Twitter: GeoffShac
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Pebble Beach and Cypress Point make you want to play. Spyglass Hill - that's
different; that makes you want to go fishing. JACK NICKLAUS



Kapalua: Some Incredible Jordan Spieth Stats To Ponder

You know you're doing something right in golf when you're matching Tiger Woods records, and after opening up a 5-stroke lead in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Jordan Spieth is proving last year was only the beginning of a special career. (Rex Hoggard goes with the Tiger angle here, Brian Wacker noting some player comments that are starting to sound like the hopelessness that Woods instilled in his competition.)

First, the round highlights from PGA Tour Entertainment.
a p
And the near albatross on 18:

Doug Ferguson reports that Spieth intends to go after the Kapalua/TOC scoring record Sunday and why not considering his -24 start and final round scoring?

Courtesy of the gang at ShotLink who are at their best when working with a mix of history and performance. Spieth if giving them plenty to chew on and they've delivered some eye-openers.

Even more remarkable considering his blew his first four 54-hole leads.

Winners have historically torched the par-5s at Kapalua but a 3.92 scoring average and the other two gems listed below (with a round to go!) borders on the silly, especially since he's not one to overpower par-5s.

And this is impressive at any golf course, but one with greens as big, contoured and difficult as Kapalua? After being for essentially a month?


Robert Allenby's Returning To The Site Of His Alien Abduction

Soak up the fun at Kapalua. Because following an opening week of stars, humpback whales and what looks like another impressive Jordan Spieth performance, the Sony Open will deliver us back to reality with an OK field and...Robert Allenby.

You may recall last year's lavish tale inspired by having watched one too many Taken movies. You know, the one that unraveled and included Allenby criticizing the woman who found him bloodied before giving her a gift before ultimately being loosely traced to a strip club.

Doug Ferguson reports that Allenby returns to the scene of it all next week on a one-year all-time money exemption. The vital recap for those who tried to block out the bad memories.

A Hawaii man was arrested a month later for using Allenby's credit cards to buy gift cards, jewelry and clothing. Owen Harbison was sentenced in August to five years.

Allenby stood by his story, saying the media blamed him when he was the victim. He says he suspects someone slipped a drug in his drink because he had total memory loss during a 2½-hour window from leaving the Amuse Wine Bar and being woken in the park.

Golf Channel cited unidentified sources in a strip club that Allenby was at Club Femme Nu and ran up a tab of $3,400. Honolulu Police Det. John McCarthy said the report was not true, and the police investigation showed Allenby was never in the strip club.

Allenby made only six cuts on the PGA Tour the rest of the year.

The Age included this report with Allenby's life changing advice for us all, minus the caveat that this only applies to people with big mouths, weird attitudes and a propensity for bar bickering.

"I'm very cautious, there's no question about it. Most important thing is you never leave a glass of wine or any drink unattached anywhere. And that's probably the best advice I could give anyone in the world because it's not a pleasant experience – especially the outcome of what could happen."


Padraig Loves A Good -140 Degree Cryo Bath

After opening with a 70, the second oldest player in the 2016 Hyundai Tournament of Champions credits quick recovery from a knee injury to baths. Really, really cold ones.

Jim McCabe of with Padraig's explanation for his quick recovery.

Besides the proper rehab, Harrington also utilized a cryo bath that reached unnatural temperature levels and helped him recover from the surgery faster.

But as with many things Harrington does, the bath was unique.

“I do six minutes at -140 degrees because I'm used to it,” Harrington said of the air bath where he did approximately 20 sessions in a 12-day period. “So, that's a pretty long time. Most guys are at three minutes. But it, basically, when you're working out, it boosts your testosterone. That's what it does. And it helps your recovery from injuries.”


Rickie's High-Tops Met With Disdain, Pity And Some Praise

I feel like the only thing missing from the look is a pair of legwarmers and maybe a little 80s 'do. Which is better than some reactions, which said the boots looked like he was wearing court-ordered tracking devices.

Judging by the comments in this round-up, I'm not alone when looking at Rickie Fowler trying to bring hi-tops to golf.


Buddies Tournament! Celebs Dragging Name Pros To Pebble?

It's still a tad early to declare the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am field the best ever (the tournament director is), but the improvement is already noticeable.

The reason for more stars is interesting: celebs drawing in their buddy golf pros. Ron Kroichick reports:

Celebrity impact: Watson will play for the first time since 2007 because one of his good friends, actor/producer Mark Wahlberg, is playing. That prompted Watson to request a pairing with Wahlberg. Done.

Similarly, soon after American League MVP Josh Donaldson signed up, fellow Alabaman Jason Dufner, the 2013 PGA Championship winner, hopped aboard. Steve Stricker, a 12-time tour winner, will make his first appearance in 10 years — because he wants to play with country singer Toby Keith, a friend.

“It’s kind of turned into a buddy tournament,” John said.


Trump: Ban Me And My Scottish Projects All End

In response to a petition signed by 500,000 (online), Parliament must debate its call to ban Donald Trump from traveling to the UK after his statements on Muslims. A second petition signed by 40,000 supports The Donald.

Understandably, this prompted a statement from Trump threatening to de-invest in Scotland.

His statement via a Sky report:

"The Trump Organization has plans to invest more than £200m into the development of the iconic Trump Turnberry resort, located in South Ayrshire, Scotland.

"Our work there has been widely supported by the local community and created hundreds of jobs for the region. Over the coming years, we intend to further develop Trump Turnberry and invest millions more at the site, creating sustained economic growth for South Ayrshire and Scotland.

"Additionally, we have plans to invest £500m towards further development at the 1,400 acre Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeen, which has been consistently rated the best modern golf course in Great Britain and Ireland by the prestigious Golfweek magazine and many others in the global golf community.


"Any action to restrict travel would force the Trump Organization to immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom.

We discussed Mr. Trump Monday on Morning Drive in the context of 2016 and where his golf empire heads while juxtaposed with his campaign for president. I have no real solid answers, but it's certainly going to be an interesting time for Team Trump and golf's governing bodies.


"How Christy O’Connor Jr became Europe's hero at the 1989 Ryder Cup"

The Guardian's Steve Pye used the unexpected and way-too-early passing of Christy O'Connor Jr to remember his fascinating life in golf through the 1989 Ryder Cup.

O'Connor was a captain's pick of Tony Jacklin after Sandy Lyle withdrew due to a floundering game. A Jose Rivero mention makes it way into the piece, but in the big scheme of things it's a pleasurable way to learn about the sudden passing of a real character and also to learn that wild Ryder Cup dynamics are not solely a product of the 21st century.

A sampler from Pye's piece:

Unfortunately for O’Connor, things were about to turn pear-shaped. A missed cut left him vulnerable to a late attack, and when José María Cañizares sneaked in at the last minute, O’Connor now had to rely on a captain’s pick from Tony Jacklin. Two of Jacklin’s choices were apparently set in stone – Ken Brown and Nick Faldo, despite the latter struggling for form after remodelling his swing – and it was seen as a straight fight between O’Connor, Mark James and Gordon Brand Jr for the final selection.

To the general amazement of everyone, Jacklin chose José Rivero instead. “I am disgusted and totally shattered,” said a furious O’Connor, understandably so after he missed out on his second Ryder Cup by just £115.89. O’Connor’s ire would run and run; according to Jacklin, the only time O’Connor spoke to him in the next four years was to offer his condolences when Jacklin’s wife Vivien passed away.

O’Connor was probably happy to see the back of 1985. At the end of the year his father died after suffering a heart attack, and over the next few seasons O’Connor seemed unable to reproduce the form that had taken him so near to joining Europe’s party. Having hovered around the top 20 during the next three years, few expected his 1989 campaign to be any different. But a fine run of displays saw O’Connor finish fifth at the Volvo Open, fourth at the Volvo PGA, third at the Dunhill British Masters, and seventh at the English Open (played at The Belfry). To top it all, O’Connor won the Jersey Open, his first individual win on the Tour since his Ryder Cup debut.


One Man's Idea For Making Golf Attire More "Accessible"

Thanks to reader Andrew for this preview of renderings for an upcoming Mini-Golf Courses to be created and displayed here in Los Angeles. And while I certainly report on these in person, in the meantime we can enjoy a story linked to the de zeen magazine piece from October.

It seems during Dutch Design Week, one Jason Page unveiled his answer to golf attire that would make the game more accessible and appealing to a wide range of non-golfers.

"It’s not directly trying to include more people but it’s trying to create an atmosphere where more people would want to get involved," he said.

Both garments feature embroidered graphic motifs including leaping golfers, flaming belts, chicken wings, and disembodied bird heads.

To pattern the jumpsuits, Page referred to maps from elite golf courses as well as the kind of language typically used by golfers to design visuals that would "open the sport".

"There are only a few restrictions in golf, and that's the type of cut of the clothing – it has to have a colour, be a different length, and it can't have a large logo," he told Dezeen.

No, no, no large logos for golfers!

"Aside from that I realised that many of the companies weren't really taking adventurous steps. They were maybe making very kitsch loud pants, but nothing which normal people, outside of golf, would want to approach or be involved in," the designer added.

I certainly see the average man wanting to wear this!


Kingston Heath! World Cup Returns To Team Format, Epic Course

One of the world's premier designs will host the World Cup this November with 28 two-man teams comprising the field.

While any format that's not individual stroke play is exciting, the Sandbelt return is the best part of the announcement, as Kingston Heath is easily one of the world's great designs and arguably the best outside of St. Andrews on flat ground.

World Cup of Golf returns to team format
at Kingston Heath Golf Club, November 21-27, 2016
Melbourne, Victoria, AUS – Tournament officials announced today that the 58th edition of the World Cup of Golf will be played at Kingston Heath Golf Club, with the format returning to team play (two-man teams) from 28 different countries squaring off on November 21-27, 2016, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  One of the most historic global events in the game, the World Cup of Golf has been played 57 times in 25 countries and will carry an $8 million (US) purse with the first-place team splitting $2.56 million. The event boasts an impressive and prestigious list of winners that includes the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Davis Love III, Fred Couples, Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Arnold Palmer, Bernhard Langer, Sam Snead, Peter Thomson, Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Jason Day, among many others.
Kingston Heath is one of Australia’s best golf courses and consistently ranked among the top 50 courses in the world. The course is renowned for its natural charm and strategies created by its superbly crafted greens and bunkers.  The signature par-3 15th hole is one of the classic short holes in Australia, if not the world.
Kingston Heath has hosted numerous prestigious events over its history including the men’s Australian Open, (1948, 1957, 1970, 1983, 1989, 1995, 2000), Women’s Australian Open (2008), Australian Matchplay Championship (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992) and the Australian Masters (2009, 2012).  Winners of these events include names like Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Ian Baker-Finch, Greg Norman, Peter Senior, Karrie Webb and Gary Player.
“The World Cup of Golf has a long and storied history as one of the true international events in our sport,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “On behalf of the International Federation of PGA Tours, we are thrilled that a course with the reputation and standing such as Kingston Heath will serve as the tournament’s host venue in 2016. The fans in the Sandbelt region of Australia are some of the best in the world and our players consider themselves extremely fortunate every time they are able to play in an event of this stature in the Melbourne area. Our thanks go out to the Victorian Government for their partnership in both the past and future events.”


State Of The Game Podcast 63: Iain Carter & The 2015 Majors

Looking at the major winners over the last decade, there have been some great years though on closer inspection, each has its events that look less-than-satisfying in hindsight.

As we discuss with Iain Carter, author of The Majors, the BBC golf correspondent picked a very good year to write a book about the men's Grand Slam events. Because history will look very kindly on the year. Even with Augusta being way too green, Chambers Bay too brown, St. Andrews' greens were too fast and Whisting Straits apparently defenseless (though who knows how anyone breaks par there!), the players picked up the slack for the governing bodies and delivered four very memorable weeks.

Carter joins us to discuss the season, his book and the upcoming year.  Happy listening via your free podcast app subscriptions (hopefully auto downloading), at iTunes, on the show page or as an MP3 download.

Or below:


Parsons To Writer: "Brother, you need to get out more."

Reading these days requires a motion sickness pill, what with the auto-play videos and other assorted pop-ups that have the text shifting everytime you try to scroll.

That said, the Josh Sens Q&A with Bob Parsons about his splashy new equipment company is most fun, in a combative, eccentric billionaire sits down with freelance journalist kind of way. Great feel. Great look. Longer shots. Isn’t that what every club manufacturer tells us? What's so different about that?

Parsons: What’s different is that our clubs actually do what we say they do. Have you talked to anyone who has hit them? Not yet.

Parsons: You haven't? How is that possible? Brother, you need to get out more. Well, you've hit them. What are they like?

Parsons: They do everything I just said. Give me an example. What sort of shots can you can hit now that you couldn’t hit before?

Parsons: One of the differences with me compared to many guys who have much lower indexes (Parsons plays off a 10) is that they will practice in order to hit a particular shot. I go out to see how a club feels. And the feel of these clubs is unbelievable. But you don’t have to believe me. You could talk to Ryan Moore. We shipped him a set with no expectations. We knew at the time they were pretty good. He called us two days later and he said, 'I just put them in my bag, and they’re not coming out.'

Helps he didn't have to pay retail for them!


Spieth Commits To Kapalua For Life (As Long As He's Eligible)

As long as there is a Tournament Of Champions in Hawaii--somewhat of an if as you know from reading my Forward Press chat with Mark Rolfing--Jordan Spieth will be there every time (assuming he's eligible).

Jay Coffin on the two-time major winner from 2015 speaking to the golf writers in Maui about how his off-season numbers crunching revealing a need to improve his under-120-yard efforts.

And this:

Whether it’s the beginning of a new season or the continuation of an old one, Spieth is at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions looking to finish one spot higher than he did in 2014 when he finished in second place - a shot behind Zach Johnson.

Spieth acknowledged that he was more than a little miffed sitting at home last year watching his buddies playing in a tournament on a beautiful course that he didn’t qualify for.

“This is one that we strive to make each year, and if I am eligible to play in this tournament and I’m not, I hope every single one of you (in the media) calls me and bashes me for it,” he said.

Steve Burkowski's Golf Central report from the day and the entire press conference follows:


Samuel L & Trump's Golf-Spat Reaches Inevitable End: Blocked!

I've been following the A-lister spat from afar, yet it's always enjoyable when one of Donald Trump's golf feuds ends with the future president belittling his opponent while the other person promises to block The Donald on social media (after lots of name-calling).

America the beautiful!

I'm not sure who to believe, but thanks to all who sent this enjoyable Business Insider account (with embeds) of the spat that got the best of actor Jackson, who briefly posted his bill from Trump National Golf Club before realizing it included his home address (remember, he's an actor, not a cancer-curer).

Colin Campbell's Business Insider account of the social media brouhaha started by Jackson's comments to United Airlines' magazine.


WSJ: "IRS Tees Off on Golf Courses’ Green Tax Claims"

Thanks to everyone who sent in Richard Rubin's WSJ story on the IRS going after courses taking deductions for conservation areas that may not exist.

As we know, some courses genuinely provide an environmental safe haven for critters and greenery thanks to the native design philosophy and sensible maintenance practices. It sounds from the story as if the IRS is looking to target those serving a less vital purpose, though it's hard to tell from one story. Especially since the story is accompanied by a photo from the IRS's expert showing Canada geese on a course questioned for its conservation easement deductions.

Regarding the main easement break, Rubin writes:

Known as the conservation-easement tax break, the rule lets people claim a charitable deduction for giving away the right to develop land they still own and can use. The measure has encouraged protection of millions of acres of pristine land. It has also spawned litigation requiring judges to wade into dueling testimony from ecologists and appraisers.

Judges have, among other things, lowered the value of preserving the historic terra cotta facade of the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans and told a Virginia landowner that building 30 houses instead of 62 didn’t count as open-space preservation. One case, though, did permit a Michigan couple to claim tax breaks for protecting a famous bald eagle roosting spot.

The cases involve few people and plenty of money. In 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, 1,114 taxpayers took an average deduction of $872,250 based on the rule, according to the IRS, for a total of slightly less than $1 billion. Numbers like that can pique an auditor’s interest.


Golf Channel Matches Highest Rated Year After Slow Start

But who cares about that...millennials are watching! Well, 50% more than the previous year, no doubt thanks to a wave of millennials vying for majors.

The full release here. Some highlights for my copy and paste archiving purposes. The most notable number may be the finish to the year after a slow start:

    •    Strong Finish to 2015 after Young Stars Energize (24-hour Total Day 6AM-6AM):
    ◦    First Quarter                 -14% YOY
    ◦    Second Quarter            +3% YOY – Tied Most-Watched Second Quarter Ever
    ◦    Third Quarter               +8% YOY – Most-Watched Third Quarter Ever
    ◦    Fourth Quarter             +13% YOY

Now to the only people who seemingly matter...

    ◦    “Millennial” Growth on Golf Channel (Average Viewers P25-34):
    ▪    +50% in Total Day with Persons 25-34
    ▪    +17% in Primetime with Persons 25-34
    ▪    +22% for PGA TOUR coverage with Persons 25-34

Now to the only people who actually pay the bills:

    ▪    Most-Affluent Audience in All of Television:
    ▪    Total Day: No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network for median household income ($77.1k) for the second consecutive year
    ▪    Primetime: No. 1 most-affluent ad-supported television network for median household income ($83.6k) for the second consecutive year


Dreadful: Cobbs Creek Clubhouse Destroyed By Fire

A terrible loss on many fronts, as the delightful clubhouse building at Cobbs Creek was destroyed in an overnight fire. (Thanks to readers Matt and Len for sending in links.)

The colonial clubhouse has stood for nearly a hundred years, sporting a classic Colonial style and set the perfect tone for the course, which has the potential to be one of the world's premier municipal courses (with a little dusting off.)

Here is a short staff report with a surreal image of ice retaking the building after the fire.

NBC Philadelphia's report:

Footage of the fire:

Some of my photos from two years ago, in happier times...


Forward Press: We Have A Tournament Of Champions Again!

In the first Forward Press installment of 2016, I speak to Mark Rolfing about the state of the Hawaii swing, how Kapalua has evolved as a venue with different winds, and his battle with cancer.

Full TV times are listed and do note, it's a tricky one this week with NBC handling early coverage before handing off to Golf Channel.

But as we discussed today on Morning Drive, the real fun this week is in having a Tournament of Champions with an almost full field. Even better, all of those who qualified for one of the more elite clubs on the planet--winners of a PGA Tour event the prior year--are showing up in Maui, sharing on social media what fun they're having, and...did I mention, showing up?

While it's not going to put the full kibbosh on concerns about the Hawaii swing's leadoff spot on the schedule against the NFL Wildcard weekend, we can at least go into this week focused on seeing an elite field, as the TOC should be.

Not included in the column is the latest picture re-posted by's John Strege, this one of Jordan Spieth and sister Ellie enjoying some snorkeling.


"Once-popular golf course falls victim to controversial border wall, drug cartel battles"

Thanks to reader Daniel for this sadder-than-normal golf course closure story from Brownsville, Texas, where the historic Fort Brown Memorial has been closed in what its owner Robert Lucio says is a product of the border debate, drug cartel battles in Mexico and a temporary fence installed across the Rio Grande Valley.

Aaron Nelsen reports.

Yet the demise of Lucio’s business is seen by observers as a poignant reminder of the enduring effect the fence has had on border communities, especially as leading Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has rekindled the contentious debate with his proposal to continue building a wall along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

“I think it’s really unfortunate that the community’s recreational spaces were sacrificed for a symbolic effort to look tough on immigration,” said Denise Gilman, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law and a member of the UT Working Group on Human Rights and the Border Wall. “It takes its toll on people’s psyche.”

Laid on the ruins of Fort Brown, the 6,000-yard, 165-acre course debuted in the 1950s as a reasonably priced alternative to the Brownsville country club. It quickly became the training ground for generations of Brownsville golfers, including Lucio, and home to the Pan American Golf Association, which promoted the sport in the impoverished and predominantly Hispanic community.


Peter Kostis' Next Post-Round Interviews With Zach Johnson And Billy Horschel Should Be Pleasurably Awkward

Peter Kostis, CBS on-course reporter, sometimes acknowledged member of Team Titleist who says the golf ball should not be blamed for distance increases, and Twitter motto-holder "Be positive, be happy," sounds really annoyed by players jumping ship to Parsons Extreme Golf.

He's even conducting a poll to confirm the sheer awfulness of the free-market at work.

The news broke Monday included these press release quotes from Zach Johnson and Billy Horschel

“The decision to put PXG clubs in play was not one I took lightly,” said British Open and Masters champion Zach Johnson. “My entire team, from caddie to coach, was part of the discernment process. We all agree that PXG is undeniably the best equipment to help me achieve my goals on the course.”

“Being part of PXG is like being part of a very special movement in golf,” champion golfer Billy Horschel added. “What the company has accomplished in its first generation of equipment is mind-blowing. I’ve been playing some really incredible golf with PXG clubs and I feel very confident that great things are to come.”

Now, he could be also referring to new Nike man Brooks Koepka, but based on his quotes reported by Rex Hoggard or in this Nike roundup from Kyle Porter, it would appear Kostis is especially upset with Johnson and Horschel. Can't wait for those post-round interviews with two players are generally most forthright in their assessments.


Will Parsons Disrupt The Equipment Industry With $700 Drivers?

Long rumored and now reality, Parsons Extreme Golf (PXG) announced the signings of several players including Open Champion Zach Johnson. Not mention were the lucrative renewals or new players signed by players who might have borrowed Parsons as leverage. (BTW Nike announced the signings of Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka today. Finau moves from Callaway while Koepka is now a former Titleist man.)

Doug Ferguson has many quotes from Jim Parsons, the vision behind the newish high-end maker of clubs, who is also owner of Scottsdale National (and not afraid to write his members letters, as you may recall here and here).

Will Parsons serve as a positive disruptive source?

“Making money is not what I have in mind,” Parsons said. “My goal with this is to build some very incredible clubs without regard to cost, without regard to the process. I’ve been telling people what I’m doing and I’ve heard many times, ‘You’re nuts.’ That’s a very good sign.”

An even better sign for the people he's paying! For a while anyway.

Parsons is tapping the billionaire demographic that is tired of spending $250,000 a year on clubs only to hope they...spent more? Though hopefully there is also a level of craftsmanship to justify the price.

“It got to the point three or four years before I started the PXG venture that I would spend about $250,000 to $300,000 a year on equipment,” he said. “I bought pretty much everything and would hit it. I could tell you which irons, woods and all that … were real and what wasn’t. Most of it is gimmicky. You take any manufacturer and they say, ‘This will give you an extra 10 yards and 15 yards.’ If all that were true, we’d be hitting it a mile-and-a-half.”'s Mike Johnson weighs in on the signings of Johnson, Billy Horschel, James Hahn, Chris Kirk, Charles Howell III, Cristie Kerr, Gerina Piller and Alison Lee.

Loving Zach's b-speak jargon already...

The signings, terms of which were not disclosed, brings Parsons’ tour staff to an even dozen players who have combined for 55 tour wins, including three major titles. “The decision to put PXG clubs in play was not one I took lightly,” said Johnson, in a statement released by the company. “My entire team, from caddie to coach, was part of the discernment process. We all agree that PXG is undeniably the best equipment to help me achieve my goals.”

Not having a board or shareholders to report to should free-up Parsons to not oversaturate their audience who are paying a premium price. But $500 for a hybrid not jewel encrusted? ( has a photo of the hybrid here.)

But will they be able to resist the rapid fire product cyles that are now expected in the clubmaking world?

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