Guarding Against Golf Crime

By Adam BarrNovember 12, 2004, 5:00 pm
Its hard to believe you have to worry about this in a game of honor.
But alas, just as there are sandbaggers and pencil-whippers, there are also golf club thieves out there. One survey says that seven out of 10 golfers have had their clubs stolen, or know someone who has.
There are two responses: Lament the way things are (and as long as youre ranting, kick in a complaint or two about how kids are so disrespectful these days and you cant find a good tomato anymore), or do something about it.
The latter option comes down to protecting your clubs. When you consider that a full set plus bag and accessories can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars, its worth the expense and effort to lock things up.
At least one company is approaching the problem in an automotive way: Make the vehicle secure. Burton Golf, the 97-year-old bag company, has revamped and reintroduced the Club-Lok concept it developed in 1998. The new Club-Lok combines a functional bag top (on Burtons Sherpa cart bag) with a retractable steel cable. Once activated with a lever, the top locks all 14 clubs in the bag, and the cable can be used to secure the entire bag to bag drops, racks, or auto trunks. A three-digit, combination wheel lock provides your password. Burtons suggested retail is $189.
Burton saw a specialized need and rushed in to fill it. The Insurance Institute of America estimates that golf equipment theft losses result in more than $120 million in claims ' and thats just the losses that are reported.
Items in a golf bag, including high-investment drivers, favorite putters, jackets, fancy head covers and collectible ball markers ' theyre all precious, says Terry Andre, Burtons VP of sales and marketing. Sure, theres a monetary attachment, but theres also a strong emotional attachment to these goods.
Anecdotal evidence supports the need for some anti-theft action. Many top resorts, at which such activity was once considered unthinkable, report multiple thefts from bag drops and club rooms. Insurance adjusters say they get two to three claims a week during the playing season.
And it seems no one is immune. Steve Flesch had his sticks stolen out of a car in Phoenix in 1999 (imagine replacing your work tools quickly when youre left-handed). Tom Watson had a putter stolen at a club in Kansas City, where hes a home-town hero. Greg Normans roofer allegedly stole (and then panicked, and returned) Normans custom-made Cobras shortly before an Open Championship; the Shark got them back just in time to leave for Scotland. And some criminal, obviously new at this, once stole a set at Doral ' and tried to fence them to local favorite Raymond Floyd.
Andre calls Burtons new offering a problem-solution product, and hopes golfers will respond to the companys education efforts. He also sees a market among nervous golf travelers who cant lock their travel bags without running afoul of the Transportation Security Administration ' with the bag-mounted locks, that shouldnt be necessary, Andre says.
Of course, the committed thief will always find a way. But in most cases, deterrence is enough. Making theft more trouble than its worth should reduce the number of incidents. Security and prevention are likely to become bigger issues as golfers realize they dont have to risk their investments in equipment.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.