Twitter: GeoffShac
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Golf is not a game of good shots. It's a game of bad shots.
BEN HOGAN


    

Saturday
Apr232016

Obama Tees Up With Cameron, Adds Under Armour To Repertoire

As President Barack Obama winds down his amateur career and looks to turn pro January 21, 2017, he already has all of the manufacturers wooing him for the most anticipated player-manufacturer alliance since Bryson DeChambeau.

Sending a signal that he isn't solely tied to Nike stuff, it appears to be no coincidence that just days after golf with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank at Caves Valley, the President sported a less-than-understated UA rain suit.

The round was at The Grove, with British Prime Minister David Cameron. So much for getting to see some heathlands golf. (There'll be time next year and beyond.)

Joseph Curtis points out for Mailonline that press were allowed to go the entire round and that the president enjoyed his day. Naturally, Cameron did not score nearly as high a marks. Though he's saddled with this burden...

Back in 2010, winning Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie offered Mr Cameron a golf lesson after it was revealed the Prime Minister was not quite as experienced as the American leader.

And the PM has been taking a few jabs for trying to be like POTUS.

 

 

Saturday
Apr232016

Former WADA Chief On Golf: "There’s a problem there."

Moira Gordon quotes former WADA chief Dick Pound, hosting a lecture at Stirling University, explaining golf's attitude toward drug testing.

Long opposed by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, he recounted this conversation.

“We have all seen the shape changes in golfers and the distances they are hitting now and we know that the equipment is better and the balls are better but it isn’t just that,” said Pound, who recalled a conversation with the commissioner of the PGA Tour, Tim Finchem, stating that the sport which “has a great reputation for calling faults on yourself” could set an example to others by outing the cheats. But, the reply he received was disappointing. “He said: ‘Ah, but if I do that then they are all going to think my guys are just like those baseball players and football players and I don’t want that’. But if you follow some of the shape changes in the golfers and follow how, at a certain point, if they happen to come off them, you see how many more injuries they get. There’s a problem there.”

Saturday
Apr232016

Video: A Rarely Seen Albatross, Scott Hend Edition

Soomin Lee leads the Shenzhen International but Scott Hend recorded a 2 on a par-5. And it was caught by cameras manned by real people!

The shot, and low-key reaction produced by the dearth of spectators and Hend's inability to see the ball go in the cup.

Albatross!! 😱 One of the shots of the year from Scott Hend! 💪

A video posted by European Tour (@europeantour) on

Friday
Apr222016

Jaime Diaz Profiles Bryson DeChambeau

You've certainly read about Bryson DeChambeau...and here's more!

But it's from Jaime Diaz for Golf Digest, so it's worth your time.

This was interesting:

DeChambeau knows he has a presence, and he has a mission. His most stated goal is to influence the game's multitudes and bring more people to golf. He has been inspired by two meetings with Arnold Palmer, whose example of giving back on a large scale he expects to emulate. Because at this point in his life, Bryson DeChambeau is pretty sure he can do anything.

Consider his explanation for being able to write his full name backward with his left hand, which could be taken as the DeChambeau Manifesto. "It's not talent, it's just practice," he says in a voice that sounds like it belongs to an older person. "If I wanted to learn Arabic or Russian, I could. Or tie my shoes in a new way, I could. Why? Dedication. I'm not really smart, but I'm dedicated. I can be good at anything if I love it and dedicate myself. And I love history. I love science. I love music. I love golf. I love learning. I love life. I love trying to be the best at anything and everything."

Yes, DeChambeau can come on strong, in a way that could easily come off as grandstanding to his peers. But it's telling that he's well-liked by the young amateurs he has long competed against and has been well-received by pros.

Friday
Apr222016

Tales Of Multiple Olympic Viewpoints

I know many find the debate over Olympic golf to be excruciating. And nearly everyone laments the format's inability to excite on multiple levels. However, the topic fascinates because it threatens to expose much about the state, attitude and place golf holds in the sporting spectrum.

As Randall Mell writes at GolfChannel.com, for every male that doesn't wany to be part of the 2016 Rio games, the battle to represent Korea is an entirely different matter. Even one causing players unimaginable stress. Take Swinging Skirts leader and current world No. 8 Soon Yeon Ryu, who has hired Cameron McCormick and is feeling the heat.

“The biggest thing is Korean media,” Ryu said. “If someone is going to make the Olympics, they're a great player. Then if somebody cannot make it, they're a really bad player.”

Alistair Tait and Jim McCabe argue over the defection of top male players Oosthuizen and Scott (a statement was issued by the IGF btw), and Tait questions the scheduling argument:

The problems of fitting an Olympic tournament into an already tight schedule have been discussed ad nauseam. Here’s the reality: For Scott and Oosthuizen, we’re talking about a maximum of 10 events in a 17-week period, from the Memorial Tournament through the Tour Championship. That run also includes three majors, a WGC and the the four-tournament FedEx Cup series.

I’m not suggesting that Scott and Oosthuizen compromise their major-championship preparations for the sake of the Olympics. We all understand that these tournaments define a player’s career. But don’t tell me it’s a hardship to play 10 tournaments in the space of 17 weeks. And that’s only if they make it all the way to the Tour Championship.

While I agree with McCabe that the format has ultimately let many down, I'm not sure the defecting golfers would have been drawn to a team format. Still, his point about the PGA Tour not changing its schedule and the inability of the five families to have set some profits aside to make the schedule work better is a good one. He writes...

You think the PGA Tour, R&A and USGA would shut down for three weeks every fourth summer to accommodate a proper Olympic golf tournament? Hey, they’re in, but not that in.

Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen have exercised prudent decisions by opting not to compete this summer in Rio de Janeiro. Direct your criticism not at them; instead, hope that the International Olympic Committee and golf officials devise a format for 2020 by which 40 two-man teams or 30 three-man teams truly make it about “playing for your country.”

Instead, we get this year’s equivalent of a fifth World Golf Championships event: a heavy-at-the-top, very-week-at-the-bottom 60-man field.

Meanwhile Brian Keogh's item on Paul McGinley's strong Olympic views is worth a look as he makes a profound point for the insular world of golf:

"No matter how successful a golfer may be and how many majors he may have won, the majority in the world’s population could not name golf’s four majors. But they know what a gold medal at the Olympics stands for," McGinley read.

Thursday
Apr212016

Legends Chime In On The Benefits Of Jordan's Masters Loss

Adam Schupak is reporting from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf kicking off Friday and talks to a nice spread of the champions in attendance.

But as always, it's Jack Nicklaus' thoughts on Jordan Spieth's Masters loss that are the most copy-and-paste worthy, including his assertion that the 2016 outcome might be good for Spieth. 

“What I mean by that is that he’s 22 years old. To win a Masters twice at 22 years old, that puts him right at the top of everything. He’s got a long future in front of him. He’s a very talented young man, he’s a nice young man, he’s very focused. Winning it twice might take away some of that focus is exactly what I said to you about if I had won the U.S. Open when I was an amateur in 1960, I might not have continued to work because I felt like I’d be scratching my head out here (spreading his arms far apart to signal he’d get a big head).”

So there's that. And this about the 12th hole mistaken line.

Noting that his heart went out to Spieth, Nicklaus continued, “I know that he knows he should never have hit the ball to the right of the bunker. I don’t care what kind of swing you put on it on 12, it just can’t happen."

Thursday
Apr212016

Stealth Clips: Tiger Gives A Junior Clinic!

Last year Nike lured Rory McIlroy to Sage Valley for a junior clinic (and arm wrestling), this year they got Tiger Woods to do something people say he never does (I'm sure it has something to do with those daddy demons).

And while the back looks understandably stiff and the head dip is still there in clips only Zapruder could love --here's guessing video was discouraged--the tempo is fluid and the appearance is both a huge step for his image and his effort to come back.

Golf Central's segment on Tiger visiting one of the world's premier junior events.

@tigerwoods at the #SageValley #JuniorInvitational #golf @nikegolf #TW

A video posted by Graham Pocialik (@gtroit) on Apr 21, 2016 at 2:56pm PDT

 

Thursday
Apr212016

Under Armour Is Back! (Not That There Was Any Doubt)

We had some sense that Jordan Spieth's Masters collapse had little to do with an Under Armour stock dive of 5%, and now we know from 2016's first quarter results that a Wall Street analyist had it all wrong. Nice work!

John Strege on the earnings call where UA's new golf show got a special shout out.

Well, Under Armour released its first-quarter results on Thursday and reported net revenues of $1.05 billion for the quarter, a 30 percent increase over a year ago.

CEO Kevin Plank, in a news release, cited, “the remarkable success of the Stephen Curry signature basketball line, as well as the exciting launches of our first smart running shoe and our new line of Jordan Spieth inspired golf shoes.”

The stock finished up nearly 7% after the news.

Thursday
Apr212016

Louis Out Of Olympics, Yet To Cite Conflict With Deere Classic

When you think of golfers with real passion for their craft and country, you don't think of Louis Oosthuizen. Making for a nice contrast with another Olympic defector, Adam Scott, who is a passionate, international figure and who will be missed in Rio, Oosthuizen's decision to pass is less impactful.

Doug Ferguson reports that Oosthuizen is declaring himself ineligible for family/scheduling/yadayada reasons.

Not coincidentally, the John Deere Classic is the same week as the men's golf competition in Rio and Louis's love of tractors chould be pulling him to Iowa. If that happens then we know where his true passion lies. After all, he bought himself a Deere after winning The Open. Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Thursday
Apr212016

ESPN.com Report: Tiger Has Daddy Issues

Wright Thompson is a wonderful writer and researcher and some day will probably wonder how he got roped into months of researching Tiger's "secret history." But you know those Southern writers: the only bourbon better than bourbon is a man with daddy issues.

If you have 15-20 minutes of your life to never see again, the piece is worth your time. If you're an admirer of the craft and a sound wordsmith, "The Secret History Of Tiger Woods" is also worth your time. If you're looking for deep hidden meaning in the form of a book seen in Tiger's wrecked SUV, click the link.

Otherwise, in a nutshell: Tiger has some daddy issues, he liked the Navy SEALS a whole bunch, he's cheap at times, Earl's ashes were buried in an unmarked grave that Tiger has never returned to Kansas to see (maybe) and, he's really into his kids and staying in his mansion these days nursing his bad back.

Most interesting perhaps was how much Michael Jordan blabbed to Thompson, suggesting Tiger really wants to retire but just can't bring himself to do it. And this...

"What does he do every day?" Jordan asks.

He's quiet and serious.

"I don't know," he says, answering his own question. "I haven't the slightest idea. I do not know."
He worries that Tiger is so haunted by his public shaming that he obsesses over it, perhaps sitting up in the middle of the night reading all the things people write and say about him.

"Rabbit Ears," Michael calls him sometimes.

He hears everything. For Tiger, this dwelling on old mistakes is a path to madness. Nothing can take him back to 2006 and give him a second chance. "That bothers him more than anything," Jordan says. "It looms. It's in his mind. It's a ship he can't right and he's never going to. What can you do? The thing is about T-Dub, he cannot erase. That's what he really wants. He wants to erase the things that happened."

Wednesday
Apr202016

Reaction To Scott's Olympic Pass Is Swift, But Don't Blame Him

Even though he'd telegraphed this for some time and made clear he thinks the 2016 summer schedule stinks (it does), Adam Scott stuck to his position and declared himself a no-go for Rio. I explained to George Savaricus on Golf Central that we shouldn't be shocked by the news, though I do think Scott will ultimately be disappointed he didn't play because of the course quality, the potential for golf to have a great start in a Rio Games that has no other new standout sport, and in a field where he has a great chance to medal.

Reaction from golf luminaries and Aussies was not quite so understanding.

Jack Nicklaus called it "sad for the Olympics and for the game of golf," reports Dave Shedloski for GolfDigest.com.

Johnny Miller could sympathize with Scott--shoot he doesn't want to go to Rio either--but he felt the Aussie needed to grin and bear it. Rob Oller reporting for the Columbus Dispatch.

“Do I want to go all the way down to Rio for the Olympics? No, but yes,” Miller said. “I know it’s important for golf, and my job is to build up the tournament, to build up the players when they deserve it and to build up the growth of the game. So I have a big responsibility that week to make people who wouldn’t normally watch golf say, ‘Dang, this is a pretty cool sport.’ ”

Down Under, two Australian Olympians were not impressed, reports Nick Martin.

Dawn Fraser, one of the great female swimmers of the 20th century, took to Facebook to voice her displeasure with Scott’s recent announcement. The a 78-year old Olympic medalist — she is one of only three swimmers in the Games’ history to three-peat in a single event — and self-described “proud Australian” lambasted the golfer for opting out of the 2016 games, insinuating greed drove Scott’s decision to pass on Rio.

“well done Adam great to put your country on hold so that you can fulfill your own schedule
how much money do you want in life
not showing much for your country
I guess working 3 jobs a week to secure my place as a Olympic swimmer has giver me the strength to say what I feel about sporstmen and women that do this”

In his defense, the schedule of two majors and the Olympics in a five-week stretch is absurd. This was started by the PGA's commitment to Baltusrol long before golf even thought it was going to get in the Games.

However, the PGA also probably should have been moved to early fall, after the Games and U.S. Open tennis in Flushing Meadows. However, that would have required the PGA of America and CBS to figure out a way to work around fare more lucrative college and pro football schedules, or, for the network to have not televised the PGA in 2016, allowing for a date change. But, grow-the-game efforts only mean something up to a point, and this was not one of them. So even if you don't agree with Adam, remember that the schedule mess could have been resolved if some were willing to make concessions in the name of a rare, one-off, bizarre situation superceded by the apparently vitality to "grow the game."

The parties controlling the most meddlesome of the championship dates did not feel the need and therefore some players will be unwilling to make scheduling concessions.

Wednesday
Apr202016

Video: Flyover Of Raveneaux Country Club Post Rain Event

Thanks to Tom Kirkendall for the sobering and shocking drone footage shot above Houston's Raveneaux Golf Club following April 18th's 17-inches of rain event.

The course sits on the other side of the Cypress Creek from Champions Golf Club. I think I speak for all of you that our thoughts are with all of the people and critters trying to manage this awful situation. Seven have died, billions done in damage and more rain is expected.

The flyover:

Wednesday
Apr202016

The Debate Over Golf Digest's Latest Cover Model Choice...

GolfChannel.com's Randall Mell writing about the negative LPGA reaction to Paige Spiranac's naming as a leading futurists puts me in a tough spot.

I work with both entities.

I will note that the GolfChannel.com readers have been almost as hard on that site for regular slideshows of WAGs or Spiranac coverage, while Golf Digest's readers on Instagram were a mix of cranky, profoundly saddened and profoundly inspired.

 

 

Tuesday
Apr192016

What Could Go Wrong, Files? Carnoustie For Jean Van de Velde's Senior Debut!

Maybe Bob Rotella convinced Jean Van de Velde to confront his Carnoustie demons in bold fashion, or maybe the Frenchman just has a sense of drama (and humor)? But either way, his decision to make his senior golf debut at the place he lost The Open, months after his birthday, is a bold one.

From a EuropeanTour.com report.

Now living in Hong Kong and a leading figure in this year’s 100th year celebrations for the Open de France at Le Golf National, Van de Velde confirmed he will be playing in his first event as a Senior at Carnoustie, knowing he has an old score to settle.

He laughed: "No, I don't get tired of people talking about 1999 and reminding me about what happened. I am lucky enough to still be involved in golf, but I am not as exposed as I was before so it doesn't come up as much in conversation.

"However, I know it is part of history. It is part of my life as well as a golfer. There were quite a few viewers that day - 250-300 million, I believe - so it would take me a while if I met all them and answered their questions about that day, from which I have great memories.”

For those of you who don't believe golf was played before the year 2000, Van de Velde's final hole:

Tuesday
Apr192016

Snapping From The Bahamas: Jordan, Rickie, Justin & Smylie

Golf's newest boy band has silenced their usual social feeds and seems to be unified over Snapchat for their Bahamas buddies trip.

I know cynics will find this all a bit suspicious, what with all the mentions of the Bahamas and the adorable Snapchat graphics, but can't you just take G.R. Team's report at GolfChannel.com for what it is: good old fashioned reporting on a vacation that may or may not irk the players involved, depending on their understanding of screen capture rules?

On a more serious note, Doug Ferguson reports that the aforementioned Snappers and select peers have been visiting Jack Nicklaus for advice, who loves it.

''I don't know why they do it. They seem to think it's going to help them,'' Nicklaus said with a wink and a smile. ''I get a big kick out of it, sure. Why would you not get a big kick out of it? I'm 76 years old and I've got a 22-year-old kid coming here asking me for advice.

''How many 22-year-olds ask anybody for advice?''

Tuesday
Apr192016

Why Adam Scott Not Playing In Rio Hurts

Because he's well-liked and has staked himself to a consistent Olympic position, Adam Scott won't take much heat for deciding he'd like to have a life this summer while trying to win The Open and the PGA.

His statement via Golf Australia:

“My decision has been taken as a result of an extremely busy playing schedule around the time of the Olympics and other commitments, both personal and professional,” Scott said today.

“I have informed the Australian team captain (Ian Baker-Finch) and relevant authorities, who are understanding of my position and I wish the Australian Olympic team the very best of luck in Rio.”

However, unlike Vijay's decision to pass after intially expressing enthusiasm, Scott's decision to pass is a blow to the Olympic golf movement. Not a deadly one. Just a blow. Here is why:

- As a global golfer who represents very international brands in Rolex, Titleist and Uniqlo, Scott appreciates his place as an international ambassador. He didn't take this decision lightly.

- The Rio Olympic course is by an architect he likes who channeled sandbelt aesthetics and principles. So the golf course was not an issue.

- He was a lock to make Rio and could easily plan for the inconvenience, yet still chose to pass. At least, unlike Vijay, he didn't mention a desire to win some FedExCup points.

- This may be Scott's best chance at a medal. Four years from now he will be pushing forty and less likely to have his game as sound as it is now.

- Coupled with any more high profile passes on Rio, there is a danger of momentum building toward a negative sensibility come early August.

All of this goes back to the PGA of America committing to Baltusrol very early for 2016 to tie into the anniversary of their founding, along with the leadership of golf finding no major scheduling solutions to alleviate this summer's logjam without sacrificing money or a spot on the network schedule. Dropping the utterly droppable WGC in Akron for a year would have been a nice gesture, though even that might not have changed the thinking of someone like Adam Scott.

But if more players drop out and the schedule turns out to be the reason, the decision to work the PGA Championship around the fall football schedule will have major implications for Olympic golf.

 

Tuesday
Apr192016

Video: Watch Brandel Get A Bit Weepy Over Sidekick Frank

Marksbury!

Who knew Jessica could draw blood in the form of tears, especially when the discussion was over a questionable Rules of Golf drop? Either way, nice work by Golf.com's host to bring Brandel Chamblee to tears over his admiration ("He's doing his job") for Frank Nobilo's commentary during the Tiger drop debacle.

To recap, Chamblee wanted Tiger to WD from the 2013 Masters but Frank would have none of it. The two later worked out any remaining grievances at the 2014 PGA with a sensational on-air manspat.

Anyway, this lovely fireside chat over Old Fashioned's (or are those Arnold Palmer's?) is not embeddable and you'll have to deal with the seasickness-inducing page that is Golf.com, but you should be able to get it working here.

"At noon, (Nobilo) came in and sat down and he brought a perspective that I had not thought of. I remember, he was on the air and he was speaking. And it was ... it was just beautiful. I just thought 'that's a great mind.' And to see someone with that passion ... you know, I remember thinking 'He's doing his job.' ... When I see someone, in anything, that is passionate about what they're doing, it moves me. And he is and that's why I love working with him."

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh....

Monday
Apr182016

Video: Preview Of Real Sports Segment On Trump In Scotland

And I had such high hopes for Alex Salmond and Donald Trump patching things up!

HBO's Bernard Goldberg heads back to Scotland to follow up on his reporting from a few years ago when everyone was a lot thinner and younger. What he finds appears to be a lot less enthusiasm for Trump.

The segment debuts Tuesday, April 19th.



Monday
Apr182016

Forward Press: Fighting Off The Post Masters Blues!

Trying to find a positive in a week that features the Valero, the Shenzhen, Swinging Skirts and Big Cedar Lodge Legends. No, we are not living in a Dan Jenkins novel. Yet.

That said, Nicklaus, Trevino and Player are teeing it up this week, so how bad can things be?

Read it all in the Forward Press.

And that sinkhole opening up on the course were the Legends is played? It's now an attraction:

Monday
Apr182016

Why Is Jordan Spieth's Loss Still Resonating?

I was minding my own business today but sporting a Masters-logoed hat, prompting an unexpected conversation about Jordan Spieth blowing the 2016 Masters. Little did this soul know that just hours before Gary Williams and I discussed how the topic won't go away.

Obviously anytime an elite player blows a chance to win a major, it's news. But the outpouring, concern and downright sympathy is kind of surprising since Spieth already owns one Green Jacket. Some of it speaks to his rise to a level beyond elite golfer and into global athletic icon.

Yet it seems like concern for his well-being following this Masters has reached Norman/Masters or Mickelson/USOpen levels of sadness for Spieth's plight. But as Gary and I discussed, he already has one and seems destined to contend there annually, making it hard to feel too much sadness.

Jim McCabe talked to players at Harbour Town who were having similar conversations about the final nine struggles and they were taking sides in a "should have" vs. "could have" won debate.

It will go down as a “should have” tournament, Geoff Ogilvy said. Even though it was three days later, Ogilvy was still processing the events of the final round of the 2016 Masters. He did not play this year, but he watched all of Saturday and Sunday and like any other fan, Ogilvy was stunned at what happened at the start of the back nine — a bogey at 10, a bogey at 11, then two balls in the water and a quadruple-bogey 7 at the 12th.

Ogilvy could interpret things differently than most fans because as a guy who plays at the top of the game he knew Spieth was struggling with his game. “I think he has to take that out (of the week), that I can lead a major by five with nine to play with not even remotely close to my best.”

But Ogilvy concedes that the bottom line for Spieth is this: “Because I got five in front, I should have finished it.”

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