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
  • 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

In considering the democratic side of golf we are forced to remember that all the original links were common soil over which every man, woman or child had free access --  as free as the expanse of ice in the Dutch pictures where small boys are to be seen pottering about with putters tucked under their arms. It seems a pity that the boundaries of the popular links should ever be closed – even in the interests of gate money. People may be inconvenient in their numbers, but barriers are worse. The perfect course, will, I think, always be as free as the air.  H.N. WETHERED




The Art of Course Setup, Vol. 467

From the wild and wacky Australian Open:

Stephen Leaney refused to sign his card for a 74 in protest and was disqualified.

He had a bogey and playing partner Peter O'Malley had a triple-bogey at the par-3 12th, prompting tournament officials to start lightly watering the green for every subsequent group to negate the impact of the strong northerly wind.

O'Malley had a par putt of less than a meter that was caught in a wind gust and rolled three meters past the pin. After he marked and replaced the ball, it rolled further from the hole. He asked officials if he could replace the ball again, but the request was disallowed.

"You can imagine how we felt," said Leaney. "We'd got the rules officials over to make a decision and then they recognize what was going on and water it."

O'Malley, who made the cut at 4-over, declined to comment.


Clayton On Australian Open**

Mike Clayton weighs in on the Australian Open first round and Mark Hensby antics. Wish it was on The Golf Channel.

**Update: Here is Mike's second round report.  


Not So Silly Season?

Chris Lewis at points out that there is still a lot of great golf to be watched, which, amidst all of the schedule-reduction talk might make one wonder if this is more of a statement about the PGA Tour. After all, there are two tournaments this week I'd actually like to watch (Casio and Australia), yet the big names are at the Grand Slam and Skins (double yawn).

Part of the allure with Japan is the Michelle Wie quest-to-make-a-cut-thing, but in both cases, there is something nice about getting to see golf in another part of the world. To see how people dress, how the players behave, how the grass is maintained, etc...  The PGA Tour is a bit too repetitive week to week. Same setups, similar architecture, same comments from announcers (excluding Faldo-Azinger weeks).

And as Lewis points out, Q-School is next week, which has an entirely different feel to it.

Though I feel a bit slimy watching Q-School, believing that it's something that should be done behind closed doors. Like child birth.


More Hensby

Peter Krupka and Brent ReadIn describe Mark Hensby's latest press conference as "riveting." This time, Hensby talked about life on the PGA Tour, but managed not to disparage any all-time greats.

Hensby, who has taken his world ranking to No.30, said he didn't have any friends on tour anyway and described the USPGA Tour as a lonely place and claimed it was afflicted by back-biting and double-talk.

"Everybody talks about everybody behind their back anyway," Hensby said. "At the end of the day you have your family and you have your job and you go and do it. Players don't care. They say 'good shot' and most of them don't give a shit. That's the way it is.

"If you try to tell me guys genuinely say 'good shot' because it's a good shot, you're kidding me.

"At the end of the day you have your friends at home. You have acquaintances, the guys I don't mind hanging out with. The true friends, you don't have too many of them, not on tour anyway."


The Wandering Golfer

Looking for that dynamic television show to liven up the post Thanksgiving dinner conversation? Well why not cue up The Fine Living Network at 9 p.m. EST or again at 12 a.m. EST for The Wandering Golfer. This week's show is their Riviera edition featuring yours truly, along with segments on Jaime Diaz and Lance Ten Broeck.


Someone Forgot To Be Thankful!

Mark Hensby just took himself off of Greg Norman and Peter Thomson's Christmas card lists. I wouldn't blame them either.



Donegan On Distance Debate

Lawrence Donegan weighs in from the UK on the USGA/R&A ball "study."

What hasn't happened, however, is the arrival at the R&A's clubhouse in St Andrews of a package containing the "rolled back" balls from the manufacturers. A spokesman for Titleist, the world's biggest ball manufacturer, said yesterday he had no idea when the prototype balls would be delivered.

The fact is it would take the manufacturers very little time and effort to produce such experimental balls yet they have chosen not to bother, both for sound commercial and tactical reasons. After all, why co-operate with any experiment which could result in a paradigm shift which would turn a billion-dollar market on its head, thereby endangering profits? The calculation is that the R&A will respond the way it has responded over the last decade as technological advances in equipment have undermined the history and traditions of the game - by doing nothing.

Such thinking is understandable, but for once it might be mistaken. In the past the governing bodies had neither the spine or the financial wherewithal to legislate the introduction of a new ball, but that may no longer be the case. Changes to the R&A's corporate structure have left it more financially able to take on any legal challenge from the manufacturer. Backed by the weight of public opinion, not to mention Tiger Woods, the organisation might be more inclined to accept such a challenge, not least because it now has a leadership more interested defending what is important ( the world's great courses and the integrity of the game) as opposed to what is not (silly rules about dress codes and such like).

Surprise, surprise, no manufacturers have turned in sample "rolled back" balls. Some like Titleist said they would cooperate (this is from AP story posted on

Titleist chief Wally Uihlein called the research project "more of an intellectual exercise than emotional and attitudinal bits and bites.'' But to drive home his argument that it isn't just the ball, he said Titleist would supply the USGA a ball and a club specification that would produce rollbacks.



Achenbach: Targets On Their Backs

Thanks to reader John for the heads up on Jim Achenbach's new column where he spells out the plight of those beleaguered victims -- I know, you're thinking Katrina -- the USGA Executive Committee.

With verbal bullets from the Battle of the Ball flying around, perhaps we should pray for both the critics who shoot and the USGA officials who receive. Sadly, all who wear blue blazers might as well have targets on their backs.

Pray? I wonder if Jim might have written a different piece if he had heard the latest spin coming out of Far Hills: it's the grooves, stupid.

Yes that's right, David Fay recently suggested in a speech to the International Association of Golf Administrators that the real, unappreciated equipment problem in golf is grooves.

Well, the 80s are very cool these days. And what could be more 1980s than square grooves. (This subject will be taken more seriously and explored on a slow news day during the holidays...I know you can't wait.)

Mr. Fay tested the groove uh, spin at the Sports Illustrated State of the Game roundtable earlier this year, and it's just the kind of Orwellian rationalization you would expect from, say, a D.C. lobbyist. In this case, the message was likely crafted by those experts on all things Royal and Ancient, Powell-Tate, housed somewhere on K Street.

Anyway, back to Achenbach:

In upcoming months, the USGA will find itself under unprecedented scrutiny in regard to golf ball distance regulations. A growing lobby is arguing strenuously that today's ball goes too far. Meanwhile, defenders of the modern ball are fighting back with equally tough rhetoric.

Those with a warlike persuasion might characterize the USGA as being under heavy fire. Call it the Battle of the Ball.

And this: 

Some observers are predicting the USGA will roll back the distance of the golf ball in 2006.

Others say it won't happen. They believe the USGA will draw another, more distinct, line in the sand. They expect this one to strictly limit any further increase in distance because of ball design or materials.

Ah, now that would make sense. Because after all, the Joint Statement of Principles has to be giving the USGA a huge headache. After all, there's no grey area in that excellent document.

Their very own darn memo demands action. For an explanation, check out this post.

But a move to slap on some language about ball design or materials, now that would muddy the waters nicely.


Points Race Mess?

Doug Ferguson writes about the debacle that the 2006 LPGA points race will be, at least in the context of the 2005 season.

Annika Sorenstam had the trophy at her side and spoke of her 10-win season. Had this been 2006, the $1 million payoff would have been decided between Michele Redman and Soo-Yun Kang in extra holes.

"I'm just glad it's 2005, that's all I can say," Sorenstam said.

Note from Tim Finchem to personal assistant #3: make sure Dick Ebersol does not see this story.


Nationwide Irony

nationwide logo.jpgDid anyone else notice what was printed on the page following Ryan Herrington's November 11 Golf World piece detailing Sean Murphy's questions about the the Nationwide Tour's lack of a retirement pension?

That's right, a Nationwide "Life is on your side" ad with a reminder that "Life comes at you fast." (Hint, hint, sign up for one of our retirement programs.)

The next page features a photo of this year's 20 Nationwide graduates.


Sirak on Paula-Annika

Ron Sirak looks at the Paula Creamer-Annika Sorenstam antics and offers some interesting info. Scroll past the space filling stuff about rivalries and get to the juicy part.

Sure sounds like Creamer is a rules stickler. She even dared to say no to Annika on one of those "I-have-a-ball mark" when-it's-really-a-spike-mark situations.



Instead of the usual boring pre-tournament release, the always efficient and helpful folks at Brener-Zwikel sent this list out to generate interest in this week's Grand Slam of Golf.

Favorite Course, U.S.?
Tiger Woods: Augusta National
Michael Campbell: Pinehurst No. 2
Phil Mickelson: Whisper Rock
Vijay Singh: Augusta National

Favorite Golf Hole, U.S.?
Tiger Woods: Cypress Point, Hole 16
Michael Campbell: Pinehurst, Hole 17
Phil Mickelson: Augusta National, Hole 12
Vijay Singh: Pebble Beach, Hole 18

Favorite Course Outside U.S.?
Tiger Woods: St. Andrews, Old Course
Michael Campbell: Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand
Phil Mickelson: St. Andrews, Old Course
Vijay Singh: Ballybunion Golf Links

Favorite Golf Hole Outside U.S.?

Tiger Woods: St. Andrews, Hole 18
Michael Campbell: Kauri Cliffs, Hole 4 "Cambo's Hole"
Phil Mickelson: Lahinch, Hole 5
Vijay Singh: St. Andrews, Hole 17

Favorite Golf Course Architect?
Tiger Woods: A.W. Tillinghast & Donald Ross
Michael Campbell: Tom Fazio
Phil Mickelson: Donald Ross
Vijay Singh: Alister MacKenzie

Best Shot of Your Career?
Tiger Woods: PGA Championship, Hazeltine, 18th hole, second shot from fairway bunker
Michael Campbell: My bunker shot at the 17th hole at St. Andrews, 3rd round, 1995 Open
Phil Mickelson: Putt on 18 at Augusta, 2004
Vijay Singh: Final round of 2000 Masters, Hole 15

One Mulligan You'd Like to Take?

Tiger Woods: No mulligans in golf
Michael Campbell: My 2nd shot at the 5th hole at St. Andrews, final round of 1995 Open
Phil Mickelson: Tee shot on 17 at 2004 U.S. Open
Vijay Singh: Final round of 2002 Masters, Hole 15 third shot

Favorite Club in Your Bag?

Tiger Woods: All 14
Michael Campbell: Callaway FT3 driver
Phil Mickelson: Putter
Vijay Singh: Putter

Oldest Club in Your Bag?

Tiger Woods: Putter, 6 years
Michael Campbell: Putter
Phil Mickelson: Putter
Vijay Singh: Cleveland 3-wood

Best Golf Book You Have Read, Not Written By You?

Tiger Woods: "Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf" by Ben Hogan
Michael Campbell: "Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf" by Ben Hogan
Phil Mickelson: "Who's Your Caddy" by Rick Reilly (A Good Laugh)
Vijay Singh: "The Natural" by Sam Snead

Last Time You Bought a Golf Ball?
Tiger Woods: In college
Michael Campbell: When I was 12 years old
Phil Mickelson: No idea
Vijay Singh: 2003

All-Time Favorite Movie?

Tiger Woods: "Caddyshack"
Michael Campbell: "Star Wars"
Phil Mickelson: "Usual Suspects"
Vijay Singh: "Forrest Gump"

 Favorite TV Show?

 Tiger Woods: ESPN Sports Center
 Michael Campbell: "Friends"
 Phil Mickelson: "The Practice"
 Vijay Singh: "CSI"

 Who would be in your dream foursome?

 Tiger Woods: Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones
 Michael Campbell: Gene Simmons, Michael Jordan, Nicole Kidman
 Phil Mickelson: Amanda Mickelson, Sophia Mickelson, Evan Mickelson
 Vijay Singh: Qass Singh, Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen

Favorite Male Athlete?
Tiger Woods: Michael Jordan
Michael Campbell: Lance Armstrong
Phil Mickelson: Too many favorites!
Vijay Singh: Lance Armstrong

Favorite Female Athlete?
Tiger Woods: Mia Hamm
Michael Campbell: Sarah Ulmer
Phil Mickelson: Too many favorites!
Vijay Singh: Serena Williams

 Favorite Sports Team?
 Tiger Woods: Lakers, Raiders, Yankees, Dodgers
 Michael Campbell: NZ All Blacks-Rugby
 Phil Mickelson: San Diego Chargers
 Vijay Singh: New York Yankees

Favorite Sporting Event, Non-Golf?
Tiger Woods: Baseball World Series
Michael Campbell: Olympic Games
Phil Mickelson: NFL Football
Vijay Singh: World Cup of Soccer

Who Would You Buy a Ticket to Watch?
Tiger Woods: Ali vs. Frazier (1, 2 & 3)
Michael Campbell: U2 in Concert
Phil Mickelson: San Diego Chargers
Vijay Singh: Pink Floyd in Concert

Favorite Musician or Group?
Tiger Woods: Van Halen, Prince, Janet Jackson, Madonna
Michael Campbell: Kiss
Phil Mickelson: REM
Vijay Singh: Pink Floyd


To Bid Or Not To Bid?

Or a better question might be, how did people get these items to begin with? An Augusta member green jacket and an early Pine Valley plan (or so someone claims) can be yours.


It's About Fun

Lorne Rubenstein writes about fun in golf, and where he goes to find it.


Creamer-Sorenstam Implications

logo_header_LPGA.gifThe Paula Creamer-Annika Sorrenstam spat at last week's Championship may tell us a lot about the state of the LPGA Tour under new Commissioner Carolyn Bivens.

Just a quick recap courtesy of AP:

The season-ending ADT Championship got off to a rocky start Thursday when the top two players on the LPGA Tour got into a tense dispute on the 18th fairway over where Sorenstam should have taken a drop from the hazard.

"Neither one of them was going to budge," rules official Janet Lindsay said.

After a debate that lasted so long it was almost too dark to finish at Trump International, the ruling ultimately went Sorenstam's way. She was allowed to go to a ball drop instead of returning to the tee, although she still made double bogey and fell out of a tie for the lead.

Hee-Won Han led with a 5-under-par 67 that essentially went unnoticed.

This round might be remembered as the start of a rivalry between the LPGA Tour's best players — one the undisputed star who already is in the Hall of Fame, the other a 19-year-old rookie with moxie.

"We were trying to determine where it went in," Sorenstam said. "We're standing 220 yards away, and we're talking about inches."

Creamer, who finished with a 68, stared hard at Sorenstam as the Swede spoke to reporters, and later had an animated discussion with LPGA Tour Commissioner Carolyn Bivens and Lindsay.

It would be interesting to hear what the animated discussion is about. It's hard to imagine that Creamer would be so insistent unless she believed Sorenstam was bending the rules.

Since the LPGA's firing of 18-year official Barb Trammell (who reportedly lost her job after she would not budge when a player wanted to belatedly enter an event after the standard entry deadline), the LPGA Tour has seen two high profile rules incidents since her departure. Neither of which was handled very well.

Golfweek's Jay Coffin reported that Trammell's "resignation" may have been motivatd by "a group of players who had made known to Bivens their increasing displeasure with Trammell's 'by the book' demeanor."

Just typing out loud here, but someone might want to tell Bivens that respect for the rules is vital to the integrity and image of a pro golf tour.


Pure Golf W/Peter Kessler

Peter Kessler interviews yours truly today, Monday the 21st at 8 am EST on XM Radio channel 146. The show repeats three more times after the original airing for those who have XM (or those on the west coas). It also appears that some sort of an audio archive is available online, since I know many of you will want to ad this moment in digital radio history to your itunes library.

They also have a free 3 day trial if you want to listen online.


Tiger's Injury

This AP story sort of explains how Tiger hurt himself in Japan.

Australian Open Week

This Martin Blake story from October previews the Peter Thomson designed Moonah Links, home to this week's Australian Open. Will Golf Channel will be televising it? I couldn't find any listings.


Jackson My Shot

This Golf Digest My Shot with Samuel Jackson gets off to a rough start ("If Darth Vader played golf, he'd for sure wear Nike"), but recovers quickly and there's some fun stuff worth reading.


Family, God, USGA

Arnold Palmer at the groundbreaking for the Palmer Center at the USGA: 

"It's like winning the [U.S.] Amateur, Open and the Senior Open all at once," said Palmer of the honor of having the new structure named for him. "I'm very flattered. I don't think you can put words to how important it is to me as an individual. When I was a kid, it was my family and God and the USGA. That was kind of the way I was raised."