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Business Edge for Friday March 9 2001

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DIFFERENCE IN RULES, DIFFERENCE IN OPINION: Arnold Palmer, whose favorable disposition toward nonconforming drivers in recreational play is by now well known, told Eddie Sefko of the Houston Chronicle March 7 that the Callaway Golf ERC II driver will be legal 'very, very soon.' Palmer, who was in San Antonio to open a new golf course he designed at La Cantera, said he has been in on meetings between the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, and that the organizations are close to resolving their differences over nonconforming drivers. (USGA rules proscribe the hot clubs; the R&A does not prohibit them.)
 
USGA executive director David Fay said March 9 he's aware of Palmer's comments. But he said a solution isn't as close as Palmer intimated.
 
'We're having discussions; it would be irresponsible if we didn't,' Fay said. 'But it'd be a stretch to say there's any resolution on the horizon.'
 
FINANCIAL FRIDAY: Two golf companies came out with some red financial numbers March 9:
 
Apparel company Cutter & Buck finished the third quarter of its fiscal year Jan. 31 with net sales of $32.4 million, up 2 percent from $31.8 million for the comparable period the prior year. But the company posted a net loss for the latest quarter of $963,000 (9 cents per share), compared with net income of $1.4 million (13 cents per share) in the comparable quarter last year. Chairman and CEO Harvey Jones blamed weather and shipment timing for depressed sales in the quarter. But expects the brand to end its fiscal year strongly, based in part on a 19 percent increase in sales at its company stores.
 
Troubles continue for clubmaker Adams Golf. Net sales for 2000 were $42.5 million, down from $54.7 million in 1999.
SORRY, YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST. But that's not a problem. The Callaway CB1 golf ball, which was introduced at January's PGA Merchandise Show and will start shipping in April, wasn't on the list of conforming golf balls the USGA released March 7. But never fear. This is not a nonconforming equipment issue, as with Callaway's ERC II driver. Seems Callaway wasn't in a rush to submit the CB1 by the Dec. 31, 2000 deadline for the March 7 list. The ball will almost certainly be on the list next time it's updated on the Internet at www.usga.org. The USGA plans to update the conforming ball list monthly, starting in April.

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