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Home Daily Golf Briefs Daily Pulse for May 9, 2017



Web Street Golf Daily Pulse
VOLUME 7, NUMBER 91                                                         
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “I may not play again until fall. I might have a round somewhere that I've got a charity event or something that I've got to do, but right now I don't have anything on my schedule probably until September, October, that may be the next ball I hit.”

BRAIN TEASER: John Daly won the Insperity Invitational and in doing so became the 12th member of the senior tour to record a win on all three PGA Tour circuits. Can you name his last win on the PGA TOUR?

A NEW WORLD: There was a time when players wouldn’t dare think of tinkering with their respective equipment before a tournament. Then again, once upon a time there was an off-season, which is when new equipment would undergo trial and error. Once it made the cut, it would last a season if not longer, unless it began to falter. As much as this now sounds like a fairytale that was the world we once knew. With the advent of new product introductions throughout the calendar year by manufacturers chasing after consumer dollars, this paradigm started to shift. Enter into a statistical analysis methodology that tracked launch angle; spin rates, ball speed, carry distances and professionals became empowered. No longer was the loyalty once devoted to a driver as strong once something else arrived that implied it was superior. Not all players are the same, yet by nature it seems golfers are inquisitive in the never-ending pursuit for more. For Tour professionals this sensation is rorytmheightened since the stakes are high, the product and attention to details are free and well, truth be told, there are significant dollars involved if a player happens to be a free agent as well.

Lo and behold, it seems Rory McIlroy, fresh off his honeymoon, has discovered a new driver to his liking. The last time we saw him was at the Masters. After his T7, McIlroy said he was going to reevaluate his equipment needs. “I felt my golf ball this week was doing things in the wind that was very inconsistent. There's one thing I'm going to change. I'm going to try to work on over the next few weeks. But I feel I'm swinging it as good as I have been for a long time. I didn't drive it as good as I could have the first couple of days here (Augusta). But I'm not really putting it down to anything much. I still feel I'm a good driver of the golf ball. So I'm going to think around the equipment the next few weeks and try to find something a little better,” he declared a month ago.

His words were certainly heard by equipment manufacturers. McIlroy, a free agent due to Nike Golf’s exit from the hard goods sector last year, is going with a TaylorMade model in golf’s unofficial/official fifth major, THE PLAYERS. Since the start of 2017, young McIlroy had been playing Callaway's GBB Epic Sub Zero driver. However, business is business and while he is no longer free to play the field in some respects, he isn’t limited on his equipment impulses! McIlroy used social media to tease his next equipment move. In the brave new world, its all about the brand and in this case, its McIlroy first, TaylorMade second. Speculation has already begun that McIlroy will be signing a new deal with TaylorMade, much the way the company did with Tiger Woods (another free agent compliments of Nike Golf) back in January.

Its clear what Team McIlroy benefits from such a union. The economic model is a large driver (pun intended) as well as the hope/belief that the change will propel him to the winner’s circle. On the other side of the equation, TaylorMade’s association with McIlroy appears to be a case of diminishing returns. The company already has a strong cast of characters lead by world #1 Dustin Johnson and this year’s defending champion of the PLAYERS, Jason Day (who was #1 last year at this time). Adding McIlroy to the fray is impressive, yet it begs the question whether it is necessary?

Once upon a time, (here I go again) player validation was considered a critical element with respect to consumer awareness for a product. TaylorMade has accomplished this with its already impressive player stable including Masters champ, Sergio Garcia. Adding McIlroy, should it come true, would appear to be a spoil of riches, at least on the surface. Yet, he won’t add to the revenue stream. In the new world, player endorsements of specific products no longer hold the same sex appeal as it once did. Part of the reason is the audience demographics: 55+ in age, white males who have been there, done that and have the T-shirt to prove it no longer gravitate in general to the latest and greatest the way they once did! Some of that is due to the endless new product pipeline that pumps out another game changer shortly after the last one appeared. The coveted 18-34 year old market would be more prone to this strategy, yet they haven’t migrated to golf the way their fathers and their father’s father before them. Proof is in the pudding, which would have categorically stated that both Woods and McIlroy efforts propelled Nike Golf’s market share to great heights. The reality was it didn’t, which insinuates this strategy alone is flawed.

Some have speculated that adding McIlroy to the masthead might spice up TaylorMade’s chances of being sold, since its parent company, adidas, has been trying to peddle it for more than a year. However, anyone with a head for numbers should be able to see through the egotistical, transparent strategy and recognize that McIlroy’s annual multi-million dollar agreement represents a one-way street going the wrong way. Ironically, a recent published report out of McIlroy’s homeland has him pegged as the seventh richest person under the age of 30 in the UK, with a personal fortune of £82 million. He’s doing something right!

STAYING A STEP OR TWO AHEAD: Callaway is pointing to its Epic driver as a critical part of its financial success in its first quarter of 2017. It happens to be a byproduct of Callaway’s advanced design group. “This is a product that, I believe, in some ways originated out of an advanced research investment that we made several years, three, four years ago,” explained Chip Brewer, Callaway Golf’s President and CEO.  “An incremental investment in the operating expense of the business that is now allowing us to have a differentiated position. Having the financial flexibility in our business to make these types of investments in a marketplace where I don't think everybody can or does, will differentiate us.” It shouldn’t come as a complete shock if Callaway has more in store under the Epic line up in the foreseeable future.

PRETTY IN PINK: Titleist is offering its new Pro V1 golf balls with pink play number and sidestamp. It is now a stock item that can be purchased or ordered from Titleist authorized golf shops. According to the #1 ball in golf, the only difference between Pro V1 models is cosmetic (black ink vs. pink ink). Customization options include personalized text and/or over 100 logo options. New pink logos, including pink variations of some of the most popular My Pro V1 logos to date, are also available the company said.


A NEW CHALLENGE: Following the Players Championship, it will get the PGA Tour Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass that features a two-story, 7,680 square-foot headquarters building with four hitting bays, a putting studio and fitness center. Outside there is a practice range as well as bunkers and a putting green. Todd Anderson is also part of the package and he recently spoke about his decision to leave Sea Island for 85 miles south in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. READ MORE>>>

DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR: “We own our courses free and clear,” Eric Trump said, insisting that the report was “categorically untrue” and “complete garbage. We have zero ties to Russian investors,” he added. READ MORE>>>

NO MONDAY QUALIFIER NEEDED: Carly Booth lost out in a Twitter popularity poll for a spot in next month’s $1.5 million ShopRite LPGA Classic despite getting close to 7,000 votes. The spot went to Indian professional Sharmila Nicollet, who finished nine points ahead of the runner-up, American Blair O’Neal, on 39 percent. Bolivian Susana Benavides finished last in the four-way battle on just 6 percent. READ MORE>>>

ANSWERS: “I may not play again until fall. I might have a round somewhere that I've got a charity event or something that I've got to do, but right now I don't have anything on my schedule probably until September, October, that may be the next ball I hit.”--Jack Nicklaus after he finished playing in the Insperity Invitational 3M Greats of Golf Exhibition on the weekend.

John Daly won the Insperity Invitational, his first victory on PGA TOUR Champions Tour in his 22nd start in the over 50 circuit. His last win in a PGA TOUR event was the Buick Invitational (now called the Farmers Insurance) in 2004, a span of 13 years  between victories.