Callaway Golf Buying Top-Flite

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 30, 2003, 4:00 pm
CallawayCHICOPEE, Mass. -- The Top-Flite Golf Company and affiliated companies (SHC, Inc., Top-Flite, Inc. and Lisco Sports, Inc.) announced Monday that they have reached an agreement for the sale of substantially all the companys golf-related assets to Callaway Golf Company. The proposed sale is pursuant to section 363 of Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The total price to be paid by Callaway Golf for the acquired assets will be approximately $125 million, subject to certain adjustments.
To facilitate the sale, Top-Flite Golf will file a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware today. Top-Flite Golfs international operations are part of the sale, but are not part of the bankruptcy filing.
Under a section 363 asset sale, all of the assets of a company are sold to a purchaser free and clear of virtually all liens, claims and interests. The sale of Top-Flite Golfs assets to Callaway Golf is subject to Bankruptcy Court approval. Top-Flite Golf expects to complete the sale to Callaway Golf within 70 to 90 days. Completion of the transaction also is contingent upon government review under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Pre-Merger Notification Act.
Top-Flite Golf said that it has adequate cash balances to fully fund operations during the reorganization process and will file various motions to enable it to meet obligations related to certain customer practices and programs, import obligations and other similar charges. As in all Chapter 11 cases, subject to court approval post-petition obligations to vendors, employees and others will be satisfied in the normal course of business without the need to obtain further court approval.
Jim Craigie, president and chief executive officer of Top-Flite Golf, said, The proposed sale of our assets to Callaway Golf will allow Top-Flite Golf to remain a strong competitor and maximize our value for customers, employees and other stakeholders. Callaway has expressed interest in keeping and investing in our brands, continuing an association with Greater Springfield and offering employment to a substantial portion of our employee base.
Craigie continued, In the meantime, Top-Flite Golf will maintain business as usual during the reorganization process. We do not expect any interruption in our supply chain, production or distribution, and all vendors will be paid in the normal course of business for post-petition obligations. All of our products will continue to be available, we will continue to honor all warranties, and we will move forward with the launch of our new Top-Flite Infinity line with substantial marketing support.
In making its filing to the bankruptcy court, Top-Flite Golf noted that the large debt load inherited from its 1996 leveraged buyout, as well as worldwide overcapacity in the golf ball market, have resulted in deteriorating sales, margins and market share. Management has concluded that in order to maximize the value to all stakeholders, that Chapter 11 protection is necessary to stabilize Top-Flites business and preserve its value during the process of selling its assets to Callaway Golf.
In the consolidating golf industry, even if Top-Flite Golf were to eliminate our debt load from the 1996 leveraged buyout through Chapter 11, we could not survive in the current marketplace against existing strong competitors. We have carefully considered all possible alternatives, and the combination of a bankruptcy filing and an immediate Section 363 sale is the only viable course of action for the companys future, Craigie said.
Ron Drapeau, chairman, president and CEO of Callaway Golf, said, Our acquisition of the Top-Flite assets free from the significant debt load that burdened the company should permit us to reverse the recent decline of the Top-Flite brand in the golf ball marketplace. We also believe that our consolidated golf ball operations will provide Callaway Golf and its shareholders with the solution to the profitability drain that has dogged our golf ball business since start-up. Moreover, the acquisition of the Top-Flite and Ben Hogan brands in golf clubs permits us to participate in categories and channels where the Callaway Golf brand has been absent or had little presence. Overall, we see this as an opportunity to compete effectively in a broad range of golf equipment business segments. We have every reason to believe that we will receive all needed approvals to complete the transfer of these Top-Flite assets to Callaway Golf later this year.
Top-Flite Golf also announced today that it has retained Kroll Zolfo Cooper LLC, the financial consulting firm specializing in corporate restructuring, to work with senior management and assist the company through the bankruptcy and asset sale process. Kroll Zolfo Cooper executives have been appointed to the following positions: Kevin Golmont will serve as chief restructuring officer, and Andrew Howley will serve as interim chief financial officer.
The Top-Flite Golf Company, formerly part of Spalding Sports Worldwide, is the worlds largest golf ball manufacturer. It is the first U.S. manufacturer of golf balls, dimpled golf balls, two-piece golf balls, multi-layer golf balls, and American-made golf clubs. Under The Top-Flite Golf Company umbrella are the Top-Flite, Strata and Ben Hogan brands.
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McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.