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Web Street Golf Daily Pulse

VOLUME 1, NUMBER 22

Tuesday February 2, 2010

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “We estimate 2009 worldwide golf equipment spending declined in the range of 12% to 15% versus 2008.”

SIX MORE WEEKS? Ping has found itself once again in the middle of controversy over the grooves in its pre-1990 Eye2 irons, specifically found in its wedges. Consider it another instance of deja vu all over again and it seems to be ready to boil over on of all days, Groundhog Day. While the PGA Tour held a meeting in Los Angeles to discuss the topic, which has come to the forefront thanks in part to (Punxsutawney) Phil Mickelson, Ping Chairman, John Solheim spoke out on the subject that has seen some fact and fiction already reported on the topic... FULL STORY>>>

DO OVER? The world’s #3 player thinks the latest controversy to hit golf needs to be revised. “The rule isn't very good, I guess, being -- we have conforming grooves but yet we can play a set of grooves that were legal back in 1990,” said Steve Stricker today from Riviera Country Club. “I think the rule just needs to be altered. We have enough going on in our sport right now where we don't need any more attention to something like this. I think it caught everybody off guard a little bit as far as the Pings being legal to play. I surely didn't think about it. I think there were some other players that really never thought about it. You know, as it started building some momentum.”

ANOTHER MAY JOIN THE CONTROVERSY: One prominent player in the field for the Northern Trust Open may potentially join if not add to the fracas on the groove front. “I did some good testing (Monday). Unfortunately the testing showed up exactly what you would expect, and there's a significant difference," Padraig Harrington said. FULL STORY>>>

FACT OR FICTION? One outlet across the pond believes that Ping has the power to resolve the groove controversy. Ping is equally indignant, but for different reasons, it stated. When Telegraph Sport contacted the company for assistance with this article, a representative claimed that it did not have any old Ping Eye 2 wedges. Ping then issued a statement saying that it was willing "to discuss a workable solution." FULL STORY>>>

ITS IN THE BAG: Datrek, a Division of Dynamic Brands and a golf industry leader in golf bags, debuted its 2010 line of innovative cart & stand bags, highlighted by the Assault, Raptor and Sabre models. FULL STORY>>>

WHATEVER THE MARKET WILL BEAR: In a free market society, almost everything is fair game in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. There is a market for a variety of products and services, but until its validated by the consumer its nothing more than an unproven theory. One company north of the border is putting this to the test by trying to cash in on Tiger Woods’ recent personal life problems. A Canadian company is selling Tail of the Tiger golf balls, with each ball featuring a portrait of a woman linked to Woods. FULL STORY>>>

SHORT AND TWEET: According to TaylorMade, it was the #2 wedge brand at last week’s Farmers Insurance Open and 22 were its new xFT wedges. Joe Ogilvie tweeted earlier today, “Has golf become who is more skilled on the course or who is more skilled on EBAY? USGA costs manufacturers $20MM with new groove rule.”

WEB GEMS:

WILL HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF: The PGA Tour is caught in a 21st Century maelstrom on the groove issue and whether or not some improprieties are taking place (purposely or not) amongst its members. It isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. In fact, at the risk of getting ahead of us for a moment, what if Phil Mickelson successfully defended his title this week at Riviera CC? Is there precedence for such a thing?? FULL STORY>>>

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Traders are betting there is a better than even chance that top golfer Tiger Woods... FULL STORY>>>

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO SKIN A CAT: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland wants golf authorities to reconsider their new regulations on the shape of grooves in club heads. ''I don't see why they don't firm greens up and get the rough longer to bring scores down,'' McIlroy said Tuesday. ''They can make golf courses a lot tougher and turn 20-under winning scores into 12 under.'' FULL STORY>>>

NO JOKE: The 150th Open Championship in St. Andrews is still some time from happening. But it appears (no pun intended) that travelers and players are in for some changes... FULL STORY>>>

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: If you like what you have seen with the Daily Pulse, help spread the word. Pass along your copy. Its free and all anyone needs to do is send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it asking to be put on the distribution list. It is a complete opt in or or out system.

ANSWER: Craig Omtvedt – SVP & CFO at Fortune Brands, which owns Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra Golf under the Acushnet Company.

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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

 

Last Updated (Tuesday, 02 February 2010 16:57)

 

 

Web Street Golf Daily Pulse

VOLUME 1, NUMBER 21

Monday February 1, 2010

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “It's ridiculous, isn't it? You know, basically all the governing bodies stood back and basically let the players handle the whole issue again. It's almost a little too late now because all the damage has been done already. Some players have spoken out against other players, which we don't want to see out here on TOUR, and it's unfortunate. There always seem to be good lessons, but we kind of play catch-up. So I'm a little disappointed about that. But I think now there's something been written now. There's a couple of words I don't understand. My English is not that good. But basically I think what it means is that the Ping irons are legal, but you shouldn't be looking at those basically.”

WE INTERRUPT YOUR SUPER BOWL PARTY FOR THIS MESSAGE: Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) and CBS Sports have reached an agreement that establishes the golf equipment manufacturer as a presenting sponsor of the Super Bowl Today pre-game show on Sunday, February 7th. Callaway Golf will employ its 5:00 - 5:30 PM EST sponsorship to showcase their 2010 product line. According to an Adweek report, the 5-5:30 p.m. slot in 2009 averaged 21 million viewers, per Nielsen. That's a huge TV audience by almost any standard these days, except of course for the game itself, which last year averaged 98.7 million viewers. FULL STORY>>>

LET’S MAKE A DEAL: Retailer Edwin Watts is offering a $100 mail in rebate on the sale of Callaway FT-9 drivers in February and March. The same deal applies for the uPro GPS system, however it extends to July 31st.

ARE THINGS LOOKING UP? The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported December and 2009 demand statistics for international scheduled air traffic showed the industry ended the year with the largest ever post-war decline. Passenger demand for the full year was down 3.5%, while freight showed a full-year decline of 10.1% with an average load factor of 49.1%.

“In terms of demand, 2009 goes into the history books as the worst year the industry has ever seen. We have permanently lost 2.5 years of growth in passenger markets and 3.5 years of growth in the freight business,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

However, there are some signs that these trends may be changing. Seasonally adjusted demand figures for December compared to November 2009 indicate a 1.6% rise in passenger traffic... FULL STORY>>>

WINNER’S CIRCLE: Ben Crane made it four in a row for Titleist golf balls to start the 2010 PGA TOUR season when he rolled in a three-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to capture the Farmers Insurance Open. Robert Karlsson added to Titleist’s winning streak as well by capturing the Commercialbank Qatar Masters. FULL STORY>>>

NOTES: VCT Corporation appoints Christa Evans to director of sales and will head up inside sales and business development efforts for the company's Private Club division. Cybergolf says it signed Galloping Hill Golf Course in Kenilworth, NJ, as its newest client, and will design and host the course's website, e-mail newsletter and e-commerce system. International Club Suppliers - the sales and marketing arm for entegra Procurement Services in the golf club and resort channel - will exhibit at the 2010 Golf Industry Show, February 10-11, at the San Diego Convention Center. CHAMP announced that the winner of the Farmer Insurance Open and the Qatar Masters wore CHAMP spikes. True Temper Sports reported its Dynamic Gold shafts were used by the winner (Ben Crane) at Farmers Insurance Open. True Temper had 139 sets of irons in play, while the nearest competitor fielded only nine sets. The Qatar Masters champion (Robert Karlsson) also used the Dynamic Gold shafts.

WEB GEMS:

PERCEPTION IS REALITY: "I think everywhere you look, no matter what private club it is, with the economy so unstable in everyone's eyes, the first thing that will be pulled back is the entertainment of potential private club memberships, at least until the economy shows some signs of recovery," said Rich Marr, the general manager of Midvale Country Club. FULL STORY>>>

I’LL BE BACK: Woods, by most accounts, hasn't reached out to many people since going into seclusion. But one of the calls he did make was to assure his foundation he was not on a permanent leave of absence. FULL STORY>>>

GRASS IS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE: Asia is being heralded as a new frontier for golf course design and growth opportunities. However, it isn’t all smooth sailing. Even with about 15 new courses currently under construction around Danang, Dalat, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, among others, the Massachusetts native says golf still faces an uphill battle for respectability locally after an isolated incident several years ago tarnished the country's golf sector. "One unnamed course polluted the groundwater around them, destroyed the environment and abused the locals,” said Robert Bicknell, a veteran of the country's golf scene for more than 15 years and director of golf operations at Hanoi's mountainous Tam Dao Golf & Resort. "When you take land from the people you have to buy it from them at the price negotiated. It's usually in the club's benefit because the people's committee and government are on your side. But to do this, you usually promise them jobs for life, which is only reasonable. You are taking all their land and their house. You are giving them money but you have to give them a job too," he adds. The course broke their promises to the locals, and combined with the water pollution problem, when the press picked up on it the whole golf industry was tarnished ¨C even though there was only one confirmed course with these problems. FULL STORY>>>

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: If you like what you have seen with the Daily Pulse, help spread the word. Pass along your copy. Its free and all anyone needs to do is send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it asking to be put on the distribution list. It is a complete opt in or or out system.

ANSWER: Ernie Els on his take on the Ping EYE 2 issue.

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

 

 

Last Updated (Tuesday, 02 February 2010 15:34)

 

 

Web Street Golf Daily Pulse

VOLUME 1, NUMBER 20

Friday, January 29, 2010

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “But we don't know if fans will cheer him, boo him or do nothing. There are way more questions than answers here. He's been such a sensitive person in reacting to comments about him. Now the whole world is talking about him”

#1 FOR A REASON: Fortune Brands, owner of the Acushnet Company (Titleist, FootJoy and Cobra Golf brands) reported its 2009 financial results and despite adverse economic conditions, the golf division posted a profit for the year. In years past the concept of making money was often a given for many of the large equipment brands, however, Acushnet may be in a class of its own in 2009.

“While our golf business faced low operating leverage in its seasonally smallest quarter, double-digit sales increases for Titleist golf balls and FootJoy shoes, along with strong growth in Asia, helped our golf brands outperform the market,” said Bruce Carbonari, chairman and chief executive officer of Fortune Brands about the fourth quarter results.

For the full year, Acushnet had sales just over $1.2 billion, down 11% from 2009 when sales were $1.369 billion. Golf ball sales were down at a double-digit rate for the year, while Vokey design wedge share at on and off course US golf shops increased more than ten points in value in 2009, according to the company. FootJoy sales were off in the single digit range, while Cobra revenues were down double-digits as the game improvement segment felt the impact of reduced discretionary spending. However, Acushnet’s international growth rate is outperforming the US. “Korean consumers are embracing the performance and quality offered by our brand,” said Carbonari. “As a result we outperformed the market in Korea with sales that grew more than 30% in constant currency in 2009. We’re also growing nicely in China off a small base and at levels, FX (foreign exchange), total sales across Asia and Australia were up a double-digit rate for the year. To support these growth opportunities we’re currently constructing a new ball plant in Thailand,” he said.

Despite lower revenues on the year and losing nearly $27 million in the fourth quarter, Acushnet recorded a profit of $60.2 million in 2010. The company had restructuring related costs of $35.2 million, which came, in part, as a result of FootJoy’s manufacturing plant closure in MA., and an overall 13% reduction in the total Acushnet work force since mid 2008. While those decisions were undoubtedly painful to make, its doubtful any other equipment business made money in 2010 or at least not to the extent that Acushnet did. “For the full year our golf sales were off 11% and down 7% in constant currency, better than the industry wide decline,” Craig Omtvedt, Fortune Brands, SVP & CFO pointed out. While the economy gets the blame for turning 2009 bottom lines to red for most of the other companies, Acushnet and by virtue, its management maintained their eye on the ball and didn’t fall victim to it. FULL STORY>>>

 

THE SKY IS THE LIMIT: Rangefinders have become a staple in many players’ golf bags ever since the USGA gave its good housekeeping seal of approval. Since the adoption of the product, however, there hasn’t been much of an incremental performance/product improvment in the actual units. In fact some companies have elected to use existing software to transfer into cell phones as a way to gain greater interest. Now there is something coming that could be a game changer for those who want more. SkyCaddie has introduced the next generation rangefinder; SGX SmartClub Technology, a break-through innovation adding intelligence and wireless connectivity to golf clubs... FULL STORY>>>

NUMBERS GAME: TaylorMade announced that it's R9 SuperTri driver was made available to PGA Tour pros for the first time this week the Farmers Insurance Open. According to Darrell Survey equipment counts executed on Thursday, 25 players put the R9 SuperTri in play, making it the No. 1 driver model at the event.

"A lot of guys were getting more ball speed and distance with the R9 SuperTri compared to their gamer," said TaylorMade tour representative Paul Loegering, "and they took right away to the new shape and black clubface and black clubhead color scheme."

Likewise, the R9 SuperTri driver was the No. 1 driver model during its first week available on the European Tour, with 20 in play at the Qatar Masters.  "Very strong winds early in the week meant many players gave the range a miss," said Ian Watts, TaylorMade's director of tour operations in Europe, "yet R9 SuperTri was still the No. 1 driver model. It was a massive success."

The company said 25 players put the R9 SuperTri in play at Farmers Insurance Open with the closest competitor model-count numbered at 17. A total of 66 TaylorMade drivers are in play, it said, at Farmers Insurance Open and the closest competitor brand-count numbered 37.

PLEASE SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER: PGA of America, CEO, Joe Steranka was preaching at the Merchandise Show that the golf business had a good year in 2009. “Whether it's President Obama talking about the importance of small business in the State of the Union, or our President Remy talking about golf courses as small businesses. Those small businesses were relatively healthy. It doesn't mean we didn't have some closures that maybe indexed higher among new golf courses built since 2000 that were tied to real estate projects, but the business success rate for a golf course business is still 99 percent,” he proclaimed.

“You look at last year, it was the toughest time in the automotive industry, yet we announced an automotive partner with MercedesBenz,” he added. “So it was a good year, we think this year is going to be a better year.” To paraphrase from the infamous diner scene in the movie, Harry Met Sally, “I’ll have whatever he’s having.”

LEFTY LOOKS TO GET RIGHT: Phil Mickelson said he has slimmed down in order to speed up. “I've had the same trainer now for seven years, Sean Cochran, and we had a good off-season program,” he said acknowledging he has had to take his belt in another notch. “Again, I didn't play much golf for the last five or six weeks so we were able to get a little more time in the gym. Also, I tried to increase speed. I'm trying to increase speed to take advantage of some of our (Callaway) technology, some of our low-spin drivers, some of our new golf balls, and to be able to do that, I had to have a little bit more strength, a little bit more rotational speed, and that's something we worked on this off-season.” Mickelson opened his 2010 campaign with a round of 70 on the South course at Torrey Pines and followed it up with a 67 on the North to sit at 7 under at the half way mark.

HE GETS IT: He has always appeared grounded, but considering the curve balls life has thrown Phil Mickelson over the back half of last year, his insight towards sponsorships is both refreshing and frankly, insightful. “I think it's important for us as a Tour to prove to the corporations that are involved in the game that this is the best vehicle for them to spend their marketing dollars,” he stated. “It's up to us to show that in every way, whether it's personal relationships with their clients, whether it's interaction on the golf course, making for a great day. We've got to provide a vehicle that exposes their company to the public in a positive light, that the monies they spend, whether it's $5 to $8 million an event, they can spend that anywhere. And they're going to be tighter with the money that they spend marketing their product and their company, and we need to prove to them that this is the best way, the most effective way for them to get the most for their dollar.”

WEB GEMS:

FAIR OR FOUL? Phil Mickelson’s decision to use a grandfathered Eye 2 wedge at Torrey Pines has raised more than an eyebrow with his peer group and didn’t endear him at least of couple of players. "I think it's cheating," he told The Chronicle. "All those guys should be ashamed of themselves for doing that. ... As one of our premier players, (Mickelson) should be one of the guys who steps up and says this is wrong."

Another player said, "It's against the spirit of the rule. ... We have to get rid of those clubs, because they're square grooves - what else can you say?" FULL STORY including the names behind these quotes

THE SHOW MUST GO ON: PGA Merchandise Show went forward on Thursday but it appears the topic on the minds of many was on who wasn’t there... FULL STORY>>>

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: If you like what you have seen with the Daily Pulse, help spread the word. Pass along your copy. Its free and all anyone needs to do is send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it asking to be put on the distribution list. It is a complete opt in or or out system.

ANSWER: CBS analyst Nick Faldo on Tiger Woods ultimate return to golf.

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

 

Last Updated (Friday, 29 January 2010 16:35)

 
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