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 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
  • 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
  • Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    Teeing Off: Players, Techniques, Characters, and Reflections from a Lifetime Inside the Game
    by Ken Bowden

If you ever feel sorry for somebody on a golf course, you better go home. If you don’t kill them, they’ll kill you.  SEVE BALLESTEROS




The Real Rio Story Or Protest And Killings: Neil Cleverly Speaks

If you've been on social media you've probably seen Neil Cleverly's account of the "real" Rio he experienced as superintendent of the Olympic Golf Course.

Coupled with Stephen Wade's update on all of the Olympic venues in dilapidated shape, and it's amazing the course ever got built.

Regarding the protests outside the course, Cleverly says...

The protests started as a few and built up. The rumour was that a local politician didn’t like the developer so he was paying people – 100 real a day, which is about £25, to sit outside and throw abuse. That way you get people turning up, the most they could otherwise expect was £250 a month.

The sustainability ones were the most fanatical, they were saying we were killing animals, plants and removing indigenous plants and we weren’t doing any of that. The amount of times we invited them to see what we were doing– they never came in so we knew they were just there to cause trouble, they didn’t give a shit about the environment.


Proposal Made To Restore Musselburgh Links "To Former Glory"

Avril Campbell reports that an Edinburgh-based company has approached the East Lothian Council with a £10 million plan to restore Musselburgh's Old Course, six-time Open Championship host and arguably as important as any course in the development of golf. 

Campbell writes:

Blue Thistle Ltd, the Courier has learned, has approached council members to discuss “a bold and exciting proposition” which would see the nine-hole, par-34 course “regenerated, restored and recreated to the style and reputation of its former glory”.

East Lothian Council says it is “aware of a commercial desire” to “take over” the course.

A Blue Thistle Ltd spokesman said it hoped to capture the heritage of the course and “broadcast” it to a global audience. It wants to return the course to its 1896 set-up, with lost features recreated and placed in new positions.

He said: “This will challenge the modern golfer as well as the traditionalist who likes to play with hickory-shafted clubs. Some new tees and greens will be built. A course with the quality of an Open Championship venue is the goal.”

One councillor, John Caldwell, is already “vigorously” opposed to the plan. However, given that the course has been in danger from elimination, has been neglected at times and has recently seen plans approved that will alter the historic Mrs. Forman's, the plan should be considered.

Most of you know I think this is one of the great places in the game and a model for the kind of intimate community golf we need more of. Oh, and it's an immensely important place in the history of our sport and the golf business.


Spieth's Ballstriking Carries Him To AT&T Title, Carson Daly Wins Pro-Am

Kevin Casey of has the notes wrap up of Jordan Spieth's 2017 AT&T National Pro-Am win.

Most striking Sunday was how Spieth's ballstriking seemed to carry him down the stretch as his putter cooled off. For someone often wrongly accused as being merely a great putter, the ballstriking display had to make his critics take notice. Ryan Lavner with a wrap of Spieth's ninth PGA Tour win, including this:

In 2015, Spieth ranked in the top 15 in strokes-gained driving, approaches, short game and putting. It was clinical. But Spieth’s ball-striking tailed off last season, and he said he worked as hard as he ever has during the offseason with swing coach Cameron McCormick.

“He’s always hungry,” Greller said. “He’s not somebody who is ever going to coast. It’s fun to work for a guy like that. Always hungry. Always driven.”

The hard work has paid off. Though he has bemoaned a cold putter – the middle two rounds boosted his confidence, pouring in putts on spongy, bumpy greens – Spieth has been one of the best iron players on Tour and ranks inside the top 10 in strokes gained overall.

“People think it’s only his putter,” Greller said, “but he’s incredibly well-rounded when you really break down the stats.”

In Pro-Am news, 10-handicapper Carson Daly (10!) teamed with Ken Duke to shoot 63 sunday and finish at -33 net to win. James Raia reports for the Monterey County Herald.

And flashing back to Saturday, Bill Murray avoided letting Phil Blackmar talked to him, and appeared to have a beef with the cameraman.

The final round highlights from PGA Tour Productions:



Golf Industry Show Wrap: VR, Recycled Sod, Digital Grass Printing And Other Fun Stuff

The golf industry convened in Orlando last week to compare notes, take in seminars, talk turf and debate who reports to the more insane membership.

As we have the last few years, field producer extraordinaire Donny Goertz and I roamed the floor hoping to stumble on some fun stuff and this year may have been the best set of innovative products yet.

We talked with GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans about the state of the industry.

We took in the insane construction job supervised by the Golf Course Builders that created an undulating area for mower testing and real bunkers showcasing products.

One of those products was recycled soccer field artificial turf now being used for sodwall bunker stacking, changing a bunker face lifespan from 5 years to 20 or more.

We saw an amazing Pixar-like company that can simulate what your renovated or new course would look like and now is adding VR to the equation as well. Amazing!

And maybe our favorite of all, the people behind this:



We talked to the founder of New Ground Technology, Pete Davis, who explained the designs you've seen in outfields around Major League Baseball and how you can expect to start seeing them on golf courses. With, of course, some imaginative steps taken by tours and sponsors to more cleverly plant sponsorship onto turf in a responsible way.


Video: It's All In The Dismount Trick Shots

Here are a couple of dandies that leave you wondering if our time is being wasted, only to be rewarded when they stick the landings.

Simon Smith is a PGA Professional dreaming of of becoming a tour player, and if his swagger is any cue, I like his chances.

Ambitious trickster Ryan Rustand makes us work but it's worth the wait!



GolfSixes: Pyro, Music, Ampitheaters Coming To Euro Tour Event

The event is not until May and we have this week's event in Perth featuring a six-hole match element , so I'm not sure why the European Tour chose today to announce the GolfSixes concept.

Nonetheless, here goes...

Innovative GolfSixes concept unveiled by the European Tour

The European Tour is today delighted to unveil GolfSixes, a revolutionary and novel short form of the game which further illustrates the Tour’s desire to embrace innovation and originality in professional golf.

The inaugural GolfSixes event – featuring a prize fund of €1 million – will make its debut on the European Tour schedule at the Centurion Club in St Albans, to the north west of London, on May 6-7, 2017.

The event will feature two-man teams from 16 different nations, each nation being represented by its leading ranked and available European Tour member from the 2017 Exemption Category List as at Monday March 13, who will be joined by a compatriot of his choosing from within European Tour Membership.

The first day’s play on Saturday May 6 will see the teams split into four groups of four – similar to the UEFA Champions League football group stages – before the top two teams from each group progress to the knockout stages – the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, a 3rd/4th place play-off match and the final – all of which will be contested on Sunday May 7.

In the group stages, three points will be given for winning a match with one point given for a draw while the matches themselves will be played in a greensomes match play format.* Both days’ play will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and around the globe on the Tour’s world feed network.

As well as innovation inside the ropes, there will be an abundance of originality for the fans to enjoy outside the ropes as the six holes wend their way around the centrally located fan zone at the Hertfordshire venue.

In addition to amphitheatre-style stands around the tees and greens, there will be music and pyrotechnics on the first tee and at various points around the course, with all players miked up to help bring fans closer to the action.

Pyrotechnics. Cue the flames!

Players will also be encouraged to interact with the fans during play and in the intervals between their matches, including taking part in Q&A sessions in the fan zone, while live streaming on social media will further enhance the spectators’ experience and maximise reach.

Well, now they are just flat out dreaming.

The interactive digital fan experience will feature polls, user generated content and unique social media content while the innovative broadcast items will include POV cameras, caddie cams, unique camera angles and on-course player interviews.

Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “We have said for some time that golf needs to modernise and introducing innovative new formats is a major part of achieving that aim, which is why I am delighted to announce the launch of GolfSixes today.

“We want to broaden the appeal of our sport to the millennial demographic and I think this format will do that, not only through the quick and exciting style of play, but also with the interactive digital experience fans will enjoy on site and the innovative television coverage people will enjoy at home.

It's for the only people who matter!

“We are also delighted to have brought a country versus country element to the fore. There is no question that the greatest atmosphere in golf comes every two years at The Ryder Cup and we are keen to try and emulate that national fervour in this format. We are in the entertainment content business with golf as our platform and GolfSixes is the perfect illustration of that.

I believe that's a two-shot penalty for excessive jargon in one sentence.

“I encourage everyone, whether they are a golf fan or not, to come along to the Centurion Club in May and immerse yourself in an occasion which will be unlike anything else you have experienced on a golf course before.”

Can't disagree and it should be a fascinating study in how to liven up the traditional 72-hole format.

I think many will wonder about the potential for the format to confuse, but I've always felt that this dynamic is overstated.

But, for those wondering...

* Format Summary

• Both players in each team hit tee shots on each hole. The best tee shot is selected and then the team alternate play of all subsequent shots required to complete the hole.

Group Stages:
• Matches will be played over all 6 holes with 1 point awarded for each hole won. The winner of each match will be the player with most points at the end of 6 holes.
• For the group table: Win = 3 points, Draw = 1 point, Loss = 0 points
• In the case of a tie or ties in the group table after all matches have been played, each team’s total points differential from the 3 matches (similar to goal difference) will be used to determine the qualifiers to the knockout stages.
• If this does not resolve the tie, then this will be decided by a hole-by-hole play-off on a shortened play-off hole on hole 18.

Knockout Stages:
• Matches will be played over as many holes as is required to determine a winner.
• Any match that is still tied after 6 holes will be continued by repeated play of a “shortened play-off hole” on hole 18 until a result is determined.


Roundup: Considering The Latest Tiger Setback 

We've reached a precarious point in the Tiger saga.

The latest WD's and setback, which all but spoil any hope of a return to some form pre-Masters, is leaving writers and observers without much left to say. Others are speculating off of the relatively small amount of information shared, sometimes dangerously. However, it's hard not to ponder the various possibilities when we are watching something so bizarre, frustrating and perplexing.

Mostly, everyone is sounding like they're over the dramatics.

Jason Sobel at is the most forceful in suggesting Woods is losing credibility with each false start and vague explanation.

But here's where it gets tricky: When Woods withdraws from the tournament in Dubai one day after denying he was in any pain, that self-assessment loses some credibility. And when his agent declares that Woods' withdrawal was due to back spasms that are unrelated to those three previous microdiscectomy surgeries, it becomes impossible to decipher where the truth ends and the denials begin.

Rich Lerner joined us on Morning Drive today and his exasperation was both surprising and also consistent with how most feel at this point.

Charlie Rymer, Damon Hack, Gary Williams and yours truly considered the state of Tiger on Morning Drive, including the stage fright suggestion, which we all shot down.

As I wrote for, each setback adds a new set of pressures on Woods due to his many obligations and responsibilities, including likely pressure from sponsor  arrangements that will not help back pain.

Bob Harig at wonders just how much practicing Woods can do.

The issue of Tiger's legacy and his less-than-peaceful transition to a career end is the subject of a good piece by's Ryan Lavner.

Mike Tirico also offered sage perspective on the career topic during a Morning Drive chat with Gary Williams


Two Impressive Spieth Stats From Pebble Beach

As he pulls away from the 2017 AT&T National Pro-Am field even under excrutiatingly slow circumstances, Jordan Spieth appears ready to unleash several weeks of superior play.

The ShotLink team noted a few intriguing stats after third round play, starting with the 15 for 15 stat to start 2017.

And this on his mid-range putting, well documented as his strenth, remains impressive:


Els Tees It Up With President Trump, Prime Minister Abe

Just days after withdrawing from the AT&T National Pro-Am due to a neck injury, Ernie Els joined the much-discussed round of golf played by President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

While the press was barred from seeing any of the golf via an unusual tactic, the President Tweeted and Instagramed the proceedings.

Having a great time hosting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the United States!

A photo posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on Feb 11, 2017 at 10:27am PST



Pebble Beach's 14th Well Received, But Is This Progress?

After reading Alex Miceli's Morning Read take on the early reviews of Pebble Beach's revamped 14th green, I'm glad to hear that the hole is no longer controversial.

However, Miceli's image and description of a restoration focused on Douglas Grant and Jack Neville's 1919 green instead of the once-brilliant Chandler Egan green created 9 years later and lasting until recently, suggests a serious setback for efforts to preserve Egan's brilliant pre-1929 U.S. Amateur renovation.

Yes, the Egan green had become too severe for today's speeds, but the front hole location has been usable in my lifetime and it was fun when Stimp speeds were in the 8's and 9's. The remarkably cool Egan tier should also have been preserved in some way for historical accuracy and better variety of hole location looks. 

The renovation, which began after last year’s Tour event, used early 20th-century photographs of the Jack Neville-Douglas Grant design to help capture the historic contour of the greens. Architects took advantage of modern technology to improve playability of the hole. Among the changes: the green meets USGA specifications, a SubAir moisture-management system was installed and bunkers were renovated.

“It's a sensible green change,” Padraig Harrington said. “Be interesting to see how it would play in U.S. Open conditions when it's Stimping at 12 or more. I had a putt on the right side of 5 feet above the hole, and I wasn't trying to diddle it. I was trying to hit it. The greens are slow enough today, so it was very playable today. I was surprised how flat that area of the green is. I thought yesterday there was a bit more break in it, but today I was looking at it and it probably would be able to hold a pin at a U.S. Open.”

Miceli notes that the early scoring average was well below par and the 14th was playing as the second easiest.


Tiger WD's From Genesis And Honda Classic...

He says he will still attend his foundation's new event at Riviera, but is skipping Honda and his comeback, unfortunately, appears seriously derailed.


"My doctors have advised me not to play the next two weeks, to continue my treatment and to let my back calm down," Tiger said. "This is not what I was hoping for or expecting. I am extremely disappointed to miss the Genesis Open, a tournament that benefits my foundation, and The Honda Classic, my hometown event. I would like to thank Genesis for their support, and I know we will have an outstanding week."


Bernd! Wiesberger Makes Nine Straight Birdies!

Bernd Wiesberger became the first player in European Tour history to make nine straight birdies in a round, though his record won't be official because the Maybank Championship was playing preferred lies.

He leads by one through 36 holes. From the European Tour's Instagram account, scorecard and highlights.

Nine. Straight. Birdies!โ € #MaybankChampionship

A video posted by European Tour (@europeantour) on


Crosby Weather Is Back And As Brutal As Ever

No hole better exemplifies the traditional Crosby weather blues than Pebble Beach's 7th hole.

Ryan Lavner files some anecdotes from the 7th after a rainy, nasty round one in the 2017 AT&T National Pro-Am.

How many 111-yard par 3s in the world would surrender only four birdies to the world’s best players? The iconic seventh played to a 3.14 scoring average during the opening round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which was later suspended because of unplayable conditions.

“I’ve never played anything like it,” Mark Hubbard said afterward, his ski cap still dripping. “That was the wackiest golf shot I’ve ever hit.”

With Pebble’s greens softened by weeks of rain, and with the hole location only four paces from the left and just five from the back, there were only two tee shots closer than 10 feet.

First round highlights...



Ryder Cup Points: Fall Tour Events Still Don't Count

I have to be fully caffeinated to read about Ryder Cup points distribution in a non-Ryder Cup year, but it seems the task force Task Force "Task Force" committee is still making very clear that they do not think a darned thing about the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule.

For the 2018 Ryder Cup, the committee still will not award points to at least five events (schedule permitting) on the 2017-18 PGA Tour schedule. The omitted events share one thing in common: they are all played in the fall of 2017.

The new points breakdown shaped by Furyk and friends:

2017 Major Championships
o   1 Point per $1,000 earned
§  The Masters; U.S. Open; Open Championship; PGA Championship
Ø  2017 WGC Events and The Players Championship
o   1 Point per $2,000 earned
§  WGC-Mexico Championship; WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship; The Players Championship; WGC-Bridgestone Invitational; WGC-HSBC Champions
Ø  2018 Regular PGA Tour events
o   1 point per $1,000 earned
§  Beginning January 1, 2018, through the PGA Championship, August 12, 2018; includes the Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event and WGC events

§  2018 Opposite Field PGA TOUR events will NOT receive points

Given that the PGA Tour and PGA of America have a partnership, the fall's inability to be treated with respect remains a blow to the wraparound concept.

As for the elimination of a post-Tour Championship Captain's pick, Furyk made perfect sense, reports Ryan Lavner.

“It’s obvious that we can’t wait until after the Tour Championship to make a pick,” Furyk said. “We have passports, travel to Europe, and I feel like the timing, we probably want to get it done a little earlier and not put those guys through that at the Tour Championship again.

“I think it’s wise, as well, for the captains to be discussing pairings the night before we leave, rather than who our next captain’s pick is going to be.”


President Trump Calls Langer To Apologize For Friend Of A Friend Of A Friend Of A Friend Caper

Craig Dolch quotes Bernhard Langer at length, who says President Donald Trump called to apologize for using an analogy about possible voter fraud.

The President also apologized for whatever grief he may have caused the multiple Charles Schwab Cup-winner.

“We talked on the phone, and he was very clear … if there was anything that hurt me, he apologized,” Langer said during a press conference at the Allianz Championship. “And I apologized, too, for some of the quotes that were incorrect and we're on good terms.

In clarifying, Langer noted that the story he relayed went through even more layers than previously realized. Friend of a friend of a friend of a friend layers...

“I didn't say anything to the president,” Langer said Thursday. “We never talked. I told a story to a friend and the friend told a story to another friend and another friend and another friend. Somewhere down the line six people later somebody knew somebody at the White House and that's how it went, OK?"

Langer goes on to take issue with how the New York Times quoted his daughter, who answered a reporter's call and represented her father on the record.


Jordan Spieth Pushes Back At "Scums"

Steve DiMeglio reports from Pebble Beach on Jordan Spieth lashing out at obscenity-dropping, insult-hurling autograph hounds as kids were around.

The incident described by DiMeglio also allowed Spieth to air a grievance shared by most golfers through the years related to adult autograph hounds.

“I'm not appreciative of people who travel to benefit off other people's success,” Spieth said “I enjoy signing and sign for kids whenever we get the chance. And when these guys have these items that you've already seen online and people … our team keeps track of that kind of stuff. And these guys that just have bags of stuff to benefit from other people's success when they didn't do anything themselves. Go get a job instead of trying to make money off of the stuff that we have been able to do. We like to sign stuff for charity stuff or for kids, and if you ask anybody universally it's the same way.”

And, the scums quote...

“When you see guys that follow you around the entire round, they're saying afterwards, ‘We're huge fans.’ A lot of other people did follow the entire round and so I want to make sure I sign for them, if I didn't get them out (on the course),” Spieth said. “So I was just a little frustrated at the end and I didn't appreciate the language that was used and … just some scums that just, it just bothered me.”

At the Farmers Insurance Open this year, there was a special kids-only signing area that most players went to, though a surprising number didn't understand it was only for the little guys and gals and skipped it. But it's definitely something more tournaments should be doing. If nothing else, so the kids don't have to rub elbows with scums!


Could Kasumigaseki's All-Male Stance Doom Olympic Golf?

After considering the latest Olympic golf controversy caused by 2020 host course Kasumigaseki's all-male membership policy and Sunday ban on women's play, The Guardian's Ewan Murray if this will impact the IOC's decision on golf post 2020. The group could decide golf's future fate this September when they also select the 2024 summer Games host.

Murray criticizes the International Golf Federation and wonders....

The International Olympic Committee’s position on this is fascinating. Already, it is understood to have made its unhappiness over the Japan situation perfectly clear. Whereas golf was believed to be very close to securing an extended Olympic run in the early part of this year, issues such as this will not help. The joust between Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson in Rio, albeit overplayed as some kind of tournament novelty, was in golf’s credit column but what arrived before and after is hardly endearing.

For more than 100 years, the Olympics could look at golf’s distinct troubles with a relief at not being embroiled in them. The change has not been for the better; red faces all round would be appropriate.


Rio Olympic Golf Course Off Of Life Support For Now

Given the shocking state of venues where just months ago the Olympics took place, it was great to read from Peter Dawson (via Rex Hoggard's story) that the Rio Olympic golf course has some new funding. Employees are getting paid again and maintenance is ongoing.

“Things are looking a little better, there’s a group of people who have come together that have a relationship with the land owner there, and they’ve re-engaged enough of the greens staff to keep the maintenance going,” said Peter Dawson, the former chief executive of the R&A and current

Hopefully this gets the course back into consideration for international amateur or professional events. Things look less promising for the swimming venue:



Bones: โ€œPhil called (my) doctor the day before the surgery and he goes, hey, man, I need your best tomorrow"'s Helen Ross profiles Jim "Bones" Mackay, bagman for Phil Mickelson who, like his boss, is coming off of off-season surgery.

Ross writes:

Four hours later, Mackay had a new pair of titanium knees and a matching set of 6-inch scars over each kneecap. He was walking the next day, aided by a walker for several weeks and then switching to a cane.

“Once you stop limping, they want you to kind of go it alone,” Mackay said. “They found out during the surgery that not only were my legs beaten up from what I do for a living, but genetically they were really bad to begin with.

“So that made us doubly glad that we did it because it was kind of an accident waiting to happen.”


"Meet the environmentally conscious teens cleaning up the Pebble coastline"

It was one of my favorite stories in some time and now budding marine biologists Alex Weber and Jack Johnston get the full SI-style profile treatment from Alan Shipnuck, complete with Robert Beck photos and a nine-minute film.

Shipnuck addresses many questions about the kids cleaning up the cove off Pebble Beach Golf Links, including the toughness required to dive and dig up the golf balls.

When Alex first came upon the balls during a recreational dive with her father in September 2015, she had no idea these man-made pearls would consume her life. "There wasn't this big master plan," she says. "I just knew they didn't belong in the ocean, and I wanted to get them out." In the ensuing dives her father was a constant—Mike owns a chicken ranch that produces 150 million cage-free, organic and kosher eggs a year—but while various friends of Alex's tagged along once or twice, only Jack kept coming back. It is grueling work that begins with hauling the kayaks down the steep sand hill at Carmel Beach, followed by the long paddle across the bay through strong winds and tides, and then hours of diving in frigid water that always leaves their lips blue, despite thick wet suits, hoods, gloves and booties. After all that, they have to schlep hundreds of balls and their gear back up the hill to their cars. The balls are stored in the Webers' garage, and some stink—a sulfuric, chemical smell that is a hint of the toxins they may be releasing into the sea. As the collection became more numerous (and malodorous), Alex and Jack were galvanized to take the fight public. "It became pretty obvious this issue was bigger than us, and we had to go to people who could help us change things," Jack says.

I gladly made a donation to their GoFund me page and notice it still could use some help to their $10,000 goal as they get ready to further their education!

The film ( embed code only allows this size):