Callaway Board Elects Drapeau


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BOARDROOMS AND BUYBACKS AT CALLAWAY: Callaway Golfs board of directors has elected company president and CEO Ron Drapeau chairman, filling the vacancy created by the death July 5 of company founder Ely Callaway.
Drapeau, a former executive with Lynx Golf when that company was a part of Zurn Industries, joined Callaway in 1996. The inside word was that even before his cancer was detected, the late Mr. Callaway privately polled his top executives as to who should be his successor. Drapeaus name came up again and again, said sources close to the situation.
Like his predecessor, Drapeau will combine all three top executive positions in one person. But it wasnt always so at Callaway. Ely Callaway held all three positions at various times, but in the mid-1990s, he was chairman and CEO while Riverside, Calif. lawyer Don Dye served as president.
In many golf companies, as well as in other industries, the president oversees day-to-day operations and participates as an adviser on matters of long-term strategy. The CEO and chairman often do the reverse. Drapeau has long been recognized for his operational skill in golf industry circles, and his strategic star has been rising in recent years as well.
Callaways board also authorized the repurchase of company stock from the open market or in private transactions up to a total cost of $100 million to the company. The buyback program, which should increase the market value of remaining shares, will be completed by Dec. 31, 2002. At its Aug. 21 price of just under $17 per share, Callaway could buy back more than 5.8 million shares. As of that date, there are about 71 million Callaway shares outstanding.
The Callaway board also voted a 7-cent second quarter dividend payable Sept. 21 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 31.
SUCCESSOR TO OLD TOM WINS AWARD: Everyone in eastern Scotlands Kingdom of Fife who knows golf knows Walter Woods, greenkeeper at the Old Course at St. Andrews for 21 of his 33 years as a golf course superintendent. Now Woods is being recognized with an award named for one of his distant ' but famous ' predecessors in that job.
Next February in Orlando, Woods will receive the Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. The GCSAA gives the award annually to a person who 'through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris.' Morris, of course, was a four-time Open Championship winner in the nineteenth century and the long-time greenkeeper of the hallowed links. His grave, in the churchyard on the other end of town from the course, is still visited regularly, as collections of scorecards and pencils left there as tributes attest.
Woods, now retired, still consults with local golf courses (such as the new track at Kingsbarns, six miles down the coast road from St. Andrews) and the PGA European Tour.