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Monday, December 13, 2010

ANY IDEA WHO SAID THIS? “I think I am better now than I have ever been. Unfortunately, so is everybody else. That’s the big problem, is I’m getting better and everybody else is getting better. It ain’t right, but it’s the way it is.”

ON THIS DAY: In 1968, the Association of Professional Golfers reaches a settlement with the PGA of America to become a separate entity later know as the PGA TOUR.

IT ALWAYS COMES DOWN TO MONEY: It’s an easy argument to make, in hindsight now, that the U.S. golf market has matured, while other pockets of the world are still coming on line. Once upon a time the notion was floated that a course a day was needed in the United States to keep up with mounting demand. It wasn’t that long ago, believe it or not. But that was then and this is now. Case in point, Greg Norman was asked about his architect business and the answer supports the theory. “I have 43 under contract right now,” he said, “of those 43, two are in America.” When questioned about where demand for his services were he replied, “ Well, I'll have to break that down real quickly. Um, the other 40, that would be a third of them would be this the Far East,” said Norman, who’s math may be a bit off.

But the Shark isn’t afraid to share his opinion on a variety of subjects and he transitioned to the domestic market outlook for golf without any prompting. “I don't think we'll ever get back to days of building 450 golf courses a year in America. That's history. The responsibility now for anybody in the United States and the rest of the world is to build golf courses that can sustain generation after generation after generation,” he continued.

“The ongoing cost of the construction of a golf course is huge. The sustainability from environmental issues is huge. So you've got to be able to make sure those costs are kept down to a minimum, because the cost of living always escalates. So if you start in with a big price tag, that price tag never really gets reduced. It keeps getting higher and higher and higher,” Norman explained. “The unlimited budge approach is done now, unless you have a sugar daddy who wants to come in and just build a golf course for himself. When we look back at what happened in the '80s in America, a lot of the golf courses that were built, you had to have hand labor to maintain them. So then the annual dues are very, very expensive, and those annual dues keep multiplying and going up and up and up.

“What we're seeing now is the people who love to be members of three, four, five, golf clubs, or two, three, four golf clubs, they're boiling it down to one or two because the dues are just obviously holding them back. In tough economic times, people's disposable income, you know, you sit back and analyze where it goes and where it shouldn't go. So I've seen that happen. That's the one word that I use going forward, is sustainability. Sustainability.”

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: The world’s local bank is turning towards a greater presence in golf. HSBC Private Bank has agreed a partnership with the golf division of IMG Worldwide, the sports marketing giant that represents stars including Tiger Woods, Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia. The deal will allow HSBC Private Bank to pitch its wealth advisory services to the agency's star-studded roster of athletes, while offering the bank's best clients an opportunity to play in pro-am competitions with the world's elite golfers and attend the most exclusive players' events. READ MORE>>>

YOUNG AND OLD BUT ARE THEY PRICED THE SAME? Rickie Fowler didn’t win any tournaments in 2010 but it’s hard to say he was a loser either. Bushnell Outdoor Products announced a two-year sponsorship agreement with PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. "Rickie brings a unique excitement to the game of golf," said Phil Gyori, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Bushnell. "After this highly successful rookie campaign, we look forward to working with Rickie and are thrilled that he puts his trust in Bushnell's golf products."

In addition to using Bushnell's laser rangefinders during practice rounds while preparing for tournaments, Fowler will also represent Bushnell in various marketing, advertising and promotional efforts. Additionally, Fowler's caddy Joe Skovron will wear the Bushnell Golf logo on his hat and sleeve during tournament play at all Tour stops. "It makes perfect sense to me to be associated with the makers of the most accurate rangefinders, especially since I trust Bushnell to prepare me for every tournament," said Fowler. Financial details were not revealed.

The checkbook still had some unfinished business as the company signed Colin Montgomerie as an ambassador for their laser rangefinder products and also to wear their Serengeti eyewear in a two-year arrangement. Guilhem Pezet, Events and Sponsoring Manager of Bushnell Outdoor Products Europe explained, "Colin Montgomerie is one of the highest profile golfers in the world, especially after his recent success as Ryder Cup Captain, but what really excites us is his determination to climb back up the rankings and his genuine belief that our products will play a part in preparing him in the best way possible for the tournaments he plays."

TIS THE SEASON: TaylorMade has pledged $1 million to North County Solutions for Change, a nonprofit based in Vista that helps homeless families. “This is about more than getting homeless families through another day, but helping them solve the problems that got them into this situation and helping them get their lives straightened out,” said Mark King, CEO of TaylorMade. READ MORE>>>


YOUR AS OLD AS YOU FEEL: Peter Senior has become the oldest winner of the Australian PGA championship. The 51-year-old Senior beat Australian Open champion Geoff Ogilvy at the second play-off hole this morning at the Hyatt Coolum on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. "Age is nothing," Senior said. "Tom Watson proved that when he nearly won the (British) Open and a lot of the older guys have performed well on the main Tour in the US, so we are really lucky that we play a long-life sport that we can get a lot of enjoyment out of." READ MORE>>>

DEJA VU: Defending champion Pablo Martin claimed back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Championship titles. Martin only arrived on the eve of the competition and did not even have a practice round. But he said, “I've been playing decently lately. I didn't know what to expect because I only got here late on Wednesday.” READ MORE>>>

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET? Scotland’s Elliot Saltman vigorously defended himself against what he called “disgusting” allegations labeling him a cheat. Saltman (28) and his younger brother Lloyd (25) created history at PGA Golf de Catalunya when they became the first siblings to win their cards at the same ‘school’. But while Elliot was relieved to finish just inside the top 30 and ties on the nine-under limit after a brave 70, he is incensed by the growing number of comments on the internet accusing him of cheating. READ MORE>>>

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ANSWER: Paul Goydos, who shot 59 at the John Deere Classic this year