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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “When you think about it, the problems that befell this company weren't related to being able to sell cars. They sold more cars than anybody in the world for a long, long time, and they did it in part because of a partnership with professional golf and the PGA TOUR as a tool.”

ON THIS DAY: In 1973, Jack Nicklaus won the Walt Disney World Open for the third consecutive year to become the first player to reach $2 million in career earnings.

NIKE’S LATEST: The driver category continues to get plenty of attention from both sides of the fence. On the manufacturing side it offers the opportunity to generate greater attention back to the brand, which hopefully carries a halo effect to other products. For consumers, they still love the long ball and nothing says it more than off the tee. Nike Golf has announced a new Nike VR Pro driver will be available in February at retail. The product just recently found its way into play with Anthony Kim and Francesco Molinari at the HSBC Champions and Dubai World Championship, respectively.

This driver has a pear shaped Tour-driven head designed with direct input from Nike athletes, according to the company. The pear shape allows for more weight at the optimal center of gravity (CG) locations and delivers a hotter launch with optimal spin for the game’s best players, Nike said. The VR Pro driver features a new Variable Compression Channel, which increases speed at impact in more spots on the clubface.

This Compression Channel extends the entire length of the face and delivers greater distance on a variety of shots, Nike said, such as draws, stingers, high cuts, fades or straight shots. “The Compression Channel was designed to give tour players increased ball speeds for their ‘go to’ shots; these shots are not always in the center of the face,” according to Tom Stites, Director of Product Creation, Nike Golf.  “The channel action delivers a similar ball speed as the center of the face.”

The VR Pro driver expands on Nike’s STR8-FIT Face Angle Technology, giving players both the ability to select their shot shape by offering multiple face angle positions as well as the flexibility to dial in the look of their driver for confidence at address. The VR Pro is being sold with the Project X shaft from True Temper. It is designed, Nike pointed out for players are refining and optimizing distance and prefer a more traditional pear-shape look in their driver. The new Nike VR Pro driver is the latest addition to the premium VR line, which began with the introduction of the successful Nike VR irons in November 2008. Availability is slated for February 3, 2011 and it is expected to retail for $399.

DOUBLING UP: Boccieri Golf is touting that its Tour-proven Heavy Putter line continues to experience consistently strong sell-through at big box retailers nationwide, with off-course sales doubling in the third quarter of 2010 versus the previous year. Company policy prohibits it from revealing whether that means it went from selling one to two putters, 10 to 20 or 5,000 to 10,000. Nevertheless, in today’s world any good news is welcome even if the full story isn’t always included.

YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS: Wondering what to get for the holidays, a 3D television could fit the bill for the golfer on anyone’s’ shopping list. The 2011 Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club, Oahu, Hawaii, is the first full field event each year on the Tour and next year’s broadcast will be in 3D. Having conducted successful 3D testing at multiple events this year, Sony and the PGA TOUR, recently concluded an agreement to present the tournament in live 3D. The test locations included the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii. Sony, the PGA TOUR and Friends of Hawaii Charities, the host organization of Sony Open in Hawaii, also announced that Sony has extended its title sponsorship by three years through 2014, therefore implying that 3D broadcast will become a staple for the event

The 3D coverage will be produced and distributed to US households by Golf Channel and Comcast. Of the 83 million households across the US, viewers who have 3D compatible TV sets such as Sony’s 3D “BRAVIA” will be able to enjoy the closing stages of the tournament in immersive live 3D. 3D coverage will also be made available to PGA TOUR broadcast partners around the world that have 3D capability.

“We are very excited to be able to capture the 2011 Sony Open in Hawaii using Sony’s state-of-the-art 3D professional cameras, and to deliver these images into viewers’ living rooms in live 3D,” said Sir Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Sony Corporation. “By offering the unprecedented experience of immersive, live 3D images conveying the excitement and beauty of the Sony Open in Hawaii, we aim to further enhance the enjoyment of 3D entertainment in the home.”

PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem added, “We have seen what high-definition does for golf telecasts, and 3D is the logical next step to enhancing our broadcasts and providing fans with the ultimate viewing experience, particularly in such a beautiful setting as Hawaii.”

The Sony Open in Hawaii, entering its 13th year with Sony as title sponsor. “The extension of Sony's sponsorship is met enthusiastically in the not-for-profit and tourism sectors of Hawaii,” said Corbett Kalama, President, Friends of Hawaii Charities. The television coverage from beautiful, warm Hawaii to a global audience in January especially in 3D, next year, provides considerable promotional value to Hawaii's tourism industry.”

A NEW LOOK AND FRESH FACE: Rory McIlroy will soon be sporting a new look. The Irishman has reached a deal with Oakley and will sport its golf apparel and eyewear. “When I considered teaming up with a new apparel sponsor, I looked at all the alternatives, but kept coming back to Oakley because the truth is, other brands just can’t compete,” said McIlroy. “Oakley is as ambitious as I am and they suit my style perfectly. I look forward to becoming an ambassador for Oakley in the golf industry.”

Currently ranked #10 in the world rankings, McIlroy recently turned some heads when he decided to return to playing the European Tour starting in 2011.

“Rory will take advantage of the latest innovations in Oakley golf apparel,” said Raphael Peck, VP of Global Apparel, Footwear and Accessories at Oakley. “Our golf apparel technology includes hyper levels of moisture management, ensuring 18 holes of cool, dry comfort. We engineer weather protection that ranges from UV shielding to breathable water resistance, so Rory can face the harsh elements that come into play when he is out on the tour. Fit and freedom of movement are critical performance issues, so Rory will utilize Oakley golf pants engineered with four-way stretch that allows maximized torque rotation while reducing friction and eliminating abrasion.”

Peck added, “As Oakley gains worldwide recognition in golf apparel technologies, the company will continue to lead in style innovation. Rory strives for greatness while bringing the kind of irreverence that makes for a true original — someone who respects the game but refuses to accept conventional ideas of style and possibility — so he is a perfect fit for the Oakley brand. The art that wraps our science allows golfers like Rory to express their originality with confidence that gives a performance edge. Oakley brings style and technical excellence that lets players push the limits of possibility,” Peck concluded.


GOES WITH THE TERRITORY: "My first week at number one was spent in China and it added to the surprise that they gave me a security guard from the start. I was wondering why but at the end I knew why." READ MORE>>>

POWER OF THE PEOPLE: The LPGA's players have voted to allow transgender women golfers a chance to play on the tour. Players voted Tuesday to amend the organization's constitution by removing the "female at birth" requirement, LPGA commissioner Michael Whan said. The vote came at a meeting ahead of the LPGA Tour Championship, which starts Thursday at Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando. The change followed a lawsuit filed by a transgender woman over the "female at birth" requirement. READ MORE>>>

NO FEAR: Gary Player always has something to say. He isn’t afraid to share his opinion on or off the record, which makes him unique in today’s politically correct world. “I have been very outspoken and critical about The Masters, and now my board [of his company, The Gary Player Group] told me to cool it. They said, ‘you said your piece and everybody knows how you feel. Now act with dignity and let this pass.’” On how Hootie Johnson will be remembered, Player said, “As a man with good intentions who made countless mistakes and used very poor judgment.” READ MORE>>>

SILVER LININGS: The goal for Tiger Woods has always been to be better than he was the year before. Despite losing his marriage and every tournament he played, he still gave himself a passing grade. "As a golfer, I learned so much more this year than any other year — and as a person, infinitely more," Woods said Tuesday. "So it's been a very successful year, even though it was a very painful year, as well." READ MORE>>>

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ANSWER: Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA TOUR on his new/old sponsor GM/Cadillac