Just the Facts and a Little Analysis on the Weeks New Golf Products
It was a relatively slow spring for new products, but things are looking up golf gearheads as summer begins. Heres the skinny:
WHAT: Spalding Ben Hogan Apex Tour golf ball
WHEN: Shipping July 1
HOW MUCH: Suggested retail is $58 per dozen, but the street price will probably settle in at just above $40.
WHATS UP: Ben Hogan golf balls rivaled Titleist for PGA Tour dominance in the 1970s, but the brand declined in the early 90s after the Hogan Co. endured a number of ownership changes. Spalding took over in 1997 and concentrated on clubs first. Now Spalding is ready to extend the brand again to golf balls with a better-player entry to compliment its Strata and Top-Flite sub-brands.
The construction is four-piece: A soft inner core about the size of a pea transfers energy, Spalding says. A slightly harder rubber core material surrounds that. Then comes a hard inner cover to add distance, all wrapped in a soft and very thin urethane outer cover, which is supposed to add spin for greenside control. As many manufacturers have done in recent years, Spalding claims this ball marries distance and feel, properties once thought to be mutually exclusive in golf balls.
Spalding, which has been struggling in the market the past couple of years, is pinning a lot of hopes on this new ball ' and a lot of money. Now that Spaldings debt is restructured, the company is free to launch a $20 million marketing and advertising effort to support the new product.
Len Mattiace, Bernhard Langer, Hal Sutton, Dennis Paulson and Mark Brooks are among the tour players who have already put the new Hogan ball into play.
WHAT: FootJoy GelFusion golf shoes
HOW MUCH: Suggested retail is $185.
WHATS UP: FootJoy calls its new outsole independent suspension for your feet. The iSuspension mechanism ties a titanium midsole stability bridge to a plastic key that in turn links to the forefoot, so the foot can move medially and laterally as well as fore and aft, FootJoy says. Theres also a special flexibility channel across the bend point under the ball of the foot.
Gel in the heel and the ankle collar help the fit, FootJoy claims, and a special in-shoe foam controls foot temperature and moisture.
FootJoys market dominance is solid, but its premium shoe ($100+) market share of 55.3 percent is flat versus last year. No. 2 Nike is far away at 18 percent, but gained 5 percent last year. On top of all this, the world shoe market is down about 6 percent in the United States, Europe and the Pacific Basin.
The GelFusion is the first new premium model for FootJoy since the Dry I.C.E in 1999. The GelFusion is $15 cheaper than Dry I.C.E. was.
In other shoe segments, FootJoy is replacing its Fit Dogs 2-year waterproof guarantee product with the new X-Dimension, which features an X-shaped stability bridge in the outsole. That shoe will cost $120, versus the old $130 asking price for the Fit Dogs.
In between X-Dimension and the top lines are FootJoys bedrock DryJoys product. In its 13-year history, DryJoys have been through eight design iterations, and they have been consistently popular: If DryJoys were its own company, it would be the No. 3 shoe brand all by itself. To keep the retail price from inflating, FootJoy reengineered some features (without affecting quality, the company promises) and dropped the price from $160 to $145.
FootJoys eComfort entry-level brand will replace the Sierra Treks; retail will be $85 versus the Sierra price of $100. And at the very top remain FootJoy Classics, the leather-soled standby, which is $300 in the Dry Premiere waterproof line and $250 in the simpler water resistant model.
WHAT: Adams Golf GT 363R high-COR driver
WHEN: Shipping July 1
HOW MUCH: Suggested retail price not yet released
WHATS UP: This driver carries the .860 coefficient of restitution that will be legal for recreational players from Jan. 1, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2007. It has a 363 cc titanium face, with a strong, flexible SP-700 beta titanium face, Adams says. Special heel weighting helps the club get square at impact.
Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.
Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.
But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.
Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.
Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:
Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180
Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70
Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5
Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450
Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200
Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.
Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.
“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.
“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”
Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.
“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.
Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.
Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim.
Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.
Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.
“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.
In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.