Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chipping and Putting While Merrill Burns

Well, we know what Stan O’Neal was doing while Merrill Lynch was going through its worst crisis since I left the warm confines “Mother Merrill” lo those many years ago.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, Mr. O’Neal’s extracurricular activities are available for all to see:

Metropolitan Golf Association - GHIN - 9.1

Purchase Golf Club of New York
Effective 10/10/2007
Name : Stanley Oneal

Score HistoryUsed T Date Score CR/Slope Diff. Course Name
H 9/30/07 88 72.0/140 12.9 Purchase Country Club
H 9/29/07 89 72.0/140 13.7 Purchase Country Club
* AI 9/22/07 80 70.7/123 8.5 Waccabuc Country Club
AI 9/22/07 89 71.1/133 15.2 Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
AI 9/22/07 90 72.0/140 14.5 Purchase Country Club
AI 9/15/07 90 72.4/140 14.2
* H 9/3/07 84 72.0/140 9.7 Purchase Country Club
H 9/2/07 91 72.0/140 15.3 Purchase Country Club
H 9/1/07 87 71.6/133 13.1 Vineyard Golf Club
* H 8/31/07 83 71.6/133 9.7 Vineyard Golf Club
* H 8/29/07 85 71.6/133 11.4 Vineyard Golf Club
* H 8/26/07 85 71.6/133 11.4 Vineyard Golf Club
* AI 8/26/07 83 70.5/133 10.6
AI 8/19/07 86 71.9/133 12.0
AI 8/19/07 85 71.5/134 11.4
AI 8/19/07 93 72.1/132 17.9
* AI 8/19/07 80 70.5/133 8.1
* AI 8/18/07 83 71.1/133 10.1
* H 8/12/07 86 72.0/140 11.3 Purchase Country Club
* A 8/12/07 76 70.8/137 4.3 Away Score Posted at Home Club

Score Type: H - Home, A - Away, T - Tournament,
P - Penalty, C - Combined 9H, I - Internet

Not having a handicap myself, I don’t quickly grasp what all the numbers mean, except that while Mother Merrill was melting down, Mr. O’Neal was finding solace on the links.

Any readers thinking we are making this up can go to the following web site: and find the numbers for themselves.

Fancy golf clubs such as the above tend not to allow cell phone calls on the course or even in the club house...p
resumably, then, Mr. O'Neal at least kept up with the problems on his Blackberry?

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2007 NotMakingThisUp, LLC

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


justin smith said...

Just to provide a little perspective, out of the 20 dates, all of them were on the weekend except for 1 Wednesday, 1 Friday, and 1 Monday.

Do with that what you want, but a man should be able to take a break. I imagine he didn't go out with his drinking buddies every time; I bet he went out and played with some guys who could help him out.

Lyon Jewett said...

Good for Stan. All that practice will help him now that he has so much more time on his hands.

Bratman said...

And that Friday and Monday was labor day weekend. This whole thing seems like much ado about nothing.

Skeptic Tank said...

If O'Neal had been successful in negotiating a merger with Wachovia, wouldn't he have been eligible for a parting gift of $260,000,000?

Bob said...

Weekends? Where are the customers' weekends?

Steve said...

I'm on board with you 99.9% of the time, but these were weekends...even CEOs get to take some time off, right? The problem with Stan seems to have been his Captain Ahab-esque obsession with chasing Goldman and his astonishingly self-destructive...diplomacy...if that's the right word. Alienating himself from his potential allies with weird power grabs. I think people spend way too much time at the office anyway. More time on the links might have given him some perspective.

Mark said...

>>Weekends? Where are the customers' weekends?<<


That's my second-favorite variation on that theme. My favorite is "Where are the customers' girls?" Who remembers where that came from?

(According to John Brooks's "The Go-Go Years"-- one of my favorite Wall Street history books-- it's what John Kenneth Galbraith said when he visited the model-stocked French chateau of Bernie Kornfeld of IOS [in]fame.)

Bud said...

Hey, lighten up - he's a busy guy. It takes some effort to play 3 times on 3 different courses on 9/22. I guess playing 4 times on 8/19 wore him out. (Most likely, he posted other days' rounds on those particular dates.)

TheColonel said...

Hmm. Did you read the allegations against James Cayne in the Wall Street Journal ? If so, you wouldn't be surprised.

Who ARE these people running things ? Have they no shame ? How come the benefits aren't "trickling down" ? What exactly is it that they do that is so worthy of the rewards reaped ?

BelowTheCrowd said...

In my business, when a crisis is going on, weekends on the golf course are the first thing to go.

For everybody. Including the top execs.

That's the price of being in charge. Sometimes you have to earn those millions, and sometimes that means you skip your golf game, ski weekend, or whatever.

Even when it's not absolutely necessary, I usually make sure I'm around at those times, if for no better reason than that a leader needs to show a good example to the folks around him.


QuestionMark and the Mysterians said...

Bud has it right. Not to defend the guy but he could have played golf on any date and then turned the cards in all on one day. No one his age plays 3 rounds of golf in one day, let alone on 3 different courses. Obviously his club is not a stickler for that stuff; at my club they start cutting strokes if you don't put your card in within 2 days of playing.

Joshua said...

Oh my, people. When you're paid that much and responsible for that many people, you don't have weekends. It's not "a job" when you're paid more per day than most people make in five years.

Sam E. Antar said...


There are plenty of companies that would be far better off if their CEO's spent more time on the golf course than in their offices and managing their companies.

Have you ever heard of the term - management discount?

Talking of golf scores, I remember when my attorneys prepared me for my very first deposition.

My attorneys said that I should think of a deposition like a golf game. In golf, the lowest score wins. In depositions, the less said, the better. You try to limit your answers to yes, no, I don't recall, or I don't know. Do not volunteer any information to the other side.

Maybe Stan O'Neal's attorneys gave him the same advice relating to potential shareholder litigation. Perhaps, Mr. O'Neal, the genius that he is, thought if he improved his golf score by scoring less, he would learn not to volunteer any potentially damaging information in possible future depositions.


Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO & convicted felon)

PS: I never played golf. However, as a criminal I learned how to play games with Wall Street.