IRON BATTLE CONTINUES: For those who had any doubt: Tour-based club marketing strategies are alive and well. Just ask TaylorMade-adidas Golf and Cleveland Golf.
Its no secret that TaylorMade is working hard ' and paying much ' to pump up its weekly iron count on the PGA Tour. But even with tee-up payments for iron use reportedly at $1,500 per week, TaylorMades dominance isnt a lock.
Cleveland just took the golf equivalent of the yellow Tour de France jersey, winning the iron count at the Nissan Open with 22 sets in play. (Cleveland also won the all-wedges count, which surprises no one because of the companys hold on a third of the wedge market.) Cleveland tied for second in irons at the Bob Hope and Phoenix tournaments this year.
But sources close to Cleveland say that the company isnt paying tee-up money. Cleveland does have a performance-based pool plan from which players who have made good showings with its clubs can be rewarded, but many of the iron players who contributed to the count at Los Angeles are Cleveland staff endorsers.
TaylorMades momentum cant be ignored, and its likely to continue its aggressive tactics. In consecutive weeks ' Pebble Beach and Buick ' TM won the count in three major categories: irons, drivers and fairway woods. And the company has led the driver count on the PGA Tour every week so far.
NIKE SHIPS: Just a year ago, there was no such thing as Nike golf clubs, at least not for the mass market. How things have changed.
In a modest ceremony Feb. 14 at Nikes Tigard, Ore. facility, golf division president Bob Wood packed and sealed the first set of Nike irons to leave the dock.
Nike opened the facility in Tigard, near its Beaverton headquarters, expressly for golf equipment assembly and distribution.
ONE-RIDER CARTS AT TPCs: To improve access for handicapped players, the 21 PGA Tour-owned Tournament Players Clubs have added a Club Car 1-PASS single-rider golf cart to their fleets, Club Car reports. (So has the Golf Club of Jacksonville, which the Tour developed in conjunction with the city of Jacksonville, Fla.)
The 1-PASS, which is made by SoloRider, a Colorado company that specializes in accessibility vehicles, has a lockable, 360-degree swiveling seat. That helps golfers with lower-body limitations to line up to the ball effectively, Club Car says. Club Car and SoloRider thought of the greens, too: Thanks to its suspension and tires, the 1-PASS transfers on six or seven pounds per square inch to the turf, less than an average man standing would do, says Club Car.
JUST A THOUGHT: Golf balls fly farther and straighter because they have dimples. So why isnt there a whole crew of people with ball-peen hammers working at Boeing?