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Monday, January 24, 2011

It's The O Show...again

It's that time again, when the number of PGA Merchandise Shows you have been to is seen as some bizarre badge of honor. (this is my 20th show!) I have previously blogged about the Show and this year I'll tweet away @macduffgolf - I'll look at the good, bad and indifferent and let you know once my feet hit the floor.  I always like to blog the key questions not to ask at the show and I like to see how long it takes to achieve the set of 6 - normally about an hour!
Here they are again.
1. Are you having a good show? The answer is always, yes
2. When did you get here? The show starts on Thursday, so as always everyone gets into town on Wednesday!
3. When are you leaving? Always a strange one that one - didn't I just get here!
4. Where are you staying? Your chance for oneupmanship...just say The Peabody and move on.

....and new for 2011: perm any 2 of these:
5. When will Tiger regain his Number One spot in the much maligned World Rankings?
6. When will the R & A and USGA meet and finally change the 18th century rules that govern a 21st century game?
7. Just how many people will buy a white driver?
8. Who is buying Titleist?
As always it will be fun! Great to see old friends and see the innovations the industry has in store for us as we enter another golf season. And it's only 10 weeks 'til The Masters! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Harrington DQ...this is getting silly

So, Padraig, he of the ever changing pre-shot routine, is the latest to be disqualified in the trial by television debacle that is invading golf. On the replay, it's clear the ball moves, but Harrington says he didn't see it which is plausible as he was above the ball and not at the angle shown by the camera. No player or official said anything at the time and he signed his scorecard and headed to the range to adjust his pre-shot routine for the 13th time that day. Then he was informed by Andy McFee, the referee, that some eagle eyed viewer had once again "called one in". So instead of having Harrington in the field he is hanging by the pool in 120 degrees waiting for the next flight to Bahrain. IMG and HSBC must be thrilled by that and once again the rules are robbing the 283 expats who paid to watch the event on site.

Ian Poulter, the master tweeter summed it up very nicely in 140 characters "Rules of Golf Book Rule 22-4 paragraph 3 line 7, "the rules of golf are complete bollocks and are stuck back in 1932". Couldn't agree more". Why not just adjust the card by adding the 2 stroke penalty and move on. Don't give me all that "he should know the rules" and "rules are rules' nonsense. The game of golf needs to adapt and not let HD TV and someone with clearly too much time on their hands dictate the outcome of an event. In professional golf the 2 shots are more than sufficient as a penalty. Getting the Governing Bodies of the game to agree - that's another matter!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Captain Snore Redux

There are no Ryder Cup captains and then, just like that, two come along at once. It seems the European Tour and the PGA of America will both announce their respective captains this week. The question is why? Why now?... and why in the same week?

The European Tour will announce that Jose Maria Olazabal, the well respected 2 time Masters Champion will be the Euro captain. JMO is a good man, great player and passionate about the game of golf.

The PGA of America have once again chosen the safe, charisma free route with Davis Love III. No question DL3 is a great player with a major on his resume. But inspiring, er, I don't think so. If it is the fire in their bellies, led by a real passionate, emotional leader, that makes the 1/2 point difference in the best team match in golf, then once again the USA is going into the 2012 match 1 down.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Titleist Update - The Vultures are Circling

In early December it was reported that conglomerate Fortune Brands (FO) was looking to split itself into 3 parts and unlock greater shareholder value. Word is now out that a couple of Wall Street titans, Bain and Blackstone are circling around the different businesses and a deal is on way. Sumitomo Rubber is also mentioned as an interested party for the Acushnet /Titleist/Scotty Cameron/Bob Vokey divisions of the business.
In addition, FO has hired Morgan Stanley to auction the golf business with a price tag of $1.5B, which seems excessive to me based on the annual sales of $1.0B. All will become clear shortly and with the huge amounts of cash that have been sitting on the sidelines for a couple years, someone is about to place a very large bet on the game of golf.

Friday, January 7, 2011

And here's the video - You be the judge

Camilo DQ'd...really

Here we go again. An inane rule rears its ugly head and Camilo is on the way home - well he's moving Hawaiian Islands!
The day after signing for his 72, it seems some rules geek watching on TV called in a moving violation. Camilo swatted away half a divot (which his ball wasn't going to hit) and that is a violation of Rule 23-1, which states that, “When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed.” I was watching live and he did nothing wrong - nothing. Are we now saying you can't put a divot or touch anything until the ball comes to rest - great, that will add yet more time to the slowest game in America.
What a joke. He signed for his card and all was fine, than the next day when he is disqualified. Who wins here - no one, that's who. Once again the 18th century rules look foolish, the Tour should just say, sorry too late, the Golf Channel loses one of its most favorite sons and golf continues to try and play in the big time sports league by making these bizarre, viewer led rulings.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And they are off...the start of the 2011 Tour season

Though with a field like this the ratings will be horrendous. A shame really because the folks in Hawaii have done a great job pulling off this event with a new sponsor, Hyundai. Unfortunately the sponsor and the field make it seem more Nationwide, than PGA Tour. Still, I for one will be happy to have golf back on TV! Another interesting season is ahead of us, although it will be a few weeks before the marquee players ride into town - most likely at Torrey Pines at the end of the month.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 - A year of second shots

2010 is behind us and we are looking forward to a great year of golf in 2011. Meanwhile, it struck us that there were a few really significant second shots in 2010. Here's our top 4.

1. Phil in round 4 at the Masters at Augusta National – 6 iron off the pine straw to 3 feet at the 13th…. Crazy good, well just plain crazy!
2. Dustin in round 4 at the USPGA at Whistling Straits – 4 iron off the trash (sorry, bunker) to the green at the 18th…Oops, that was a bunker…. Really, a bunker full of people and garbage.
3. Hunter on final day of the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor – chilly dip wedge short of the green at the 17th…. Ouch, but it was really all over prior to that with GMac making the putt on 16 to go dormie two up.
4. Tiger in round 4 of the Chevron at Sherwood – 8 iron to 2 feet in the heat of battle for the first time all year… No he didn’t win and you’ll wonder why I include this shot amongst majors and Ryder Cups. Well after the thousands of hours devoted to Tiger in 2010 for me it came down to this shot – could he hit an 8 iron stiff and close out the event. The answer was yes he could, he just got outputted by GMac who ended his stellar year in style. I think 2011 will be a different story.