The Other Side of the Show

By Brian HewittJanuary 29, 2009, 5:00 pm
2009 PGA Merchandise ShowORLANDO, Fla. ' The line for Dr. Gary Wirens seminar in meeting room 102A of the Orange County Convention Center on the first morning of the PGA Merchandise Show Thursday was out the door. All seats were taken. And veteran teaching pros filled unoccupied space by sitting on the floor in the aisles.
 
The subject was The Ten Most Important Lessons Learned in 54 Years of Teaching. And No. 1 on the list was, We need to Market as Well as Teach.
 
We need to sell people on how they can enjoy golf, Wiren said. And, he emphasized, this message was more important than ever in these difficult economic times.
 
The PGA of America had rolled out a blueprint on how to deal with the harsh financial downturn last November. And Wiren, among others, was all over it right out of the box Thursday as necks craned and pros hung on his every word.
 
Wiren is a PGA of America Master professional and a member of the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame. While most of the sizzle at the Shows first day was out on the merchandise floor, seminars for teaching pros took place most of the day.
 
Wirens message was echoed later Thursday morning in another conference room where the PGA of Americas CEO, Joe Steranka, and the organizations president, Jim Remy, conducted an invitation-only round table discussion.
 
Whats important now, Remy said, is to go back and re-visit our occasional customers.
 
Yes, Steranka said, many of the topics for the close to 70 seminars offered to club pros and scheduled over the three days of the Show, were tailored to help deal with the stresses of a damaged economy.
 
This is a critical time for the golf industry, Steranka added. In relative terms, I think golf is going to do better than many industries.
 
Better, Remy said, if golfs teachers meet the challenge of getting players outside and into the game. Its a wonderful sport, Remy said. Its about a ball and a stick. And you cant play it on a computer.
 
Every year at the Show club pros attend seminars to earn Member Service Requirements (MSR) to maintain their active status in the PGA of America. Every three-year cycle members must earn a minimum of 54 MSR credits and 12 of them must be about continuing education.
 
The seminar subjects vary widely and some even sounded intriguingly amusing. A few examples:
 
Rules ' You are the Expert, The Power of Special Orders, Natural Disasters ' Be Prepared, and the ever popular, Shrinkage ' Oh Those Missing Demo Clubs!!
 
Wiren has been filling seminar meeting rooms for years at the Show. And, in case you were dying to know, the topics of his other nine most important lessons were, in order:
 
Have flexibility in your teaching approach; Keep it simple; Strive for mutual commitment; Make it fun; A holistic approach of mind and body; Learning tools and drills make the difference; More time on short game; Golf is most certainly not a game of perfect; and finally: Teach more than golf, leave a legacy.
 
Remember, these are tips for teachers not, necessarily, for players. Members arent tested at the end of the seminars. But attendance is verified.
 
One of the great misconceptions about the PGA Merchandise Show is that it is open to the public. It is not.
 
Another misconception is that club pros are there mainly to place orders for their inventory later in the season. They are also there for the seminars.
 
Theres also a perception among a few that the Show is an excuse for old friends to plan dinners and swap stories over drinks into the wee hours. As one wise man once said, Its hard to negotiate with a hangover.
 
And, who knows, there might have been a few people nursing their wounds at Wirens seminar Thursday.
 
But all of them were paying attention.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.