Focus on the Golf Media: Geoff Shackelford

[This is the first of several pieces about the golf media planned for this week.]

A year ago, I was a big fan of Geoff Shackelford.  Now, not so much.

What happened?  Well, let’s go back about a year.  I started regularly reading, and occasionally posting comments, on his website.  It seemed a decent enough place.  At some point, and for a period of a few weeks, I posted there fairly regularly.  I noticed the occasional disappearing comment, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and figured maybe I had forgotten to hit “Post Comment.”

However, disappearing comments happened frequently enough that I eventually had to accept that they were being deleted.  Let me be clear: When I post comments, it’s not like I use crude language or start foodfight arguments with other posters.  But, to be sure, I don’t post just to repeat things I heard Gary Williams tell Damon Hack: I think this course really suits both Tiger’s game and Phil’s game; I would love to see those two in the final group on Sunday, I’ll tell you what.  No, my fingers are not going to be typing that.

When my posts disappeared, I disappeared.  Better to post at CBS.  It’s exasperating when CBS deletes comments for pointing out logical problems with their articles, but they let pretty much everything else go, so there is a generally lively crowd posting there, even if it can skew juvenile.  The CBS website covers all sports, too, so posters tend to have more of a rough-and-tumble attitude than at golf-specific websites.  It’s simultaneously  refreshing and tedious to see comments of this sort: “Golf isn’t a dying sport because it’s not a sport.  It’s a game for girls — and men too feminine to play real sports.”

So, after that Ode to CBS, back to the story…  Shackelford’s blog was no longer part of my regular routine, but I still stopped by once in a while.  After Dan Olsen’s recent radio comments about Tiger Woods and PEDs, I made the rounds of the golf media to see what people were saying.  Here’s what I found at Shackelford’s website (you can read the entire exchange there):

Nothing To See Here, Move Along Files: Tiger PED Suspension

I’m a little surprised how many people found even a shred of credibility in former tour player Dan Olsen’s comments to Lansing, Michigan’s WVFN-AM suggesting Tiger was serving a suspension for PED usage.

Wow, not even a shred of credibility.  Because, like, we all know, there is no reason at all to suspect Tiger Woods has used PEDs.  Despite the fact that in 2010 — predating both Biogenesis and Blood Sport, by the way — 24 percent of PGA Tour players surveyed by Sports Illustrated said they thought Woods juiced.  Not a shred of credibility, I tells ya!

He concluded his piece by linking Olsen to Birthers and Truthers.  Well, as you might have guessed, I responded.  I mentioned the SI survey, and I wondered about the weirdness of Steinberg and Votaw releasing statements concurrently.  Then I quickly forgot all about it.

Until one of my readers posted this:

I read your post on at Shackelford’s site…and I saw his reply where he basically made fun of you.

I went to see the response.  My hide is thick, but Shackelford’s reply hurt me. I cried.  Literally.  Okay, not really; I got carried away there.  Shackelford told me his problem was with Olsen’s “wild accusations,” not the suspicions about Tiger Woods and PEDs.  To me, that’s a distinction without a difference given the overall mocking tone of the piece and, especially, the title: “Nothing to see here, move along.”  (The title pretty much nails the golf media’s attitude toward the now five years old Woods-Galea revelations.)

In addition, Shackelford mocked: the 2010 SI survey; my questions about Steinberg and Votaw (he completely missed my point); and, oddly, my prediction that Woods and Vonn were going to wed on Valentine’s Day.  (Actually, that prediction might yet prove to be accurate; Damon Hack reported this morning that no one seems to know where Woods is; could he be on a honeymoon?)

I responded; he responded; I responded; the end.  You can go read the exchange for yourself if you care to.  It’s still there, it looks like.

When a few days later Tony Massarotti wrote, “But in some corners, the response to Olsen’s initial comments have been so strong that they border on psychotic.”  I immediately thought of Shackelford.  Nevertheless, I thought the exchange was interesting and informative, even if Shackelford tried to slur me with the Woods-Vonn marriage stuff the same way he tried to slur Olsen with the Birther/Truther stuff.  That was disappointing, argumentum ad hominem being such an obvious logical fallacy, at least for me and my readers.

Anyway, I moved on and quickly forgot about the exchange.  A few days later, making the rounds of the golf websites, I encountered a poll Mr. Shackelford was conducting:

Poll: If Tiger Had Tossed A Club Into A Doral Lake…

If Tiger had tossed a club in the water at Doral…

He would have been praised for his humanness, passion and general boyish wonderfulness
He would have been lambasted for continuing to set a poor example for kids
The reaction would have been somewhere in between

I laughed at how everything with these guys has to be about Tiger Woods.  Rory chunks a club in the water, so their mind immediately turns to… Tiger Woods.  (By the way, Shackelford’s top story this morning is about Tiger Woods taking a car ride with Michael Jordan.)

I read through the comments to the poll article and then wrote my own witty (this is verifiable, be patient) comment, making a point about the golf media’s undying obsession with Woods.  I checked back later to see if anyone had remarked upon my comment.  Lo and behold, my comment had been deleted!

Damn!  In my earlier back-and-forth with Shackelford, I had carefully copied and saved my comments before posting them, knowing they might well be deep-sixed, but this time I had been negligent.

Here is where my wit saved me.  My comment had been so witty and insightful that a commenter after me had quoted my words and given me the “+1” treatment.  Saved by the wit!

+1: A better poll question would be: If Tiger Woods threw a golf club into the water, would there be a poll question about Rory McIlroy?

Now why in the world would Shackelford delete that comment?  Seriously, why?

He was on Morning Drive this morning, and his poll question was a topic of discussion.  Later, he said he has been “needling” the Ryder Cup task force.  Needling?  Isn’t that what my (verifiably) witty comment was doing?

Ah, well.  I’m back to posting at CBS.  If anyone has thick skin, it’s Kyle Porter.  Every week when he posts his Expert Picks, some guy shows up Old-Faithful-like to tell Porter he’s not an expert and blah blah blah  worst writer ever blah blah blah know someone at CBS blah blah blah…  Those comments survive.

Thin skin, thick skin.

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7 Responses to Focus on the Golf Media: Geoff Shackelford

  1. JoseyWales says:

    Shackelford is overly sensitive to criticism…especially about himself. He failed at his career to design golf courses…no one will hire him, so he takes it out on anybody that he doesn’t like with a quick trigger on the delete button. Because he has “cleansed” his site, all his posters pretty much sound the same…Shack clones. All his topics now look like everybody else’s and he uses Tiger Woods whenever he can because he knows it gets him clicks. He is not a creative guy so he has become a copy/paste geek. He is one of the most critical and sarcastic guys out there, but if you make a sarcastic post it gets whacked…he can dish it out but he can’t take it.
    He is also a hypocrite. A while back he got all over Steve Elkington for making a Tweet joke when the football player Michael Sam came out as gay. Shackelford ridiculed and vilified Elkington for being homophobic and a gay basher. Yet just the other day he posted a topic about Kid Rock joining the Bears Club in Palm Beach…he quoted Kid Rock as saying: “Look at me…I’m like, What a fag”…he thought Kid Rock was clever, but Elkington’s joke about a “purse” was offensive. When I posted this on his site it got deleted. Shackelford made fun of Charlie Beljan and accused him of faking panic attacks when I happen to know first hand that Charlie’s attacks are very real and no laughing matter. When I posted this on his site it got deleted. He called Rory McIroy a “twerp” for walking off the golf course and then Shackelford deleted dozens of posts from protesting posters. So now he has fully embraced himself with Golf Channel and Golf Digest, two of the biggest Tiger Woods slurping media outlets in the land. So there you have it

    • lannyh says:

      It is pretty bad, in my opinion, to invite people to leave comments and delete the ones that disagree with you. If they use vulgarity, fine, delete them. If they are attack dogs who return day after day to personally insult you, fine, delete them. But to delete posts just because the are in opposition to a point you made, or a worldview you hold?

      Oh, well, it’s his website; he can do what he wants. I guess he is doing what he thinks is optimum for him and his website. Good luck to him, but there are a million golf blogs out there posting the same trick shot videos and “Tiger Woods rode in car with Michael Jordan!!” links. I’m personally going to read and post at one where my comments aren’t deleted.

      Again, I harbor no animosity; I wish him well; I’d love to see him lead a movement to roll back the ball and golf clubs. I just have no desire to post where it’s a coin toss if your comment will be deleted.

  2. JoseyWales says:

    With the way Shackelford operates, you have a site where basically everyone agrees with him. He allows some mild criticism, but he deletes way too many posts. And unless the deleted posters put their heads together like you and I are doing now, nobody knows the difference. What is he afraid of?

    • Sports-realist says:

      Those who cry the most about free speech are many times the ones who REALLY mean, it’s free as long as you agree…..We’ve seen this SO much with the homo’s now, that the media is attacking people, and networks are firing folks for saying anything negative about homos….Yet these are the SAME media who tells us EVERYONE has the RIGHT to do whatever they want….Obviously the hypocrisy is loud and clear….With golf, you are ALLOWED to kiss up to Woods, but don’t you DARE be critical, or you get treated like Olsen………….Shackelford is a hypocrite, and to think he’s removing posts that aren’t offensive or vulgar either…..SMH….

      • JoseyWales says:

        I actually exchanged emails with Shackelford over this topic. I was surprised how mean and nasty he was. I have never used any vulgarity or anything close but he really attacked me for even questioning his content. The double standard in the media is widespread and cancerous IMO.

      • Jason says:

        9 times out of 10 those that are homophobic have something to hide. The other time they are just ignorant. Which is it?

  3. Speedy says:

    The Shack also bans people from his website without notice. When the banned try to visit, “No Access”. There are ways to get around it, but why bother, it’s a lame site.

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