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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 228                                                       
Friday, November 21, 2014

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “To be honest with you, you sort of wonder if it's going to happen again. I've been close, more than a handful of times and never closed the door. You sort of sometimes wonder if you're ever going to win again. I'm not getting any younger, I'm about to turn 38, and it's special to have the family out here.”

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BRAIN TEASER: How much does the winner of the Race to Dubai receive from the bonus pool?

PARTNERS! 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. It’s 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.

Games People Play, Inc. (GPP) out of Beaumont, Texas is suing Nike 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.

UPON CLOSER INSPECTION: Dicks Sporting Goods has reported throughout the year that its golf business has been troubling, to put it nicely. In the first quarter, it said Golf Galaxy was down 10.4% and Dick's Sporting Goods golf business was off by high-single digits. In the second quarter, its largest quarter for golf sales, Golf Galaxy was down 9.3%, while Dick’s golf business was “somewhat less.” As reported in the Nov 19th issue of the Daily Pulse, third quarter sales at Golf Galaxy’s decreased by 8.9 percent, while Dick's golf business was down a similar amount.

Back on May 20th, when Dick’s reported its first quarter operating results, Ed Stack, Dick’s chairman and CEO stated, “There is glut of inventory in the market at both wholesale and retail as a result of the lackluster sales over the past 15 months. The core golfer doesn't seem to understand or has not yet fully embraced the new technology our vendors have brought to market.” Stack also acknowledged at the time he wasn’t sure where the bottom was in golf equipment sales.

On August 19th, when Dick’s updated the investment community on its second quarter results, Stack said, “Golf continues to be our most challenging business.” The company had also reduced its footprint in golf by 1,000 square feet per store location. It was widely reported that it had also parted ways with PGA certified professionals as part of its downsizing in the category. Also the retailer identified the cost of reducing its golf component. “In the second quarter, we recorded a $20.4 million of pre-tax charges related to the restructuring of our golf business. The charges include a $14.3 million non-cash impairment of golf trademark in store assets, severance charges of $3.7 million related to the elimination of specific golf position from our DICK stores and the combination of Dicks golf and Golf Galaxy corporate and administrative functions, and a $2.4 million write-down of golf related inventory,” stated André Hawaux - EVP and CFO for the company.

During the third quarter conference call to Wall Street analysts, Stack was questioned about the status of golf markdowns. He replied, “Our inventory is in great shape. I think the inventory at the vendors is in better shape than it has been. Those markdowns around golf are behind us.”

It begs the question how can its inventory glut as of May 20th be in such great shape by November 18th when its sales were consistently lower in each quarter and it exercised a $2.4 million write off on the balance sheet? Meanwhile, Stack is still uncertain if golf has hit a bottom. On the third quarter call he said, “I don't want to give guidance to what we think the golf business is going to be, but as I said I think it's going to hit bottom, may have already hit bottom but some of the new product launches have done quite well.”

TIME FOR SOME NEW PRODUCT: PUMA Golf has introduced BioDrive. “The BioDrive was literally designed from the ground up. Starting with the outsole biodrivewe focused on three zones – the heel, the midfoot and the forefoot – keeping in mind all the elements important to a golfer – comfort, fit, flexibility and balance,” said Grant Knudson, head of footwear, PUMA Golf. “This spikeless, versatile shoe allows golfers to go straight from work to the gym, to the range, or to play 18.”

It promises superior grip and control on course by utilizing multiple decoupled octagon shaped pods in the forefoot for flexibility and increased ground contact and traction. Additionally, the mid-foot axis point allows for supportive torsional movement for a balanced feel. It also is built with four connected pods in the heel provide a sturdy platform for stability. Built on an all-new anatomical last, the carbon rubber in the shoe’s outsole ensures an excellent grip and long-lasting durability, according to the company, while a TPU perimeter wrap is bonded 360 degrees around the shoe for improved protection and durability.

“Training in the gym and on the course is important for golfers of all levels. And when you need to go from the weight room to the range it’s vital to have the right footwear. I love the versatility and performance of the BioDrive shoes,” said Joey D Diovisalvi, a golf fitness expert and COBRA PUMA GOLF ambassador. “It’s a great performer on the course that allows the golfer to grip the ground through their swing but can also be worn to the gym. From a biomechanics standpoint, it provides the flexibility, stability and balance necessary for optimal performance.”

The BioDrive ($140) is available in four color combinations and is scheduled to hit golf retailers starting on December 15.

WEB GEMS:

KIDS PLAY: Melbourne teenager Ryan Ruffels couldn’t resist a subtle sledge to Masters champion Adam Scott after crushing a drive at the par-five sixth at Metropolitan. “That (drive) was as much as I’ve got and we got up there and I was quite a bit past him. Then he eagled the hole and he’s like, ‘Just look at the scorecard, mate’. That shut me up,’’ Ruffels said. READ MORE>>>

EYE ON A BIGGER PRIZE: Amateur Todd Sinnott has taken the clubhouse lead midway through the second round of the Australian Masters in Melbourne. Sinnott, a member at host course The Metropolitan, was in a share of the lead after the opening round but while the likes of Steve Bowditch faltered, Sinnott (71) fired four birdies and three bogeys as he finished the second round at six under. “I am obviously not here to make the cut,” Sinnott said. READ MORE>>>

STAYING DOMESTIC: The PGA of America appears to have abandoned its plan of moving the final major of the season away from the United States. On hearing of the PGA of America’s new stance, Gary Player took to Twitter to voice his disapproval. Player said: “What a shame. What a lack of vision. Golf has never been more global. Could have been a game changer for the PGA. Pity.” READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “To be honest with you, you sort of wonder if it's going to happen again. I've been close, more than a handful of times and never closed the door. You sort of sometimes wonder if you're ever going to win again. I'm not getting any younger, I'm about to turn 38, and it's special to have the family out here.”--Charley Hoffman after his win at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

This week’s DP World Tour Championship, Dubai is the climax of the European Tour Race to Dubai. The tournament also determines the Race to Dubai Bonus Pool, which goes to the top golfers on the Race to Dubai after the tournament. It was original set at $10,000,000 but reduced to $7,500,000 paid to the top 15 players with the Race to Dubai winner getting $1.5 million. In 2012 the bonus pool was cut in half to $3.75 million and reduced to the top 10 golfers, with the winner getting $1.0 million. Conversely, the FedExCup winner receives $10 million. The fifth place finisher received $1 million in the FedExCup bonus pool.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, BUT IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. THE OPINION EXPRESSED IS THAT OF TERRY MCANDREW AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL SECURITIES IN ANY OF THE COMPANIES DISCUSSED WITHIN THIS NEWSLETTER. CONTENTS OF THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT BE REPRINTED OR REBROADCAST WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF TMAC GOLF

 

 

 

 

 

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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 227                                                       
Thursday, November 20, 2014

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “I feel good about what's just happened in the last couple of weeks, 44 in the World Rankings coming into this four-week spell was nothing to be proud of. But obviously moving forward up to 26 and hopefully with a big win this week, put myself back in a position where I can salvage something out of 2014, because it was not looking good.”

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BRAIN TEASER: Can you guess how many hole in ones have been made already in the 2014/15 PGA TOUR season?

NOTHING PERSONAL, ITS JUST BUSINESS! Twelve months ago, Rory McIlroy said that he had seen enough lawyers to last him a lifetime. So you can imagine what it has been like sitting in legal offices during the past six weeks poring over documents relating to his bitter dispute with his former management company, Horizon Sports. Those in Ireland who have been following the various machinations closely estimate he could be as much as £25million worse off if the worst-case scenario unfolds. READ MORE>>>

THE LONELY ROAD TO THE TOP: He has swapped managers, equipment, jilted his fiancee and finds himself as the No1 player in world golf. “I have got used to it [the distractions],” McIlroy said. “That’s what it is. I am better at compartmentalizing between stuff that is happening off the course and being able to focus on what’s going on on the course. It is just something that has been part of my life for the last couple of years, so that’s why I handle it better now.” READ MORE>>>

FACT FINDING MISSION: The discovery phase of Vijay Singh’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour rolls on toward a 2015 trial, with the PGA Tour now looking for documents from Singh’s representation at mega firm IMG. READ MORE>>>

WEB GEMS:

HE SAID, SHE SAID, I THINK: Jenkins comes off like a woman scorned. Woods' response is written with rabbit ears. Both look very non Hall of Fame-like in the aftermath.  Yet, for us in the golf world, both delivered an early holiday present when nothing else was worth chatting about. We can at least be thankful of that. READ MORE>>>

BACK TO GOLF: “In my book, Tiger is the greatest player,” Stenson said in Dubai on Wednesday. “I've played a lot with him over the years and of course, I never played with Jack and Gary and Arnold, but just in the way that Tiger has won some of his tournaments, I rate that possibly even higher than some of the others, just some of the shots he's hit and putts he's made under certain circumstances. In my mind, he's the best player, and of course you want him to be part of the tournament.  You always take extra credit when you win a tournament that he's part of the field.” READ MORE>>>

WIND CATCHES SCOTT: Defending champion Adam Scott struggled in the blustery conditions at Metropolitan Golf Club on Thursday for a 1-over 73, six strokes behind a group of four of his countrymen who led the Australian Masters by a stroke after the first round. READ MORE>>>

OFF AND RUNNING: Rory McIlroy displayed the quality of golf that has made him Race to Dubai champion as the World Number One joined friend Shane Lowry in a share of the lead on day one of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “I feel good about what's just happened in the last couple of weeks, 44 in the World Rankings coming into this four-week spell was nothing to be proud of. But obviously moving forward up to 26 and hopefully with a big win this week, put myself back in a position where I can salvage something out of 2014, because it was not looking good.”--Ian Poulter.

John Huh enjoyed his first hole-in-one of his PGA TOUR career in the first round OHL Classic at Mayakoba. It is the eighth ace on TOUR this wrap around season. Last season, the eighth hole-in-one did not come until June at the FedEx St. Jude Classic by Stuart Appleby. 

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, BUT IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. THE OPINION EXPRESSED IS THAT OF TERRY MCANDREW AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL SECURITIES IN ANY OF THE COMPANIES DISCUSSED WITHIN THIS NEWSLETTER. CONTENTS OF THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT BE REPRINTED OR REBROADCAST WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF TMAC GOLF

 

 

 

 

 

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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 226                                                       
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “I feel in a much different place now at the end of 2014 than when I did the end of 2012 when I was pretty much in the same position. I feel like I was a much clearer path and I know exactly what I need to do and how to do it going forward to stay at this level.”

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BRAIN TEASER: Can you name the player that has earned more in five events in 2014/15 wrap around season than he did in 21 events in the 2013/14 season?

BUSINESS HAS BEEN BETTER: TaylorMade has proclaimed its inventory levels are now clean. However, its largest retail “partner,” also makes the same claim even though its sales in the category remain sluggish heading into its smallest quarter of the year. Same store sales for Dick's Sporting Goods increased 1.7 percent, but Golf Galaxy’s decreased by 8.9 percent. According to Ed Stack, chairman and CEO, Dick's golf same store sales were down a similar amount as Golf Galaxy’s in the reporting period. Golf still appears to be a work in progress, according to Dick’s management.

"Everybody's talked about that the (golf) business needs to shrink in order to be more profitable and I think that's what's going to happen,” said Stack. “I think the manufacturers are much more disciplined, the retailers are much more disciplined and I think the golf business is going to be an okay business. I don't think it's going to be a great business but it's going to be an okay business and we'll hit bottom here in the next quarter probably and we think that we'll see increased profitability going into next year.  We think that it's going to be a more profitable year next year.”

Joe Schmidt, Dick’s President and COO added, “We're not exiting. We've been very clear about this. Golf we think is still going to struggle a little bit. But we’re not exiting the golf business and we're not exiting the Golf Galaxy business.”

Stack told Wall Street analysts, “Our (golf) inventory is in great shape. I think the inventory at the vendors (manufacturers) is in better shape than it has been.” It echoes TaylorMade’s recent sentiment. On November 6th, Herbert Hainer, adidas Group CEO told the investment community his golf division’s inventory was equally pristine. “Let me also say that at TaylorMade-adidas Golf we have a very clean inventory. So, much is still at retail, and this is decreasing step by step,” said Hainer. Its unclear how TMaG, its rival Callaway and now Dicks Sporting Goods/Golf Galaxy cleaned up inventory at both companies despite the backdrop of slow third quarter sales that have been reported already.

As of November 1, 2014, the company operated 597 Dick's Sporting Goods stores in 46 states, with approximately 32.0 million square feet and 80 Golf Galaxy stores in 29 states, with approximately 1.4 million square feet.

THE MORE THE MERRIER: SiriusXM announced Sir Nick Faldo will host a new show on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio (XM channel 93, Sirius channel 208). Nick Faldo Radio will debut this January and air monthly throughout the year. “I am most excited about this new opportunity to talk golf with golfers and people you may not know are golfers; to get to know golf enthusiasts and have them get to know me,” said Faldo. “We are going to have fun connecting with those connected to SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.  I look forward to some real entertainment.”

“Few people can offer a more experienced and informed perspective on golf than Nick,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer.  “His accomplishments on the course – which include six major championship victories – put him among the game’s all-time great players, and he has built a remarkably successful second career in the broadcast booth. SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio will offer him a new forum where he can interact with his audience and fans can call in to ask him questions throughout the season.”

This year SiriusXM has unveiled an expanded if not aggressive programming lineup on golf. In addition to Faldo, hosts on the channel include World Golf Hall of Fame members Ben Crenshaw, Fred Couples and Hubert Green, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, John Daly, Annika Sorenstam, Chris DiMarco, Rich Beem, Hank Haney, David Leadbetter, Jim McLean, Bob Ford, Mark Carnevale, John Maginnes, John Mahaffey, Carl Paulson, Dennis Paulson, Matt Adams, Brian Katrek, Sandy McIlree, Larry Rinker, Lorne Rubenstein, Ben Shear, John Swantek, Jeff Warne, Greg Warmoth and Taylor Zarzour. 

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE: Its doubtful people around Buffalo are thinking about this at the moment. But you can never be too careful. An ounce of prevention can make the world of difference. READ MORE>>>

WEB GEMS:

BUILDING A TEAM: Fox Sports will announce four new additions to its golf broadcast team Wednesday, including two high profile former U.S. Open champions. READ MORE>>>

MAKING NEWS: Dan Jenkins gets the holiday spirit started early with a fictitious interview with one of his favorite subjects, Tiger Woods. READ MORE>>>

NOT COOL: Tiger Woods fires back at Jenkins. READ MORE>>>

STAND BY YOUR MAN: Lindsey Vonn, training in Colorado on Tuesday for her World Cup skiing comeback, said she totally supports her boyfriend Tiger Woods' internet post ripping Golf Digest and venerable writer Dan Jenkins for a satiric fake interview with Woods that appears in the December issue of the magazine. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “I feel in a much different place now at the end of 2014 than when I did the end of 2012 when I was pretty much in the same position. I feel like I was a much clearer path and I know exactly what I need to do and how to do it going forward to stay at this level.”--Rory McIlroy.

Robert Streb, the current FedExCup leader in points has already made $1,328,963 in five events of the 2014/15 season. He earned $1,300,075 in 21 events in the 2013/14 season! Either way, Uncle Sam is looking forward to his tax return!!

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, BUT IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. THE OPINION EXPRESSED IS THAT OF TERRY MCANDREW AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL SECURITIES IN ANY OF THE COMPANIES DISCUSSED WITHIN THIS NEWSLETTER. CONTENTS OF THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT BE REPRINTED OR REBROADCAST WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF TMAC GOLF

 

 

 

 

 

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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 225                                                       
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “I am more likely to cry on the 18th green if I win, being an old guy now, compared to if I was 22."

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BRAIN TEASER: Can you name the next tournament featuring a full field on the PGA TOUR schedule?

ANOTHER WAY TOWARDS GETTING BETTER: KZG is launching a new offset driver that is specifically designed for high handicap players and beginners that struggle to launch and keep the ball in play. Players with slow swing speeds will benefit from the OS-II Driver, according to the company.

“It’s time to grow the game,” reported Jennifer King, President of KZG. “And the best way to do that is to give players a club that is ideal for their game. Our new OS-II driver is just one of our ten driver models and is definitely our ‘easiest-to-play’ model due to its forgiveness, offset and variety of loft options. And no adjustable head here. The last thing we want is new players changing the specs of their clubs every time they mis-hit one off the tee. Our worldwide network of qualified fitters will perfectly fit the golfer so that they’re free to focus on more important tasks like getting their swing into a groove.”

The offset and closed clubface is cosmetically concealed, KZG said, giving the OS-II a traditional appearance at address. The face insert is heat-treated forged titanium creating the maximum legal rebound, it said. The MSRP starts at $319 for custom fit and custom tour-built OS-II drivers, which are available in RH: 10.5º, 12º, 14º and 16º lofts and LH: 10.5º and 12º lofts.

IT’S ABOUT TIME! You know that guy who takes three practice swings and reads putts from both sides of the hole? And that other guy who tells long jokes when it’s his honor on the tee box? Turns out neither are responsible for the preponderance of five-hour rounds in this country. READ MORE>>>

WEB GEMS:

NO WORRIES MATE: Flexible dates and finding a tour to co-sanction their event with are both on the table for Australian Masters organizers seeking to future-proof the 36-year-old event. An attempt to link with the US PGA Tour has been abandoned as the new wraparound season in the States, which starts in October and pushes through the Australian summer, leaves few dates, or players free to head here. Masters organizers have put all their eggs in the Adam Scott basket this year confident the world No. 2 has the drawing power equal to a bagful of top 50 players. But they also know Scott is not going to have the late November date open every year. READ MORE>>>

LET’S DO LUNCH: The PGA of America’s Ryder Cup task force has not yet had a meeting, but a spokesman for the PGA confirmed that leaders from the association recently met with Paul Azinger to discuss various topics concerning future matches. READ MORE>>>

THE ROAD TO RECOVERY: Jarrod Lyle is back at the tournament where he began his comeback, and this time he believes he can win the Australian Masters. READ MORE>>>

BACK TO BUSINESS: Rory McIlroy is determined that the upcoming multi-million pound court case with his former management company - which required him to pull out of two tournaments last month - will not affect his mission to finish off the best season of his career in style. "It's been okay," McIlroy said, referring to the balancing act of spending as much time on the range as in lawyers' offices. "The last week or so, I really put my head down and focused on my golf and everything like that. I've actually felt like I've had a really good little bit of preparation coming into this event. Hopefully, I've done enough work to be ready for Thursday." READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “I am more likely to cry on the 18th green if I win, being an old guy now, compared to if I was 22."--Stuart Appleby on the prospect of winning the Australian Masters this week. He won the yellow jacket four years ago!

The next full field tournament on the PGA TOUR is the Sony Open in Hawaii, January 15-18th 2015. It is preceded by the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which hasn’t seen every winner participate in quite some time. Still on the docket in 2014 are the Hero World Challenge (Tiger Woods’ event) and the Franklin Templeton Shootout.

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IS BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, BUT IT IS NOT GUARANTEED. THE OPINION EXPRESSED IS THAT OF TERRY MCANDREW AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A SOLICITATION TO BUY OR SELL SECURITIES IN ANY OF THE COMPANIES DISCUSSED WITHIN THIS NEWSLETTER. CONTENTS OF THIS NEWSLETTER MAY NOT BE REPRINTED OR REBROADCAST WITHOUT THE EXPRESSED WRITTEN CONSENT OF TMAC GOLF

 

 

 

 

 

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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 224                                                       
Monday, November 17, 2014

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “The goal was to be Top-50 in the world by the end of the year to be in all the major, all the WGCs, and that was my goal, and then I would come over and play as many times as I could playing both the PGA and European Tour. I don't see a reason why I can't do it.”

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BRAIN TEASER: Including the 2014 OHL Classic at Mayakoba, how many victories does Charley Hoffman have in his PGA TOUR career?

HERE WE GO AGAIN: 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.

The R15 driver (available Jan. 9, 2015) comes in two head sizes (430cc and 460cc) and crown colors (black and white). The company is returning to its roots with the return of the non-glare, matte white crown that was originally introduced with the R11 driver in 2011 and was a part of the line until 2013 with the release of R1. 

r15burnerWhat is new to the R15 driver is the addition of a new Front Track system that features two 12.5-gram sliding weights (25 grams total) that shift the CG horizontally towards the heel or toe along a weight track to promote a fade or draw. For those wondering, the SLDR has one 20-gram weight. In the R15 the weights can also be split up and positioned in the extreme corners of the heel and toe for perimeter weighting and stability if players want.

The R15 continues on TMaG’s path of a center of gravity that's lower and more forward. The R15 460 ($429 retail) will be available in four lofts: 9.5, 10.5, 12 and 14 degrees with a white or gloss black crown and Fujikura's Speeder 57 Evolution shaft. The R15 430 (also $429) will be available in three lofts: 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees also with a white crown and Fujikura Speeder 67 Evolution shaft. TaylorMade said it would also offer an R15 Tour Preferred version ($499) that features an aftermarket Speeder Evolution 661 Tour Spec shaft and Lamkin UTx grip. More than 20 custom TP shafts are also available at no upcharge.

Similar to the weight track in the sole of the R15 driver, the R15 fairway wood features a 25-gram tungsten weight that can that can be positioned to produce a draw or fade. The track also has another benefit, according to the company, acting as a Speed Pocket that increases the sweet spot and decreases spin rate. 

Consumers will have four lofts to choose from in the TaylorMade's R15 fairway wood ($279, TP $349) at 15, 16.5, 19 and 20.5 degrees. It comes with an adjustable loft sleeve (plus or minus two degrees) and Fujikura's Speeder shaft. 

The R15 Rescue ($219, TP $289) features a 3-degree loft sleeve, an open channel Speed Pocket and a Fujikura's Speeder 77 shaft. Its head is only 99ccs and appears more “peanut” like in its shape.

According to TaylorMade, the name AeroBurner comes from the product's "advanced aerodynamics," a performance variable that TaylorMade's R&D department has used in the past to design faster driver heads. To improve the club head speed in the driver, fairway wood and rescue clubs, a small fin, called an "Aero hosel" was added to the heel of the club that reduces drag during the downswing, according to the company. A raised center crown and rounded toe section also help improve the aerodynamics of the club, TaylorMade said. 

Along with an aerodynamic design, the AeroBurner line has the largest Speed Pocket that TaylorMade says it has ever produced. The Speed Pocket in the sole allows the lower portion of the face to flex more “effectively” at impact.

TaylorMade's 460cc AeroBurner driver ($300), will be available at retail starting on Jan. 9, 2015. The driver will be available in four lofts (9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees) as well as a High Loft version. Remember the Loft Up campaign from not so long ago? The AeroBurner driver will also come in a Tour Preferred version (of course it will) that has a Matrix Ozik 6X4 White Tie shaft and longer .335 hosel that allows for a variety of TP shaft offerings. It will have a  $70 upcharge.

The AeroBurner fairway wood is a blend of two of TaylorMade's past iterations, incorporating the RocketBallz fairway channel and the through slot of the JetSpeed fairway wood. Combining the two designs creates a larger Speed Pocket in combination with an extremely low and forward center of gravity (CG), TaylorMade said. The face size of the fairway wood is also 2.5mm shallower for better playability from the turf, and the sweet spot (COR) it's reportedly double the size, once again according to TaylorMade.  
AeroBurner (retail $230) fairway metals are standard with a 43.25-inch Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60 shaft that's shorter than previous fairway wood offerings. The fairway wood comes in four models (3, 3-HL, 5, 5-HL and 7) with a non-adjustable hosel. 

The AeroBurner Rescue ($200 with a Matrix RUL-Z 70 shaft) has a larger open channel Speed Pocket; a white crown and black contrasting face; and a crown alignment. It is shortened by 1/2-inch to improve playability and forgiveness, according to the company.

In addition to the standard version, TaylorMade will offer an AeroBurner TP fairway wood ($300) and TP Rescue ($270) that sit two degrees flatter and one degree more open. The TP fairway (Matrix Ozik 7X4 White Tie shaft) has a more compact head shape and deeper face that make it a preferred option off the tee, according to its creators, while the TP Rescue features Matrix's Ozik HX4 White Tie shaft.

As many in the United States get their first taste of winter weather, it only seems fitting that another equipment company would announce multiple new drivers, fairways and hybrids on the way. Maybe its deja vu all over again but it does already feel eerily similar to how 2013 ended.

HOME COOKIN’: Oscar Fraustro and Carlos Ortiz, the two (of seven) Mexican players in the field of the OHL Classic at Mayakoba who made the cut also claimed T9 honors.
Esteban Toledo (2007, 2008, 2009, 2012), Jose de Jesus Rodriquez (2009, 2012), Oscar Fraustro (2013, 2014) and Carlos Ortiz (2014) are the only Mexicans to make the cut in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the eight-year history of the event.

WINNER’S CIRCLE: Charley Hoffman overcame a three-stroke deficit in the final round to post a 5-under 66 and claim a 1-stroke win at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba over Shawn Stefani. He ended a winless drought of 109 starts since recording his last victory. Hoffman won playing Titleist clubs and ball. He used the new Titleist 915D2 driver (8.5*) with an Aldila Rogue X shaft and the 915F fairway metal (13.5*) with a UST Elements Chrome 8 shaft. He carried Titleist CB 714 3-iron and MB 714 (5-9) and his short game relied on Vokey Design SM5 pitching (46), gap (50), sand (56) and lob (60) wedges. He played True Temper Dynamic S400 shafts in his irons. He used a Scotty Cameron GoLo 5 putter and won playing the New Titleist Pro V1x prototype golf ball (following Bubba Watson's win at WGC-HSBC Champions). He wore FootJoy D.N.A. shoes with BOA Lacing and a StaSof glove in his victory.

Charley Hoffman’s– Numbers for the week:
Eagles: 1
Birdies: 21
Pars: 44
Bogeys: 6
Double Bogeys: 0
Cumulative Score: 267

WEB GEMS:

THAT’S RACIN’: Rory McIlroy won the Race to Dubai for the second time in three years after Brooks Koepka’s victory at the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday ensured McIlroy cannot not be surpassed at the top of the European rankings. READ MORE>>>

AMERICAN COMES OUT ON TOP IN EUROPE: Brooks Koepka claimed his maiden European Tour title after overcoming a two-shot deficit in the final round to win the Turkish Airlines Open by a stroke on Sunday. The American player shot a final-round 7-under 65 for an overall 17 under 271 that edged England's Ian Poulter. READ MORE>>>

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP: Luke Donald has been suffering in a dark space in recent times but the former world number one believes he can start to see some shafts of light at the end of a long tunnel. "I've been banging my head against a wall for the last few months. It's tough when you know you are a capable player and it's not quite happening for you. This game will get to you sometimes but I'm quietly confident with the work I've been doing with my coach and it's starting to pay off," said Donald, who has slipped to 37th in the world having spent 56 weeks at the top of the rankings in 2011 and 2012. READ MORE>>>

NEVER GIVE UP: "This is the greatest win in my life, without a doubt," Kim said. She won for the first time since the Tournament of Champions in November 2005, ending a 221-tournament victory drought. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “The goal was to be Top-50 in the world by the end of the year to be in all the major, all the WGCs, and that was my goal, and then I would come over and play as many times as I could playing both the PGA and European Tour. I don't see a reason why I can't do it.” --Brooks Koepka after his win at the Turkish Airlines Open. He was ranked 61th in the world prior to his victory but moved to 35th on Monday.

Charley Hoffman earned his third career PGA TOUR victory in his 256th career start on the PGA TOUR in Mexico over the weekend. He previously won the 2007 Humana Challenge and 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship.

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