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 โ€“ A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event โ€“ A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • A Life Well Played: My Stories
    A Life Well Played: My Stories
    by Arnold Palmer

Make the game, if you can, fool-proof against "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" and the glory of golf will certainly court suicide.  TOM SIMPSON




Ginn FInally Files...

...defaulting on a $675 million loan...Jeff Ostrowski reports (thanks Steven T.)

Two affiliates of Celebration-based Ginn Resorts last week filed a flurry of Chapter 7 petitions. Ginn sought bankruptcy protection for Tesoro and for Quail West in Naples. Tesoro will continue operations under the supervision of the bankruptcy court and a court-appointed trustee until the property is sold, Ginn said in a statement.

The two Ginn subsidiaries, Ginn-LA CS Borrower LLC and Ginn-LA Conduit Lender Inc., owe Credit Suisse $675 million. Ginn defaulted on loan payments in June and had been negotiating with its lender since then.

The loan covered Tesoro, Quail West, Ginn sur Mer in the Bahamas and Laurelmor in North Carolina. Ginn said it has found a new owner for Laurelmor and entered into a joint venture with the lender to complete Ginn sur Mer. 


PGA Tour To Donate Unwanted PLAYERS Gear To Local Hospitals

Wow, those lucky kids born at Baptist Heath hospitals get all the perks:

This year, the first babies of 2009 born at each of Baptist Health's hospitals will receive a large gift bag courtesy of THE PLAYERS Championship. The gift bag will include ball caps, T-shirts, lanyards and coffee mugs for the new parents; a beach towel; seat cushion; and a beanie bear for the first baby born at Baptist Medical Center Downtown, Baptist Medical Center Beaches, Baptist Medical Center Nassau and Baptist Medical Center South.

In addition, every baby born at one of the four Baptist Health hospitals between January 1 and May 1, 2009 will receive a complimentary T-shirt that says, "THE PLAYERS Future Champion." Parents of the babies born during that period also will be invited to register for a special Mother's Day prize package, which will provide one family with the opportunity to experience THE PLAYERS Championship in May. These gifts from THE PLAYERS are intended to help Moms and Dads celebrate their champions while helping to grow future golf fans.


Collectors: Get Your Pro-V1s!

Only one day left, according to Susan Baird, as Acushnet is recalling all of the remaining nonconvernted balls on shelves in response to its appeals loss.

Meanwhile, however, a lower-court injunction that takes effect Jan. 1 will bar the sale of Titleist golf balls manufactured using the contested technology. (The balls will remain legal for consumer use and tournament play, Acushnet noted.)

So this fall – while also launching a bid to block the injunction, an effort that failed last week (READ MORE) – Acushnet stopped using the disputed technology. Last month, it began shipping to retailers the “converted” Pro V1 and Pro V1x models. And last week, Acushnet said it would accept returns from retailers of any remaining nonconverted balls, although it did not believe any recall was necessary.

But now, Acushnet has decided to play it safe.

In what it described as an effort “to remove this uncertainty from the marketplace,” the company this week issued a call for U.S. retailers to return to the company all nonconverted Pro V1 and Pro V1x balls that remain in their inventories as of Jan. 1.


"Critics call it a resort for union leaders that wastes money from union dues."

I'm feeling a lot less sympathetic about the UAW's plight after reading this story (thanks to all of the readers who sent it in). Not because UAW leadership built a lavish $33 million lakeside retreat that is now burning a hole in union pockets. No, because they spent that on and got this (see photo, left).

Even as the industry struggles with massive losses, the UAW brass continue to own and operate a $33 million lakeside retreat in Michigan, complete with a $6.4 million designer golf course. And it's costing them millions each year.

The UAW, known more for its strikes than its slices, hosts seminars and junkets at the Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center in Onaway, Mich., which is nestled on "1,000 heavily forested acres" on Michigan's Black Lake, according to its Web site.
But the Black Lake club and retreat, which are among the union's biggest fixed assets, have lost $23 million in the past five years alone, a heavy albatross around the union's neck as it tries to manage a multibillion-dollar pension plan crisis.


Monty Is God!

As a connoisseur of puff pieces I'm always in search of some prime cut, Grade A, major league buttering up and I must say that if there were an award, Lewine Mair's errr tribute to Monty is a Hall of Famer material. You'd swear she has a relative that works for IMG, or something!



Sergio: We Approved Faldo's Worst Moves!

John Hopkins finds Sergio Garcia in a chatty mood regarding the Ryder Cup. Love this Red Auerbach/Boston Garden playbook stuff:

“The US team played their cards well. They knew where the pins were going to be and the tees and we didn't. The locker-room we had was really, really small and uncomfortable. I wish it had been even half the size of theirs. We had two showers, one next to a toilet. At the opening ceremony they played my anthem twice, once when the Spanish flag was raised and once when the Swedish flag was raised.

“Nick Faldo's speech at the opening ceremony was too long. In past Ryder Cups there has been the captain and two or three vice-captains. It seemed like that way you covered a lot of ground. On the Sunday this year, covering all 12 of us with only two guys was rather difficult.”

And on the Sunday lineup call to stack the backend of the lineup:

He also pointed out that the order of play for Sunday's singles was not just Faldo's choice, but one that had the approval of every Europe team member. “The defeat was not Faldo's fault,” García said. “Nick Faldo was not the best captain we have ever had, but I don't think he was the worst.”


"Still, how much different can it be?"

An unbylined report looks at Acushnet's latest losing court ruling. An on their blog, Beau and Gizmo do their back and forth on what it all means. Not much, according to Beau:

Short of some mega-million-dollar judgment down the road I don't see this having much of an effect on, well, anything. Titleist has been deemed by the court to infringe a patent that Callaway owns, but didn't actually create. It bought it in a bankruptcy auction. I just can't get jacked up about that. But it should be interesting to see what the tour players have to say. Some were playing the 2003, 2005 and quite a few the 2007 version of the Pro V1/V1x last year and now it looks like all of them will have to play the new, reconfigured model. Pros are picky so we shall see. Still, how much different can it be? The USGA deemed the changes so insignicifcant that they didn't even require Acushnet to resubmit the ball for conformance. But a couple of pros apparently won't have to worry about it. Word on the street is that both Vijay Singh and Boo Weekley (who used Titleist balls this past season) will be going with Srixon's new tour ball in the coming season.


Talking To Santa: The State Of The Game

Look, we writers get desperate sometimes. For my December Golfdom column I called on the big guy to weigh in on the state of things for his perch. Even he launched into a bunch of MBAspeak. It's everywhere!


"The new age of televising golf on Thursdays and Fridays has backfired."

Gary Van Sickle tries to consider the health of the PGA Tour and focuses his case against Tim Finchem on the attempts to create too many "big events."

First, I thought this was a great point:

Too much television exposure: Finchem finally realized a long-term goal when every PGA Tour event got television coverage. The new age of televising golf on Thursdays and Fridays has backfired. At best, it's oversaturation. At worst, it's a bad product. My sympathies to the TV producers who have to find some kind of story to tell while covering the tail-end of the first or second rounds with nothing more to show than journeymen and Q-school grads. Often, the leader played in the morning, and no one near the lead is even on the course when the coverage begins. Factor in a B-team broadcast squad, and you've got a product far inferior to the weekend coverge.

I suspect that while he is right, the PGA Tour and sponsors love getting highlights of great shots aired on Sportscenter during the week and will never give up these early telecasts, no matter how boring they are.

Dec242008 Interview Parts 1-3 **'s Richard Simon interviewed me today and has broken it up into three parts. Because I know that the entire collection of my spellbinding comments to a variety of intelligent questions could keep you from the family Christmas gift opening, I'm only going to post part 1 of 3 today.

Merry Christmas!


Obama Goes With The Raynor

Granted, Seth Raynor's touch there is probably limited to the routing at this point, but the President-elect played his second vacation round at the spunky Mid-Pacific Country Club. Also the course having the dubious honor of hosting my collegiate golf debut (I'm still haunted by having to start on the treacherous 15th hole).

More importantly, he hasn't been shy about showing the world he's a golfer. So we've got that going for us.

Later in the morning, Obama's motorcade left the Kailua rental home at 11:50 a.m. and arrived at Mid-Pacific Country Club about 10 minutes later.

Pool media were allowed to watch for about 12 minutes as Obama took practice swings with an iron before switching to a driver. He was dressed in a black polo shirt, khaki Bermuda shorts and a beige cap.

His golfing group included close friends Marty Nesbitt, Eric Whitaker and Eugene Kang, among others.

Obama also played a round of golf on Sunday at Olomana Golf Links in nearby Waimanalo.

The president-elect is a frequent visitor to the greens when he visits Hawaii. During his last vacation here, in August, he played two rounds of golf at Olomana and at Luana Hills Country Club.


"Some players get it, and some don't."

Lorne Rubenstein talks to Canadian Open tournament director Bill Paul about Tim Finchem's recent plea to players. Lots of interesting stuff, including this:

The PGA Tour and the players have steadily resisted calls from sponsors to accept, for instance, a one-in-four rule. By that rule, every player would be forced to play each tournament at least once every four years.

But Paul said that every time this is suggested, players use the "independent contractor" definition for proof that they play where they want to play, not where they're told to play. Paul also pointed out that tournaments that always get Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, to cite the two players most in demand, object to an imposition of any such rule.

"They say, 'If I can get Tiger every year, why should I settle for one or two [appearances every four years]?' "

So it goes for co-operation among sponsors. It's survival of the fittest and fattest.

But what about when players who do show up refuse to schmooze with sponsors and fans? Where does it say players shouldn't be more sociable? No wonder, as Paul said, tournament sponsors are cutting back on hospitality events. It's no fun to give a party when few players, if any, show up.

"You have to give the tour credit for at least trying to get players to show up on a volunteer basis to the hospitality tents," Paul said of what the tour's done in the past. "Some players get it, and some don't."


"Walking and bringing your dog with you? Now that is quite something!โ€

First cargo shorts, now dogs on the course. It must, gulp, pet peeves week.

Alistair Tait, training his new pup how to be a golf dog, rubs his joy in our American faces.

Alright, so tell me why courses should not allow man's best friend to tag along.


Cargos Redux

Who knew that a Barack Obama thread would lead to over 50 comments with nary a mention of Rick Warren?

I'm glad we could get this cargo pant debate out in the open, even if the peanut gallery has to chime here and there with cliched rants.

Still, no one has answered for me why those side pockets are so offensive to clubs that for two decades sold flammable polyester shirts adorned by cardboard collars and a breast pocket designed for a cigarette pack?

So I called on Golf Digest Fashion Director Marty Hackel to help out here. Marty replies to my question about the long-standing ban on cargos at most country clubs:

I would venture a guess that the clubs that do not allow "Cargo" shorts see them as too casual for the golf course. I do not know how this got started and it's the same clubs who mandate that ladies shorts be 19".

Cargos are often placed in the "Grange Look" category and as I always say "It's not what you wear but how you wear it." Obama looked ok to me in his "Cargo" shorts that he wore on the course on the 22nd. So lets not get out of control here. 

I'd go a step further and say he wore them very well, which is not easy when you are talking about cargo shorts and anyone over 25. But I'll defer to Sir Hackel.


Woods Camp Not Excited about Chevron Tourney Date It Was Once Excited About

Doug Ferguson reports that Tiger and friends want to go back to the old date even though tournament director Greg McLaughlin said just a few months ago that they it would be great:

We are excited about the field and we are excited about a week of December 15th to the 21st, which we think will be great. 

This is a little like the Classic Club debacle. It was obvious this would be a bad idea as far back as last year when it was announced. Everyone in the press tent had the same reaction: why the week before Christmas?

So why does it have to take the actual experiencing of the clearly bad idea before the overpaid handsomely compensated people in charge figure these things out?


Merry Christmas Mr. Pro-V1 Attorney: Acushnet To Continue Appeals

From Fairhaven:

Titleist Continues to Manufacture, Distribute and Sell Pro V1 Golf Balls Outside of Scope of Disputed Patents

Fairhaven, MA (December 23, 2008) - Acushnet Company, the golf business of Fortune Brands, Inc. (NYSE: FO), announced that it will move forward with the appeals process following denial of its request for a stay of an injunction regarding certain Titleist Pro V1 golf balls. The company announced that it does not expect today’s ruling or the injunction, scheduled to take effect January 1, 2009, to have a material adverse impact on its results and reaffirmed its confidence that it will ultimately win its appeal of the verdict in the underlying patent dispute.

"This decision will not interfere with Titleist’s ability to continue to manufacture, distribute and sell Pro V1 golf balls,” said Joe Nauman, executive vice president, corporate and legal of Acushnet. "While the stay was not granted, we understand that it was a request for extraordinary relief based upon a limited review.”

In September, well in advance of the District Court’s injunction decision, the production of existing Pro V1 model golf balls was converted to be outside the patents in question. As of January 1, 2009, there will be limited amounts of non-converted Pro V1 golf balls in retail inventory.

“Acushnet does not believe that the injunction order requires Acushnet to recall any Pro V1 golf balls from retailers, or that retailers are required to return any golf balls to Acushnet,” continued Nauman. “However, Acushnet is prepared to accept returns of non-converted retail inventory if requested by retailers.”

That's a bummer. I've been stocking up on non-converted retail inventory for fear that the converted retail inventory isn't as good. 


Castle Stuart Web Site Goes Live

You can check it out here and take a course tour here.





"Gandhi would have had a hard time winning one of these things."

Thanks to reader Bob for Gene Wojciechowski's wonderful look at the grueling Evans Scholarship awarding process. I really had no idea what they put them through.

Think about it: You're what, 17, and you're summoned to a room full of adults, many of them wearing the green blazers of the Western Golf Association, which oversees the largest privately funded college scholarship program in the country? There's a waiting area and then, when it's your turn, a WGA rep leads you through a pair of glass doors, to the front of the ballroom, where you shake hands with the WGA big hitters. Then you're directed to the podium, where 100 committee members -- all allowed to ask pointed questions about your academic record, caddying experiences, life aspirations, etc. -- are assembled in front of you. These are the people who will vote yes or no on your scholarship after you leave the room.

Nerve-wracking? One finalist's face turned a splotchy red by the end of the interview. Another finalist kept wringing her hands every eight seconds. Another finalist could have used a beach towel to soak up the forehead flop sweat.

Nearly 600 caddies nationwide applied to the Evans Scholars program this year. It's a breeze: All you need is club sponsorship, a sparkling academic record, a history of community service and/or meaningful extracurricular activities, leadership skills and serious financial need (parents' tax returns are required). Gandhi would have had a hard time winning one of these things.


"The image of a policeman-turned-woman does not sit easily with many participants in a sport driven by power, muscle and speed."

Jim Achenbach tells the Lana Lawless story. (Thanks to reader Ari.)

It's Tootsie meets SWAT in the vein of The Crying Game.



"Either make it a true playoff, or call it something else."

You know the FedEx Cup is a still a mess when Peter Kostis, who has to pretend to like it on the air for CBS, doesn't hold back on

Two years ago we were told that the FedEx Cup Playoffs were going to ensure exciting, meaningful events at the end of the season and culminate in a riveting conclusion at the Tour Championship. And for the second time since, the PGA Tour was forced to go back to the drawing board and modify the points system after the Tour Championship was made meaningless. For 2009, the point totals for each player who makes it to the Tour Championship will be reshuffled on the eve of the event.

They just don't get it. You can't call something a "playoff" if you are trying to protect the players who had a strong season while simultaneously giving everyone in the field a chance to win. Either make it a true playoff, or call it something else.