Is TaylorMade Sniffing Around Maxfli Again
ANOTHER TRY AT TAYLOR MADE-MAXFLI? As usual, no ones talking out loud, but theres plenty of golf industry whispering lately about another potential union between TaylorMade-adidas Golf and Maxfli. (Astute merger watchers will recall that the two companies talked before, but decided to step back from the altar.)
TaylorMade has allowed its three-year-old golf ball brand to languish recently. President Mark King said at the 2001 PGA Merchandise Show in February that the company would accomplish some key objectives in clubs first, then look to balls.
And accomplish it did. TaylorMades 300 Series woods have sold well in a down golf economy, and have made their mark on the PGA Tour. Question is, would acquiring Maxfli help TMaG get it done in golf balls?
Maxfli has made a recent splash with its new A10 golf ball, which has already been used by 13 winners on various pro tours, including Se Ri Pak and Robert Allenby. And many in the industry respect Maxflis technology and R&D, which produced the popular Revolution model.
But Maxflis overall market share has slumped to the six- to seven-percent range in recent years. Some see the brand as just keeping its head above water in the marketing storm whipped up by well-heeled competitors Nike, Callaway Golf and Titleist.
British capital group CinVen, which bought Maxflis parent, Dunlop Slazenger from BTR (now Invensys) in 1996 for 330 million, has long been rumored to be looking for ways to unload Maxfli. By one estimate, golf accounted for 60 percent of Dunlop Slazengers 200 million (about $300 million) in annual sales last year. Tennis and other sports made up the difference.
TRYON HITS (UP) TARGET: New young pro Ty Tryon of Orlando, Fla. has signed an endorsement deal with retail powerhouse Target Stores. Tryon, who made the cut as an amateur in two PGA Tour events this year (the Honda Classic and the B.C. Open), turned pro in August, even though he is still a junior at Orlandos Dr. Phillips High School.
Tryon will wear the Target bulls-eye logo. Hell also work with designer Mossimo Giani (whose first-name-only clothes used to adorn David Duval) to come up with a line of youthful golf and leisure wear.
SPALDING WARNING: A Tuesday message warned customers of Spalding Sports Worldwide not to get the wrong idea if they read reports that the company wont make the October interest payment to major bondholders. Spalding has decided to take the 30-day grace period allowed under the terms of the bond while it negotiates the possible recapitalization of the company with a group of bondholders. That would also involve major debt restructuring.
Spalding assured customers that the news has nothing to do with the liquidity of the company, and products and payments will flow in the normal course of business.
No word yet on whether the Spalding warning is code for an impending positive changes for Spalding ' but watch this space.
McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.
The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.
McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.
McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.
''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''
Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.
''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''
McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.
''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''
The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.
''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''
The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.
Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel
If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.
Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:
When in the Middle East... pic.twitter.com/lNv1Lh79E0— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 16, 2018
If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:
Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."
Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."
I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H
And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.
Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational
Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.
The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.
Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.
“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”
Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews
Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.
Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.