Q&A: Geoff Shackelford

Q&A: Geoff Shackelford 1NOT MUCH ABOUT GOLF escapes Geoff Shackelford. Geoff diligently blogs at GeoffShackelford.com, writes for major golf publications, and has authored several books about golf and golf course design.

Called the Herbert Warren Wind of golf bloggers by Sports Illustrated, Geoff serves up multiple, daily tidbits from the golf media, and his many golf-savvy readers chime in. It’s a lively forum.

Last week Geoff answered a few questions for ARMCHAIR GOLF.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Now that the buzz has died down, any lingering thoughts on the Ryder Cup?

I continue to think of all the great shots, clutch putts and overall exciting play, and how shocked some people seem to be at how thrilling golf can be if you just let the boys play. The folks at Valhalla did a great job cleaning up the hillsides and removing trees to create some amazing amphitheaters that added to the fun, because some of those roars were amazing. But the course setup really woke people up to just how absurd so many setups have become. People saw that golf can an exciting game when you combine great players being allowed to play and big crowds. Rough was not a factor in any way.

And I continue to scratch my head thinking of certain strategic decisions by Faldo each day. He bungled the foursomes pairings and the Sunday singles lineup made no sense. It’s just amazing that such a smart guy had two years to plan and understand some pretty basic things and didn’t get it right. But pressure does funny things to humans. Which is why the moral of this story is: surround yourself with multiple assistant captains who aren’t afraid to speak their mind!

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Who is your player of the year?

Tiger. Sorry Padraig, but the U.S. Open win was epic and Tiger won more events in a shortened season than Padraig.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Give your assessment of next year’s majors venues.

Augusta: probably the last year of the second cut before they use the groove rule change as cover for getting rid of it; Bethpage: should be exciting in terms of the buzz and fun to see how Mike Davis repairs the various blunders of 2002 and what other fun stuff he has in mind; Turnberry: figures to be an ugly week if the course changes are as bad as I’ve heard; Hazeltine: this is going to be huge for the PGA of America because Oakland Hills was lousy just a year after they had one of their all-time best events at Southern Hills where low rough and short grass made the players grind in the way that is most interesting and rewarding.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: What are your favorite golf courses?

Anything people describe as a “fun little” course is my cup of tea. I love that slightly derogatory description. I heard it yesterday about Rustic Canyon and just laughed. It’s the ultimate compliment. Unfortunately, we have a severe shortage of fun little courses.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: Will Tiger still be Tiger when he comes back?

Probably better since he was in such bad shape. And he’s got to be so bored, so when he comes back he’ll be refreshed and really ready to grind. It’s just not looking good for his competition.

ARMCHAIR GOLF: What are you working on?

My website, some really neat magazine assignments, some videos of our course projects, and I’m preparing for our restoration project at L.A. Country Club, which I am really excited about. It’s going to be so fun to get George Thomas’s vision very close to how he left it. That will make the course unique both because he did some amazing things at LACC North, and also considering how poorly his other courses have evolved.

−The Armchair Golfer

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Neil Sagebiel

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