for breaking news and opinion, this is not your app.


"But once I realized what I now believe, that the Bible is the standard of truth, I am totally willing to lay aside anything that stands in the way"

As U.S. Amateur play gets under way (scores here), Jimmie Tramel tells us about 24-year-old Louie Bishop, a Seventh-day Adventist who doesn't compete on Saturdays, a.k.a the sabbath. Meaning if he were to advance to the semis, he'd WD.

"I would love to make it that far, and it would be an easy choice for me," Bishop said.

"I would withdraw and be happy to share the reasons why. I wouldn't try to make a scene out of it ... but I would be happy to make it that far and whatever happens, happens."

What's the point of traveling halfway across the country for a no-win situation?

Bishop, who also qualified for the 2003 U.S. Amateur at Oakmont, said, "The pleasure is more in just being there and playing the golf course. And competing at that level is a good experience and a lot of fun."

Just like Ross Fisher threatening to leave the Open Championship as soon as his wife went into labor, it's also selfish.

The story explains how his college coach grappled with Bishop's devotion. However, that's different since it's a team event and a strategic choice made by the coach. If you are an individual entering a tournament and know you may not be able to complete the event for personal reasons, you should not be allowed to waste a spot.

The sabbath issue means Bishop — no matter how good he is, and he was record-breaking good as a college player at UC-Davis — will never be on the PGA Tour. That was tough for him to accept when he was a kid, because he said he didn't really understand his family's religious faith.

"I liked golf so much and I idolized the professional golfers so much that I really did want to play professional golf when I was older," he said. "At some point, the sabbath thing was kind of a controversy for me. I saw it as more of a restraint than I saw it as something that was true.

"But once I realized what I now believe, that the Bible is the standard of truth, I am totally willing to lay aside anything that stands in the way, so it's not a problem anymore."

Yes it is.


"The time to gee up crowds is between holes, not while a competitive situation exists."

Nancy Armour reports and Stina Sternberg files Birdies and Bogies following Sunday's exciting Solheim Cup finale, but alas, John Huggan brings up the inevitable European complaints about the U.S. team's behavior.

One other lowlight -- at least some of the time -- was the behavior of Christina Kim. The extrovert American clearly has a big heart and a kind heart given her obvious affinity and loud interaction with the spectators. But there is a line that must never be crossed with this sort of thing. And, at the risk of being portrayed as a bit of a fuddy-duddy, it must be pointed out that Kim, on occasion, veers into a place where opponents are -- however inadvertently -- treated with something less than proper respect. The time to gee up crowds is between holes, not while a competitive situation exists.

I agree she gets carried away, but she is awful funny to watch.


Moore Makes History: First To Notch PGA Tour Win In A Castro Cap

And check out the Al Capone shoes too...and the beard is definitely keeping the memory alive of the hat's namesake. Wait, he's still alive. He'll never die.

I of course, did not watch the Wyndham Championship won by Ryan Moore because I'm still under doctor's orders to not watch any telecast featuring Bobby Clampett, who is prone to say things such as, "this is such a frozen rope I'm collecting the icicles."

Okay, so he really did say that Sunday. Reader Rob shared that great moment in announcing history.

And say, it sure speaks volumes about the importance of the final regular season tournament prior to the all important playoffs PLAYOFFS when CBS sends Clampett?

Helen Ross tells us about runner-up Kevin Stadler, and more importantly, the news that Todd Hamilton, Jeff Maggert and Johnny Mathis are in the playoffs. Err....David Mathis.

Here are the updated standings for those of you eager to start crunching the possibilities.


New Rule...

Click to enlarge at your own risk...with apologies to Bill Maher--no course can host a major event or be eligible for a ranking if they have fake swans in their lakes.

Some of you may have noticed during Solheim Cup play that the lake swans at Rich Harvest Farms never moved.

Yes I know, they're more discreet than fountains, and I do appreciate a sense of humor sometimes, but if you have to put phony wildlife on your golf course to spruce things up, you are not a real golf course.


"I wish he'd smile more. He injures his image by being morose and petulant."

Mark Reason talks to Peter Thomson on his 80th birthday about a variety of topics, including the exciting news that he's designing several courses in China that ought to really help grow...someone's redesign business. And Thomson has some words for Tiger.

Tiger Woods has not been measuring up lately. Thomson said: "Woods is the major professional in his sport. No one else is so intense and leaves so little to chance. He'll win most of the events he plays in until he gets sick of it.

"He will probably win five Opens in his career before he stops, but he's up against an increasing number of young people who are matching him. He will find it harder and harder.

Five? Hmmm...I wonder if a certain somebody picked that number for a reason?

"I will add one other thing. I wish he'd smile more. He injures his image by being morose and petulant. There is also very little consideration for the fellow he is playing with. He could show more humility."

Oy vey. I'm as guilty of nostalgia as anyone, and it would be nice if Tiger spit less on camera, but as many of you noted, the petulance comes with the game. Always has, always will.

Back to Thomson, John Huggan salutes the man on his birthday and talks to friends and detractors about the Australian golfing great.

Given the strength of his opinions, Thomson has always been something of a lightning rod, provoking approval and opprobrium in equal measure.

"It is hard to sum Peter up as a person; he's Jekyll and Hyde really," says his fellow Melburnian, tour pro Stewart Ginn. "He's so enigmatic and I'm not sure anyone has ever captured him in print. He is a very articulate man. I love listening to him. He is such a rounded individual and has a great understanding of what golf is."

And this from Jack Newton:

Then again, not everyone is a Thomson fan. "I know Peter won five British Opens, but in four of them there were no Americans," points out former Open and Masters runner-up, Jack Newton. "Yeah, he had to beat Christy O'Connor, Dai Rees and Flory Van Donck, but I have a hard time rating how good he was from that. Peter was always in his comfort zone when he was the kingpin. But I didn't see him rushing over to America to take them on for a full season. He wasn't the king over there.

"Maybe I'm not being entirely fair. But Peter is not one of my favourite people, I must admit. When I was a young bloke I remember asking him for advice. It was all, 'just aim more left son' and stuff like that. I'm not sure he knew a lot about the golf swing. But he knew what worked for him.


Solheim Tied 8-8; Singles Preview

You can see all of the matches here, but I know which three matches I'm really interested in, starting with the two gruffsters in the opening match:

11:05 a.m. ET - Suzann Pettersen vs. Paula Creamer
11:25 a.m. ET - Helen Alfredsson vs. Michelle Wie
11:35 a.m. ET - Laura Davies vs. Brittany Lang


Just Wondering... it a coincidence that Michelle Wie is playing so well and exuding incredible confidence, composure, passion and determination the week her parents are kept just a Wie bit more distant than normal?

Steve DiMeglio has been tracking Wie's play at the Solheim Cup, first in noting before play that the team atmosphere has her bonding with teammates.

This week she's found comfort in bonding.

"I'm kind of like a hermit. I play golf and go back to my room," said Wie, one of two captain's picks. "But here I get to spend a lot of time with the girls, and they've gotten to know the real me. Hopefully, they like it."

They do. Her teammates have opened up about Wie opening up. That includes Morgan Pressel, who was one of the more vocal critics of Wie receiving exemptions in the past. This year, however, the two have become close friends, with Pressel, a robust tweeter, often posting photos of the two together on her Twitter page.

After her day one, morning best ball win with Christina Kim, DiMeglio shares these comments:

"I think this is the most fun I've ever had playing golf,"

"I was just so pumped up. I'm still pumped up. I'm still shaking from the round, it was just so much fun."

Despite this dready design and slow play, the combination of player passion, great galleries, gamesmanship, decent Golf Channel coverage and the underdogs excelling has made for very entertaining viewing. But it's especially fun seeing Wie blossom before our eyes.


"You wanted to scream out, 'Where’s John Paramor when you need him?'"

Here's a beautiful Jim McCabe rant on day one slow play at the "Slowheim Cup."

Yes, it was slow – painfully, agonizingly slow, which is a shame, because in this, the most forgettable season in LPGA history, the Solheim Cup is coming at a perfect time. It is a showcase event that is desperately needed to generate excitement, so what seemed to be holding things back?

“Most of the problem,” conceded chief of rules Doug Brecht, “was with the first match.”

That would have been Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr against Sophie Gustafson and Suzann Petterson. They required a silly 21 minutes to play the first hole and before all the face-paint had dried you wanted to scream out, “Where’s John Paramor when you need him?”

And while he was fired up, McCabe dared to slay host site Rich Harvest Farms. Not sure how, I mean, I haven't seen bunkers and fountains that pretty since Kemper Lakes.

Alas, Brecht and his fellow rules officials pretty much had their hands tied. To begin with, they have been handed a golf course that is – and we’re trying to be nice here – a nightmare. Besides not being a very good course, the routing is atrocious, so much so that players need shuttle rides from the ninth green to 10th tee (pretty sure you see an “Entering Iowa” sign) and again from 11th green to 12th tee (at least you are back in Illinois).

That’s not to mention all the extra time it takes to navigate more bridges than you’ll find in Pittsburgh, and perhaps had trees not been planted in the middle of fairways players would have been able to negotiate straight shots with greater speed.

Hard to imagine you could say such things about a course that the Golf Digest panel rates above LA North, Garden City, Cherry Hills, Kittansett, Scioto, Winged Foot East, Plainfield, Shoreacres, Long Cove, Harbour Town and Somerset Hills, to name a just few you wouldn't have to charter a jet to make me play.


"Amazing golf swing"

I see a little Stack and Tilt here...(thanks to reader Kevin):


Woods Golfing With Obama?

Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa of the Boston Herald report that an Obama-Woods round at The Vineyard is rumored. Only one problem: the timing laid out in the story doesn't add up.

Obama leaves Martha's Vineyard on Aug. 30 when Woods will be playing the final round of the Barclay's.

This Monday the 24th, Woods plays Notah Begay's Skins Game to benefit the Notah Begay III Foundation which provides health and wellness education to Native American youth.

Since next week's Barclays features a Wednesday pro-am, that leaves this coming Tuesday the 25th as the only opening in both men's schedules.

I wonder what Woods will chose: an extra practice round to hunt for design layers in Bob Cupp and Tom Kite's Old Course-inspired Liberty National, or golf at The Vineyard with the most powerful man in the world?

Let's just hope Tiger doesn't close-stand his playing partner like he did Sunday at the PGA. After all, Secret Service sharp shooters will be on hand.


The TWeaks Work! The TWeaks Work!

Bob Harig reporting on Tiger committing to the first of four "playoff" wins, all leading up to the rivetting mathematical possibilities at East Lake:

The year-long points system has been tweaked to make it more difficult to skip tournaments and win the FedEx Cup. Points earned at each playoff event will be five times greater than at regular PGA Tour stops.

See, it's the new points system! Wait, what?

After a week off, there is the Tour Championship (Sept. 24-27), where the top 30 in points advance and will be re-seeded.

Oh there is that week off thing. But I'm sure it was the pressure of losing points-ground that ultimately drove Tiger to play The Barclays.


"Not a single player I spoke with after the Olympic announcement was made thinks the limited-field, individual stroke play event was a very creative or inviting idea."

Most of you know that I've written here and in Golf World's Bunker about the Olympic golf idea that is failing to generate excitement because it essentially adds another World Golf Championship event to the schedule. Another bland, 72-hole stroke play event that a sport rich with alternative formats, does not need. Throw in the lack of a team element and it's hard to see why golf fans should care about the event, even with a gold medal on the line.

Even you all, the erudites who typically offer such profound insights into the meaning of golf and life, bypassed any serious discussion of possible formats. 

But finally, we have a proposal that is maybe a tad confusing at first, but most certainly original and solving many of the key concerns. In an Augusta Chronicle column last week and now in a blog post, Scott Michaux tells us that he's not hearing much excitement for the current 60-player, individuals only setup. So he goes to former Augusta State man Oliver Wilson and others for inspiration, ultimately posting this college golf similar concept featuring a 144-player field with four-man teams:

Play 72 holes of stroke play, with a 36-hole cut that keeps each member of the top 10 teams (based on cumulative score of the top three scorers each day) plus any players among the top 50 scorers including ties. You would likely end up with somewhere between 60 and 70 players reaching the weekend.

Continue playing the remaining 36 holes, awarding individual gold, silver and bronze medals. Individuals who make the cut would be qualified to earn world rankings points.

Award the gold, silver and bronze team medals based on the cumulative totals of the team’s top three scorers every day.

This way the top-ranked players still get to play for themselves and Olympic glory while also being part of a team that requires no extra effort. And the bonus is guys down the pecking order of the leaderboard will still have to play their guts out because the team score and medal hopes are counting on them.

Here’s a list of teams and competitors if it was based on the world rankings list as of today. Players are listed by world ranking and the team's average world rank is in parentheses.

This field would include 37 of the top 50, 52 of the top 100 and world-ranked players from 45 countries. The current IGF proposed format would only include 26 of the top 50, as many as 39 of top 100 and players from only 30 countries.

He goes on to list all of the teams, which in itself makes for an interesting comparison.

But just to review. We're told the Olympic golf will be good for growing the game by inspiring some countries to fund developmental programs. Won't they be more likely if the field is a bit larger, involves a team component and is actually something people want to watch once every four years?


"The coarse language and club acrobatics aren't anything we don't hear and see on courses every day."

Jim Frank pens an excellent SI My Shot defense of Tiger Woods's on course antics.

But this was Tiger Woods, who is supposed to set an example, especially for children. And this is golf, the "gentleman's game," in which virtue is supposed to trump vitriol.

Well, I've got two words for you, and they're not "you're away." Get real! If Tiger wants to go ballistic and wax scatological, let him.

There is nothing golf needs more now than emotion, and Woods is one of the only players who ever shows any. (Lucas Glover, anyone?) The man is a pro with millions in the bank, and the fire in his belly — plus the steam coming out of his ears and the vulgarities from his mouth — show that he cares about more than cashing checks, which can't be said of everyone carrying a PGA Tour card.


"I have to throw the whole set out for one club and I wouldn't mind if I thought it was going to make a difference."

Professional golfer and architect Mike Clayton emailed on the eve of the Scottish Seniors to share this about R&A iron testing:

There is an R & A equipment guy here this week checking groves on the irons with next year in mind.

We all know our wedges will be out and my sand wedge and lob wedge were not close - but my Hogan wedge that I have been using for 6 years is fine.

What does that tell you?

It tells me that if a wedge I really like and have had zero issue with flyers is going to be legal, this groove thing is not going to make too much difference.

My 7,8,9 were fine as well and the 3,4 and 5 don't matter because they are under 25 degrees (although I find it hard to believe my 5 is not more than 25) but my 6 is going to be no good.

I have to throw the whole set out for one club and I wouldn't mind if I thought it was going to make a difference. He did acknowledge that not all pros get their clubs for free and it was going to cost the majority a thousand bucks or more to buy new sets - and again I don't mind paying if it is going to make a difference.

Given that my set of six years- except for one club plus the sand irons - will be legal what is going to change?

His argument that it will place more emphasis on hitting fairways so players will take more 3 woods and irons.  If they seriously think that is going to happen they are dreaming.

I wrote back to Clayton suggesting that the USGA and R&A feel the groove rule change will make the floggers throttle back to hit more fairways now that their grooves can't save them from the rough. He replies:

It seems the clubs I assumed would be illegal are legal and therefore what difference is the rule going to make? What is going to change aside from the two sand wedges?

The USGA/R&A vision of guys trying harder to hit fairways has always been difficult for me to swallow since so many players were not aware what kind of grooves they had.  In fact, the rule change may encourage even more flogging because guys would rather have a flyer lie with a SW than an 8 iron.

Geoff Ogilvy Tweeted today about toying with the new grooves:

I replied:

And he replied:


"We've had 4½- hour rounds for 30 years."

Not only is this Slugger White-slow play quote in this week's Golf World depressing, it doesn't exactly back up John Paramor for daring to speed up play at Firestone.

Bob Verdi asks about pace of play...

You hear some guys say it's too slow, and the only way to speed it up is by penalizing strokes. But I don't believe you should affect a man's livelihood with a stopwatch. Also, I don't feel play is as slow as some people think. We've had 4½- hour rounds for 30 years.

Except that during the first two rounds of most tour events, you've had 4½- hour rounds plus another 45 minutes on top of that over the last ten years.

So if one of the tour's top two officials charged with enforcing the rules doesn't believe you should affect a man's livelihood by enforcing a rule, then I guess it'll be another 17 years before a penalty stroke is handed out? Why even put people on the clock?


"The 28-year-old Englishman...pieced together the best Sweet 16 rounds to finish 2 over for the year"

Steve Elling posts his annual breadown of the best play of those who made all four major championship cuts.



Olympic Field And The Rolex Rankings

I suppose I was incorrect to suggest this would only shine a light on the Official World Golf Ranking. Looks like the women's Rolex Rankings will be scrutinized based on how it will add to the struggle to fill out the Olympic field.

This is from a reader who was curious about the Olympics and the proposed 60 player fields.

Using the current eligibility format as proposed by the IGF, you can go down the top 500 names on the women's Rolex Rankings (as of Aug. 13, the date of the IOC announcement) and not have enough players to get a 60-player field. You only get 58.

Of the top 100 players, only 26 get in.

Currently, only the top two from a country can get in. They'll probably need to take the top three eligible players to avoid digging into the AJGA Tour to round out the women's field.