Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • 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
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • 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
  • 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
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford

The fate of golf would seem to lie in the hands of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the United States Golf Association. Can we expect that they will protect and reverence the spirit of golf?



Tiger's Iron Play Improves And Aren't We Glad ShotLink Proves It

In his return to PGA National, Tiger Woods opened with an even par 70 in breezy conditions with greens under criticism from players for a lack of grass (Randall Mell reports).

Bob Harig's story for covers what was again, mostly positive, with one rough hole mixed in along with a less-than-pretty day statistically.

In Tiger's previous two starts, he noted and observers like myself confirmed that his iron play was needing work. While the sample size is small,'s Ryan Lavner noted this from the round one ShotLink data:

The more telling stat was this: His proximity to the hole (28 feet) was more than an 11-foot improvement over his first two starts this year. And also this: He was 11th among the early starters in strokes gained-tee to green, which measures a player’s all-around ball-striking. Last week, at Riviera, he ranked 121st

While a mysterious sport like golf can't always be summed up in stats, this kind of nugget is not only practical to Tiger, but to media and fans wanting to quantify progress. It's all a reminder that the PGA Tour's investment in ShotLink has often been underestimated in its magnitude, as is the tireless effort of the ShotLink crew and their volunteers each week.


Ogilvy: "The things taking the fun out of golf"

Geoff Ogilvy covers most of the things you'd expect someone of his character and wisdom to not care for in the modern game. Still, he offers his usual honesty and strong takes that makes this piece for Golf Australia worth your time.

On slow play, he describes what I saw multiple times last week from one player as his group was a par-5 behind the next group. Penalty shots would, of course, fix this...

If you do all the little things between shots quickly, you can almost take as long as you want over a shot and not fall behind.

On Tour, the most frustrating aspect of slow play is being ready to hit, then looking over to see the guy with the honour just about to start his pre-shot routine. In other words, he has been doing something else entirely at a time when he should have been working out his yardage and figuring what club he needs to use. It is just so thoughtless and selfish. And it drives me nuts.

I get that some players can have trouble taking the club away from the ball – Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia and Ben Crane spring to mind. And I have sympathy with such a problem. But still. It is relatively easy to get to that point quickly – even if you then struggle to start
 the backswing.


Will Jack's Concern About The Scale Of Golf Be Heard?

Lost in Jack Nicklaus highlighting the likelihood of pending USGA/R&A changes in their distance stance and his views on Titleist's chilling effect on discussion, were the Golden Bear's views on golf's scale.

We've heard many bring up sustainability, including Tiger Woods most recently. But based on the social media reaction I saw to Nicklaus' comments earlier this, week, it remains remarkable how many golfers do not believe that a 7,500 yard course takes longer to play than a 6,500 yard course. And there are golfers surprised to hear that the length of a round is a deterrent and that a reduced scale would be more attractive long term.

The transcript of his comments is worth reading if you're unclear on his stance, which is going beyond just where and how great players hit the ball. 

The game is a great game today the way it is. The game when I played was a great game. The game they played 20 years before me is a great game. However, as time changes, I think you need to change with the times. The times today, people don't have the time to spend playing five hours to play golf. They don't have -- a lot of people don't have the money to be able to do that, and they find the game very frustrating and very difficult.

So if the golf ball came back, it would solve I think a lot of those issues, and it would make -- it would -- I think we only have one golf course in this country, my opinion, that's not obsolete to the golf ball and that's Augusta National. They are the only people that have enough money that have been able to keep the golf course and do the things you had to. They are even buying up parts of country clubs and roads and everything else to get that done.

Not that other people couldn't do that, but it just unpractical. Why every time we have an event, do we have to keep buying more land and then making things longer? It just doesn't make any sense to me.


Tiger Wheels It Right Back At Honda, Meets Stoneman Douglas High Student Volunteer 

Tiger's wheeling himself right back into the PGA National fray and as Dan Kilbridge reports for Golfweek, there wasn't much to this new normal to say in advance of a 7:45 am ET tee time with Patton Kizzire and Brandt Snedeker.

There was, however, what sounded to me like an admission that his fused back, while making him pain free, may be complicating his feel for certain shots.

“I can’t create the same angles I used to be able to create naturally,” Woods said. “Obviously I’m fused, so it’s a little bit different and I’m starting to learn what it feels like under the gun. Some of the shots I like to play, they’re not the same as they used to be and that part I’m going to have to learn. It’s not something that I’m used to because I’ve never felt like this, but this is the new norm.”

Tiger Tracker had some interesting observations on Tiger's Pro-Am round, which sounded similar to low-key approaches he took at Torrey Pines and Riviera, but with some stingers thrown in this time.

Kara Duffy of the local CBS affiliate detailed Tiger's impromptu meeting with Stoneman Douglas high student Kevin Shanahan, who is again volunteering at the tournament and who was introduced to Tiger by caddie Joe LaCava.

On Wednesday, the caddie for Tiger Woods got wind that Shanahan is a student there. Moments later, the golf great called him over during warm ups at the driving range, and what may have been a minor exchange in his mind, meant the world to Kevin.

“It was really a majority of me thanking him because I thought, ‘oh my God I’m getting this signed by Tiger Woods,’ but it really felt like he talked from the heart,” Shanahan said. “It didn’t feel scripted, it felt like it really came from him being sincere and saying, ‘I’m really sorry that you’re going through this,’ and it made me feel awesome!”

Last year’s Honda Classic winner Rickie Fowler also stopped for a photo with the teen.


Na, We Don't Have A Problem: Retired Cricketer Mocks PGA Tour Slow Play

H/T to Alex Myers for spotting the latest gem for the slow play files: a cricketer mocking last weekend's Genesis Open slow play and in particular, prime culprit Kevin Na. As we know, the PGA Tour embraces slow play and seems to think that as every other sport on the planet tries to speed up, apparently this kind of nonsense will fly.

Retired English cricketeer Kevin Pietersen is my kind of guy; he’s trying to save the rhinos and he’s openly mocking Kevin Na taking over a minute to hit a tap in putt last week at Riviera. Do I need to point out that it’s not a good look for golf when athletes in other sports are openly mocking golfers for taking too long? Or, in the case of the former cricketer with 3.6 million followers, filming a follow up how-to video?


And his follow-up how-to for Na:





Jack Nicklaus Singles Out Titleist In Distance Debate

I was flipping through some books last night reading quotes about the distance debate and one in particular actually made me laugh at its ridiculousness. (More on that below).

Not coincidentally, the quote came from the subject of Jack Nicklaus' frustration.

From Randall Mell at, offering even more from Nicklaus's distance comments and suggestion of pending USGA/R&A action.

“Titleist controls the game,” Nicklaus said. “And I don't understand why Titleist would be against it. I know they are, but I don't understand why you would be against it. They make probably the best product. If they make the best product, whether it's 20 percent shorter ... What difference would it make? Their market share isn't going to change a bit. They are still going to dominate the game."

Titleist representatives could not be immediately reached by Golf Channel.

Huh, they're hovering around media center all the time even though they're not media and in general, despise the media!

“It's not about [Titleist]. It's about the people watching the game and the people that are paying the tab. The people paying the tab are the people that are buying that television time and buying all the things that happen out there. Those are the people that you've got to start to look out for.

“And the growth of the game of golf, it's not going to grow with the young kids. Young kids don't have five hours to play golf. Young kids want instant gratification.”

Forget the kids, the rest of us don't want five hours either!

As for the laughs, here was the quote mentioned above, reprinted in The Future of Golf, from now-retired Acushnet CEO Wally Uihlein in full conspiracy mode, way back in July 2003, Sports Illustrated:

"The print and electronic media have promoted a technophobic agenda since the start of the season, featuring such tabloid-ready headlines as 'The Weapons Race,' 'Ban this Ball or Els,' Going the Distance With Souped Up Golf Balls, and 'Cooling Hot Drivers.' The 24-hour Golf Channel contributes to the hysteria by allowing selected talent to spew one-sided antitechnology commentary and conduct 'leading the witness' interviews."

Here is the video from with Alex Miceli asking questions:


And Then Mike Davis Told Jack: "We're Going To Get There" On Ball Rollback

With the Honda Classic in town and a role in the tournament, Jack Nicklaus talked to media about a variety of topics, including distance.  Over dinner Sunday night, USGA CEO Mike Davis suggested a solution along the lines of what Nicklaus has long proposed is now on the table.

Golfweek's Dan Kilbridge reports:

“Mike said, ‘We’re getting there. We’re going to get there. I need your help when we get there.'” Nicklaus said. “I said, ‘That’s fine. I’m happy to help you. I’ve only been yelling at you for 40 years.’ 1977 is the first time I went to the USGA.”

Nicklaus said sarcastically he assumed that meant the USGA would be studying the issue for ‘another 10 years or so.’

“(Davis) says, ‘Oh, no, no, no. We’re not going to do that. I think we’re getting closer to agreements with the R&A and be able to do some things and be able to help.’ Because the R&A has been – sort of doesn’t want to do anything. I’m hoping that’s going to happen. I’ve talked to Mike a lot. Mike’s been very optimistic about wanting to get something done but hasn’t been able to get there yet.”

Oh joy, here we go! This is going to get very interesting very fast.


Bubba Has Had A Hall Of Fame Career, By Some Standards

With two majors--both Masters--and a career total of ten wins, he's moved into World Golf Hall of Fame status in the Monty/Freddie era where standards changed. Matt Adams and I discuss on Golf Central's Alternate Shot...


Shock: PGA Tour's Procter & Gamble CMO Has All Of The Best B-Speak Down Pat 

WSJ's Brian Costa gets the first in-depth interview with PGA Tour Chief Marketing Officer Joe Arcuri (thanks reader John) and the ex Procter & Gamble man is the first true B-speak and M-speak artisan at Tour headquarters since the Finchem brand-platform years.

Surely this authentic frontier gibberish works with corporate types, and you have to admire the consistency levels to ensure total buy-in, but when you break the words down there just isn't much substance here.

WSJ: How is marketing professional golf similar to marketing consumer packaged goods, as you’ve done for much of your career, and how is it different?

MR. ARCURI: What I’ve found similar is how fundamental the power of your ideas is, and the ability to create authentic and engaging connections with your consumer, or in our case our fan. That remains the fuel of great brand-building, and the Tour brand is no exception.

The biggest difference is the higher degree of unpredictability inherent in marketing a sport, given the week-to-week variables of live competition. What you have to get really good at is real-time storytelling. You need to be very nimble week-to-week on the story lines that are occurring.

Why didn't I think of that! Though I would have gotten a platform mention in.

WSJ: What are the Tour’s biggest marketing priorities for 2018?

MR. ARCURI: My overall focus is to grow new fans. We have a very strong and affluent core fan base to build on. But to future-proof the Tour,

Whoa...future proof, so good. Go on...

we need to make sure that we’re attracting and growing new fans.

Grow 'em baby, grow 'em!

We’ve been shaping our marketing plans through a fans-first lens to ensure that our media, our partnership deals, our content across all platforms, right to our on-site tournament experience, will allow us to reach beyond that core fan and attract new fan segments.

So good and yet you ask, do people listen to that gibberish and nod their heads?

WSJ: Who are those new fans?

MR. ARCURI: We’re trying to attract millennials, but also what we call sports socialites. Those are a more diverse group of fans. They skew a little bit younger than our core base. They’re more diverse in general, and they consume the product at a high rate on both digital and social platforms.

Do they now? I best they just love five hour and 20 minute rounds too.

WSJ: What makes “sports socialites” distinct from millennials?

MR. ARCURI: It’s not an age thing. It’s more a mind-set of how they want to interact with the sport. They are as interested in what we call outside-the-ropes stories as inside-the-ropes stories and competition content.

Spring Break 2 K! Wooohooo, yay let's yell on their backswing! Woke!

They’re interested in what’s going on with our players beyond just the competitive action. They have a broader sense of the sport and want to engage with it on different levels.

Good for them. Please tell us how you reach these special people...

The same example from Jordan’s hole-out to win a playoff at the Travelers Championship comes immediately to mind. Our suite of social analytics and listening tools showed us quickly that the content was getting tremendous traction through our own channels, and we did two things.

Action! Activate!

First, we amplified the content we had already produced by pushing it through advertising to targeted new audiences that hadn’t yet seen it. And second, we moved to quickly produce new content, including the mix of fan-collected video I mentioned to create other ways for fans to experience the moment.

Such a fancy way of saying we edited together some fan video for Snapchat. Give this man an SVP title, another million a year and a Pablo Creek membership, stat!


Tiger, Stricker Land Assistant's Carts For 2018 Ryder Cup

Jim Furyk's answering questions now on Golf Channel--surely there will be stipulations for cart key access should Tiger Woods make the team on points--but for now we're up to three and all have been fitted for earpieces (and their designated assistants to the assistants) already!

The PGA of America press release:

U.S. Captain Jim Furyk Names Two
More Vice Captains For 2018 Ryder Cup

Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods join
Davis Love III as U.S. Ryder Cup Vice Captains in Paris
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA (February 20, 2018) – United States Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk today announced that Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods would serve as Vice Captains for the 2018 Ryder Cup, which will take place September 28-30 at Le Golf National in Paris, France.
Upon being named U.S. Captain on January 11, 2017, Furyk immediately appointed former Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III as a Vice Captain.
Furyk will name additional Vice Captains at a later date.
“To win in Paris will be a great challenge, and to have Steve and Tiger share in the journey is important for me and for American golf," said Furyk, who made today’s appointments from PGA of America Headquarters. “The deep appreciation they both have for competition, the concept of team, and the Ryder Cup is infectious. Their knowledge and experience will be an invaluable resource in our effort to retain the Ryder Cup.”
This is Stricker’s third stint as a Ryder Cup Vice Captain, having served at Gleneagles in 2014 and in the 2016 U.S. victory at Hazeltine. Stricker, 50, played for the U.S. in three Ryder Cups: 2008 (won by the U.S. at Valhalla), 2010 and 2012. A native of Edgerton, Wisconsin, Stricker has 12 PGA Tour victories on his resume, as well as five Presidents Cups. As a captain, he piloted a winning effort in the 2017 Presidents Cup at Liberty National.
“This is a great honor for me, and I am once again thrilled to be a Vice Captain and to join Jim and the 2018 U.S. Ryder Cup Team,” said Stricker. “We plan to keep the momentum and the spirit of Hazeltine alive and channel it to our advantage in Paris. I am ready to get to work and do all that I can to ensure that we hold on to the Cup.”
Woods’ appointment is his second as a Vice Captain, as he debuted in this role at Hazeltine. A 42-year-old native of Cypress, California, Woods will draw upon a wide array of playing experiences gained in seven Ryder Cups (1997, ’99, 2002, ’04, ’06, ’10, ’12) and eight Presidents Cups. Fourteen of Woods’ 79 career victories on the PGA Tour have come in major championships, including four PGA Championships. Woods is a record 11-time recipient of the PGA of America’s PGA Player of the Year Award.
“The Ryder Cup is incredibly special to me,” said Woods. “I am thrilled to once again serve as a Ryder Cup Vice Captain and I thank Jim for his confidence, friendship and support. My goal is to make the team, but whatever happens over the course of this season, I will continue to do what I can to help us keep the Cup. I’m excited about the challenge ahead.”
The 47-year-old Furyk played in nine consecutive Ryder Cups (1997, ’99, 2002, ‘04, ‘06, ‘08, ‘10, ‘12, ‘14), which is the second-most in U.S. Ryder Cup history (Phil Mickelson, 11). A West Chester, Pennsylvania native, Furyk was twice a member of winning U.S. Ryder Cup efforts as a player (1999, 2008), and once as a Vice Captain (2016).
A two-time Captain, Love led the U.S. to a 17 to 11 victory at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2016 during the most recent Ryder Cup.
In the event that any Vice Captains qualify for, or are named to, the U.S. Ryder Cup Team, Furyk will have the option to name replacements.


Mickelson, Spieth Okay With Extending Augusta's 5th Hole

On news of plans filed to lengthen Augusta National's 5th hole,'s Will Gray went to players with the premise and while Graeme McDowell could not get excited, former Masters champions Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth were largely positive about the concept.

“I’m a big fan of making the hard holes harder and the easy holes easier,” Mickelson said Sunday at the Genesis Open. “So making No. 5 harder, which is perennially a difficult par, or should be one of the harder par-4s out there, I’m a big fan of. What I’m not a fan of is taking a hole like 7 and making it the second-toughest par on the golf course. I think that’s a mistake. I think making 5 more difficult is not.”

Jordan Spieth believes the proposed changes would force driver into players’ hands on what he described as a “3-wood hole” given the pitch of the fairway, and added that firm and fast conditions could potentially push a longer fifth hole to the brink of playability.

“It would make an already very difficult hole even harder,” Spieth said.


Bubba And GMac: Two Additions To 2018 Ryder Cup Intrigue

They can play the Ryder Cup on a polo field with 24 drones and we'd probably find intrigue in the biennial team match play event.

But the possibility of Graeme McDowell enjoying a resurgence and Bubba Watson playing his way onto the USA squad, adds so much personality should it happen.

Eamon Lynch at Golfweek has the McDowell angle and while the Northern Irishman downplays the Ryder Cup on his list of priorities, his play at Riviera reminds that he still has game.

Over at, Brian Wacker considers the Bubba angle, a topic that arose after his Genesis Open win. Bubba brought up the Ryder Cup and it seems after his high profile 2016 snub (7th in points, 5th cart driver), he knows that accumulating points is essential and he has Captain Furyk's support.

“I’ve been bugging Jim Furyk for the longest time,” Watson said of the American captain. “I told him I want to be a co-captain, and he’s been texting back to me this week, ‘No, you’re too good. You need to be on our team playing.’ ”