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

The audience in the theatre, looking over the footlights, view the play as do most of the gallery following the experts of golf. However, back-stage, there are a few eyes critically regarding the play from an entirely different angle. For many years I have preferred to observe golf shots from backstage, as it were. Seeing a man whack a golf ball is of little interest to me, and frequently it is a performance that had better be missed. That which concerns me most is where the ball lands and what it does after. A.W. TILLINGHAST



"That's when I bumped into Gio."

Thanks to reader Patrick for Martin Blake's look at Stuart Appleby and his decision to consult a sports psychologist about his disgust for speaking to pro-am partners better coping with major pressure.

"I really felt like: 'This is bullshit. I've got to find a way to not let this happen again.' That was the catalyst.

"What would I do different? I'm not really sure. I'm not saying to avoid being chased by the shark, but to have a coping strategy. That's when I bumped into Gio.

"You go through the basics of tension, pressure, chemicals in the body, heart-rate, all these sorts of things you actually can control. The Masters (was) a little bit (of a catalyst), but the US Open put me over the edge: 'This is bullshit. I don't want to do this again.' If it does happen again, I look at it and I'm excited." 

I think we know Stuart's key word now. Does the PGA Tour levy fines for comments in The Age?


“I can’t say (being deaf) is a plus"

While everyone was watching Erik Compton at first stage of Q-school, Dave Seanor reminds us in par 1 of a two-parter that another feel good story tees it up this week. Kevin Hall has been profiled many times because he's of African-American descent, but Seanor focuses on what it's like for Hall to be deaf and what that means to a competitive golfer.

Some suggest Hall has a competitive advantage because he’s not distracted by noise. (Sound familiar, Casey Martin?) But any golf instructor will tell you that sound provides important feedback when a ball is struck. Moreover, Hall isn’t immune to distraction, thanks to exceptionally acute peripheral vision. As does Woods when he hears a camera shutter click, Hall will stop in mid-swing if he detects movement in the gallery.

“I can’t say (being deaf) is a plus,” says Percy Hall, Kevin’s father and occasional caddie. “It doesn’t facilitate what he’s doing. He deals with distractions – voices in his head and visual distractions. Those kind of things are going on in his head, just like everyone else.


"I hope this win help shim get a little better"

Nice touch: Sergio dedicates his win to Seve.

Now about that trophy...









"The next thing you know, there's a master community with a fence around it."

Mina Kimes considers the issues facing real estate developments and the country clubs anchoring the facilities, focusing on a recent shuttering at Palmira in Florida. Not much surprise here...

Commercial real estate, a sector that's lagged behind the rest of the industry in experiencing the credit crunch, is about to get hit hard, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey. One finding: investors believe that sales of homes in golf club communities will be near abysmal next year which, in turn, will hurt club memberships.

"The courses are owned by people who leveraged them up, and they're going to feel the pain," said Susan Smith, the director of real estate at PwC.

Woolson predicts that the number of golf community foreclosures will continue to rise next year - and developers too will feel the pain. "I've made a lot of money over the past eight years selling golf courses that weren't making money," he said. "The developers see profits when they sell the last 25% of the development - if the market comes to a halt before then, they're in trouble."


" The European and American tours combined do not see that number of quality golf courses in a whole season."

Mike Clayton on rotating Melbourne courses for the Australian Masters and what that has meant in the past:

In 1981, my first year on the tour, we played the Australian Open at Victoria, the PGA Championship at Royal Melbourne, the Victorian Open at Metropolitan, the Westpac Classic at Royal Adelaide, the South Australian Open at Kooyonga and almost every other year we seemed to be playing the immaculate holes at Kingston Heath. The European and American tours combined do not see that number of quality golf courses in a whole season.


"Remember, he won the US Open on one leg."

John Huggan catches up with Hank Haney about the state of Tiger and managed to glean a few subtle notes about his possible pre-Masters schedule and his future.

"I'm sure his target is to be ready for the Masters. But to do that properly he'll have to play a couple of times before he gets to Augusta. He can't just show up not having played for so long. I know he pulled it off at the US Open, but ten months is a long time. He needs to have played some serious golf – maybe two events – before April. That sounds like a reasonable goal."

And this has to be music to Tim Finchem's ears...

"I can see him playing a bit more than normal in the short-term. His leg will be stronger than it has ever been. While his ligament will be at 85 per cent, the rest of the muscles around it will be in better shape than ever. So he will be capable of more than I have ever seen before. I really can't see this whole thing as anything but a positive. Remember, he won the US Open on one leg."


Compton Advances!

Great stuff by Erik Compton and Stage 2 beckons as Antonio Gonzalez reports. Though I am a bit concerned about anyone whose first move of the day is to turn on the Golf Channel. Thankfully in this case, it worked.

Compton woke up at 6:30 a.m. and turned on the Golf Channel.

All the commentators had the same message: It was great that he was playing, but there was no way he could overcome seven strokes.

"It really motivated me," said Compton, who received special permission from the PGA Tour to use a golf cart and to continue taking banned anti-rejection pills. "People always want to count me out."


"Everybody almost looks like somebody who can play."

Jim Moriarty files an entertaining column on the unusual gathering that is Q-School first stage:

If you're the kind of person who enjoys wandering through cemeteries reading inscriptions on mausoleums, the first stage of the PGA Tour's qualifying school is for you. It's quiet, respectful, sometimes surprising but mostly populated by, if not the walking wounded, at least the walking depressed.


"Now it's a survival hole"

Teddy Greenstein loves the Rees-ification of Cog Hill, and I must say, it sounds like a good thing that it's next BMW Championship will be a playoff event, otherwise the boys would stay home. Thanks to reader Nick for the story, which includes this item on the new-look finishing hole:

The par 4 at Cog Hill's signature course was difficult, playing to a 4.135 average during the 2007 BMW Championship, but still lacked a certain fear factor.

The greenside pond looked good on TV but was barely visible to the pros. They made only eight double bogeys in the event's 260 rounds played.

"Now it's a survival hole," touring pro Garrett Chaussard said.

On a recent cool, windy day, Chaussard marched back to a new tee box that stretches the hole to a sinister 501 yards. He flushed a drive and still needed his 2-hybrid to reach the green from 220 yards out.

Chaussard, a University of Illinois product whose 2008 highlight was qualifying for the U.S. Open — though his 80-82 missed the cut by 13 shots — said the hole's new design makes it far more intimidating.

As part of Rees Jones' $5 million redesign, the tee box at No. 18 was moved back and to the left, making the pin visible — if you have 20/20 vision.

The green was lowered, thinned out and brought within spitting distance of the pond, leaving two bad options for the long approach: short (water) and long (deep bunker).

Jones' brilliant redesign is aimed in helping Cog Hill land a U.S. Open. Numerous bunkers have been added, deepened or reshaped to add ferocity to the layout, which could play at more than 7,600 yards.

Sounds so creative and inspired!


Enjoy Golfweek's Best New Courses While You Can

At the pace we're on, there won't be enough new courses in the coming years to do these awards issues. Well, that won't stop them from trying. Maybe they'll go with "where are they now" issues trying to figure out what they were thinking in selecting some of these gems!

You have two options. There is the online version of the print edition with all of Brad Klein's musings, or the online photo slideshow backed by some of the finest copyright-free Muzak you'll ever want to not hear.



Australian Masters To Great Sandbelt Courses?

The best thing about the Victorian Government rescuing the Australian Masters is that it's leaving longtime site Huntingdale, and according to word on the street as posted at GCA by Chris Kane, may be heading to Kingston Heath in 2009 and Victoria in 2010. Perfect opportunities for Tiger to go study his favorite type of golf!


Annika Hints At Return From Retirement As Retirement Beckons

Gee, you think she could have gotten bored around the house for a few hours before growing restless about returning. Stephen Wade reports from China.

“If I get the urge to come back, I have a chance,” Sorenstam said. “That’s why I have never said this is the end. But we’ll see.

“There are new challenges ahead,” she added. “Getting married and starting a family. Who knows? I might come out on tour sooner than later. It might be tougher than I think it is.”


Golf's A Bargain!

At least when you read how much the auto manufacturers pour into NASCAR, though not for much longer as Liz Clarke writes. But in light of $10 million sponsorships for one car, PGA Tour and LPGA Tour deals look pretty good. And of course with golf you get those added value streams, especially that b-to-b interaction for the C-Levels. 


Seve Going In For More Surgery

Ben Harding reports on the latest complications with a diagnosis on his tumor. No good news.


Tiger-The-Caddy Photo Caption Fun

I passed on all of the "news" about Tiger's caddying gig as part of a Buick campaign. The more interesting news comes in this Michael Buteau piece where Tiger's agent and Buick's advertising man are letting the world know they are considering an extension on his deal, pending a few minor details like, say, the survival of the company!

Meanwhile, something about the body language of contest winner John Abel needs to be captured in a caption (thanks to reader Al for the link)...


"Phil [Mickelson] isn't going to come up (onstage) and try to do karaoke while I'm doing my show."

JT managed to lure both John Hawkins and Alan Shipnuck to Vegas for game stories in their respective publications, and in the same press center! A Nobel peace prize may be next.

Hawkins notes this about the Las Vegas event:

Still, this was a marked improvement over recent gatherings in Vegas. Timberlake wisely ditched the three-course rotation that made this tournament so needlessly complicated -- it wasn't like the venues were within a 7-iron of each other -- and centralized everything at TPC Summerlin. Formerly a 72-hole pro-am, J.T. removed the chopper factor from the competitive arena, saying, "Phil [Mickelson] isn't going to come up (onstage) and try to do karaoke while I'm doing my show."

Shipnuck focuses on the overall economic state of the tour after praising Timberlake's turnaround of the moribund event. He offers this about the tax implications of an Obama presidency:

Paul Azinger estimated last week that his colleagues are 99% Republican (and that may be a conservative number) primarily because the players vote their pocketbooks. An analysis by the Tax Policy Center, recently cited in Rolling Stone, estimated that for those who make more than $1 million a year — which, including endorsements, is pretty much the entire Tour — the out-of-pocket difference between the tax plans of Barack Obama and John McCain is nearly $270,000. If Obama rides his lead in the polls to victory next month, Tour players will be feeling pain that is more than ideological.


You Can't Say Bomb On An Airplane!

Seems U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee didn't have the best showing at the Eisenhower Trophy, earning an oer-the-top dressing down from Peter Williams who is never shy about making a fuss, and then made some sort of brilliant comment overheard by airport security. Not his best week.


Just Wondering...

A few of you complained that I didn't focus on the substance in Tim Finchem's spellbinding SF Chronicle interview. Which of course, is a victory for the Commish. After all, doublespeak is a distraction tool and I fell for it!

Alright, here goes:

Q: The PGA Tour has a reserve of money it can call on in tough times. Would you tap that if you did have a decrease in sponsorships?

A: It's pretty simple. Through team sports and alliances, a big percentage of our revenue is derived from the communications side - broadcasts, etc. When we do our longer-term arrangements with television, and to some extent new media, we project out of that period so that right now we are in a six-year term with our network partners.

Our strategy is to grow our operating reserve during those years so we can withstand some negativity in the next cycle. We've done that for 20 years and it's worked well. We've grown in all those years. The question now is can we grow that reserve a little bit more aggressively to protect against what we were just talking about, namely retrenchment.

Anyone care to guess just how much is in the PGA Tour's rainy-day retrenchment fund?


Villegas Puts Out Euro Tour Option Feeler... I guess it wasn't just IMG looking for a reaction. Norman Dabell reports


Shocker: Van de Velde Quits Full Time Play, World Is Stunned To Learn He Was Still Playing Full Time

Norman Dabell reports:

"It's not like I'm going to stop playing completely but I'm definitely going to slow down a lot," Van de Velde told Reuters in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

"My career I can compare to a good bottle of wine. You take a glass and enjoy it; you take a second glass and really enjoy it; a third, then the bottle is getting empty.

"I've been going around the world for so many years and at the end of the day you can only do so much. Next year I will only play the tournaments I really enjoy.

"I don't know exactly how many I will play but the maximum will be a dozen," added the popular Frenchman who was struck down in 2007 by a virus which at one stage looked likely to end his career then.