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"You lose a lot more in golf than you win. So when you do win, you have to enjoy it. I'm going to go back home and enjoy it with my friends and enjoy it with my family and, yeah, I love being from Northern Ireland. I tell everyone how great it is. For me, it's the best place on earth. I'm obviously biased, but I love it back there and I love the people."



HINT: Look at the bottom of the page.


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Relationships are tricky. It takes work from both sides to give it a fighting chance. Sometimes it is doomed to fail. Communication is the central theme towards finding a way to cohabitant peacefully. Business relations can be even more problematic. Its about making money, which should be a common goal from both sides. Yet, the element of communication isn’t often as clear or necessarily a two-way street. That seems to be where one retailer and prominent equipment manufacturer now find themselves.

Nike is being sued by Games People Play, Inc. (GPP) out of Beaumont, Texas over the sale of goods to different purchasers at different prices and discriminatory promotional practices. GPP has filed this action under federal and state antitrust laws, specifically Section 2(a) of the Robinson-Patman Act and Oregon’s Anti-Price Discrimination Act.

The retailer, who has been listed multiple times in the past as one of the Top 100 Golf Shops in America by Golf World Magazine, lists various examples where Nike Golf provided products at lower prices to other retail accounts. Despite bringing the matter to the attention of Nike Golf, it failed to do anything about it, according to the lawsuit. In turn GPP went forward and purchased product from a gray market account even though Nike Golf was made fully aware of it.

According to papers filed, Nike Golf sent representatives, including Mike Francis, Nike Golf’s GM, to meet with the owners of GPP to discuss and or potentially resolve the matter. However it had the opposite effect as it eventually led to a contentious relationship, which has seen GPP’s business impacted by its strained relationship with Nike Golf. GPP contends that Nike has refused to stop its ongoing price discrimination consistent with the terms of Oregon’s Anti-Price Discrimination Law, and therefore it continues to suffer ongoing price discrimination and lost profits.

GPP is suing for damages caused by unlawful and unethical golf suppliers that affect supplier competition, suppler retail accounts, consumers and shareholders. The complaint was filed in May but in October Nike’s request for a motion to dismiss was denied. It is expected to go to trial by jury.


You knew it was coming; it was only a matter of time. Perhaps the real question was whether they were going to include the kitchen sink? While there is still time left in the calendar year, TaylorMade’s fate has been known for some time. Sales have slumped due to the excess inventory it thrust on retailers starting a year ago. Yet, it doesn’t take an Economics Professor from M.I.T. to figure out the company was going to move forward as if nothing had happened. What will it take to turn the ship around and get its sales going in the right direction again? Recently, Herbert Hainer, adidas CEO attempted to calm the investment community when he said, “At TaylorMade-adidas Golf we have a very clean inventory.” It doesn’t speak to golf’s retailers, but that has never stopped it from doing what it wants.

And a week later its business as usual as TaylorMade announced its new R15 Series driver in Japan and now the American version has been unveiled. The company is borrowing on its illustrious past in an effort to rekindle interest with retailers and in turn consumers. The R Series has been a trusted ally for TaylorMade for many years as has been Burner, both of which are being re-enlisted for duty in 2015. TaylorMade is going with a double barrel approach for 2015 as it looks to push its way back into the conversation.

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As the calendar year winds down with a little over seven weeks left in 2014, evidence continues to emerge that the best-laid plans still often go astray. The loosely translated Robert Burns quote remains as relevant today as it did when it was first published in 1785. 

                   The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,

                   Gang aft agley,

                   An’ lea’e us nough but grief an’ pain,

                   For promis’d joy!

                   (The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry,

                   And leave us nothing but grief and pain,

                   For promised Joy!)

In the last issue, Callaway Golf’s operating results were examined. Its chief rival in the hard goods side of the business, TaylorMade delivered its third quarter results that indicate the fun times appear to be a fleeting memory. The fact of the matter is, the company that was enjoying the last laugh when it came to equipment sales, has fallen on tough times in the last 12 months. While some will bristle at that characterization, consider some of the facts and draw your own conclusions. It appears the pain on display today has been self-inflicted.

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In the opening round of the 2014 CIMB Classic, Rikard Karlberg finishes bogey-free for a 65 to take the early lead before play was suspended due to weather.




It doesn’t appear to be the best of times for the golf industry these days. But one person remains bullish on it retail prospects, believe it or not. Dick Sullivan, CEO of PGA TOUR Superstores is putting his money where his mouth is too as the company continues to expand, somewhat aggressively despite the ever present challenges on display. “We see upside because we have a different model, we think we have a different mouse trap,” said Sullivan from his second store to open in Scottsdale, AZ. “At the end of the day the customer votes.” 

Don’t believe for a moment that Sullivan has over indulged in the company kool-aid. “We know the industry has been under siege in terms of golf rounds, etc., but this demographic will continue to play golf. Its not going away. This demographic will continue to try and improve their game and continue to buy new product. Our business is based on hope and people hopefully wanting to improve their game. We’re bullish,” he continued. “We have another store opening in Orlando next month as well as Texas. We have three or four leases for next year. We have 20 stores now and are growing at 25% and we should have 40 stores in three years and then on to 50,” he revealed.

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