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

It is a wonderful tribute to the game or to the dottiness of the people who play it that for some people somewhere there is no such thing as an insurmountable obstacle, an unplayable course, the wrong time of the day or year.




Ty, If You'd Only Stayed At The LPGA You'd Be Making $184 More A Year By Now

In the April, 2009 Golf Digest writer Alan Pittman compiles the magazine's annual "Money List" of executive compensation in golf.  I have to say, it's wonderful to see all of these non-profit organizations able to pay their top margin men so well as they face major cost cuts elsewhere. But hey, if they didn't pay them this well, they'd get scooped up by other corporations the US Postal Service someone.

Let's giggle at some 2007 compensation numbers, shall we?

Tim Finchem: $4,757,458

Pittman notes that Finchem's compensation broke down as follows:$1.3 million in salary, $3.2 in bonuses and $240k in benefits. Since Finchem's bonus is believed to depend in part on purse growth and other "growth" (explaining why it's his mantra), you have to figure the bonuses will be coming down in the coming years. Frankly, I'm worried for his well being.

  • Ed Moorhouse/Charlie Zink, PGA Tour VP, C-COO's, $1,611,106 and 1,534,771

Ed has pulled ahead by more than $75k, but considering both were making a paltry $1,227,634 just a few years ago, I'd say there are no 3-series in their future, unless they are looking for a cute convertable to cruise I-95 on those sweltering summer weekends.

  • Ron Price, PGA Tour VP, CFO and Tom Wade, VP, Chief Marketing Officer, $1,081,595 and $1,028,879

Two more millionaires in the PGA Tour executive ranks! I bet the players love reading this exciting news.

  • Joe Steranka, PGA of America CEO, $1,010,998

Poor Jim Awtrey only made $662,751 in his final year with the PGA of America. I'm getting weepy, but then there are the USGA salaries which really tug at the heartstrings.

  • David Fay, USGA Executive Director, $746,905, Dick Rugge, Senior Director Equipment Standards, $549,727, Mike Butz Deputy Ex. Director, $493,090, Barry Hyde, CMO, $307,314, Peter Bevacqua, CBO, $293,900

$2.391 million for the top five in executive compensation. You just can't find bargains like that these days.

  • Carolyn Bivens, LPGA Commissioner, $521,699, Ty Votaw, PGA Tour Exec. VP Communications and former LPGA Commish, $521,515

Well, I suppose you have fewer headaches in Ponte Vedra than Daytona Beach, Ty. That should ease the $184 deficit blow.

And finally, your LOL, You've-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me Award winner for 2009:

  • Stephen A. Hamblin, American Junior Golf Association Executive Director, $352,050

For the entire list, see your April Golf Digest, page 52.


Plugs, Plugs And More Plugs

Two new sites worth monitoring, especially if you love golf course design.

Former T&L Golf writer and editor Tom Dunne has launched a blog called Out and Back and already has a couple of interesting posts worth checking out.

Will Smith and Colin Sheehan have officially launched Punchbowl Golf, with an emphasis on video interviews and features focusing on the course design world. Their most recent posting includes a chat with the Chambers Bay superintendent David Wieneke about the design and grow in process. Plenty of great shots of the course too.

And Rob Matre who posts his beautiful images at Golf In Context has an upcoming exhibition at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art.


"When I am at home there are now seven children making calls upon my time, the Ryder Cup, my golf course design work and we are having a new house built"

As quoted by Graham Otway, Monty is starting to sound like the Octomom:

He said: “When I am at home there are now seven children making calls upon my time, the Ryder Cup, my golf course design work and we are having a new house built. At a tournament, all I have to do is play.

But at least he has his on course priorities squared away...

“One of the interesting things is the page and a half of statistics that have been produced this week. I’ve discovered that I have also had 182 top-10 finishes and that’s a Tour record. And if I could, I would like to get it to 200.”



"I grew up maneuvering the golf ball. The golf ball doesn't move as much now."

Tiger sat through some excruciatingly awful questions at Bay Hill Wednesday. This was the very last and a decent answer considering how numb he must have been at this point:

Q. You do a lot more shot-making than most guys, don't you? Do you see that?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I think that's how I grew up. I grew up maneuvering the golf ball. The golf ball doesn't move as much now. It's like Hank and I were talking about this not too long ago actually. The game of golf has changed with the new golf balls where the ball doesn't move from right to left or left to right as much as it used to. So shot making more now is in trajectory control, moving the ball up-and-down, changing your trajectory to control your distances, rather than shaping the ball into the wind like you used to. It just has changed a little bit, and you just have to obviously change with the times. 


Ground Zero Of Golf V. Environment?

Julia Scott of the San Mateo County Times filed an intriguing piece on the Sharp Park situation because it the fight there seems to be heating up thanks to supervisors offering distinct proposals for the course.

This is what I took away from the story:

  • The course is proving to be a valuable wildlife refuge and habit for rare species, yet the Center for Biological Diversity wants it closed.
  • The city says the course is a financial drain, but figures are murky (Scott included a reference to $500,000 in profit last year but it was later taken down). Either way, the neighboring city of Pacifica has offered to take this burden off city hands and was turned down.
  • The course should be designated a historic landmark thanks to its MacKenzie ties, and such a proposal was hastily made by Sean Elsbernd: "Do I genuinely believe it will be landmarked? No. One side is throwing a bookmark down, I'm throwing down another," said Elsbernd, who said he would "fight" to retain the public 18-hole golf course in Pacifica. "Golf and the environment are not mutually exclusive. They can wok together and I have every expectation that we can make that happen."
  • And this rational logic from the golf side: Longtime Sharp Park golfer David Diller, president of the Sharp Park Golf Club, doesn't like the idea that he and his fellow golfers may be an endangered species themselves. Flooding on the course, a seasonal occurrence, has partially closed the 14th fairway, and existing protections for red-legged frogs prevent pumping the water out when the frogs are laying their eggs in the spring.  There's always this misconception that if you're pro-golf you're anti-environment — but nothing could be farther than the truth," said Miller. "(Sharp Park) has been there for over 70 years. If we're doing such a terrible job, why are there still San Francisco garter snakes and red-legged frogs? 

It seems to me that if a place like Sharp Park with such heritage and clearly one making a positive impact environmentally can't be shown to be an essential place to keep around, the game is really in trouble. If golf's leadership is genuine in the game's future, they would be descending on San Francisco to take up the cause of Sharp Park.


Another Iffy PGA Tour Partner

Thanks to reader Eric for catching this item about a Champions Tour sponsor in Pablo Torre's look at athletes who get lured into bad investments. (No truth to the rumor that Torre is next working a feature detailing how golf administrators signed up a few too many swindlers as sponsors.)

Triton is an official partner of the Heisman Trophy Trust and the sponsor of the Triton Financial Classic, a PGA senior tour event.

Sorry, must interrupt. Isn't SI a little too old to still be using "PGA" instead of PGA Tour. Naturally, the lack of a Champions Tour mention can't happen if you don't know the difference between the PGA of America and the PGA Tour. Please, continue...

Its CEO, Kurt Barton, told SI that the firm manages "about $300 million" in assets, and he claimed that Triton registered with the SEC (as is required by law of investment adviser firms with at least $25 million in assets under management) "roughly six months ago, around October." But the Texas State Securities Board and Triton chief compliance officer David Tuckfield said that the company has not, in fact, done so. "Right now, we're only registered with Texas," Tuckfield said. "But we're passing the [assets] threshold, and we're confident that we'll need to file this year."

The event is currently scheduled to be played June 1-7.


The King Prepping For Annual Bay Hill Makeover

Doug Ferguson reports that Arnold Palmer is preparing his seemingly annual redo of the course and is contemplating making it a par-72 layout again. He seems to have gotten the message that the last five redos got a bit carried away.

"We're not going to try to make it any more difficult than it is,'' he said. "We'll probably go back to a par 72, I don't know. That's something we can talk about. ... What we do to Bay Hill for next year will be something that we hope will make it more exciting and bring the golf course back to where we'd like to have it.''


WMA: Wie'd Had Enough!

Steve Elling says that William Morris Agency dumped Michelle Wie, not the other way around as first reported.


Ollie Says He Didn't Agree To Anything!

Seems Monty exaggerated Jose Maria Olazabal's reported stance on becoming chief lieutenant for the 2010 Ryder Cup squad. Thanks to reader Jim for picking up Norman Dabell's story.

“My words to him were that I wanted to try to make the effort to get into the team as a player and if that was not the case we would have to have (another) little chat in the next year sometime,” Olazabal told an Andalucia Open news conference in Seville.

“I’m not certain about anything. That’s my position still.
“Maybe my English is not good. But have I made myself clear now? Have I expressed myself properly?”

I don't see any grey area there, do you?


Shock: Monty Says He Was Never Relaxed On The Course

Here I thought the stomping, the scowling and the overall look of extreme constipation had been a ploy to create an intimidating mystique. Turns out that wasn't the case, but now that he's got to worry about uniform coordination, accumulating assistant captain's and considering lunch with people he normally wouldn't be caught dead with, Colin Montgomerie says we should expect to see a new, relaxed man on course.

"I have been looking for ways to relax on a course for many years and I think I have found it by no fault of my own," the eight-time European No1 said. "To become Ryder Cup captain has given me a huge responsibility – a sense of responsibility that has given me a feeling of relaxation on the course. I am now enjoying my golf.

"In the long run, both the lead-up and past the 2010 Ryder Cup, it will actually help my golf. I will be more relaxed and therefore play to a higher standard," added the Scot, now ranked No137 in the world.


LPGA Blog Policy More Restrictive Than Bank Bailout Guidelines

(Click on image to enlarge)Wow, these girls rock!

I dare say I qualify under these guidelines, but then again maybe not since this site is primarily a "repository for unoriginal content."

I'm just glad I'm not a suppository for unoriginal content.More importantly, when they say unoriginal content, is that an LPGA statement about the quality of golf writing today?


It's A Stanley Thompson Course!

In this dust up over design credit for Hyde Park, I suppose I forget that it is Florida and a long way from Canada, but it's not like the design credit is going from a Donald Ross to a Leonard Thompson. Or even a Fred Thompson (same generation in his case).

Stanley Thompson was no slouch and considering how few of his courses south of the border--or even north of the border--Hyde Park still has premier architectural lineage. 


"19 of the 28 players are either treading water or backing up as it relates to Finchem's request to circulate more frequently."

Refuting or maybe reinforcing Commissioner Finchem's assertion that there has been "movement' from top players in reaction to his hostage video plea for more starts, Steve Elling does a nice job setting things up and fleshing out with some great quotes, including a classic from Rocco.

But, as with John Strege's tabulation a few weeks ago on the eve of the Florida swing, the message is not what the sponsors would want to hear:

For the purposes of comparison, we subtracted Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh from the top 30 on the 2008 money list, since both have missed starts with leg issues that skewed their totals. Of the remaining 28 players, 12 have played in fewer tournaments than at this stage one year ago.

Another seven have played in the same number of events, meaning 19 of the 28 players are either treading water or backing up as it relates to Finchem's request to circulate more frequently.

Even in these uncertain times, some players seem slow on the uptake. Signed to personal multi-year sponsorship deals with companies and manufacturers, the urgency of the broader tour situation seemingly hasn't yet been fully grasped. Even the loss of courtesy cars at certain stops has been offset by the largesse of weekly tournament sponsors, so to some players, little has changed in their insular, self-centered orbits.


Let The Product Placement Begin...

Thanks to all of those who noticed and emailed that yes, in fact, a paradigm shift is occurring: paid advertising has come to the site.

If you want to write and call me names, you know where the contact button is.

If you want to advertise (Wally, I know you've been counting the days!), either contact me or talk to the contact man at Golf Audience, the network of golf blogs formed by Chris Barford.

Christopher Barford
VP Business Development


Stanley Thompson Ad

Thanks to golf architect and historian Ian Andrew for this Stanley Thompson ad, which certainly seems to back up Ron Whitten's assertion that Thompson "designed" Hyde Park, as opposed to "building" it as Mark McCumber asserts.

All of this was part of a Garry Smits story.


"From what I hear from people a lot smarter than me, the car industry is really having a tough time right now."

I checked with a media member present for Anthony Kim's defending champ press conference to plug the Wachovia Wells Fargo Quail Hollow Championship, and my source says Kim was most definitely not making a joke, nor was he winking with a sense of irony or in any other way suggesting that he actually has much idea what is going on in the world when issuing this answer:

Q. Anthony, everybody has been talking about the economy. Fellows like yourself out there every week, what are some of the things you're seeing that are different this year from years past that you can relate directly to wherever the economy is?

ANTHONY KIM: I'm not that smart, so I just let my business people take care of whatever business needs to be taken care of. I know that at one of the tournaments this year we didn't have courtesy cars, and I'm sure that will be the case, because from what I hear from people a lot smarter than me, the car industry is really having a tough time right now.

I've only played four events on the PGA TOUR this year, and I haven't seen too many things change.

Yes we know, you've been on the IMG gravy train tour. 

Now I know this is not the first or last time Kim will have seemed out of touch, but comments like this make you a lot more sympathetic with Tim Finchem's attempts to get players to play more in light of the economy. After all, if the player doesn't really understand how bad things are (and getting his news from his agent!), it's going to be tough to get them to play more.


"PGA Tour To Test Miking Caddies For Television"

I'm assuming this has been a work in progress (the story implies recent events have driven the idea), but either way, there is potentially great news in Doug Ferguson's notes column, assuming players and caddies will feel up to cooperating. Hopefully the SVP of Brand Dilation will explain to players that being captured having an interesting conversation is good for a Q bump.

The topic was brought up last week at the TOUR's annual meeting with the caddies. Some of them are concerned about being limited in what they say -- not during the shot, but the three hours of dead time during a round.

"I know what they're trying to do, and that's good," said Jimmie Johnson, the caddie for Steve Stricker. "I'm not worried about what comes out of the caddie. I'm worried about what goes into the trailer."

His argument, one that several other caddies share, is that having a microphone will pick up everything they say during a four-hour round. None of that stuff will make the telecast, but they have no guarantee that something inappropriate they might say -- about someone in the gallery, another player -- could be leaked.

"Most of us are aware when the big boom mike is around, and it's usually when you're coming down the stretch. You know what you say is being picked up," said caddie Mitch Knox, whose players have included David Duval and Daniel Chopra. "But having a mike could be a problem."


Wild Dunes 18th Almost Back

I figured this one was lost to the ocean for good, but Ron Green Jr. reports otherwise.


"That's a distinction without a difference"

Garry Smits' files an interesting piece on the architectural name dispute at Hyde Park, where a February Ron Whitten story in Golf World credits Stanley Thompson to the dismay of local Mark McCumber, who reasons that articles saying Thompson "built" the course differ from designing the course.

McCumber, who has designed eight courses on the First Coast, said there's a distinction that can be made from that sentence.

"It said the course was built by Thompson, who happens to be an architect," McCumber said. "Some architects also had golf-course construction companies and built courses based on the design of others. We've done that at McCumber Golf. That sentence, in and of itself, doesn't prove Stanley Thompson designed the course."

Points for the subtle plug but I have to go with Whitten's counterargument on this one:

Whitten counters: "That's a distinction without a difference," he said.

Considering that Ross's courses were so well documented and no plans exist, I'm leaning toward Whitten's take on this one.


"Many establishments have deliberately gone out of their way to make it hard for children to play."

I read Alistair Tait's look at the struggles of British golf clubs and couldn't help thinking that they make American clubs look downright junior golf crazy!

Here’s an anecdote that perfectly sums up the attitude of some British golf clubs: I once had a chat with a club professional who wanted to help his assistant professionals make a little extra money by giving lessons to local people. When he suggested this to the club’s members, they told him they didn’t welcome the initiative. The reason? The club was worried about throwing its doors open to what it termed as “undesirables.”

More damningly, for years many British clubs have had a dreadful attitude toward children. Many establishments have deliberately gone out of their way to make it hard for children to play.

That oh-so-British attitude that children should be seen and not heard was changed to children shouldn’t even be seen, let alone heard.

So clubs said children couldn’t play before a certain time, and couldn’t enter certain rooms. Stringent dress rules applied by old men whose fashion sense was 50 years old also did nothing to make the game sexy to generations of young golfers.