Acushnet to be sold to Fila Korea for $1.2 billion

By Rex HoggardMay 20, 2011, 6:05 pm

The much-awaited sale of Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist and FootJoy, to a group led by Fila Korea and a Korean private equity firm was completed on Friday, but the $1.225 billion cash transaction appears to be the beginning of the story, not the end.

According to a news release sent out early Friday “Acushnet will remain as a standalone company” and remain in Fairhaven, Mass., under the leadership of company chairman and CEO Wally Uihlein.

The pending sale of Acushnet had been a hot topic within the industry for months, with bids reportedly being made by Nike Inc. and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf parent Adidas AG.

Although Fila Korea, a global sport footwear and apparel company, and Mirae Asset Private Equity, Korea’s largest private equity firm, are new editions to the golf equipment and apparel industry, the game’s growth in Asia at least partially explains the group’s interest in the category.

“The fact that Asia Pacific represents over 30 percent of the world's total golf equipment spending, and that South Korean golfers are among the most passionate and organized in the game, is testament to the significant investment in the Acushnet Company by the Fila Korea and Mirae group,” Uihlein said.

The sale of Acushnet is subject to regulatory approvals and the transaction is expected to close this summer.

The bigger question, however, will be what the future holds for the industry leader in golf ball, glove, shoe and outerwear sales.

According to central Florida-based research firm Golf Datatech, Acushnet was No. 1 in 2010 in dollar market share in golf balls (55 percent), gloves (66 percent), shoes (52 percent), outerwear (17.5 percent) and Nos. 2 and 3 in the wedges and putters category, respectively.

Titleist is also an industry leader in professional golf. According to Titleist, 90 participants at last week’s Players Championship played the company’s golf ball, compared with 17 for the nearest competitor.

The company posted net sales of $1.2 billion in 2010, making a management shakeup or piecemeal selloff unlikely any time soon. But the questions over Acushnet’s future remain, particularly for the company’s longtime leader.

In the short term, the new owners of golf’s most recognizable brand seem content with the status quo.

“The acquisition of Acushnet transforms our platform with a stable of premier world class brands. We are equally excited to embrace Acushnet’s exceptional management team led by Wally Uihlein,” said Gene Yoon, chair and CEO of Fila Korea.

“With our extensive knowledge and reach in Asia, we believe that the Acushnet brands have incredible new opportunities for growth in the emerging markets in Asia.”

Uihlein – whose son, Peter, is a junior at Oklahoma State, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and counted among the game’s best professional prospects – has served as chairman and CEO since 2000.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 6, Dustin Johnson

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

Only Dustin Johnson could win four times in 2017 and it still feels as though he underachieved.

That’s unfair, perhaps, but it’s a testament to Johnson’s awesome ability – and his incredible run of form last spring – that observers can’t help but shake the feeling that his year could have been even better.

In February, he rose to the top of the world rankings for the first time, the culmination of a long, bizarre journey in which he often battled himself (through major blunders and, reportedly, drug-related suspensions) as much as his peers. Johnson’s blowout victory at Riviera was his first of three consecutive titles (including two WGCs), as he achieved Tiger-like levels of dominance and rolled into the Masters as the prohibitive favorite.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Expectations for this star-crossed talent are always different, and so the surprise wasn’t that he blew that major but that he didn’t even give himself a chance. In one of the biggest stunners of the year, Johnson’s manager announced on the eve of the first round that his client had suffered a back injury while slipping on a set of stairs in his rental house. Just like that, the year’s first major was thrown into chaos, with Johnson unable to play – the line of demarcation in his good-but-not-great year.

Though he added a playoff victory at the end of the season, Johnson failed to factor in any of the remaining three majors and was surprisingly inconsistent, perhaps because of swing compensations after the injury.

Would DJ have denied Sergio Garcia a green jacket? Would he have created even more separation at the top of the world rankings? Would he have defended his Player of the Year title? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

In typical DJ fashion, he left us to ponder what could have been.

Johnson becomes world No. 1, starts season with three straight wins

Article: Johnson officially ascends to No. 1 for first time with Riviera win

DJ on reaching No. 1: 'It's been a long journey'

View from the top: How long will DJ stay at No. 1?

Article: DJ's star once again shines brightest at WGC-Mexico

DJ on win: 'Means a lot' with the pressure of No. 1

DJ breaks it down: How No. 1 won WGC-Mexico

Video: DJ withstands Rahm's rally to win WGC-Match Play final

DJ on beating Rahm: 'I didn't give him anything'

Johnson: 'I definitely didn't play my best today'


Johnson enters Masters as odds-on favorite, withdraws after falling down stairs

Article: After uneasy warmup, DJ withdraws from Masters

Article: Johnson installed as Masters betting favorite

Article: DJ injures back in fall, hopes to play Masters

DJ on Masters WD: 'Want to play ... it sucks'

DJ: 'I was playing the best golf of my career'


DJ welcomes second child with fiancée Paulina Gretzky

DJ, Paulina welcome baby boy before U.S. Open

It's a(nother) boy! DJ-Paulina's gender reveal


This and that: DJ and Paulina in 2017

DJ, Paulina make new music video on ski vacation

DJ, Paulina unwind with Bahamas vacay

DJ: 'Absolutely' no input on Paulina's social media

Watch: Paulina shows off pretty swing at TopGolf


Johnson adds fourth win of season, blows chance at fifth

As good as it gets: DJ-Outduels Spieth at Northern Trust

Johnson's HSBC collapse surprising, but not major

DJ beats Spieth in playoff to earn fourth win of year

Burr: 'For a great win there is an epic collapse'